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by Tom Gerou and Linda Lusk, 1996 Alfred Publishing Co.                                                  

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Author: Tom Gerou and Linda Lusk

First published: 1996

Publisher: Alfred Publishing

ISBN: 0882847309

Level: All

Pages: 351

essential dictionary of music notation review

Our Rating: starstarstarstarstar


  • Complete dictionary of musical notation


This book IS essential – the title says it all! Every single aspect of writing out music (rather than composing) is explained clearly, concisely and with examples. If you have ever wondered how to beam notes together, how accidentals should be placed when there are several to squash into a chord, which bar lines to use in repeat sections, or how to join multiple staves together correctly, this book has ALL the answers.

As a music theory teacher I often get asked questions about the correct way to write things – not only the basics about the order of sharps or flats in a key signature, but other trickier things like which notes go on the “wrong” side of the stem in a chord or how long are stems supposed to be on notes with ledger lines, and so on. I have never been posed a question that this book couldn’t answer. I refer to it frequently and would be lost without it. 

One caveat for those of you in the UK – it is an American book and so the terminology is USA e.g. “quarter note” for crotchet. However, this doesn’t detract at all from its usability.