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Guitar notation in which chords are symbolized by letters of the alphabet. See Guitar, §4 and Tablature, §4.

Colonna, Giovanni Ambrosio

Guitar, §4: The five-course guitar


Ascription in Petrucci’s Canti B (RISM 1502²) of a piece commonly attributed to Jean Braconnier.


A score in which each individual voice of a polyphonic composition is assigned a separate staff (see Score and Organ score).


John Morehen and Richard Rastall

Manuscripts or printed books that contain music for only a single voice (whether human or instrumental) of a composition, as opposed to those sources (scores, choirbooks, table-books etc.) that supply the complete music. The Shrewsbury fragment (Shrewsbury School, MS VI, c 1430) is probably the lone survivor of a set of three partbooks (S. Rankin, ...


John Morehen

In its strictest sense partitura means simply ‘score’, and as such is the equivalent of partition (Fr.), Partitur (Ger.) etc. It is more specifically used, however, to describe sources of keyboard music of the 16th to the 18th centuries notated in open score (usually four staves), as opposed to those in keyboard score (on two staves) or one of the types of keyboard tablature. In many of the earliest uses of this notation, most of which are Italian, the word ‘partitura’ and its most common derivatives (...


Thurston Dart

revised by John Morehen and Richard Rastall

A score in which the voice-parts are ‘tabulated’ or written so that the eye can encompass them. In practice, scores in staff notation with one voice-part per staff are not usually called tablatures unless they are for a solo keyboard instrument (see §2(v) below). The term is more often used for a condensed score in which two or more voice-parts are written or printed on a single staff or comparable area of the page, although when this consists entirely of staff notation it is more often called ‘keyboard score’ or (for concerted music) ‘short score’. The common use of the term ‘tablature’ therefore excludes these; the following article thus discusses any notational system of the last 700 years that uses letters, numbers or other signs as an alternative to conventional staff notation. Such systems were chiefly used for instrumental music; dance tablatures are beyond the scope of this article. For a discussion of tablature in its historical context, ...