A Gorgeous Guide to Musical Notation


Update: Based on your feedback, Pop Chart Lab has made some tweaks to the poster—check them out at the link below!

Do you confuse your demisharps with your double flats? Have you forgotten how to write an inverted mordent? Don’t know how to read that acciaccatura at the recital? Do you still shamefully call a caesura “railroad tracks?"

Not anymore! Pop Chart Lab's latest poster is bursting with musical marks that will make musicians of all stripes tremolo with joy, turn after inverted turn. Even viola players have reason to celebrate: the chart even gives the maligned alto clef some much-deserved love.

You can see a larger version of the poster here.

"The researcher on this project has a music theory background," the team says, "and, at some point over the course of years of chart-making, realized that the world of musical notes and marks was one of highly-varied and highly-nuanced visual data—i.e.,something as small as a tiny dot or arc can drastically change the way that a musical note is meant to be interpreted and then produced into hearable music. So the goal was to chart these little hieroglyphs by type and placement."

According to the team, the design was "like a game of musical sudoku—we knew on a given staff that certain elements had to be included, but the trick was finding the perfect sequence and making sure that symbolic groups (like accidentals and dynamics) were presented in a way that (mostly) made sense."

Now that deserves an ovation!