tablature

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tablature (tăb´ləchŏŏr), in music, a generic system of musical notation indicating actions that the player must take, rather than "representing" the music itself that will result from those actions. Tablatures have been in use in the West since the early 14th cent., mostly for keyboard and plucked string instrument. Most used a horizontal grid read from left to right, with letters or numbers indicating the production of pitches, and rhythmic signs above. In the 16th and 17th cent., differing systems existed in Germany, Italy, Spain and France. Tablatures are used today to notate music for guitar and ukulele. These have vertical lines representing strings of the instrument, horizontal lines for the frets, and dots to show the position of the fingers.

See W. Apel, The Notation of Polyphonic Music, 900–1600 (4th ed. 1953).

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tab·la·ture / ˈtabləchər; -ˌchoŏr/ • n. chiefly hist. a form of musical notation indicating fingering rather than the pitch of notes, written on lines corresponding to, for example, the strings of a lute or the holes on a flute.

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tablature (mus.) notation, spec. for the lute, flute, etc. XVI. — F. — medL. tabulātūra, f. late L. tabulāre, f. L. tabula TABLE; see -URE.

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tablature. System of writing down mus. to be perf. other than by use of notes. Instead figures, letters, and similar signs were used. There were systems of org. and lute tablature in which the symbols represented the position of the player's fingers, not the pitch. Diagrammatic notation used today in popular mus. for guitar, ukelele, etc. is type of tablature.

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Tablature

murals or ceiling paintings, collectively.

Example : a tablature of splendid hues and imposing forms, 1819.