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(tăb`ləcho͝or), in music, a generic system of musical notationmusical notation,
symbols used to make a written record of musical sounds.

Two different systems of letters were used to write down the instrumental and the vocal music of ancient Greece. In his five textbooks on music theory Boethius (c.A.D. 470–A.D.
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 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).



a system of musical notation with letters or numbers, in use from the 15th to the 17th century. Tablature existed in several national variants, and the tablatures for individual instruments, such as the lute, organ, and harpsichord, also had their own distinguishing features. In organ tablature, the letters or numbers designated notes, and they were written on a staff assigned to an individual part; music for several parts was written on several staffs. In lute tablature, the letters or numbers designated the positions at which the strings were pressed to the fingerboard. The duration of the sounds and pauses was indicated by special symbols. Tablature was gradually replaced by the simpler and clearer staff notation (seeNOTATION).


1. A tabular surface or structure.
2. A painting or design on a part of an extended surface, as a ceiling.
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