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(1) Conventional graphic signs which, together with auxiliary instructions, are used to represent music on a system of lines (that is, on a staff). Historically, each system of notation has been associated with a particular set of notes distinguished by their form and names.
In modern notation, which is in international use, the circular or oval head is the basic component of a note. Both filled-in (black) heads and hollow (white) heads are used. A stem (vertical line) may be attached to the right side of the head and pointing upward or to the left side and pointing downward. The end of the stem may form a flag, which may be single, double, triple, and so forth. Instead of forming flags, the tips of the stems may be joined by transverse ribs, or cross strokes, which may be single or may occur in pairs, in threes, and so on. The position of the head on the staff, together with the key designated at the beginning of the staff, determines the pitch of a note. The type of head, presence or lack of a stem, and presence and type of flag determine the duration of a note.
(2) Sheets, notebooks, and entire volumes of musical works in manuscript or print.
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