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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.
References in periodicals archive ?
Contemporary with the repertory of RA 55, Gabriel Bataille's first book of Airs de differents autheurs mis en tablature de luth (Paris: Ballard, 1608) contains a single Italian song.
25) Similarly, a larger percentage of Romano's poems without tablature can also be associated with Venetian composers, for the six musical editions exhibiting the highest incidence of textual concordance with Romano's anthologies were written by Milanuzzi, Corradi, Berti and Barbarino.
Praetorius suggests that organists set the work in staff notation (Noten Tabulatur) or, if necessary, in `German letter tablature' (Teutsche Buchstaben Tabulatur), knowing that playing strictly from score or tablature will result in several chords lacking thirds.
But if the present edition provides only a modern transcription, and not the original tablature, and if that transcription revoices lines (which it does) to take advantage of the low E, A, and D strings on the classical guitar, then arguably some users will still feel the need to consult the original tablature, Since it is not provided by Strizich, readers may find it helpful to review some of the facsimiles of Sanz's Instruccion de musica issued in recent decades.
The rhythmic structure of Milan's music is not readily discernible from the tablature.
Even those who have acquired facility with any of the various types of lute tablature (it is not nearly as difficult as the uninitiated generally imagine) were still intimidated by the vastness of the repertoire, unfamiliar with the composers and styles, and outsiders to the musical culture within which the music was produced.
The publication of Musica getutscht in 1511 by the priest Sebastian Virdung is significant for a number of reasons: it represents the first treatise on instruments and instrumental music published in the vernacular, it attempts to establish an instrument classification system based on structure, sound production, and playing technique; it demonstrates how to transcribe mensural vocal music into three types of instrumental tablature - for keyboard (clavichord), strings (lute), and winds (recorder); and it gave birth to a number of instrumental tutors written for the lay musician.
It is a shame that the pieces drawn from the vihuela collections are not also reproduced in facsimile, since most vihuela-players would surely prefer to play from the original tablature, and, as Binkley acknowledges, no single realization of that tablature can quite capture its essence or convey the greater freedom of choice for the performer it represents.
In the illustrative musical examples presented in volume two, undistinguished compositions occupy more space than they perhaps deserve, but they give a balanced picture of the music preserved in the manuscripts--music unavailable in other modern editions and, in any case, inaccessible to those who do not read tablature.