23 Formatting Guide New – old ‘Standard Elements Formatting Guide’

Introduction (format: Heading 2)

Paragraph Text. (format: Paragraph)

Notations (format: Heading 2)

Basic Symbols (format: heading 3 and red)

Notes (format: heading 3 and red)

Rhythms (format: heading 3 and red)

Simile (format: heading 4 and black)

The Note ‘B’ (format: paragraph and bold)

The note ‘B’ is in on the middle line of the staff. Think of “in-be-tween.” It is played as the second string open. (paragraph)

The Note ‘D’

The note ‘D’ is directly below the staff. Think of “D” for “down” because it is down below the first staff line.  It is played as the fourth string open.

The Note ‘E’

The note ‘E’ is below the third leger line. These extra lines below the staff are called leger lines. Notice that they are evenly spaced and are meant to be an extension of the staff. It is played as the sixth string open. To remember the pitch E, imagine a vertical line placed to the left of the three leger lines. Notice how it makes an upper case letter E (as shown below).

The Note ‘E’ (pt. 2)

To remember the pitch E, imagine a vertical line placed to the left of the three leger lines. Notice how it makes an upper case letter E.

There should be a space here to differentiate sections.


Repeat Sign (title of graphic heading 4 centered with the graphic)

The repeat sign is comprised of two vertical lines and two dots. Notice how the dots of the two repeats face one another. When the dots of two repeat signs face one another, all the music in between them must be repeated. If the score has one repeat sign alone, you are expected to play from the beginning to the repeat sign then jump back to the beginning and play the same musical material again. When you encounter the repeat sign a second time, ignore it and continue playing through the score

(text of paragraph aligned left.)




First & Second Endings (AKA Prima & Seconda Volta)

Often, repeated sections of music will feature a first & second ending (AKA prima & seconda volta). The first ending consists of the measure(s) under the line labeled ‘1.’ Similarly, the second ending is the measure(s) under the line labeled ‘2.’ The first time through the music, play the first ending. The second time through, skip the first ending and jump directly to the second ending.

Let’s Play

Sight-Reading Tip (heading 2)

Dynamic changes force us to listen to the acoustic space, other players and our own playing. Attentive listening can create relaxation and exhilaration at the same time. Become acquainted with the diverse effects of careful listening as you sight-read. (format: paragraph)

Checklist for Sight-Reading (heading 3 and red)

  • Count the beats out loud (including the &).
  • Keep going (even if you make a mistake).
  • Maintain your best playing posture.
  • Look at the score, not your hands.
  • Play with the feel of the meter.
  • Play patterns instead of individual notes (AKA chunk).
  • Cultivate a calm demeanor.
  • Have fun! (format: paragraph and bullet points)

Let’s Play Rhythms

Attitude Tip (Red)

The most important thing I look for in a musician is whether he knows how to listen. –Duke Ellington (black)

Exercise 8.1: Score

Exercise 8.1: Audio

Exercise 8.2: Score

Exercise 8.2: Audio

Exercise 8.3: Score

Exercise 8.3: Audio

Let’s Play Patterns

Attitude Tip

Time passes. Listen. Time passes. Come closer now.[1] –Dylan Thomas from Under Milk Wood

Exercise 8.4: Score

Exercise 8.4: Audio

Let’s Play Duets

Attitude Tip

In music, silence is more important than sound. –Miles Davis

Exercise 8.5: Score

Exercise 8.5: Audio

Exercise 8.6: Score

Exercise 8.6: Audio

[1] Dylan Thomas, Under Milk Wood (New York: New Directions, 1954), 3.

Let’s Play Compositions

Note: These compositions are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license  (CC BY-NC 4.0).



You have completed this unit! If you kept up with the beat and accurately played approximately 70% of the pitches and rhythms, you are ready for the next unit. Feel free to repeat the exercises. However, do not play them so often that you memorize them. Once you memorize the notation, you are no longer developing the skill of sight-reading.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Sight-Reading for Guitar by Chelsea Green is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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