• Michelle Ostrove


The lead sheet is an abbreviated form of music notation; it contains just the essential musical information for a song. The lead sheet is a very efficient way to show a musical idea for a song. None of the piano accompaniment is written out in music notation.

The typical lead sheet contains the lyrics, the melody in written music form (or lead line), and the chords symbols that would be played in each measure. This is a less cumbersome way of writing out a song than a full arrangement. It allows more creative freedom for the instruments, but provides greater detail than a chord chart. A chord chart only provides chord changes.

The classical notation of a song specifies every single note each instrument is to play. When a band is working with a lead sheet, it’s based on the melody, harmonies (chords) and the type of music genre. This way the band can create a unique interpretation of the song together. The lead guitarist can improvise from the melody, the pianist or keyboard player will play the chords. The bass player can create a bass line from the chords and the drummer will create his own beats and fills bases on the genre of music.

For a songwriter, creating a lead sheet for the band is the best way to have fun, be creative and make the song come to life with the other players using their creative talents to come up with musical ideas for each instrument.


Why was music coming from the printer? The paper was jamming.

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