As I look over the tag, it appears that 90% of these questions aren't about "sheet music" any more than they are about , and are already tagged as such. What is the purpose of as distinct from ?

Asking this because I saw some old questions float to the top after having applied, but I'm not exactly sure why that was necessary.

  • 1
    Well, there's a lot of notation that isn't traditional sheet music, and concerns about sheet music (preservation for example) that don't involve notation. But now that you point it out I'm on the fence as to whether they should exist as distinct tags.
    – user28
    Feb 16, 2015 at 2:32
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    I can conceive of sheet-music being applied to concerns strictly related to dealing with music on paper (I recall a question about page turning in particular), but that's a vastly smaller number of questions than it is applied to currently. Perhaps a cleanup is in order.
    – NReilingh
    Feb 16, 2015 at 2:35

3 Answers 3


In my opinion, is incorrectly applied in most situations. I believe this is because the term is common to the general lexicon, and is applied by amateur or hobbyist musicians in places where it would not be applied by professionals, due to the fact that they have access to a larger domain-specific vocabulary (for example "notation", "engraving", "repertoire", etc.).

I think there are questions where this tag is appropriately used, for example:

In light of this, I don't believe we should co-opt the term to be a filter tag for western standard notation (already assumed to be the default if is present without any child tags like ). I would suggest instead that we limit the use of the tag to where it is genuinely useful as above, and if we are in need of a filter tag for western standard notation, let's come up with something different that more clearly indicates as such.

Additionally, we would probably want to edit 's wiki excerpt to steer newcomers in the right direction of tags like , that they may be looking for in actuality.


There are many ways to notate music including , , , and the standard notation which the has been used to represent. The name is not the most clear as any printed music is considered sheet music, but I think we need to separate each specific type of notation as they are different.

Not to mention that the notation tag is also used along with chords tag for questions about chord symbols and with the rhythm tag to ask how certain rhythms should be represented.

Instead of removing the I suggest we rename it, but I'm not quite sure what name would fit it better.

  • I disagree that standard notation needs a child tag. That's what we assume the default is when we see the 'notation' tag on its own.
    – NReilingh
    Feb 16, 2015 at 2:53
  • @NReilingh It's useful to use tags in combination for filtering. Searching [notation][sheet-music] will let you look at only the kind of notation you're interested in.
    – user28
    Feb 16, 2015 at 3:01
  • @MatthewRead I find that (categorization) pretty unintuitive to be honest, and someone could use search exclusions like -[tag] just the same... but anyway I've gone and made my case in a different answer.
    – NReilingh
    Feb 16, 2015 at 3:33
  • @NReilingh Figuring out all the relevant tags to exclude is quite a bit less intuitive. But I agree with all the points in your answer as well.
    – user28
    Feb 16, 2015 at 3:43
  • @NReilingh while I agree that most of us assume the default notation questions will be related to the traditional notation, but it may not be the default assumption for everyone hence that why I think it needs a child tag. I could be in the minority on this though and I will admit that it was probably my tag edits that triggered this discussion. I've been trying to make sure questions have the correct tags for a while and I recently added a few sheet-music tags to some questions. I don't mind the discussion and I don't mind rolling back the edits if necessary.
    – Dom Mod
    Feb 16, 2015 at 13:55

This is not a full answer, but just a guideline I use. If a tag is being misused heavily, I suggest nuking that tag and replacing it with one that is less ambiguous. I would suggest finding a term that fits the legitimate uses mentioned in NReilingh's answer.

Unfortunately, I cannot personally come up with a term that fits all of them. I'd probably divide the paper-sheet-music and digital-sheet-music into two categories.

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