Explanation of Symbols and Terms
“Explanation of Symbols and Terms,” Children’s Songbook of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 303–4
The staff with the treble clef generally includes the melody and the right-hand accompaniment, above middle C.
Cue notes are optional, small notes that add harmony. (See “He Sent His Son,” p. 35.) The notes may be sung or may be played on the piano.
An 8va above the top staff means that you play the notes an octave higher. An 8va below the bottom staff means you play the notes an octave lower. (See “The Thirteenth Article of Faith,” p. 132; “When I Go to Church,” p. 157; and “Supplication,” p. 297.) This marking affects only the nearest staff of music, unless otherwise stated.
A fermata (fer-MAH-tah) is a pause or hold. The note is usually held at least half again the note value. (See “The Chapel Doors,” p. 156.)
Two songs, “Love One Another” and “Teach Me to Walk in the Light,” have bow markings for violinists. The
A slur shows when two pitches are used for one syllable or when to connect notes on the piano (play smoothly).
A tie (between two notes of the same pitch) lets you know that you should play or sing that note once and hold it for the total value of the two. Sometimes notes are tied in one verse of a song and not in another.
For a rolled or harplike effect, play the notes one at a time from bottom to top rather than striking all at once.
The breath mark, which looks like a large comma, indicates a slight break in the music. Singers should take a breath at this point.
Volume markings are given sparingly in this songbook since most songs are sung at a moderate volume. Below, the standard (Italian) markings are shown in relation to each other from softest to loudest.
pp (pianissimo) = very soft
p (piano) = soft
mp (mezzo piano) = medium soft
mf (mezzo forte) = medium loud
f (forte) = loud
ff (fortissimo) = very loud
Music between the repeat bars is played twice. (See “The Sacred Grove,” p. 87.) If only one sign is given, repeat from the beginning of the music.
Some songs have more than one ending. The first time through the song, use the measures for the first ending. Repeat as indicated, skipping the first ending and using the second ending as directed. (See “I Know My Father Lives,” p. 5.)
This marking means “the end” (finale).
D.C. al fine
Da capo al fine means to return to the beginning and play to the word fine. (See “All Things Bright and Beautiful,” p. 231.)
D.S. al fine
Dal segno al fine means to return to the sign
A coda is an added section at the close of a piece of music. To use the coda, play to the
D.S. al coda
Dal segno al coda means to return to the sign
octaves ad lib
This phrase indicates that the pianist may improvise by adding the same notes one octave lower to create a strong bass. (See “I Will Be Valiant,” p. 162; “A Young Man Prepared,” p. 166; and “Called to Serve,” p. 174.)
Ritardando means to slow the music gradually. (See “He Sent His Son,” p. 35.)
These words indicate that the music returns to the original speed. (See “The Chapel Doors,” p. 156.)
This term means to continue in the same way. In this songbook, it sometimes appears after pedal markings—meaning that the pianist should continue to use the damper pedal in the same way as before. (See “Where Love Is,” p. 138, and “To a Wild Rose,” p. 289.)
Tenuto indicates that you should hold the note for the full duration of the time value. (See “Had I Been a Child,” p. 80.)
A descant is an optional voice part with words of its own. It is possible to play a descant as an instrumental part. (See “Hosanna,” p. 66.)
An obbligato is an optional instrumental part above the melody. Sometimes the part is in a range suitable for voice using the same words as the melody. (See “Keep the Commandments,” p. 146.)
A round is a song that is repeated (usually two or three times) by several groups. One group begins the song, and—at numbered measures—other groups begin. (See “Sing a Song,” p. 253.) It is effective to sing rounds unaccompanied—the harmony of the voices acts as the accompaniment.
A two-part song has two melodies that can be sung at the same time. Often part one is sung alone, then part two is sung alone. (One part can hum while the other sings.) Then the two parts are combined and sung together. (See “Love Is Spoken Here,” p. 190.)^ Back to top