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Reading Nashville Number Chart?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by kirkdickinson, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. kirkdickinson

    kirkdickinson Supporting Member

    I can read a little Bass Clef, enough to figure it out, but can't read at playing speed. I usually get a Chord chart for the Christian music bands that I am in.

    Found a song online that I really liked and emailed the artist wanting to know if I could purchase the sheet music. He just emailed me the chart. I have never worked from a Nashville Music chart before, but I almost always transpose chords to the roman numbers in my head. I get so much music where the guitarist capos, and have just had to learn do transpose and that is the easiest way for me.

    Anyways, Here is the chart:

    I understand the 1, the 2-, the 6-, the 5, all that makes sense. Below is the first line of the first verse and my first question is: What is the diamond for??

    Second question is the 1 / 4/1?? I thought that each number was the chord for a measure and maybe the 1 / 4/1 split the measure, but the 4/1 throws me because I usually see the slash chords as either first or second inversions, but a 4 chord with the 1 in the bass just makes no sense??

    Next, what do these little 1's and 2's mean with the bracket above them?

    Also, what does this mean?



  2. Zootsuitbass

    Zootsuitbass Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2011
    These are educated guesses.

    Diamond is a whole note,,

    1 1/4 is a slash cord. . IE In G.. G , C/G. Creates The Amen cadence. 2 beats each. Same thing with the last four of the breakdown. 1/3 is the one chord with it's 3 in the bass IE. G/B.

    Numbers in brackets are endings 1 and 2 to be inserted. Notice first ending has the same number of beats as intro. 2nd end has a rounder more traditional number leading to the bridge.

    The bridge has a interesting thing. Those true eighth notes mean you change on the "and of 2".
  3. kirkdickinson

    kirkdickinson Supporting Member

    Thanks for the explanation, still confused though.

    Do we always assume that music is in Common 4/4 time unless otherwise specified?

    That first slash chord has the 4 over the 1, I can't figure out what that means?

    Usually when i see a slash chord, it would be like C/E which would be the first inversion of C, or C/G which would be second inversion. Would the slash chords in the Nashville system show the number under the slash as the relation in THAT chord, or the relation to the key?

    Amen cadence?

    So the 8th note means that the first chord goes one 8th note longer? If it had been a quarter note with the little tie to the 4 chord, would the 4 chord start on the 3rd beat?
  4. No disrespect to this notation system or the patrons of it, but I can't see how this is in anyway a good alternative to traditional notation. Way too complicated considering how little information is communicated. Is figured bass anything like this, out of curiosity?
  5. Timmy-Watts

    Timmy-Watts Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Yes, assume 4/4 unless otherwise stated.

    The slash chords are in relation to the KEY. In C, a 4/1 is F/C, 1/3 is C/E, etc. so just like a traditional chord chart. We only play the one below the slash.

    The eighth note thing means go to that chord an eighth note early. In the and of 2. If you listen the song, the beat and melody do this throughout so it should come naturally in this case.

    This chart system is basically a way of not committing at all to a key.
  6. That chart is much more detailed than any I have seen. Course the ones I see are the ones I've made myself. And I leave the lyric words under the Nashville numbers. I need the words to keep up with the vocalist. I'd be lost with out the words.

    1. Once into Nashville numbers its now generic. If the song is to be played in another key, because of a new vocalist, just move your box pattern's R to the new root note.

    2. Plus it matches my major scale box pattern. Place the box and play the Nashville numbers. I'm OK with fake chord with just the I IV V and an occasional minor chord, but, Praise has all the chords coming and they are coming in quick order; is Am the 6 or the 3??? That's when I changed over to Nashville numbers.
    Major Scale Box. 
    G|---2---|-------|---3---|---4---| 1st string
    E|-------|---R---|-------|---2---|4th string
    But, again I'd need the lyric words shown.
    P.S. As to slash chords. As I'm writing my own Nashville chord charts I just put the slash on my sheet music, the guitar guys are using normal fake chord. In the Margins that V1,2, etc. That is a good idea as Praise music will repeat "stuff" sometime the chorus looks like this 3,4,6, 7 vocals, 8 with power. Meaning you play verse 1 then verse 2 then catch the chorus as the 3rd and 4th thing you play, catch something else for 5, come back to the chorus for 6 & 7 but, on 7 it's just the vocals then on 8 we close out with power.

    My margins are full of information, We sometime use something like this:
    C & tag

    I like Nashville numbers for Praise -- may not fit what you do...


    Feb 9, 2013
    San Diego, CA
  8. rogerjeep


    Aug 10, 2005
    Ok, Here are the answers to all of your questions
    1. The diamond is a whole note. Thinks of it like a hold. Time continues through the measure but the band holds for the entire measure
    2. 1/4 over 1 whenyou see this in the number system.it means the one gets 2 beats and the four over one gets 2 beatss. You will also hear it called a split measure. If the chords are in other beats some people will put dots on top of the numbers to let you know what beat to play the chord on.
    3. The little 1 and two circled are simply first and 2nd endings.
    4. The 8th note before a chord is a way of saying that chord is pushed. Meaning anticipated before the beat. In the measure you circled the 6 minor gets two beats and the 4 is played on the up beat(and) of two

    I write and sell Nashville number charts all the time. That perso. Is usi g a font called the Nashville numer font. It's a true type font that you can uses in word,

    If you have any other questions. Send me a message.

    I hope this helps
  9. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Where is this font available?
  10. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
  11. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Yeah, that's all I could find too. I was hoping to get just the font for a few bucks. I'm sure the whole program he's selling is worth the $44 but I'm not sure I'd use it enough to warrant spending that.
  12. I came to the same conclusion. $44 is a little more than I think necessary. If I need to re-type the fake chord Courner New for a font lets the lyrics and the numbers line up when printed.

    Six new songs a week is all I will need to be transposing to Nashville numbers. And most of the time I just take the Fake chord sheet music given to me, use some white out to block out the chord name and then use a marks-a-lot pen for the Nashville numbers. Again I like to have the lyrics as I rely upon them to stay linked with what is being sung.

    Still open for suggestions to a less expensive method should someone come up with something.
  13. rogerjeep


    Aug 10, 2005
    Well. I have it. Its a true type font. Its the same font being used in the example above But it wouldn't be right for me to re-sell it, Send me message if you are really interested and we'll see.
  14. rogerjeep


    Aug 10, 2005
  15. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Did you mean Courier New?

    Also, at 6 songs per week, that's over 300 a year, or less than a penny a song over two years. :eek: IME, it would be a tax deductible cost of doing business.

    Just curious, what would you think a reasonable price would be for an NNS font?
  16. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Having a closer look at Rob Haines website I see that it is just the font he's selling and not a piece of software like I'd thought. For as many numbers charts as I need to generate right now I can't justify the $44. Even if in my mind it's overpriced it's not cool to pass his work around without paying him.
  17. Yes it is Courier New.

    Most of what I need NNS font for Word with some cut and paste will do the job. I just feel $44 is over priced.

    As far as a tax deduction, Thank goodness I have not qualified for anything beyond the standard deduction in years.

    Almost everything Chart Pro offers anyone can do with a word processor and in my case I do not re-type all six songs each week. My white-out and marks-a-lot pen plus leaving the lyrics on the fake chord sheet music make most of what Chart Pro offer unnecessary, but, to answer your question; I'd pay $19.95 just to have the software.
  18. rogerjeep


    Aug 10, 2005
    For more detail number charts I use Finale music software. It is kind of expensive but in my opinion it can give you the best of both worlds. I am able to show rhythmic values and even notate a few things. I am also able to switch from actual chords view to nashville number notation with only one click.
    I do alot of charting for people and sometimes they request both types of notation. I like personally like more detail so I tend to use Finale if the chart requires more information for myself or other players. I use ForScore on the Ipad to display all of the charts I write out. :bassist:
    Here are a few examples:

    Finale Nashville Number Chart

    NNS TT Font done on Word

    Attached Files:

    • ex1.pdf
      File size:
      66.8 KB
    • Ex2.pdf
      File size:
      51.3 KB
  19. I think a big plus of using this system is that for the Nashville studio guys who came up with it, it was an easy way of quickly playing songs in different keys - on a lot of demo sessions, they'll record songs in one key for female vocalists, another key for male vocalists. I know for me, it's a lot easier and quicker to change a song's key by thinking "we're in F major, I chord, II- chord, V chord" rather than the chords being written out and having to think of transposing each individual chord.

    Figured bass, in the traditional sense, isn't anything like the Nashville system. Figured bass is, in its simplest form, a written bassline with numbers above it that denote the intervals to be played above. It was meant for keyboard or lute players in the late Renaissance and Baroque periods as a quick way to notate accompaniment to a vocalist, and in its beginnings was a performance, not an analytical tool (although the technique is used now for harmonic analysis).
  20. MCMLXI


    Feb 9, 2013
    San Diego, CA
    Agreed! The first time I saw a Nashville chart I was confused a bit as well. Now they're another tool in the toolbox and very useful in the right situation.

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