Lead Sheet Music

Lead sheet music gives the reader the basic elements of a song. Lead sheets generally contain the melody, the chords and the lyrics (if there are any). Here are some names for lead sheets: melody plus chords, right-hand melody, lyrics with melody, chord sheet and lead sheet. Sheet Music Deluxe has over 25,000 titles of lead sheet music in all genres including new releases. Musicians read lead sheets instead of full arrangements when they want the structure and elements of the music, without being given any kind of filled in arrangement indicating specific notes to be played.

All musicians can benefit from lead sheets. Small ensembles, especially jazz ensembles, often use lead sheets so everyone is working from the same music. Each musician can then flesh out which notes they wish to play as they read the indicated melody and chords. This is particularly useful for jazz musicians who wish to improvise on a given melody and chord progression. Lead sheets are therefore a sort of shorthand for music pieces that save quite a bit of page space. Whereas a full arrangement of a song might use several pages to display the whole piece, a lead sheet often only uses one.