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Graphic Scores

Music        Reception        Year One        Year Two

What is a graphic score?

A graphic score is a way of representing and writing down music on a page, without the use of traditional notation methods.


It is a simple image of a sound.  Take a look at the four images below, what sounds do you think these images could represent?

They could represent:

        A LOUD BANG!         Gentle Tapping                 Stomp                         Splash

The size of the image can also represent the volume.


Which one of these images represents the louder sound?

Which one represents the quietest sound?

That's right, the smaller the image the quieter the sound. The larger the image the louder the sound.
We don't always have to use pictures to represent the sounds, we could use a simple mark on a page, a squiggle, a swirl, a spiral or a dash. Take a look at some examples of different graphic scores that have been created by both children and adults.

Examples of different types of graphic scores

Graphic Score and Body Percussion:

Take a look at this body percussion graphic score, each of the numbers at the top represent the pulse of the music. We often use the four beat count in our music lessons.  

1   2   3   4 


Have a go at stomping your foot or clapping your hands to the simple four beat count. If you need a reminder of using the four beat count why not take a look at the first video on the 'Three Bears Rap' page. Mrs Meldrum will take you through a simple practice count of four using some of our body percussion sounds.


We could even mix up our sounds.

Have a try at reading this graphic score:  

(remember the funny looking squiggle is called a rest, it's where we take a pause)

Challenge Yourself:


On some paper, draw out a grid like the one below, have a go and create your own graphic score using your body percussion sounds? 

(Remember you could always use dashes and stars to represent your sounds)

Please remember to email your class teacher with a photo of your graphic score, I'd love to see some of these.

Why not take a look at the composing activity on the music page and choose one of the characters and create a graphic score to represent their unique sound. 

  • Twin Sails Infant School and Nursery,
  • Blandford Road, Hamworthy,
  • Poole, Dorset, BH15 4AX
  • Telephone: 01202 672 377
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