How to read nm scores

The nm score is a musical score for keyboard instruments which shows the keys to press and lengths of notes. So you can use it to check whether the ordinary staff is read correctly.

And also for your piano skills, you can take advantage of this by practicing in the way as follows.



  • Figure n and m represent two groups of black keys.
  • White keys are represented between n and m, while black keys are represented on n and m.
  • In other words,an n represents notes from C to E, and an m expresses notes from F to B.


  • The taller n represents center.
  • Let’s check the position of each octave with the keyboard.
  • Star mark means the left hand and diamond mark means the right hand.
  • Vertical line means sustain. X means a rest.
  • Time flows from top to bottom.Horizontal lines represent steps of time.


How to play while reading

By repeating the following procedure step by step, you will play while reading like a machine.

  1. On each step , Confirm that your fingers on correct positions before press keys.
  2. Then press keys and look the next line of the nm score simultaneously.

The above score is part of the Invention No.1 by Bach.



nm notation is a score that anyone can see and play the keyboard instrument as it is.

The difficulty of it doesn’t depend on keys. So you can use pieces in which black keys are frequently used for beginners or infants.

In addition, “Coordinated movement of eyes and brain and hand” playing while reading the nm score accurately step by step is also a basic training for sight-reading.

You can use it as a teaching material for introducing the staff score learning.

The above score is part of Bach’s chorale (BWV.2).


  • You may correct the note on the spot. But you should not play again from some previous notes.
  • Keep an eye on the score as possible.
  • Don’t be hasty. Take sufficient time.
  • Relax and keep the field of view wide.
  • Do not try to memorize the movement of the sound or fingers, and read slowly without strain.
  • Do not worry about “which fingers” and strongly conscious of the image “which keys to press down”.


The beginning was just a building block play.
But one day, music began to be clearly heard.