In jazz sheet music, a circle with a line through it is known as a “slash” or “slash notation.” This symbol is commonly used to indicate that the musician should improvise or create their own melody over a specific chord or set of chords.
The slash symbol is typically placed above the staff, above the chord symbol, or both. It can be found in various types of jazz sheet music, including lead sheets, chord charts, and arrangements.
The use of slash notation allows for greater flexibility and creativity in jazz music. It allows musicians to improvise and create their own unique interpretations of a song, rather than simply playing the written notes. This is a defining characteristic of jazz music and is what sets it apart from other genres.
It’s worth noting that slash notation can be used in different ways depending on the context. In some cases, it may indicate a specific rhythm or groove that the musician should play. In others, it may simply indicate that the musician should improvise over the given chords.
In addition to slash notation, jazz sheet music may also include other symbols and notation that indicate specific techniques or styles of playing. For example, a chord symbol with a small “x” above it indicates that the musician should play a muted or “dead” note.
It’s important to note that while jazz sheet music provides a framework for improvisation, it’s ultimately up to the musician to interpret and bring the music to life. This is why jazz is often considered to be a highly expressive and personal form of music.
- “Jazz Improvisation Basics: The Slash Chord Notation” by James Lentini (https://www.guitarplayer.com/technique/jazz-improvisation-basics-the-slash-chord-notation)
- “Jazz Notation” by Rick Stitzel (https://www.jwpepper.com/sheet-music/eprint/Jazz-Notation/10021183.item#/)