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Modern musical symbols are the marks and symbols that are widely used in western musical scores, styles, and instruments today. This is intended to be a comprehensive guide to the various symbols encountered in modern musical notation . These symbols are used in modern pieces of Western music to describe a composition in its fundamentals – pitch , rhythm , tempo – and, to some degree, its articulation . [ edit ] Lines [ edit ] Clefs Clefs define the pitch range, or tessitura , of the staff on which it is placed.