I'm transcribing a song with Japanese lyrics as sheet music but am unsure how to approach using kanji.

Here's an example:

Currently, I front-load the kanji on the first note so that it is immediately obvious what word is being said. The downside is that it doesn't really provide any useful information about how the syllables should be sung, so I have to rely on furigana.

Ideally, I would like to space out the kanji to align with the notes. However, I am hesitant because I am unsure if that would make it more confusing to read. For instance, in the above example, I fear that separating 空 and 想 could lead to a misreading of 空.

I've also considered not using kanji at all and only using kana. I've seen some sheet music that does this.

I am wondering what the best approach to this is. Are my worries warranted, or do you think the furigana is enough? Is there already some standard for notating lyrics that I can follow?

1 Answer 1


Generally, kana are placed below the musical notes, and lyrics with kanji are placed separately if necessary (example). Putting both kanji and hiragana, as you suggest, may be one possible solution, but it is not a common practice.

Actually, 空想 is a least problematic example; each kanji has only one consonant, and it's unlikely to misread it even if there's some space, or even a line break, between 空 and 想. But there are many problematic kanji words, especially jukujikun words such as 明日 (あした). Ideographic characters are basically not really suitable for your purpose.

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