IPA + Sheet Music

The International Phonetic Alphabet for Singers.

Phonetic transcriptions for singing? Why IPA? What problem do we solve?

Being passionate singers, we noticed that for many pieces, either only the original lyrics are provided or a transliteration is printed that is often inaccurate and difficult to read for non-native speakers. The International Phonetic Alphabet, or IPA for short, is a widely used phonetic transcription that you have probably encountered while learning a foreign language or looking up a word in a dictionary. So it's easy to learn for everyone. It also represents sounds from any of the world's languages, even if they do not occur in other languages. Drawing from the same pool of phonetic signs in every language, IPA doesn't depend on the alphabet of a given language like conventional transliterations do, but stays the same across the globe.

The advantages of using IPA are therefore obvious. With universal phonetic transcriptions in your sheet music and supplementary aids such as audio files, more time is left for the essential stuff: the music. Hours of text-rehearsals with unclear or ambiguous instructions for pronunciation become a thing of the past.

If you want to get an impression of sheet music with IPA, download our example scores or have a look at our Advent Calendar 2020! There, you will find not only sheet music excerpts, but also audio recordings and karaoke videos with phonetic transcriptions.

Curious about IPA? Find more information on the official website of the International Phonetic Association. There, you can also download the latest table of IPA-characters.

Try reading this in German using IPA!


Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Institut für Phonetik und Sprachverarbeitung
Projekt IPAscore - Korbinian Slavik
Schellingstraße 3
80799 München