A chord sheet contains the short names of the chords in a piece of music. For songs, the lyrics sung to these chords are written in the line beyond these chord names. Thus, a chord sheet gives instructions for performing music and its harmony. The melody itself is, however, not represented (cf. lead sheet).

Legal Aspects

Fair Use

According to US law, the publication of tabs or chord sheets for educational or academic purposes constitutes fair use, particularly because it does not cause economic harm and the consent of the owners of the copyrights can regularly be assumed.1)


A popular format for the creation and exchange of chord sheets is Chordpro.

Jocelyn Kempema: „Imitation Is the Sincerest Form of … Infringement?: Guitar Tabs, Fair Use, and the Internet.“ 49 William & Mary Law Review 2265 (2008), http://scholarship.law.wm.edu/wmlr/vol49/iss6/8