How do I know whether or not the content of a song is inappropriate? Is there something that will indicate this?

Many popular, as well as historical, songs have crude or even abhorrent lyrics. Many of us at Musicnotes are parents, and we want to help parents protect children from musical lyrics that may be objectionable!

At, you can view a one-page sample of all digital sheet music before purchase. In our own digital sheet music, we try to XXXX out foul language in the previews we show. If we do so, we add an advisory warning, below the preview on the product page, that purchased music will have the original, un-XXXXed language.

Beyond particular words, a song might have "questionable"  meanings or allusions. So, in addition to XXXXing out language on sample first pages, we try to rate songs for each of the following "naughtiness" ratings:

  • Intolerance
  • Profanity
  • Sex
  • Violence
  • Drugs

We rate each with a number from 0 to 10. This numeric rating is somewhat subjective and means:

   0: Not present at all

   1: Not worth mentioning

 10: Utterly atrocious

(Except under the drugs rating: a 2 means "Advocates smoking," 3 means "Advocates drinking (alcohol)" and 4 means Advocates drinking and smoking. So a "5" for drugs is really a fairly low number, barely worth mentioning.)

Most of our music is rated 0 on all five counts.

It's quite possible that we may simply miss some offensive songs, but we very much appreciate it when our customers alert us to distressing lyrics. This will help us to warn other parents about them.

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