Deciphering the notes
Musical notes were first seen at the end of Episode 5 on something that appears to be a spell circle for Sayaka. It has been much debate about whether the notes actually mean something, but at least many familiar musical symbols have been identified (see tables below).
This section has a more in-depth information of the different musical scores that have appeared so far.
Sayaka's Spell Circle
There is not much information about this particular score. Appearing for the first time when Sayaka was healing herself during a battle in Episode 5, it was dubbed a "healing circle" by the community. The circle consists of three rings, each of which repeat the same note patterns as confirmed by the clear shots at the end of Episode 8. After the circles made an appearance at the end of Episode 7 when Sayaka battled a witch, it became apparent that the circles weren't just for healing, but rather a sign that Sayaka was using her magic.
Even though many familiar musical symbols were identified soon after the circle's first appearance, many inconsistencies were also spotted within the notation, like note heads pointing to strange directions, runic F symbols appearing above the staves, the complete lack of time signature and distinguishable bar lines, and rests of strange durations in strange places. These things lead to an assumption that the scores are mirrored or indeed just nonsense. Even though the definite order of all the musical symbols has been confirmed, a musical piece matching them hasn't been found so far.
It is possible that the color of the circle depends on what kind of magic Sayaka uses, or for what purpose. In the episode 5 when she's healing herself, the circles are light blue and shine a bright light that sometimes makes the musical symbols indistinguishable. However, after realizing she had wasted her wish and basically thrown her life away for nothing, Sayaka's spell circles turned black. This could depict the awakened darkness and despair in her, though it could also be just a way to not make her stand out too much from the background.
Oktavia Von Seckendorff
After Sayaka turns into a witch at the beginning of the Episode 9, various sheets of musical notes appear. Instead of forming a circle, these notes flow through the screen forming the witch's barrier, and later in the episode in the "to be continued" screen after the endcard. Because the notes are visible for an adequate period of time and there' nothing blocking them, it didn't take long before the first sheets appeared on 4chan's /a/ board. After a few more or less unsuccessful attempts to transcript the notes, a video appeared on Nico Nico Douga pointing out the similarities between the sheet music and the background music that was playing during the episode's two battle scenes.
The problems encountered during the transcription process were mostly related to the video quality and capabilities of human eye. The whole sheet music is displayed in various places throughout the first battle scene and again in the very end of the episode, so making the correct transcription was just a matter of finding the best shots of the notes. Unlike in the spell circle, this sheet had clear bar lines which made it possible to determine a time signature, and the notation was overall more consistent which made it easier to work on. The first transcription that appeared on /a/ was based on the assumption that the scores were flipped vertically, which they weren't. In addition some of the quarter notes in it lacked dots which caused some bars to have less beats than the others. It also begun from wrong place, the first bar was determined after a double line was discovered from the sheet music, and later proven correct after the connection to the bgm was discovered. In the second transcription had established the 6/4 time signature, and had reconstructed the notes as they appeared in the episode rather than flipping them over vertically. However, due to some of the natural accidentals that appear in several bars, the anon had determined the key signature to be Ab minor. Closer inspection of a picture complied from screenshots revealed that the natural accidentals were actually a result of sharp notes appearing in previous bars. These accidentals are more clearly visible on the screen after the endcard.
With the new changes in the Blu-ray version Sayaka's transformation sequence displays an array of musical notes and scores that are more complete for analysis. A video in Nico Nico Douga seems to indicate that the musical notes are from Tekla Bądarzewska-Baranowska's A Maiden's Prayer.
|Note Whole||May be a whole note|
|Note 1/2 or 1/4||May be a half- or quarter note|
|Note 1/16 or 1/8||May be a eighth- or sixteenth note. Having two beams would imply the latter.|
|Note Grace||May be a grace note attached to a whole note, descending from G to F.|
|Rest 1/4 or 8||(-)||May be a quarter- or eight note rest|
|Rest 1/4 or 8 with Forte||(-)||May be a quarter- or eight note rest, with a runic letter F (F) above that may mean forte.|
|Rest 1/8 or 1/16||(-)||May be an eighth- rest or sixteenth note rest|
|Forte||A runic letter F (F) that may mean forte. Below it is a symbol that may be a quarter rest|
|Fortissimo||Two runic F's (F) that may mean fortissimo|
|Repeat sign||(-)||A thick bar line with two dots on each side that may be a two-way repeat sign|