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Old 08-17-2019, 06:47 AM   #161
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adXok View Post
I do not need a context. It is just a letter. Actually the first letter in English alphabet. So, would pronounce it as [ei].
I understand that it consists of a diphthong (two sounds e_i) but anyway (we are limitting ourselves here with just English... for simplicity).
It is just a letter.
First, saying that you are limiting it to English is giving it some context already. Similarly you can say "we are assuming the standard G clef, and plain C major", then showing separate notes in this manner - now there is context already (which is the most usual context if seeing a note in separation all by itself like this ) and the comparison is more fair.

Second, just like a singled out note, this ^ is not how a single glyph is used in the context of actual words and sentences in the used language. Using English as an example, in order to know what actual phoneme you are dealing with when this is performed as part of speech, you need more context than "this is English" and seeing a single glyph in separation. There are plenty more phonemes in English than glyphs in use, and a phoneme might also be represented using more than one glyph.
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Old 08-17-2019, 06:55 AM   #162
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Lunar is correct. "a" is not always pronounced as "e_i" but also as "ah". CONTEXT IS EVERYTHING. EVERYWHERE.
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Old 08-17-2019, 07:06 AM   #163
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Let me clarify then:
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolbass
How do you know how to pronounce the latter "a" without context?
I pronounced it (as a vowel) but we would need an audio connection so you could hear it.
I tried to explain how it is phonetically transcribed in English, because we are writing here in English. And because it is a letter that happens to be used in many... I repeat... many other languages, the limited realm to answer the question is obvious.

Those "many languages" are not present in Music. That is why I can offer other "music alphabet" so to speak.

Ther is no need for a context of song, riff or phrase, mode, tonality... if I ask you to play the note "A" in whichever "octave" range you want and wherever on the strings you want.

Yet, if I ask you to write it down as a music note (not just as a letter), you would need to write a bunch of additional symbols (and lines) as well.
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Old 08-17-2019, 07:07 AM   #164
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If someone is serious about creating a new notation system, I think the logical place to start is in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the current system. Here are some questions when looking at pitch of the standard music notation system:

Why are there separate clefs?
Why are there five lines and four spaces per clef?
Why are alternating lines and spaces used for same note names?
Why use key signatures rather than indicating all notes directly?


Can you logically justify these design points (the strengths) and identify the weaknesses?

And, it should be taken into consideration that the notation system(s) is intertwined with the theory system(s).
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Old 08-17-2019, 07:10 AM   #165
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adXok View Post
Let me clarify then:
Please clarify by also attributing quotes to the correct person, thanks.
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Old 08-17-2019, 07:14 AM   #166
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunar Ladder View Post
Please clarify by also attributing quotes to the correct person, thanks.
Done already.
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Old 08-17-2019, 07:16 AM   #167
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Originally Posted by adXok View Post
Done already.
Coolbass said what you quoted, not me.
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Old 08-17-2019, 07:19 AM   #168
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I do not understand what you mean, Lunar Ladder. :/
Oh, I saw it. Please, I do apologies. ~
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Old 08-17-2019, 07:21 AM   #169
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Whether an absolute or relative pitch system is used, there still needs to be a means for notating the other. So if for example, we use a previously suggested relative pitch notation of:

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T Y

We still need another symbol system for absolute pitch. I haven't seen any suggestions for that other than letters from standard music:

A A#/Bb B C C#/Db D D#/Eb E F F#/Gb G G#/Ab

And it seems that this letter/modifier system is a main point of difficulty in standard music. But if it isn't being replaced with something else...
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Old 08-17-2019, 07:24 AM   #170
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Originally Posted by adXok View Post
I do not understand what you mean, Lunar Ladder. :/
Oh, I saw it. Please, I do apologies. ~
no prob
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Old 08-17-2019, 07:33 AM   #171
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brainwreck View Post
Here are some questions when looking at pitch of the standard music notation system:

Why are there separate clefs?
Why are there five lines and four spaces per clef?
Why are alternating lines and spaces used for same note names?
Why use key signatures rather than indicating all notes directly?


Can you logically justify these design points (the strengths) and identify the weaknesses?
And, it should be taken into consideration that the notation system(s) is intertwined with the theory system(s).
And with the standard black'n'white piano keyboard as well.


Quote:
Originally Posted by brainwreck View Post
Whether an absolute or relative pitch system is used, there still needs to be a means for notating the other.

We still need another symbol system for absolute pitch. I haven't seen any suggestions for that other than letters from standard music.
That last request regarding the pitch was and still is one of the problems I am not able to solve or offer anything good enough for practical use, other than referring it to some kind of momentary "octave range" (I call it simply renova) and if the need be, some dot or dash symbols to represent skipping a range from the reference one or something like that.

I thought of a subtype number to the lower left of the note symbol or notename... but with all the numbers for the intervals, that would've look more like a mathematical or chemical formula!

And btw... we still divide the "octave range" based on C, not on A (or whichever other note). Strange enough to me... one of my first impressions I got from the standard piano keyboard.

Although I have found a somehow satisfactory answer, but it is very approximative (is that even a word?!).
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Old 08-17-2019, 07:34 AM   #172
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brainwreck View Post
Why are there separate clefs?
Why are there five lines and four spaces per clef?
Why are alternating lines and spaces used for same note names?
Why use key signatures rather than indicating all notes directly?
So what if we used a 4 lines and 3 spaces system with some sort of octave indication?

Code:
Oct. 4

B ----
  A
G ----
  F
E ----
  D
C ----
The strengths here would be: A consistent assignment of note names to lines and spaces (no alternating). A single staff type (no clefs). Less lines and spaces per staff. Not yet considering time notation, we could also do something like this for indicating pitch modifiers:

Code:
C natural = C
C sharp = C.
C flat = .C
What might be the weaknesses here? Why not some other configuration of lines and spaces? Is it arbitrary or is there a justifiable logic to it?

And if the argument is for a relative pitch system, we could do the same (not throwing out the weighting of diatonic system):

Code:
Oct. 4

7 ----
  6
5 ----
  4
3 ----
  2
1 ----

1 natural = 1
1 sharp = 1.
1 flat = .1
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Old 08-17-2019, 07:43 AM   #173
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adXok, I think I haven't said it yet, but I applaud you for designing a system at all. It's definitely not an easy task. And I'm sure you learned a lot in the process. And I think there is enough benefit in trying alone to warrant the effort. In other words, you likely have a much better understanding of the standard notation system than before, because you had to look at aspects of it's design.
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Old 08-17-2019, 07:55 AM   #174
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brainwreck View Post
So what if we used a 4 lines and 3 spaces system with some sort of octave indication?

Code:
Oct. 4

B ----
  A
G ----
  F
E ----
  D
C ----
The strengths here would be: A consistent assignment of note names to lines and spaces (no alternating). A single staff type (no clefs). Less lines and spaces per staff. Not yet considering time notation, we could also do something like this for indicating pitch modifiers:

Code:
C natural = C
C sharp = C.
C flat = .C
What might be the weaknesses here? Why not some other configuration of lines and spaces? Is it arbitrary or is there a justifiable logic to it?

And if the argument is for a relative pitch system, we could do the same (not throwing out the weighting of diatonic system):

Code:
Oct. 4

7 ----
  6
5 ----
  4
3 ----
  2
1 ----

1 natural = 1
1 sharp = 1.
1 flat = .1
But this gets us into another question: Why use lines and spaces at all? Why not just directly write what we mean on a single line?



Code:
Oct. 4

A  A./.B  B  C  C./.D  D  D./.E  E  F  F./.G  G  G./.A
Or in relative notation:

Code:
Oct. 4

1  1./.2  2  3  3./.4  4  4./.5  5  6  6./.7  7  7./.1
Then that leads to the question: Why use 7 tones with modifiers? Why not use 12 tones directly? What are the strengths and weaknesses?
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Old 08-17-2019, 07:57 AM   #175
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brainwreck View Post
adXok, I think I haven't said it yet, but I applaud you for designing a system at all. It's definitely not an easy task. And I'm sure you learned a lot in the process. And I think there is enough benefit in trying alone to warrant the effort. In other words, you likely have a much better understanding of the standard notation system than before, because you had to look at aspects of it's design.
Those are very kind words and I thank you a lot for that.
The fact is, when trying to unlearn the standard (quite uneasy task), the solutions to the problems I encountered had their partial answers already, considering different sources from the old times, from other countries (languages) and so on, to the point where I was not entirely convinced that I was in fact making something out from my imagination and logic. Those are only creative impulses, backed up by great amount of research about something already present (maybe well forgotten as well).
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Old 08-17-2019, 07:59 AM   #176
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To all the participants in this thread: Point is in my last few posts, whether you argue for or against standard notation, you should be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses. How are you going to begin to understand that if you don't have a whack at making a new notation system? Even if it is a 'toy' notation system.
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Old 08-17-2019, 08:35 AM   #177
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When talking about diatonic music, do you think it is more direct to use 7 base names? I do. 12 names is more universal, but it is less direct when talking about diatonic music.

Do you think it is more direct to use relative pitch when talking about music in general? I do. Absolute pitch is more direct, but it brings on unnecessary complexity when talking about pitch relationships and structures in music. And pitch relationships and structures are the primary concern when talking about music pitch issues, not the specific frequencies of the notes.
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Old 08-17-2019, 08:42 AM   #178
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brainwreck View Post
When talking about diatonic music, do you think it is more direct to use 7 base names? I do. 12 names is more universal, but it is less direct when talking about diatonic music.

Do you think it is more direct to use relative pitch when talking about music in general? I do. Absolute pitch is more direct, but it brings on unnecessary complexity when talking about pitch relationships and structures in music. And pitch relationships and structures are the primary concern when talking about music pitch issues, not the specific frequencies of the notes.
Excellent questions there. I feel the same way about those.
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Old 08-17-2019, 09:17 AM   #179
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How about time notation? Is there real benefit to using differing noteheads, flags, and dots vs. more directly using numbers to notate time divisions?
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Old 08-17-2019, 09:37 AM   #180
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Code:
1 = whole
2 = half
3 = triplet
4 = quarter
8 = eighth
S = sixteenth
T = thirty-second
F = sixty-fourth
. = dotted note
* = rest (before note division number)
_ = tie
| = bar line

4 4 4 4 | *4 4 2 | 8SS SS*8 8_SS 4
Is that more difficult to read than various noteheads and flags? It might be hard to say, because you would have to get used to reading it. And it lacks any eye-pleasing aesthetic elements, being in plain text form.

Does using numbers to represent time divisions cause a mental clash with counting the beat?
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:08 AM   #181
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Regarding time... no. MIDI blocks are doing fine with and without humanisation (mis)alignment. Time is the pulsation of a beat in Music (BPM). Like we do for triplets and above, applying a time system for such groups would be overdoing it. Same with the so called dotted notes, shuffle... swing, whatever you call it. Groove?

I know, because I've tried it. It's just unreadable, even can be misleading in many situations.

The only advantage of the Standard Staff Notation is that it almost perfectly suits the Standard Piano Keyboard. Nothing else.

The conventional chord naming and note naming is inconsistent and ambiguous.

Speaking of diatonic 7-scales. Yes, those were the prime reasons Pythagoras had to compromise his Just Intonation - it was practical only for one instrument at a time and for one mode. Back then those were very distinctive by provinces, hence we have Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian... the usual 7-modes.
But please, keep in mind that those were played downwards - that was the standard cadence for the songs back in those ancient times. Not that important but still, the feel for them was different than what we got from them now.

And, no. 7 notes out 12 named because of diatonic reasons is a limitation. Instruments can be tuned arbitrarily (especially portable ones like guitar, lyre... etc.). The notes are 12, regardless of the mode or tonality (Pythagoras says so, I found it solid and credible, especially for the 12-TET and some reminiscent approaches to Just Intonation in modern times).
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:12 AM   #182
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Originally Posted by adXok View Post
The only advantage of the Standard Staff Notation is that it almost perfectly suits the Standard Piano Keyboard. Nothing else.
This is incorrect. Staff notation started before piano was a thing.

Also, being able to write something in staff notation and have any decent player from anywhere in the world being able to read it and perform it is a pretty huge advantage. Ain't nobody gonna waste time on some new age mumbo jumbo
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:33 AM   #183
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When talking about diatonic music

Again I would recommend against using that word "diatonic" as it is overloaded. Diatonic in the most fundamental sense simply means the set of notes which you are concerned with. if you want to talk about the "major scale," since that is the default in The Church's system, then it is probably better if you simply used the term Ionian or to be mathematical, use the term base-8. Really what you mean is probably heptascale(?). Although The Church has in essence forced the use of the term diatonic to mean a scale of 7 notes, it does not have to be that way to be a diatonic scale. Just take a scale with the addition of b5 since we all love "The Blue Note"(tm). The scale now as 8 notes, not 7, and music using that scale would still be called diatonic since the notes are in the scale as defined in that context. Confusing definitions, confusing terms. "A B C D E F G" is diatonic in C-Ionian but if A-Ionian is considered then you have to put in a bunch of accidentals to make it diatonic, therefore the entire argument of "what about the simple diatonic?" breaks down because there is nothing simple about a system which forces a bunch of accidentals into the "base notes" of the scale. It is even more useful to use mathematical-set terminology but that can be tricky without using the mathematical symbols for subsets etc. Basically that leaves it to calling it the Ionian set, or the Ionian alphabet, or the Ionian note names, or simply Ionian.

Musical terms themselves have tons of things wrong with them by overuse and overloading and reduction, as I mentioned before with the word harmonic, which has tons of meanings even in the context of staff music notation. I could be talking about how the notes work together, or how the pitches relate to each other, or how the notes stack vertically on the Y axis, or the collection of notes in accompaniment which match the melody note. Amazingly musicians with decades of experience feel there is nothing wrong with these ambiguous and overloaded terms even though any open-eared beginner or six-year-old would point out these problems or confusions or long list of exceptions in context. Although we shouldn't get bogged down into why artists fail to see problems in an archaic & kludged system or why random readers on a music blog feel threatened by the idea of innovation. Players spend so much time practicing by necessity that they don't study anything outside. Unfortunately in a thread like this, there are always a bunch of naysayers who write before they absorb meaning, not even glancing at the readme description of an excellently given example like Tbon on it's github before spouting off nonsense about why the concept is broken or why it has no purpose.



There is nothing inherently necessary about using 7 note names unless the music system only has Ionian pitches. Coincidentally, The Church forced the use of those 7 pitches (under penalty of death, essentially). There could be some justifications for "why" The Church chose the major scale, or it could simply be that someone didn't personally enjoy the alternative scales. Regardless, we are stuck with that preferenece of major, historically. However nowadays, the bulk of musicians (ex. jazz players) prefer minor (I suppose we could say Aeolean) by default, not Ionian. Modern players should not be encumbered by the relics of The Church or their archaic preferences and system limitations. Many more players also like adding The Blue Note(tm) at a minimum, so now there is a hexascale. Why keep the blue note out of the diatonic set, if it's regularly used. Why not choose 8 unique note names, to include the tritone b5, since everyone likes The Blue Note(tm). And now you have a hexascale instead of a heptascale.


The music of The Church is actually the smaller subset of music in comparison to the entire universe of music is considered, we can simply call it folk music since academics lump it all in that way, the problem is, much of the other music was not written down, so it does not compare in quantity-of-work-on-paper to the music of The Church, and especially does not compare in terms of legal might of The Church. Folk music uses pentatonic. Nearly all over and there's a larger quantity of it. Rock n Roll uses it, but so does the huge collection of ancient peasant music, and even in the video recently posted about staff music, it was Japanese pentatonic "historic flute" music. 5 notes, not 7. For thousands of years, just those five notes are "the diatonic notes" on that instrument.

So there is no use to insist that a "good system should use 7 notes". You could just as easily insist that "the good system should use 5 notes because the huge bulk of music is pentatonic therefore the extra notes are simply confusing and having only five symbols is so much faster for people to read & understand" Which is exactly why many music instructors teach pentatonic scales first or primarily, instead of the "more complex" natural scale.


Obviously the number of accidentals or note-modifying-symbols for the notes in a system which only uses five symbols out of twelve would almost outnumber the quantity of notes themselves. Chromaticism which is popular today essentially means that the best system to use is simply to incorporate all notes, get rid of accidentals (which are problematic anyway).

There are other mathematical reasons to use base-12 and that has to do with arguments for use of dozenal. Just as some previous posters here loved the video about staff notation being great because of "chunking" the pictographs for rapid comprehension of complex information, there are similar benefits to base-12 "chunking". Which is why many currency units use base-12, including why many units of measurement historically used 12 (like Imperial as previously mentioned). It is easily divided, humans process the groupings of 2 or groupings of 3 very rapidly (coincidentally look at the black keys on a piano, in groups of two and three), etc etc, much of this is documented within dozenal math.


In reality the current system doesn't just have 12 notes, it has the 12 ascending and the 12 descending, using different note names in each direction (accidentals). Yet somehow people are putting up with that nonsense. Even in solfege which has different phonemes for "the black-notes" depending on ascending or descending.


The use of the note name "C" by itself is confusing so should be avoided. It would be better to use the scientific name C4, although the term middle-C can be used, that's a piano-specific term and has no meaning on guitar which has multiple C4 notes on the neck. Again the musicians "I've been playing for 40 years and teaching for 20" gloss over the flaws inherent in the musical system. Yet when discussing it is best to be specific.


The question for how a relative-music-system would be tied to a starting-key is not really that important because it is metadata as far as the chart goes. The confusion regarding that question is like a drummer insisting that he needs the tempo indication before beginning to read a chart, "I can't read this unless you tell me that it is Moderato or something else." It's just not really true. Relative notation means it can be read in absence of being locked down, yet it is easy to lock it down by simple meta-indication. How does Nashville Notation solve it? Very simply, they write "Key=A" at the top. If it were guitar, which is an automatically-transposing instrument, the metadata could use tablature indication, "Key=5th position" although for audiation purposes that isn't a great way to go. How to tie a relative-pitch system to a particular instrument will rely on the instrument, not the notation system. The middle key on the piano could just as easily be labelled "0" (the number zero) or it could be labelled "60" (the MIDI Note number). Or the note just down from the middle key could be labelled "440 Hz" (the reference pitch). The fact that piano manufacturers develop pianos this way and piano instructors everywhere insist on having the center key "Middle C" is rooted in historical conventions developed ad hoc, not in any supreme method of strategic system design.


The use of C4 as the center note in grand staff notation I believe is also an ad hoc convention from two-part vocal music where the upper human voice conveniently overlaps to the lower human voice at that note, C4. Vocal music predates instrumental music (transcriptions from The Church at least), isn't that right?


There are many built-ins of the pictograph system (staff notation) which work underneath the scenes to make it a highly dense method of presenting information. Improving that is a much larger task than improving fundamental note names and chord terminology. Musicians do not communicate verbally by using a pictograph system, that system is only for playing (and sharing the notes of playing). Much more troublesome to me is the verbalization of music, the inability to speak a note name or communicate intelligently. A typical musician on the street does not even use music notation at all because it is so cumbersome. A well-trained musician who uses written notation has to know a long list of exceptions to the syntax and grammar and mistakes are common.

Personally the goals of Tbon for example seem very similar to my own ideas, I simply want to write music quickly, unambiguously, and with few tokens as necessary. The current music system is wonky enough that I can't fit a proper chord name into the measure where it is supposed to be played because it has too many characters in the name.

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Old 08-17-2019, 10:39 AM   #184
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brainwreck View Post
How about time notation? Is there real benefit to using differing noteheads, flags, and dots vs. more directly using numbers to notate time divisions?
The origin of typesetting features of notes has more to do with ink quills than anything else. The notation for quarter-note-rest being the difficult squiggle that it is, is because the ink quill makes that pattern with a wrist motion(*). The use of dots is from the ease in making ovals (they're not supposed to be circular).

(*) and it's different in France

Therefore staff music today is essentially limited in functionality because some monk had to sit in a cavern hand-writing with an ink quill. A completely outdated system. Music has not caught up with modern typesetting, fonts, graphical user interfaces, etc.


Note stems have a variety of ad hoc rules defined by player preference for speed of reading. Groupings, stem direction, flags. It is a notational system which evolved yet still has many ingrained kludges. Ask any drummer!

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Old 08-17-2019, 10:50 AM   #185
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adXok View Post
Regarding time... no. MIDI blocks are doing fine with and without humanisation (mis)alignment. Time is the pulsation of a beat in Music (BPM). Like we do for triplets and above, applying a time system for such groups would be overdoing it. Same with the so called dotted notes, shuffle... swing, whatever you call it. Groove?

I know, because I've tried it. It's just unreadable, even can be misleading in many situations.

The only advantage of the Standard Staff Notation is that it almost perfectly suits the Standard Piano Keyboard. Nothing else.

The conventional chord naming and note naming is inconsistent and ambiguous.

Speaking of diatonic 7-scales. Yes, those were the prime reasons Pythagoras had to compromise his Just Intonation - it was practical only for one instrument at a time and for one mode. Back then those were very distinctive by provinces, hence we have Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian... the usual 7-modes.
But please, keep in mind that those were played downwards - that was the standard cadence for the songs back in those ancient times. Not that important but still, the feel for them was different than what we got from them now.

And, no. 7 notes out 12 named because of diatonic reasons is a limitation. Instruments can be tuned arbitrarily (especially portable ones like guitar, lyre... etc.). The notes are 12, regardless of the mode or tonality (Pythagoras says so, I found it solid and credible, especially for the 12-TET and some reminiscent approaches to Just Intonation in modern times).
MIDI blocks aren't so good for handwriting. I'm of the mind that a general notation system should be convenient to handwrite, not just for working with a computer. That is one major benefit of standard notation. All the symbols in standard music are easy to write by hand with a little practice. With MIDI blocks, each bar would need to be pre-divided before even beginning to write anything.

Of course 7 primary notes is a tradeoff, being weighted heavily toward diatonic music. Chromatic and other music can still be written with 7 base notes + modifiers for the other notes, but diatonic music gets special treatment here. On the other hand, 12 notes has no weighted consideration for any type of music. Diatonic music can be written in it, but it is considerably more difficult to think about. 12 notes seems be an 'ideal' but without a concrete context.
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Old 08-17-2019, 11:06 AM   #186
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This is incorrect. Staff notation started before piano was a thing.

Also, being able to write something in staff notation and have any decent player from anywhere in the world being able to read it and perform it is a pretty huge advantage. Ain't nobody gonna waste time on some new age mumbo jumbo
See, I said it fits almost perfectly..., and not... it was design for it.

Also you maybe want to take a look at the keyboard instruments in more ancient times, even before Christ.
And yes, modern staff had major influence from the organ and harpsichord keyboards. Of course there were older notations but they were more like wavy scribbles.

And if you have seen a grand piano, you would immediately be able to recognise its ancestor. No, not the harpsichord, but the harp itself. And harps are ancient... really ancient. Combine that with the keyboard of the ancient hydraulius which had the keyboard (though not shaped like keys, rather tiny levers... well the piano keys are levers as well but anyway).

But this is not the point. I said that it fits, no matter which one was designed first as we know it.
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Old 08-17-2019, 11:15 AM   #187
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why use base-12: precisely because of chunking


12 is a highly composite number — the smallest number with exactly four divisors: 2, 3, 4, and 6 (six if you count 1 and 12). As noted, 10 has only two. Consequently, 12 is much more practical when using fractions — it's easier to divide units of weights and measures into 12 parts, namely halves, thirds, and quarters.

Moreover, with base-12, we can use these three most common fractions without having to employ fractional notations. The numbers 6, 4, and 3 are all whole numbers. On the other hand, with base-10, we have to deal with unwieldy decimals, ½ = 0.5, ¼ = 0.25, and worst of all, the highly problematic ⅓ = 0.333333333333333333333.

And similar to the base-16 hexadecimal system, the dozenal system is exceptionally friendly to computer science. The number 12 has two factors that are prime numbers, 2 and 3. This means that the reciprocals of all smooth numbers (a number which factors completely into small prime numbers), such as 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, have a terminating representation in duodecimal (we'll get to counting in duodecimal in just a bit). Twelve just happens to be the smallest number with this feature, thus making it an extremely efficient number for encryption purposes and for computing fractions — and this includes the decimal, vigesimal, binary, octal, and hexadecimal systems.
...
during the 1930s, F. Emerson Andrews published a book, New Numbers: How Acceptance of a Duodecimal Base Would Simplify Mathematics, in which he cogently argued for the change. He noticed that, due to the myriad occurrences of 12 in many traditional units of weight and measures, many of the advantages claimed for the metric system could also be adopted by the dozenal system.

Indeed, examples of base-12 systems abound. A carpenter's ruler has 12 subdivisions, grocers deal in dozens and grosses (12 dozen equals a gross), pharmacists and jewelers use the 12 ounce pound, and minters divide shillings into 12 pence. Even our timing and dating system depends on it; there are 12 months in the year, and our day is measured in 2 sets of 12. Additionally, in geometry, a circle is replete with subsets and supersets of 12 — what's measured in degrees (a 360 degree circle consists of 30 sets of 12).

It's also obvious that someone in our history was thinking along these lines. It's the largest number with a single-morpheme name in English (i.e. the word "twelve"). After that, we hit thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, and so on — derivatives of three, four and five. Clearly, it was natural to think in terms of dozens.

Three decades after Andrews's book, the brilliant mathematician A. C. Aitken made a similar case. Writing in The Listen in 1962, he noted:

The duodecimal tables are easy to master, easier than the decimal ones; and in elementary teaching they would be so much more interesting, since young children would find more fascinating things to do with twelve rods or blocks than with ten. Anyone having these tables at command will do these calculations more than one-and-a-half times as fast in the duodecimal scale as in the decimal. This is my experience; I am certain that even more so it would be the experience of others.

...Ease of counting on fingers, as each finger consists of three parts. So, starting with the index finger, and using the thumb as a pointer, we can immediately denote the first three digits (working our way from bottom to the top of the finger). Then, the middle finger can denote 4, 5, 6, the middle finger, 7, 8, 9, and so on. Using this system, our two hands gives us a total of 24 numbers to work with. Some finger-counters work their way from left to right, designating the tips of their fingers 1, 2, 3, 4.

Even better, we can use our second hand to display the number of completed base 12's. Consequently, we can use our fingers to go up to 144 (12 x 12).


tho since visitors prefer videos over words

just get adam neely to make a video on it.
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Old 08-17-2019, 11:22 AM   #188
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MIDI blocks aren't so good for handwriting. I'm of the mind that a general notation system should be convenient to handwrite, not just for working with a computer. That is one major benefit of standard notation. All the symbols in standard music are easy to write by hand with a little practice. With MIDI blocks, each bar would need to be pre-divided before even beginning to write anything.

Of course 7 primary notes is a tradeoff, being weighted heavily toward diatonic music. Chromatic and other music can still be written with 7 base notes + modifiers for the other notes, but diatonic music gets special treatment here. On the other hand, 12 notes has no weighted consideration for any type of music. Diatonic music can be written in it, but it is considerably more difficult to think about. 12 notes seems be an 'ideal' but without a concrete context.
I do agree. Standard Staff Notation has very beautiful symbols, although I am not so sure about the handwriting comfort about them. I always had to struggle with those rests and clefs, adding abbreviations...

Yes, MIDI blocks are exactly that what they say they are MIDI - ...digital interface.
But they are the predominant tools for the majority of home, semi-pro and even pro music producers. The majority of the people just open the DAW's MIDI editor. Only some of them who had previous education in Music and understand Standard Staff, they do compose using those programs or utilities (I've seen only one person doing it for the last 5+ years).

Even by default on most DAWs, when you open the MIDI editor, it gives you the Piano Keyboard as a reference. (@EvilDragon as well)

And not because the MIDI rows are arranged as the piano keyboard, but because the names of the notes fit the layout of the piano (♯ and ♭ being the black keys)! Yes, on some DAWs you can hide the piano keyboard, but anyway... the reference is a perfect match and this had no meaning to me (when I hide the piano keyboard reference, because I do not play piano at all).
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Old 08-17-2019, 11:23 AM   #189
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Superblonde, 'diatonic' is a specific pattern of 7 notes and 7 intervals. When I say 'diatonic', I don't mean only Major. It includes the 7 modes. And standard notation is heavily weighted toward thinking about music from a diatonic perspective, whether there is some deviation from the pattern or not.
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Old 08-17-2019, 11:25 AM   #190
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easy to write
not sure if this is discussing written notation or written pictographs (staff) but the easiest method would be to use single-character tokens for automatic time alignment (one character is one atom of time) and there again, we are back to base-12 because otherwise you will eventually need accidentals which take two characters (two time slots) rather than one.

three notes played in series with equal durations: ABC
three notes played in series with equal durations: A#BC ooops doesn't work, doesn't typeset properly

Now if you want to throw away horizontal writing for indicating time, then all is good, go for that. Like in the Japanese notation system in the recent video where note-pictographs are shown vertically, rather than horizontally. (Maybe this convention chosen specifically because symbol length did not interfere with notating time.)
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Old 08-17-2019, 11:26 AM   #191
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I do agree. Standard Staff Notation has very beautiful symbols, although I am not so sure about the handwriting comfort about them. I always had to struggle with those rests and clefs, adding abbreviations...

Yes, MIDI blocks are exactly taht what they say they are MIDI - ...digital interface.
But they are the predominant tools for the majority of home, semi-pro and even pro music producers. The majority of the people just open the DAW's MIDI editor. Only some of them who had previous education in Music and understand Standard Staff, they do compose using those programs or utilities (I've seen only one person doing it for the last 5+ years).

Even by default on most DAWs, when you open the MIDI editor, it gives you the Piano Keyboard as a reference. (@EvilDragon as well)

And not because the MIDI rows are arranged as the piano keyboard, but because the names of the notes fit the layout of the piano (♯ and ♭ being the black keys)! Yes, on some DAWs you can hide the piano keyboard, but anyway... the reference is a perfect match.
What I'm saying has nothing to do with the aesthetic of handwriting. I'm talking functionality. Pencil and paper is often much more direct, convenient, and flexible than anything involving a computer.

The majority of music-makers don't use computers for making music, believe it or not. I have always felt like a bit of an oddball around here ever since I set up my first computer for recording. In about 20 years time, I have only met, locally in person, a handful of people who use computers for music. And most of them were using it as an audio recorder and fx processor, not as a composition tool. Computers are just too much unnecessary complexity for most musicians to want to deal with.
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Old 08-17-2019, 11:34 AM   #192
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not sure if this is discussing written notation or written pictographs (staff) but the easiest method would be to use single-character tokens for automatic time alignment (one character is one atom of time) and there again, we are back to base-12 because otherwise you will eventually need accidentals which take two characters (two time slots) rather than one.

three notes played in series with equal durations: ABC
three notes played in series with equal durations: A#BC ooops doesn't work, doesn't typeset properly

Now if you want to throw away horizontal writing for indicating time, then all is good, go for that. Like in the Japanese notation system in the recent video where note-pictographs are shown vertically, rather than horizontally. (Maybe this convention chosen specifically because symbol length did not interfere with notating time.)
Having to pre-define time spacing is not good outside of a computer and also sometimes when using a computer. That is a major limitation, and it is really unnecessary. It isn't too far off from saying that word lengths or sentence lengths must be pre-defined before writing them. We want to be able to write as near as we can at the speed of thought without having to think too much about the act of writing itself.
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Old 08-17-2019, 11:46 AM   #193
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Having to pre-define time spacing is not good outside of a computer and also sometimes when using a computer. That is a major limitation, and it is really unnecessary.
When I hand-write notation, time is horizontal, and all characters take space, accidentals take extra space, even if using superscripts. Yes, independent of a computer although on a computer with monospace font the problem becomes incredibly obvious. Although a system could just as easily decide that measures don't have to be uniform size (width), and some music charts are written that way, with arbitrary width to fit all the symbols according to the limits of the page (or screen). The jazz chart which I posted before has uniform spacing which is exactly what makes it awkward with all the extra symbols. In fact, the app itself forces each space to be 1 beat, so that in 4/4 time, there are 4 spots which the cursor can sit in, when entering a chord name (in 3/4 time there are three spots), so that all the vertical bar separators are always aligned.

Personally I find it more difficult to read music (whether or not reading in real-time for playing) if the spacing of measures is not uniform, which also means if the spacing of notes is not uniform. Even if I am not trying to denote time strictly, it still seems helpful to use equal spacing throughout.
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Old 08-17-2019, 11:51 AM   #194
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Superblonde, 'diatonic' is a specific pattern of 7 notes and 7 intervals. When I say 'diatonic', I don't mean only Major. It includes the 7 modes. And standard notation is heavily weighted toward thinking about music from a diatonic perspective, whether there is some deviation from the pattern or not.
if you want to use 'diatonic' that way in your messages, ok. Though if there is a N-note scale then diatonic would be any note in that scale, for whatever N you choose. hence the ambiguity. just another example of bad terminology in music.
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Old 08-17-2019, 11:53 AM   #195
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Even if I am not trying to denote time strictly, it still seems helpful to use equal spacing throughout.
It depends on how much difference there is in spacing between successive bars. Ideally yes, perfectly uniform spacing would be nice. Practically though, it just isn't practical to always expect uniform spacing unless you are writing gridded/quantized music or writing charts.
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Old 08-17-2019, 11:54 AM   #196
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What I'm saying has nothing to do with the aesthetic of handwriting. I'm talking functionality. Pencil and paper is often much more direct, convenient, and flexible than anything involving a computer.
Apparently we are from slightly different generations (maybe). 99% of the 15 to 30 years old I have seen use MIDI editor, occasionally someone will
open the Score editor and do something there (me included).
Different strokes for different folks I guess.
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Old 08-17-2019, 12:12 PM   #197
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It's curious that historians want to make interwoven systems sequentially linear, when they often are concurrently evolutionary.

Post-clavichord virginal instruments were probably thought of as a plague by "old school" Greeks worried about prosadion and the gods, losing variations in intonation of scales to those punks in the Tudor churches, and the use of staff notation the infection vector instead of systema toneion.

Notation and musical instruments are playback systems for music. We now have perfected the playback method with literal audio recordings, but notation was all about insuring playback accuracy.

The harpsichord/keyboard + human musician was the streaming audio converter, the staff the equivalent of tab to guitar today, a way of enabling playback on a very popular instrument. Guitar tab is biased towards the guitar, the standard notation to the keyboard. Guitar tab is flawed just as Gregorians couldn't have scored an AC/DC drumbeat.

There is no need for a new notation system that is indeed flawed, because we have AUDIO RECORDING. Life is too short!
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Old 08-17-2019, 12:20 PM   #198
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Life is too short!
A Big Plus One to that...
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Old 08-17-2019, 12:34 PM   #199
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Apparently we are from slightly different generations (maybe). 99% of the 15 to 30 years old I have seen use MIDI editor, occasionally someone will
open the Score editor and do something there (me included).
Different strokes for different folks I guess.
The music world is constantly changing even though the players seem to reject change at every opportunity. Numerous instruments in the past are now dead instruments. Harp, like you mentioned before, has nearly disappeared, long overtaken by piano. Violin which used to be the #1 instrument in every household, is exceptionally rare. Piano which used to be in nearly every industrial-era American household is being abandoned (look at any sales charts of pianos over past decades). Piano manufacturers have tried many things to bring it back including pseudo-instruments like the Keytar. Guitar has completely taken over where brass used to be common and electric guitar is a very (relatively) young instrument. Uke has recently overtaken guitar for amateur music. Now MIDI controllers (some in matrix layout) is replacing complex instruments, and new MIDI 2.0 will accelerate this.

Each new instrument forces notational systems to update. New systems come and go. Tablature for guitar and uke. Custom diagram systems for MIDI grids will become ad hoc standardized eventually. That is, if musical instruments are even kept around much in the future at all, considering that the majority of time spent by students today is on video games, not musical instruments - which should be a huge wake-up call that the system is broken, it is too uncomfortable, awkward, and difficult to learn the archaic music system.

The technology is constantly changing yet the old-fashioned cling to ways which are out-of-style, meanwhile adopt an elitism attitude, it's bizarre.


Shape notes are a music notation designed to facilitate congregational and community singing. The notation, introduced in late 18th century England, became a popular teaching device in American singing schools. Shapes were added to the note heads in written music to help singers find pitches within major and minor scales without the use of more complex information found in key signatures on the staff.

A controlled study on the usefulness of shape notes was carried out in the 1950s by George H. Kyme with an experimental population consisting of fourth- and fifth-graders living in California. Kyme took care to match his experimental and control groups as closely as possible for ability, quality of teacher, and various other factors. He found that the students taught with shape notes learned to sight read significantly better than those taught without them. Kyme additionally found that the students taught with shape notes were also far more likely to pursue musical activities later on in their education.[4]


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Old 08-17-2019, 12:47 PM   #200
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Notation and musical instruments are playback systems for music. We now have perfected the playback method with literal audio recordings, but notation was all about insuring playback accuracy.

There is no need for a new notation system that is indeed flawed, because we have AUDIO RECORDING. Life is too short!
I agree with you. Especially if you never had to play piano or write a single phrase using the Staff.

But... nothing stops you from being creative and forget what you know or see as a standard, and come up with something new... as stupid and useless it might seem to others.
If you match the steps of others, you will never leave a trace.
Life is definitely short and also abundant with the flaws of someone else's steps and deeds.
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