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Old 08-15-2019, 12:13 PM   #1
superblonde.org
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Default How to revamp the ancient music notation and music theory system which is flawed?

Music notation is terrible to understand and confusing (eight note names A,B,C,..., sharps, flats, use of roman numerals in capitals and lowercase, numerals 1,2,3,.. for scale degree and/or chord number). It seems to exist in its present state because musicians themselves are too overwhelmed with practice & performance to improve the system. The current notation system overtook the few competing systems pretty much because other cultures didn't write music down and then through the western church which destroyed everything else. Music theory is limited to describing music within the outmoded notation system, so music theory is terrible too. It's no wonder that most musicians choose to remain musically illiterate, it's easier to play "what sounds good" than try to understand the terrible system.

* Note I'm completely ignoring staff notation because that is a whole other set of pictograph problems in time (how to indicate simultaneous notes and how to indicate rhythm). When I say music notation, I'm just talking about written notation for theory and composition, I'm not talking about notation for real-time reading during a performance, although there is some overlap of usage, since charts contain both staff music and chord names, etc.

In software languages and software notation (aka markup), there have been hundreds of languages and language systems, it is a constant state of improvement, the language systems have unique benefits and drawbacks and those systems which have more drawbacks than benefits are quickly abandoned, with the benefits morphed into the next new language. Imagine if everyone were forced to program in original IBM BASIC for the entire duration of humanity. Yuck. This is really, really obvious problem to computer programmers who immediately fix the problem by creating new systems to fit the purpose (Microcode to Assembly to BASIC to PASCAL to C to NextStep Objective C to Java to Python etc etc, plus on the scientific side, LISP to MATLAB to R etc, etc, plus on the engineering side, various CAD basic-like script, boolean languages ABEL, VHDL, etc etc). One test of the usefulness of a software language being: can a compiler be developed in the language and then compile itself. Another test of the usefulness of a software language being: how does it physically look, how simple, how elegant is it, to write the most basic program which simply prints "hello world" on the screen, does it take a million confusing symbols or does it only take four short human-readable lines.


In music notation, the current system developed for church music, with only two modes (major and minor), is now extended to jazz and modal music so my charts are a mess of "EbMajb5#11/B" or something - what the actual?? If there were ever a sign that a system should be discarded, that is it ! Why wouldn't this chord be indicated with a single letter or digit and a single token modifier, if the notation system were sound and free of most exceptions, for example: "9w"


The idea that the music notation is terrible seems horrifying to musicians (who say either, "meh who cares I just play what sounds good," or, "Don't mess with what I have because it took me 4 years to learn this and I don't want to change my charts") and entrenched academics (who say, "don't you dare threaten my elitism by proposing something more understandable by the public where I can't continue to pretend to be the rare in-demand expert"). "Don't mess with tradition!" Therefore the result is a non-productive flamewar circular argument which goes nowhere. I am not much interested in nonsensical arguments on why a malfunctioning system should be kept. The current western music system for 99% of the music made today is dramatically flawed. If you don't like the discussion then opt out of it. It's also not productive to bring up edge cases like microtones which the majority of musicians don't use today and 99% of music theory is not concerned with.


At rehearsal, the musician says, "Play the five." That is really ambiguous and depends on a lot of context. Does it mean the fifth note in the scale? Or does it mean the fifth chord in the scale, and if so, what mode of the chord, what form of the chord? So the musician says, "I mean, play the dominant." That's not much better. Then the musician says, "I mean, play the second inversion F major no five." Wait, play the five but play no five? It's no wonder that musicians completely give up on verbally describing anything about music in the broken system: "Shuddup and play, you'll hear it."


What are the replacements to current musical notation? Here are a few alternates but they are not complete systems either. What are the others? Who is working on this?


1. ABC notation. This was developed on USENET decades ago for typing and sharing non-copyright melodies, archiving them, transposing them, and running computer analysis on them. It uses note letters and apostrophies for octave (a''', b''', ..., a', b', ... A, B, C, ...). The language is strict and has software error correction. It is compilable. The drawback is that it still uses base-8 (8 letter names). I dont believe this system has chords. It is for single-line melodies only.


2. Dozenal. There are 12 notes so the notation system should use 12 unique tokens (not just 8 like A,B,C..). There are base-12 notations very loosely discussed. Consider how well hexadecimal math works with computers which are base-2 extended to base-16 (0 1..9 A B C D E F). Music using base-12 would use twelve tokens (0 1..9 T Q) to represent the 12 notes in music. What remains is how to describe chords, scale degrees, etc.



3. MIDI note numbers & messages. This isnt great for humans. But all notes are given their own digits, with middle C being 60, so sharps and flats are eliminated. This isn't great for readability since humans reading or writing a string of multiple digits is difficult ("60 62 65 67"). No musician is going to say, "The melody goes, sixty sixty-seven sixty-two sixty-five sixty".


4. There's some neo-musical methods from the 50s onward using graphical techniques and matrixes (tone rows etc). I have seen a little of this but don't know much about these - other than they can be very fast to write new music after choosing the desired scale, etc. The trouble with using a matrix or diagram is that it is hard to quickly talk about. The difficulty could be compared to describing how to play a Novation matrix instrument.

5. Solfege - is a system used by vocalists for scale degrees of melody, often as the primary music theory known by a vocalist; in these cases there's no "A, B, C, .." only the solfege syllables, of which there are two incompatible subsystems used in different "schools of music", relative pitch and fixed pitch.

6. Nashville Number System - is a popular chord charting system which allows easy transposition and does not rely on the traditional note alphabet nor does it use fixed pitch. For example, "C=1, D=2, E=3, F=4, G=5, A=6, B=7. In the key of B♭, the numbers would be B♭=1, C=2, D=3, E♭=4, F=5, G=6, A=7." As this is an industry-used system (vs. academic/theorist-made system), it has minor variations to it, although it sounds like it has become more standardized over time. Most importantly it does use relative pitches successfully and specific players seem to prefer it. But as far as I know this is not a complete music system, it is intended for chord charts similar to jazz charts, not complex harmony description etc.


What others are there? It is surprisingly rare to find alternative systems.


Personally I have thought that a truly great system would incorporate both the musical note tuning ratios as well as use base-12, while still allowing a single token (letter or number) to be used for chord names and a single other token for a modifier (mode type or etc).

Great composers have proposed some systems since about the 1950's, such as the below.

Music set theory with 12-tone integer notation





Last edited by superblonde.org; 08-21-2019 at 06:45 PM. Reason: add solfege system, add nashville system, 12 tone text
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Old 08-15-2019, 02:19 PM   #2
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And this has what to do with Reaper?

Dude, if you don't want to learn the language of reading music, don't do it. Tons of good players can't read a note. Sounds to me you may be ashamed that you don't know some things. It's fine, there's nothing wrong with asking questions.
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Old 08-15-2019, 03:04 PM   #3
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Ha ha. Been there in the frustrations of the standard music notation system.

Designing out the bad parts isn't such an easy thing. Try it. Really. It's the only way that you will better understand the good and bad parts of standard music notation and what are some of the problems in designing a new notation system.

Someone on the forum actually came up with an alternative notation system to midi that is written in plain text. It's pretty good too.

Maybe the biggest problem in coming up with a new notation system is general lack of interest. Either people don't see the problems with it (the 'Everything is wonderful; quit whining' culture), or approaching coming up with something better seems like too much effort. So if you have a go at it, expect to do it alone with no real constructive external input. And irrationally, some people won't want you to even try to come up with a new system.
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Old 08-15-2019, 03:31 PM   #4
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Do you understand why 7 letters are used? If you try and design a new system, you most likely will find out why.
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Old 08-15-2019, 03:34 PM   #5
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The above mentioned alternative notation system.
https://forum.cockos.com/showthread....light=notation

There are other systems. I'm not at my desk right now though.
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Old 08-15-2019, 03:48 PM   #6
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Hmm the Tbon system is interesting. I see it uses letters and a fixed (predetermined) key.

Using numbers with 0=tonic would allow for relative pitch study by default, with base-12 math easily allowing transposition. There is no urgent requirement for assign notes to pitch until playing on a real instrument or software synth, by that I mean: the notation system and theory system can be separate from the "playing system"
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Old 08-15-2019, 04:08 PM   #7
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Yep, 'systems' can be separate, but that throws out a major benefit of standard music (it is universal....sort of).
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Old 08-15-2019, 04:18 PM   #8
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Standard notation is actually pretty easy to read (in real time and for theoretical analysis) and very logical once you understand it.

Trying to come up with an equally useful alternative will be much more difficult than you realize.
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Old 08-15-2019, 04:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brainwreck View Post
Yep, 'systems' can be separate, but that throws out a major benefit of standard music (it is universal....sort of).
Technology has advanced to the point where new or alternate notation systems might be straightforward to develop, because the presentation layer work can be done with or outside the new system. i.e. Import/Export to MIDI or Import/Export to some alternative system. MuseScore already exists to show the music symbols. Unicode finally exists if new non-ASCII symbols are adopted for notation. etc. Reaper has both a waveform view and a midi view and soon to have a tablature view.

Which reminds me of another point, that individual music software apps may have very different ways of representing music notation internally (squeezing notes into base-16, if it doesn't default to being string-based). Internal custom representations would definitely be the case if they don't use MIDI internally. These are already alternate music notation systems, or at least music representation systems.

In general there's very little of music 'study' or music research published anywhere in the world, which is more a reflection of the bad state of the formal music education curriculum (aka: force everyone to study classical performance in order to get any life reward) rather than an indication that improvement in music systems can't be done.



Anyway a big question is, what is the best couple of tests of a new music system. That it should be able to describe (aka, musically represent) a specific piece of Bach? or a specific song by the Beatles? or..?
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Old 08-15-2019, 04:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drtedtan View Post
Standard notation is actually pretty easy to read (in real time and for theoretical analysis) and very logical once you understand it.
Obviously, some people disagree that reading standard notation is easy. It is very logical, but so is binary.
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Old 08-15-2019, 05:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drtedtan View Post
Standard notation is actually pretty easy to read (in real time and for theoretical analysis)
it is mediocre to read, especially if _hand written_

it is very difficult to verbalize: "yeah then it goes to the (x chord) and the melody goes to the (x).."

it is time consuming to write: too many letters and superscripts.

it is difficult to write: it barely fits within printed measures.

it is ambiguous in written analysis: "this could be (x chord) or it could also be thought of as the (x chord).."


don't fool yourself into believing it is a good system unless the metric for 'good' is set really low.
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Old 08-15-2019, 05:05 PM   #12
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Personally, I'm fine with standard notation and the 'jazz' version of music theory.

As music has evolved over the years - and it has in a big way - the means of communicating its essence needs to keep up. I suspect that language (notation) and concept (theory) will evolve as well.

I think evolution is the way - not rewriting the 'system'
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Old 08-15-2019, 05:14 PM   #13
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Hi, superblonde.org
Please, let me remind you that because of the nature chords and intervals are structured, more often you would be using their so called Inversions.
Those are not quite clear in any Music Notation (and because we are not talking aout the Music Staff, more correct term would be - Music Nomenclature) I have seen... except in the one I have created. It is called Pashkuli Music Notation (PNS or Plain Music Notation), also includes "staff" (but not in the way you might think of it). Please, see the images at the end of the post.

Also,
It is not only the Music Nomenclatutre (originally based on a church psalm "Sancte Ioannes", etc.) → Do, Re, Mi, Fa... following the corresponding syllables over the respective notes from the chant.
So we would have had... D, R, M, F...
The Western (modern) nomenclature of A, B, C... and so on is based on the simple Latin alphabet order of its letters. Why is A assigned to its corresponding key on the piano, you might ask?!



Can you see? The Piano Keyboard is also wrong and badly designed. I tried to fix that as well. Please, see the images at the end of the post.

Well, on a standard grand piano the actual first key far left maybe had been assigned to... the first letter of the alphabet... (also matches the layout of the first short range harpsichords at that time)

Music Alphabets around the world
The VI-century philosopher Boethius is known to have used the first fourteen letters of the classical Latin (Roman) alphabet (the letter J did not exist until the 16th century):
A B C D E F G H I K L M N O
... although, Claudius Ptolemy (the astronomer) had the system applied centuries before Boethius, which had more traditional (at that time) approach of naming all the notes!

Pythagoras (the ancient philosopher and founder of the Just Intonation) had completely different names for the 12 notes and each one was unique.

Pashkuli Notation System (Plain Notation System)










Pashkuli Keyboard















The subject is HUGE!


---------------------------------------------------------
Pashkuli Keyboard on Youtube

Pashkuli Keyboard on Instagram
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Old 08-15-2019, 05:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark River View Post
Personally, I'm fine with standard notation and the 'jazz' version of music theory.
...
I think evolution is the way - not rewriting the 'system'
this brings up the point that there are already two competing versions of music notation already, with drastically different understandings, and players find it difficult to transition between the two. (classical player will get confused by jazz chart and vice versa). This is because the current system is broken and does not cover the two stylistic variants as a unified whole.


"evolution" vs "rewriting" is really just semantics. few software languages start from scratch, instead they inherit traits and qualities from highly successful prior languages so they could all be called "evolution" but you never hear a Java programmer saying "yeah Java is an evolution of C" even though that is what it is.


The Tbon example is this.

Code:
Here's Happy Birthday in F major represented in tbon.
  K=F
  z - cc | d c f  | e - cc | d c ^g | f - cc |
  ^c a f | e d ^bb | a f g  | f - - |
and the intention of the system, from the forum post, was this: I designed it as a quick way to write out melody and harmony parts


Different systems will have different goals. The current system seems to have the goal of describing major-key church music for the latin mass. Let me see, when was the last time I needed that goal, oh yeah: Never.

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Old 08-15-2019, 05:45 PM   #15
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While it makes logical sense, it has little or no chance of being adopted.

See Dvorak keyboard and Metric System
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Old 08-15-2019, 05:58 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superblonde.org View Post
Anyway a big question is, what is the best couple of tests of a new music system. That it should be able to describe (aka, musically represent) a specific piece of Bach? or a specific song by the Beatles? or..?
What were the design goals?
Does it meet the design goals?

Any complete notation system should be able to notate any music within limits of the music system (western music in this case). But does it do it better than the system it seeks to replace?

Standard music has alot going for it. So maybe a new system doesn't replace it, but lives beside it, adds to it, or acts as a developmental bridge.
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Old 08-15-2019, 06:01 PM   #17
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Can you see? The Piano Keyboard is also wrong and badly designed.
This is great! i'll study it in detail. The idea of a clef note to indicate mode (is that right?) is very interesting. I'll have to look closely at how the chords are represented.

The piano is "off" for sure. Although the systems developed somewhat together, the music world is stuck with a lot of awkward piano-centric thinking. Middle C, being considered the center, while the musical alphabet starts with A.


I have been comparing alternative systems to see which allows for easier and closer-to-nature description of the music (nature does not care about # or b), and maybe a system which allows for built-in transposing due to base-12 (making it a relative pitch system, instead of absolute pitch).

Yours is a complete system with new staff and a new instrument. The important question is, what specific primary goals were you trying to solve in the new system? Was it to have a new means of performance? Or a faster way to learn (or teach) music?
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Old 08-15-2019, 06:31 PM   #18
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This reminds me of Esperanto. It's supposed to be a "new and improved" language but I've never heard of anybody using it. The United Nations uses English. Formula 1 racing uses English, Air Traffic Control and International shipping uses English.
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Old 08-15-2019, 08:41 PM   #19
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I admire your scholastic zeal but I'm afaid that I can't really see this happening. I should just opt out, but allow me please just to make a couple of points.

I don't want chord symbols in jazz to define an exact voicing or indeed an exact scale..being able to interpret them is part of the whole creative tradition. Jazz is not about mathematical exactitude, it's an artform, not a computer program. EbMajb5#11/B immediately gives me a base from which to expand into a whole palette of possibilities (but you could get away with leaving out the b5...Ha).

I'd rather read an expertly hand written chart than an expertly written Sibelius chart.

But please carry on, really, I do admire your enthusiasm.

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Old 08-15-2019, 10:05 PM   #20
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EbMajb5#11/B immediately gives me a base from which to expand into a whole palette of possibilities (but you could get away with leaving out the b5...Ha).

I'd rather read an expertly hand written chart than an expertly written Sibelius chart.

what is the difference between an expertly hand written chart and an expertly written Sibelius chart? the scribbling or the pencil or the font used? Printed Jazz songbooks and jazz-themed notation apps frequently by default use a script-based font which is less readable than a normal print font. For handwritten charts, I have heard musicians say, "is that a B then A? oh, that's a bA." That means handwriting is less readable and more ambiguous in the ancient system. Music students today are advised to not even write charts by hand, and instead always use notation software. Some auditions don't even allow handwritten charts- at all- there's the door, see you next time, essentially.


more importantly there is a difference in purpose between notation during performance and transcription. transcription should be unambigious. it is documentation (reverse engineering) of a recorded performance. If the notation is ambiguous then the transcription is ambiguous and it is error-prone and inexact.

In performance from a chart, I don't see your confusion to prefer a chart which says "EbMajb5#11/B" over a chart which has another, shorter symbol, which means the same thing, employing more efficient use of typography. Essentially you are stating that you want a dense "set of mixed capital letters plus non-alphanumerics" containing multiple exceptions within its meaning, rather than a simpler, definitive token. The exceptions being, the correct chord is EbMaj7 plus with a modification to play b5 plus another modification to additionally play #11 plus another modification to play the inversion. That's like saying you enjoy written sentences with quadruple negatives because they 'look cool to work from'. (Not that you don't dislike non-true statements. That's four negatives in one phrase and is much more difficult to understand.)


And that is not even getting into the ridiculous behavior in the current notational system regarding the use of "Maj", or the triangle symbol, or "M", or "m". Even jazz musicians will complain about one or the other, depending on their own past training and preference, ex: "I hate it when charts use M !"
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Old 08-15-2019, 10:07 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philbo King View Post
See Dvorak keyboard and Metric System
Yeah, regretful the metric system is so obscure.

Also, wow for the marshmallow keyboard up there. Would be cool to see it in action.
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Old 08-15-2019, 10:24 PM   #22
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Besides the old style Piano keyboard, and the Pashkuli keyboard there are hundreds of different ways to convert finger position to pitch: Bandoneon and similar knob keyboards, flute, sax, oboe, guitar (multiple common tunings - drop-D, etc) violin, ... And this only is the European influenced bunch...
There very obviously is no "cure"

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Old 08-15-2019, 10:27 PM   #23
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Do you understand why 7 letters are used? If you try and design a new system, you most likely will find out why.
there's many explanations as to why, i'm not sure which one you're suggesting, maybe you could explain in 1-2 sentences?

There have been musical systems with 11 (or 12?) unique letters instead of 7 ...

Solfege has multiple sets of nomenclature, there's the main 7 tokens (Do Re Mi ..), but there's also the chromatic ascending 11 (Do Ri Re Mi ...) and the descending 11 (ahhh I forget, its late nite) - only some notes of which vary between ascending and descending, essentially equivalents of calling out sharp or flat. So there are two different ways of naming all 12 notes or the main 8 notes. And that's just for relative solfege, it gets into another convention completely for absolute solfege. Many trained-amateur vocalists don't ever learn music notation or theory at all, they start with solfege and that's all they ever do, because they find it toooo confusing (or something).
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Old 08-15-2019, 10:35 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by mschnell View Post
Besides the old style Piano keyboard, and the Pashkuli keyboard there are hundreds of different ways to convert finger position to pitch: Bandoneon and similar knob keyboards, flute, sax, oboe, guitar (multiple common tunings - drop-D, etc) violin, ... And this only is the European influenced bunch...
Make note of the original post where I suggested that a new notation system should be proposed for theory use, that means for transcription, composition, verbal explanation, etc. Not for describing playing on particular instruments, or staff, although it would be great if it covered both, it is just unlikely. Not even the current system uses one set of "things" for both situations, they are separate: there's the nomenclature 'theory which describes pitches' side, and there's the pictograph 'staff which is read while playing' side.

The related argument to instrumental notation is tablature (such as guitar), which many "degreed" musicians will claim is completely unsuitable for use in playing music. Yet standard staff notation does not adequately describe voicing (neck position) which only tablature does well, so, those musicians are wrong, staff has missing and necessary information in comparison to tablature. And then there are rarer instruments like ocarina which use finger diagrams for playing, which is much faster to learn than staff.

But again I am not really talking about a new "pictograph" system (staff, or something for performance use, or indicating which finger goes where), I am talking only about a new nomenclature system.
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Old 08-15-2019, 10:51 PM   #25
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The current system does describe playing a standard piano keyboard (or vice versa) with black key beeing positioned off-line and needing additional # an b suffixes.
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Old 08-15-2019, 10:57 PM   #26
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Shifting complexity from one form to another form doesn't really deal with unnecessary complexity in the first place. For example, shifting the complexity of dots on multiple lines and spaces to instead using many more symbols on a single line is really just shifting the problem to a new form. If the design goal is to make notation that is easier to read, I think this approach doesn't meet the goal. Although, I do like the idea of single line notation, because it can be much simpler. See the tbon notation mentioned earlier in the thread.

In any notation system the main two things that need to be represented are pitch and time. Here is a modification to the tbon system from Michael Ellis, but with a separate line for time:

Code:
Key = G
Time = 3/4 

G  G  | A  G  C | B    G  G  | A  G  D | C      |
8. 16 | 4  4  4 | 2    8. 16 | 4  4  4 | 2      |
The fractional denominator is on the second line, where '8' = 1/8th, etc., '.' is the same as in standard notation, and '|' marks the end of a bar.
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Old 08-15-2019, 11:07 PM   #27
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The current system does describe playing a standard piano keyboard (or vice versa) with black key beeing positioned off-line and needing additional # an b suffixes.
-Michael

I'm not sure we are talking about the same things.

I am looking at sheet music (grand staff) right now and it does not have tokens for notes and it does not have chord names. It is a collection of dots and lines only, and in rare cases, finger numbers above the dots. Only in a beginner-piano book would I see the phrase "Play A, B, C, D, D#, E" and then translate this to a finger movement (which is not specified in the notation).

In some sheet music (such as jazz, but not in classical), there will be chord names above the dots, which may be additional information not contained in the dots. In other sheet music (such as classical, but _not_ in jazz), there will be numerals below the dots for bass players to know what to play on the bass line.

In some highly simplified charts (jazz charts) there are no dots at all, or the dots are for a different instrument (the vocalist), and the instrumentalist uses the chord names only, by themselves, to play everything which is to be played.

So you see, there are 2 systems: one with dots and lines (for performance), and one with lots of letters & numbers & non-alphanumerics (for theory).

If a musician wants, they can manually translate the "dots & lines" system into the "letters & numbers" system, or vice versa, to translate theory to performance, or vice versa.

And then there is the 3rd system...tablature...
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Old 08-15-2019, 11:28 PM   #28
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there's many explanations as to why, i'm not sure which one you're suggesting, maybe you could explain in 1-2 sentences?

There have been musical systems with 11 (or 12?) unique letters instead of 7 ...

Solfege has multiple sets of nomenclature, there's the main 7 tokens (Do Re Mi ..), but there's also the chromatic ascending 11 (Do Ri Re Mi ...) and the descending 11 (ahhh I forget, its late nite) - only some notes of which vary between ascending and descending, essentially equivalents of calling out sharp or flat. So there are two different ways of naming all 12 notes or the main 8 notes. And that's just for relative solfege, it gets into another convention completely for absolute solfege. Many trained-amateur vocalists don't ever learn music notation or theory at all, they start with solfege and that's all they ever do, because they find it toooo confusing (or something).
It is because standard notation represents western music, which is diatonic. And standard music is absolute pitch, not relative. If you use 12 letters (or other symbols) instead of 7, the key spellings and notation becomes even more complex than standard notation.

The only practical way to reduce the complexity (that I can see) is to use a relative pitch system. But when it comes time to implement those ideas (being discussed within a relative pitch system) in an absolute pitch system, things get more complex again. And now you have two systems: a simpler relative pitch system, a more complex absolute pitch system, and a translation between the two. Has the complexity problem been addressed or made worse?

One thing about standard notation is that it is very efficient. I guess paper was a major concern before industrialization and mass production. And I guess that is a tradeoff for more difficult legibility. We can get something of a one-line or two-line system that is easier to look at. But is it easier to read?
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Old 08-15-2019, 11:39 PM   #29
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It is because standard notation represents western music, which is diatonic. And standard music is absolute pitch, not relative. If you use 12 letters (or other symbols) instead of 7, the key spellings and notation becomes even more complex than standard notation.
parts of music are chromatic, jazz especially. so, abbreviate the system down to base-8 which means the chromatic aspects need special modifiers, or make the system base-12 which forces all notes to be written as the notes they are, without modifiers? That is a tradeoff, yes. Removing the need to indicate sharps & flats is desirable, for sure.

Whether that means "even more complex" is debatable. Does increasing english vocabulary make sentences "more complex" or does it make them less complex yet more descriptive & precise?

Removing the emphasis and terminology for major vs. minor is also desirable. There should be just modes, with the zeroeth mode being the default mode (for example ionian). The theory emphasis on major vs. minor is archaic and obsolete.
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Old 08-15-2019, 11:51 PM   #30
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parts of music are chromatic, jazz especially. so, abbreviate the system down to base-8 which means the chromatic aspects need special modifiers, or make the system base-12 which forces all notes to be written as the notes they are, without modifiers? That is a tradeoff, yes. Removing the need to indicate sharps & flats is desirable, for sure.

Whether that means "even more complex" is debatable. Does increasing english vocabulary make sentences "more complex" or does it make them less complex yet more descriptive & precise?

Removing the emphasis and terminology for major vs. minor is also desirable. There should be just modes, with the zeroeth mode being the default mode (for example ionian). The theory emphasis on major vs. minor is archaic and obsolete.
Let's say we spell a chromatic scale this way:

A B C D E F G H I J K L

Now the diatonic becomes:

A C E F H J L

Is that spelling easier to think about in comparison to:

A B C# D E F# G#

?

And this is one key spelling. Spell out all the keys, triads, 7ths, etc. It gets hairy real fast. I know how those sharps and flats look on the surface. We would like to get rid of them. But one stroke of brilliance in standard music is how those sharps and flats actually simplify things, where we always have that same old same 'A B C D E F G' sequence. It's easy forward and backward and from any point inbetween.

But I am not saying to not think about this stuff. It's how we come to understand things better, by looking at things to see why they are the way they are and trying to see if they can somehow be made better.
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Old 08-15-2019, 11:55 PM   #31
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I'd like to buy a vowel.
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Old 08-16-2019, 12:04 AM   #32
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Is that spelling easier to think about
I wouldnt jump to conclusions about which way is easier or harder so rapidly, because there are many usability tests out there which prove the human mind often doesn't care which way things work as long as the system is learned (it really just depends, sometimes it doesn't matter, and sometimes it does).

Piano players (and bass players) think of chords in terms of "ok, A, 1 3 5 7 #9" - because it is ingrained. In essence it is a situation of always spelling out chords by note.

Guitar players do not think that way because they are not forced to practice on a linear instrument with a linear-thinking instructor. Guitar players think "A7#9 Pattern at A"
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Old 08-16-2019, 12:09 AM   #33
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I wouldnt jump to conclusions about which way is easier or harder so rapidly, because there are many usability tests out there which prove the human mind often doesn't care which way things work as long as the system is learned (it really just depends, sometimes it doesn't matter, and sometimes it does).

Piano players (and bass players) think of chords in terms of "ok, A, 1 3 5 7 #9" - because it is ingrained. In essence it is a situation of always spelling out chords by note.

Guitar players do not think that way because they are not forced to practice on a linear instrument with a linear-thinking instructor. Guitar players think "A7#9 Pattern at A"
Guitar players think? Who'da thunk it?

I am only saying here to put your pencil to some paper and really think it over. I have done it, and my conclusion was that the standard music system is pretty brilliant. Standard music notation on the other hand... Maybe if I grew up reading and writing in it I would think differently. But I didn't and I don't.

But any way, after you give it a good think over I would like to hear your thoughts on it. Maybe you'll figure out something useful that I wasn't able to. Try letters, numbers, symbols... Want to borrow my book on symbols?
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Old 08-16-2019, 12:11 AM   #34
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I'd like to buy a vowel.
Priceless.


I think any "new and improved" notation systems are anything but. Current notation that we use has been around for centuries, it's one of the best standards the humankind has agreed upon. Even longer lasting than MIDI.

When something is rooted in for that long, chances of it changing with something completely different are very close to zero.
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Old 08-16-2019, 12:22 AM   #35
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Priceless.


I think any "new and improved" notation systems are anything but. Current notation that we use has been around for centuries, it's one of the best standards the humankind has agreed upon. Even longer lasting than MIDI.

When something is rooted in for that long, chances of it changing with something completely different are very close to zero.
I don't really agree. How are the lines and spaces and staggered placement of notes over the grand staff, good? I think it is archaic because it served archaic purposes that no longer hold.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-PmfdV_cZU
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Old 08-16-2019, 12:26 AM   #36
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Current notation that we use has been around
...

When something is rooted in for that long, chances of it changing with something completely different are very close to zero.


"COBOL has been around for decades. Any chance that the banking system will move away from COBOL are very close to zero."

"Latin has been spoken for centuries. Latin will be a vibrant language spoken into the millennia to come."

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Old 08-16-2019, 12:52 AM   #37
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"COBOL has been around for decades. Any chance that the banking system will move away from COBOL are very close to zero."

"Latin has been spoken for centuries. Latin will be a vibrant language spoken into the millennia to come."

COBOL had a much shorter run than musical notation, also latin alphabet still goes pretty strong (not to mention some derived languages like Italian or Romanian).

Well, respect for anyone that feels their understanding of music is definite enough to overthrow the super estabilished paradigm
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Old 08-16-2019, 01:36 AM   #38
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Different systems will have different goals. The current system seems to have the goal of describing major-key church music for the latin mass. Let me see, when was the last time I needed that goal, oh yeah: Never.
Sometimes, occasionally most people would use it.

The Western system is based on segregation between the 7 modes (originally not so "western") and the rest of the Pythagorean Just Intonation (hardly ever used in its entirety). Hence the rest 5 keys on the piano had to be squeezed in-between the whites (smaller size and raised, the colours were the opposite in earlier times, but that doesn't matter). That is why most people tend to avoid using tonalities (keys) which would require the thumb to be on a "black" (smaller) key. It is simply difficult to squiggle your fingers to touch the narrow back areas of the otherwise big "white" keys on the front.

Really bad design.





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Originally Posted by brainwreck
I don't really agree. How are the lines and spaces and staggered placement of notes over the grand staff, good? I think it is archaic because it served archaic purposes that no longer hold.
That is true. After all it is just 12 notes.
Do you know the months of the year? Can you arrange and name them them starting from any month - of course you can!
Maybe the zodiac signs as well? What about other dozenal = duodecimal systems you know by heart? Let me see... the clock?! Doh! You'd usually never ever mismatch the clock (or the moths of the year).


So, who says that 12 note names for the 12-TET (Equal Temperament) will hurt their brain. Yes, habits (or worse - dogmas in thinking and education) are what slows down progress. Sometimes for centuries...

Someone mentioned Dvorak. Well, in my native language (wich uses Cyrillic) the vowels are on the left of the keyboard - makes sense because usually in 98% of the cases after maximum of two consonants, one would have to type a vowel. That makes alternating between the hands much comprehensible.

My English keyboard layout is arranged not as a QWERTY.
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Old 08-16-2019, 02:08 AM   #39
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For such a bad design there sure are many people using it efficiently to play just about anything!

In fact, many more people play piano great than there are people using Dvorak or whatever.


Y'all people being ridiculous.
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Old 08-16-2019, 02:23 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by superblonde.org View Post
Although the systems developed somewhat together, the music world is stuck with a lot of awkward piano-centric thinking. Middle C, being considered the center, while the musical alphabet starts with A.
Was it to have a new means of performance? Or a faster way to learn (or teach) music?
To both questions - Yes. And you are absolutely right that we are all stuck in a system deeply indoctrinated in our brains. Simply ask "Why?" and a whole new world of possibilities will open!



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I admire your scholastic zeal but I'm afaid that I can't really see this happening.
I don't want chord symbols in jazz to define an exact voicing or indeed an exact scale..being able to interpret them is part of the whole creative tradition. Jazz is not about mathematical exactitude, it's an artform, not a computer program. EbMajb5#11/B immediately gives me a base from which to expand into a whole palette of possibilities (but you could get away with leaving out the b5...Ha).

I'd rather read an expertly hand written chart than an expertly written Sibelius chart.
But please carry on, really, I do admire your enthusiasm.
Goldreap, you are talking from the point of view of a specific nichè music style - jazz. That is not a wise approach but it is quite common amongst jazz musicians who usually see themselves as some kind of posh-musicians who can interpret 10+ chords in a bar.
This not the point - to interpret music elements and blocks!
The point is to be able to write precisely what you have in mind.
I am not sure if you are a keyboard or guitar player or brass, woodwind one. I am sure you know about flamenco - this music style is even beyond jazz - you can never properly notate flamenco - ever! the beat of flamenco, though, is incomparable and makes jazz look like a failed pop music style (what originally jazz was meant to be - a popular music).
Please, do not get me wrong - I love jazz. Peggy Lee is one of my favourtite jazz musicians!



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Originally Posted by zeekat View Post
Yeah, regretful the metric system is so obscure.
Also, wow for the marshmallow keyboard up there. Would be cool to see it in action.
Metric system is decimal, Imperial system is proportional. Both are good for certain things. Imperial being good for "big, imperial power over the land conquered".
Marshmallow is a new description. It has been called candy, bubbly, gummy, but marshmallow is the best!



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Originally Posted by brainwreck View Post
Let's say we spell a chromatic scale this way:
A B C D E F G H I J K L

Now the diatonic becomes:
A C E F H J L

Is that spelling easier to think about in comparison to:
A B C# D E F# G#

I know how those sharps and flats look on the surface. We would like to get rid of them... but we always have that same old same 'A B C D E F G' sequence. It's easy forward and backward and from any point inbetween.
♯ ♭ ♮ - these make sense if you only play the standard piano keyboard. hardly ever applicable to any let's say wood or brass instrument - if you know well enough your instrument you can name the holes in it any way you want! Same applies to fretted instruments (tabulature is best for those).
And for the love of humanity - Latin alphabet is only one of the 100+ other alphabets. A, B, C, D... was not much different than J, T, S, Q... to me (when I started to learn English) - but I get your point!

Now, please take a look at the name of the months! Now, pick a random one! You know which ones would come next and which one before.
Because you had to learn them and use them - every month of your life!

J, F, M, A, M, U, L, G, S, O, N, D can you guess the months!? No repeated symbols (I'm sure you will struggle for a minute). Difficult?!
Now start from anywhere on that sequence of month symbolic representations (letter-zodiac).
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