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Musical notation

Musical notation

Overview

Music notation or musical notation is any system that represents aurally perceived music
Music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

, through the use of written symbols
Modern musical symbols
Modern musical symbols are the marks and symbols that are widely used in musical scores of all styles and instruments today. This is intended to be a comprehensive guide to the various symbols encountered in modern musical notation.- Lines :- Clefs :...

.

The earliest form of musical notation can be found in a cuneiform
Cuneiform script
Cuneiform script )) is one of the earliest known forms of written expression. Emerging in Sumer around the 30th century BC, with predecessors reaching into the late 4th millennium , cuneiform writing began as a system of pictographs...

 tablet that was created at Nippur
Nippur
Nippur was one of the most ancient of all the Sumerian cities. It was the special seat of the worship of the Sumerian god Enlil, the "Lord Wind," ruler of the cosmos subject to An alone...

, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 in about 2000 B.C. The tablet represents fragmentary instructions for performing music, that the music was composed in harmonies of thirds, and that it was written using a diatonic scale
Diatonic scale
In music theory, a diatonic scale is a seven note, octave-repeating musical scale comprising five whole steps and two half steps for each octave, in which the two half steps are separated from each other by either two or three whole steps...

.
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Encyclopedia

Music notation or musical notation is any system that represents aurally perceived music
Music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

, through the use of written symbols
Modern musical symbols
Modern musical symbols are the marks and symbols that are widely used in musical scores of all styles and instruments today. This is intended to be a comprehensive guide to the various symbols encountered in modern musical notation.- Lines :- Clefs :...

.

History


The earliest form of musical notation can be found in a cuneiform
Cuneiform script
Cuneiform script )) is one of the earliest known forms of written expression. Emerging in Sumer around the 30th century BC, with predecessors reaching into the late 4th millennium , cuneiform writing began as a system of pictographs...

 tablet that was created at Nippur
Nippur
Nippur was one of the most ancient of all the Sumerian cities. It was the special seat of the worship of the Sumerian god Enlil, the "Lord Wind," ruler of the cosmos subject to An alone...

, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 in about 2000 B.C. The tablet represents fragmentary instructions for performing music, that the music was composed in harmonies of thirds, and that it was written using a diatonic scale
Diatonic scale
In music theory, a diatonic scale is a seven note, octave-repeating musical scale comprising five whole steps and two half steps for each octave, in which the two half steps are separated from each other by either two or three whole steps...

. A tablet from about 1250 B.C. shows a more developed form of notation. Although the interpretation of the notation system is still controversial, it is clear that the notation indicates the names of strings on a lyre
Lyre
The lyre is a stringed musical instrument known for its use in Greek classical antiquity and later. The word comes from the Greek "λύρα" and the earliest reference to the word is the Mycenaean Greek ru-ra-ta-e, meaning "lyrists", written in Linear B syllabic script...

, the tuning of which is described in other tablets. Although they are fragmentary, these tablets represent the earliest notated melodies
Melody
A melody , also tune, voice, or line, is a linear succession of musical tones which is perceived as a single entity...

 found anywhere in the world.

Ancient Greece


Ancient Greek
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 musical notation was capable of representing pitch
Pitch (music)
Pitch is an auditory perceptual property that allows the ordering of sounds on a frequency-related scale.Pitches are compared as "higher" and "lower" in the sense associated with musical melodies,...

 and note-duration, and to a limited extent, harmony
Harmony
In music, harmony is the use of simultaneous pitches , or chords. The study of harmony involves chords and their construction and chord progressions and the principles of connection that govern them. Harmony is often said to refer to the "vertical" aspect of music, as distinguished from melodic...

. It was in use from at least the 6th century BC until approximately the 4th century AD; several complete compositions and fragments of compositions using this notation survive. The notation consists of symbols placed above text syllables. An example of a complete composition is the Seikilos epitaph
Seikilos epitaph
The Seikilos epitaph is the oldest surviving example of a complete musical composition, including musical notation, from anywhere in the world. The song, the melody of which is recorded, alongside its lyrics, in the ancient Greek musical notation, was found engraved on a tombstone, near Aidin,...

, which has been variously dated between the 2nd century BC to the 1st century AD. Three hymns by Mesomedes
Mesomedes
Mesomedes of Crete was a Greek lyric poet and composer of the early 2nd century.He was a freedman of the Emperor Hadrian, on whose favorite Antinous he is said to have written a panegyric, specifically called a Citharoedic Hymn . Two epigrams by him in the Greek Anthology Mesomedes of Crete was a...

 of Crete
Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

 exist in manuscript. The Delphic Hymns
Delphic Hymns
The Delphic Hymns are two musical compositions from Ancient Greece, which survive in substantial fragments. They were long regarded as being dated circa 138 BCE and 128 BCE, respectively, but recent scholarship has shown it likely they were both written for performance at the Athenian...

, dated to the 2nd century BC, also use this notation, but they are not completely preserved. Ancient Greek notation appears to have fallen out of use around the time of the Decline of the Roman Empire
Decline of the Roman Empire
The decline of the Roman Empire refers to the gradual societal collapse of the Western Roman Empire. Many theories of causality prevail, but most concern the disintegration of political, economic, military, and other social institutions, in tandem with foreign invasions and usurpers from within the...

.

Byzantine Empire



Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 music is vocal religious music, based on the monodic
Monody
In poetry, the term monody has become specialized to refer to a poem in which one person laments another's death....

 modal singing of Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 and the pre-islamic Near East
Near East
The Near East is a geographical term that covers different countries for geographers, archeologists, and historians, on the one hand, and for political scientists, economists, and journalists, on the other...

. The notation developed for it is similar in principle to subsequent Western notation, in that it is ordered left to right, and separated into measures. The main difference is that notation symbols are differential rather than absolute, i.e. they indicate pitch change (rise or fall), and the musician has to deduce correctly, from the score and the note they are singing presently, which note comes next. The pitch symbols themselves resemble brush strokes and are colloquially called gántzoi ("hooks") in Modern Greek
Modern Greek
Modern Greek refers to the varieties of the Greek language spoken in the modern era. The beginning of the "modern" period of the language is often symbolically assigned to the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, even though that date marks no clear linguistic boundary and many characteristic...

. Notes themselves are represented in written form only between measures, as an optional reminder, along with modal and tempo directions if needed. Additional signs are used to indicate embellishments and microtones (pitch changes smaller than a semitone
Semitone
A semitone, also called a half step or a half tone, is the smallest musical interval commonly used in Western tonal music, and it is considered the most dissonant when sounded harmonically....

), both essential in Byzantine chant (see Romanian anastasimatarion picture, left).

The seven standard note names in Byzantine "solfege" are: pá, vú, ghá, dhē, ké, zō, nē, corresponding to Western re, mi, fa, sol, la, si, do. Byzantine music uses the eight natural, non-tempered scales called Ēkhoi, "sounds", exclusively, and therefore the absolute pitch of each note may slightly vary each time, depending on the particular Ēkhos used. Byzantine notation is still used in many Orthodox Churches. Better cantors can also use standard Western notation while adding non-notatable embellishment material from memory and "sliding" into the natural scales from experience.

Persia and Arab world


In 1252, Safi al-Din al-Urmawi developed a form of musical notation, where rhythm
Rhythm
Rhythm may be generally defined as a "movement marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements, or of opposite or different conditions." This general meaning of regular recurrence or pattern in time may be applied to a wide variety of cyclical natural phenomena having a periodicity or...

s were represented by geometric
Geometry
Geometry arose as the field of knowledge dealing with spatial relationships. Geometry was one of the two fields of pre-modern mathematics, the other being the study of numbers ....

 representation. Many subsequent scholars of rhythm have sought to develop graphical geometrical representations. For example, a similar geometric system was published in 1987 by Kjell Gustafson, whose method represents a rhythm as a two-dimensional graph.

Early Europe


Scholar and music theorist Isidore of Seville
Isidore of Seville
Saint Isidore of Seville served as Archbishop of Seville for more than three decades and is considered, as the historian Montalembert put it in an oft-quoted phrase, "le dernier savant du monde ancien"...

, writing in the early 7th century, remarked that it was impossible to notate music. By the middle of the 9th century, however, a form of notation began to develop in monasteries in Europe for Gregorian chant
Gregorian chant
Gregorian chant is the central tradition of Western plainchant, a form of monophonic liturgical music within Western Christianity that accompanied the celebration of Mass and other ritual services...

, using symbols known as neume
Neume
A neume is the basic element of Western and Eastern systems of musical notation prior to the invention of five-line staff notation. The word is a Middle English corruption of the ultimately Ancient Greek word for breath ....

s; the earliest surviving musical notation of this type is in the Musica disciplina of Aurelian of Réôme
Aurelian of Réôme
Aurelian of Réôme was a Frankish writer and music theorist. He is the author of the Musica disciplina, the earliest extant treatise on music from medieval Europe.- Life :...

, from about 850. There are scattered survivals from the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

 before this time, of a type of notation known as Visigothic neumes
Neume
A neume is the basic element of Western and Eastern systems of musical notation prior to the invention of five-line staff notation. The word is a Middle English corruption of the ultimately Ancient Greek word for breath ....

, but its few surviving fragments have not yet been deciphered.


To address the issue of exact pitch, a staff was introduced consisting originally of a single horizontal line, but this was progressively extended until a system of four parallel, horizontal lines was standardized. The vertical positions of each mark on the staff indicated which pitch or pitches it represented (pitches were derived from a musical mode
Musical mode
In the theory of Western music since the ninth century, mode generally refers to a type of scale. This usage, still the most common in recent years, reflects a tradition dating to the middle ages, itself inspired by the theory of ancient Greek music.The word encompasses several additional...

. Although the four-line staff has remained in use until the present day for plainchant, for other types of music, staffs with differing numbers of lines have been used at various times and places for various instruments. The modern five-line staff was first adopted in France and became almost universal by the 16th century (although the use of staffs with other numbers of lines was still widespread well into the 17th century).

Because the neum system arose from the need to notate melodies
Melody
A melody , also tune, voice, or line, is a linear succession of musical tones which is perceived as a single entity...

, exact timing was initially not a particular issue because the music generally followed the natural rhythms of the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 language. However, by the 10th century a system that represented up to four note lengths had been developed. These lengths were relative rather than absolute and depended on the duration of the neighbouring notes. Not until the 14th century did something like the present system of fixed note lengths arise. Starting in the 15th century, vertical bar lines were used to divide the staff into sections.These did not initially divide the music into measures (bars) of equal length (as most music then featured far fewer regular rhythmic patterns than in later periods), but appear to have been introduced as an aid to the eye for "lining up" notes on different staves that were played or sung at the same time. The use of regular measures (bars) became commonplace by the end of the 17th century.

The founder of what is now considered the standard music stave was Guido d'Arezzo
Guido of Arezzo
Guido of Arezzo or Guido Aretinus or Guido da Arezzo or Guido Monaco or Guido d'Arezzo was a music theorist of the Medieval era...

, an Italian Benedictine monk who lived from about 991 until after 1033. Guido D'Arezzo's achievements paved the way for the modern form of written music, music books, and the modern concept of a composer
Composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

. He taught the use of solmization
Solmization
Solmization is a system of attributing a distinct syllable to each note in a musical scale. Various forms of solmization are in use and have been used throughout the world.In Europe and North America, solfège is the convention used most often...

 syllables based on a hymn to Saint John the Baptist, which begins Ut Queant Laxis
Ut queant laxis
Ut queant laxis or Hymnus in Ioannem are verses in honour of John the Baptist written in Horatian Sapphics by Paulus Diaconus, the eighth century Lombard historian...

 and was written by the Lombard
Lombard
The term Lombard refers to members of or things related, directly or indirectly, to the Lombards , a Germanic tribe that dominated northern Italy and adjoining areas from the 6th to 8th centuries...

 historian Paul the Deacon
Paul the Deacon
Paul the Deacon , also known as Paulus Diaconus, Warnefred, Barnefridus and Cassinensis, , was a Benedictine monk and historian of the Lombards.-Life:...

. The first stanza is:
  1. Ut queant laxis
  2. resonare fibris,
  3. Mira gestorum
  4. famuli tuorum,
  5. Solve polluti
  6. labii reatum,
  7. Sancte Iohannes.


Guido used the first syllable of each line, Ut, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol and La, to read notated music in terms of hexachords; they were not note names, and each could, depending on context, be applied to any note. In the 17th century, Ut was changed in most countries except France to the easily singable, "open" syllable Do, said to have been taken from the name of the Italian theorist Giovanni Battista Doni
Giovanni Battista Doni
Giovanni Battista Doni was an Italian musicologist who made an extensive study of ancient music. Known, among other works, for having changed the name of note Ut renaming it Do after his own family name to ease solfege.- Life :...

. Si, which has the S of Sancte and the I of Iohannes, was added in modern Solfège
Solfege
In music, solfège is a pedagogical solmization technique for the teaching of sight-singing in which each note of the score is sung to a special syllable, called a solfège syllable...

. It also helps in that, if two adjacent notes had the same vowel, verbal communication errors became more likely.

Modern staff notation



Modern music notation originated in European classical music
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

 and is now used by musicians of many different genres throughout the world.

The system uses a five-line staff
Staff (music)
In standard Western musical notation, the staff, or stave, is a set of five horizontal lines and four spaces that each represent a different musical pitch—or, in the case of a percussion staff, different percussion instruments. Appropriate music symbols, depending upon the intended effect,...

. Pitch is shown by placement of note
Note
In music, the term note has two primary meanings:#A sign used in musical notation to represent the relative duration and pitch of a sound;#A pitched sound itself....

s on the staff (sometimes modified by accidentals
Accidental (music)
In music, an accidental is a note whose pitch is not a member of a scale or mode indicated by the most recently applied key signature. In musical notation, the symbols used to mark such notes, sharps , flats , and naturals , may also be called accidentals...

), and duration is shown with different note value
Note value
In music notation, a note value indicates the relative duration of a note, using the color or shape of the note head, the presence or absence of a stem, and the presence or absence of flags/beams/hooks/tails....

s and additional symbols such as dots
Dotted note
In Western musical notation, a dotted note is a note with a small dot written after it. The dot increases the duration of the basic note by half of its original value. If the basic note lasts 2 beats, the corresponding dotted note lasts 3 beats...

 and ties
Tie (music)
In music notation, a tie is a curved line connecting the heads of two notes of the same pitch, indicating that they are to be played as a single note with a duration equal to the sum of the individual notes' note values...

. Notation is read from left to right, which makes setting music for right-to-left scripts difficult.

A staff (or stave, in British English) of written music generally begins with a clef
Clef
A clef is a musical symbol used to indicate the pitch of written notes. Placed on one of the lines at the beginning of the staff, it indicates the name and pitch of the notes on that line. This line serves as a reference point by which the names of the notes on any other line or space of the staff...

, which indicates the position of one particular note on the staff. The treble or G clef was originally a letter G and it identifies the second line up on the five line staff as the note G above middle C. The bass or F clef shows the position of the note F below middle C. Notes representing a pitch outside of the scope of the five line staff can be represented using ledger line
Ledger line
A ledger line or leger line is musical notation to notate pitches above or below the lines and spaces of the regular musical staff. A line slightly longer than the note head is drawn parallel to the staff, above or below, spaced at the same distance as the lines within the staff .Notes more than...

s, which provide a single note with additional lines and spaces.

Following the clef, the key signature
Key signature
In musical notation, a key signature is a series of sharp or flat symbols placed on the staff, designating notes that are to be consistently played one semitone higher or lower than the equivalent natural notes unless otherwise altered with an accidental...

 on a staff indicates the key
Key (music)
In music theory, the term key is used in many different and sometimes contradictory ways. A common use is to speak of music as being "in" a specific key, such as in the key of C major or in the key of F-sharp. Sometimes the terms "major" or "minor" are appended, as in the key of A minor or in the...

 of the piece by specifying that certain notes are flat or sharp throughout the piece, unless otherwise indicated.

Following the key signature is the time signature
Time signature
The time signature is a notational convention used in Western musical notation to specify how many beats are in each measure and which note value constitutes one beat....

. Measures (bars
Bar (music)
In musical notation, a bar is a segment of time defined by a given number of beats of a given duration. Typically, a piece consists of several bars of the same length, and in modern musical notation the number of beats in each bar is specified at the beginning of the score by the top number of a...

) divide the piece into groups of beats
Beat (music)
The beat is the basic unit of time in music, the pulse of the mensural level . In popular use, the beat can refer to a variety of related concepts including: tempo, meter, rhythm and groove...

, and the time signatures specify those groupings.

Directions to the player regarding matters such as tempo
Tempo
In musical terminology, tempo is the speed or pace of a given piece. Tempo is a crucial element of any musical composition, as it can affect the mood and difficulty of a piece.-Measuring tempo:...

, dynamics
Dynamics (music)
In music, dynamics normally refers to the volume of a sound or note, but can also refer to every aspect of the execution of a given piece, either stylistic or functional . The term is also applied to the written or printed musical notation used to indicate dynamics...

 and expression
Musical expression
Musical expression is the art of playing music with communication. The elements of music that comprise expression include dynamic indications, forte or piano, phrasing, differing qualities of touch and articulation, color, intensity, energy and excitement all at the service of the composer's...

 appear above or below the staff. For vocal music, lyrics are written. For short pauses (breaths), retakes (looks like ') are added.

In music for ensembles
Musical ensemble
A musical ensemble is a group of people who perform instrumental or vocal music. In classical music, trios or quartets either blend the sounds of musical instrument families or group together instruments from the same instrument family, such as string ensembles or wind ensembles...

, a "score
Sheet music
Sheet music is a hand-written or printed form of music notation that uses modern musical symbols; like its analogs—books, pamphlets, etc.—the medium of sheet music typically is paper , although the access to musical notation in recent years includes also presentation on computer screens...

" shows music for all players together, while "parts" contain only the music played by an individual musician. A score can be constructed from a complete set of parts and vice versa. The process can be laborious but computer software offers a more convenient and flexible method.

Specialized notation conventions



  • Percussion notation
    Percussion notation
    Percussion notation is a type of musical notation indicating notes to be played by percussion instruments. As with other forms of musical notation, sounds are represented by symbols which are usually written onto a musical staff ....

     conventions are varied because of the wide range of percussion instruments. Percussion instruments are generally grouped into two categories: pitched and non-pitched. The notation of non-pitched percussion instruments is the more problematic and less standardized.
  • Figured bass
    Figured bass
    Figured bass, or thoroughbass, is a kind of integer musical notation used to indicate intervals, chords, and non-chord tones, in relation to a bass note...

     notation originated in Baroque
    Baroque music
    Baroque music describes a style of Western Classical music approximately extending from 1600 to 1760. This era follows the Renaissance and was followed in turn by the Classical era...

     basso continuo
    Figured bass
    Figured bass, or thoroughbass, is a kind of integer musical notation used to indicate intervals, chords, and non-chord tones, in relation to a bass note...

     parts. It is also used extensively in accordion
    Accordion
    The accordion is a box-shaped musical instrument of the bellows-driven free-reed aerophone family, sometimes referred to as a squeezebox. A person who plays the accordion is called an accordionist....

     notation. The bass notes of the music are conventionally notated, along with numbers and other signs that determine the chords to play. It does not, however, specify the exact pitches of the harmony, leaving that for the performer to improvise.
  • A lead sheet
    Lead sheet
    A lead sheet is a form of music notation that specifies the essential elements of a popular song: the melody, lyrics and harmony. The melody is written in modern Western music notation, the lyric is written as text below the staff and the harmony is specified with chord symbols above the...

     specifies only the melody, lyrics and harmony, using one staff with chord symbols placed above and lyrics below. It is used to capture the essential elements of a popular song
    Popular music
    Popular music belongs to any of a number of musical genres "having wide appeal" and is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. It stands in contrast to both art music and traditional music, which are typically disseminated academically or orally to smaller, local...

     without specifying how the song should be arranged or performed.
  • A chord chart
    Chord chart
    A chord chart is a form of musical notation that in addition to writing out non-embellished melody, describes harmonic and rhythmic information. It is the most common form of notation used by professional session musicians playing jazz or popular music. It is intended primarily for a rhythm section...

     or "chart" contains little or no melodic information at all but provides detailed harmonic and rhythmic information, using slash notation and rhythmic notation. This is the most common kind of written music used by professional session musician
    Session musician
    Session musicians are instrumental and vocal performers, musicians, who are available to work with others at live performances or recording sessions. Usually such musicians are not permanent members of a musical ensemble and often do not achieve fame in their own right as soloists or bandleaders...

    s playing jazz
    Jazz
    Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

     or other forms of popular music and is intended primarily for the rhythm section
    Rhythm section
    A rhythm section is a collection of musicians who make up a section of instruments which provides the accompaniment section of the music, giving the music its rhythmic texture and pulse, also serving as a rhythmic reference for the rest of the band...

     (usually containing piano
    Piano
    The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world. Widely used in classical and jazz music for solo performances, ensemble use, chamber music and accompaniment, the piano is also very popular as an aid to composing and rehearsal...

    , guitar
    Guitar
    The guitar is a plucked string instrument, usually played with fingers or a pick. The guitar consists of a body with a rigid neck to which the strings, generally six in number, are attached. Guitars are traditionally constructed of various woods and strung with animal gut or, more recently, with...

    , bass
    Bass guitar
    The bass guitar is a stringed instrument played primarily with the fingers or thumb , or by using a pick....

     and drum
    Drum
    The drum is a member of the percussion group of musical instruments, which is technically classified as the membranophones. Drums consist of at least one membrane, called a drumhead or drum skin, that is stretched over a shell and struck, either directly with the player's hands, or with a...

    s).
  • Simpler chord charts for songs may contain only the chord changes, placed above the lyrics where they occur. Such charts depend on prior knowledge of the melody, and are used as reminders in performance or informal group singing
    Rise Up Singing
    Rise Up Singing is a popular folk music fake book containing chords, lyrics, and sources. There are 1200 songs in the 2004 edition.The book does not include notation of the songs' melodies , meaning that users must either know the tune, or find a recording, to be able to learn many of the songs...

    .
  • The shape note
    Shape note
    Shape notes are a music notation designed to facilitate congregational and community singing. The notation, introduced in 1801, became a popular teaching device in American singing schools...

     system is found in some church hymnals, sheet music
    Sheet music
    Sheet music is a hand-written or printed form of music notation that uses modern musical symbols; like its analogs—books, pamphlets, etc.—the medium of sheet music typically is paper , although the access to musical notation in recent years includes also presentation on computer screens...

    , and song books, especially in the Southern United States
    Southern United States
    The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

    . Instead of the customary elliptical note head, note heads of various shapes are used to show the position of the note on the major scale. Sacred Harp
    Sacred Harp
    Sacred Harp singing is a tradition of sacred choral music that took root in the Southern region of the United States. It is part of the larger tradition of shape note music.- The music and its notation :...

     is one of the most popular tune books using shape notes.

India




The Indian scholar and musical theorist Pingala
Pingala
Pingala is the traditional name of the author of the ' , the earliest known Sanskrit treatise on prosody.Nothing is known about Piṅgala himself...

 (c. 200 BC), in his Chanda Sutra, used marks indicating long and short syllables to indicate meters in Sanskrit poetry.

In the notation of Indian rāga
Raga
A raga is one of the melodic modes used in Indian classical music.It is a series of five or more musical notes upon which a melody is made...

, a solfege-like system called sargam
Swara
The seven notes of the scale , in Indian music are named shadja, rishabh, gandhar, madhyam, pancham, dhaivat and nishad, and are shortened to Sa, Ri or Re , Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, and Ni and written S, R, G, M, P, D, N. Collectively these notes are known as the sargam...

 is used. As in Western solfege, there are names for the seven basic pitches of a major scale (Shadja, Rishabh, Gandhar, Madhyam, Pancham, Dhaivat and Nishad, usually shortened Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni). The tonic of any scale is named Sa, and the dominant Pa. Sa is fixed in any scale, and Pa is fixed at a fifth above it (a Pythagorean
Pythagorean tuning
Pythagorean tuning is a system of musical tuning in which the frequency relationships of all intervals are based on the ratio 3:2. This interval is chosen because it is one of the most consonant...

 fifth rather than an equal-tempered
Equal temperament
An equal temperament is a musical temperament, or a system of tuning, in which every pair of adjacent notes has an identical frequency ratio. As pitch is perceived roughly as the logarithm of frequency, this means that the perceived "distance" from every note to its nearest neighbor is the same for...

 fifth). These two notes are known as achala swar ('fixed notes'). Each of the other five notes, Re, Ga, ma, Dha and Ni, can take a 'regular' (shuddha) pitch, which is equivalent to its pitch in a standard major scale (thus, shuddha Re, the second degree of the scale, is a whole-step higher than Sa), or an altered pitch, either a half-step above or half-step below the shuddha pitch. Re, Ga, Dha and Ni all have altered partners that are a half-step lower (Komal-"flat") (thus, komal Re is a half-step higher than Sa). Ma has an altered partner that is a half-step higher (teevra-"sharp") (thus, tivra Ma is an augmented fourth above Sa). Re, Ga, ma, Dha and Ni are called vikrut swar ('movable notes'). In the written system of Indian notation devised by Ravi Shankar, the pitches are represented by Western letters. Capital letters are used for the achala swar, and for the higher variety of all the vikrut swar. Lowercase letters are used for the lower variety of the vikrut swar.

Other systems exist for non-twelve-tone equal temperament
Equal temperament
An equal temperament is a musical temperament, or a system of tuning, in which every pair of adjacent notes has an identical frequency ratio. As pitch is perceived roughly as the logarithm of frequency, this means that the perceived "distance" from every note to its nearest neighbor is the same for...

 and non-Western music, such as the Indian svar lippi.

Russia



In Byzantium
Byzantium
Byzantium was an ancient Greek city, founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC and named after their king Byzas . The name Byzantium is a Latinization of the original name Byzantion...

 and Russia, sacred music was notated with special 'hooks and banners'.

China



The earliest known examples of text referring to music in China are inscriptions on musical instruments found in the Tomb of Marquis
Marquess
A marquess or marquis is a nobleman of hereditary rank in various European peerages and in those of some of their former colonies. The term is also used to translate equivalent oriental styles, as in imperial China, Japan, and Vietnam...

 Ye of Zeng (d. 433 B.C.). Sets of 41 chimestones and 65 bells bore lengthy inscriptions concerning pitches, scales, and transposition. The bells still sound the pitches that their inscriptions refer to. Although no notated musical compositions were found, the inscriptions indicate that the system was sufficiently advanced to allow for musical notation. Two systems of pitch nomenclature existed, one for relative pitch and one for absolute pitch. For relative pitch, a solmization
Solmization
Solmization is a system of attributing a distinct syllable to each note in a musical scale. Various forms of solmization are in use and have been used throughout the world.In Europe and North America, solfège is the convention used most often...

 system was used.

The tablature of the guqin
Guqin
The guqin is the modern name for a plucked seven-string Chinese musical instrument of the zither family...

 is unique and complex; the older form is composed of written words describing how to play a melody step-by-step using the plain language of the time, i.e. Descriptive Notation (Classical Chinese
Classical Chinese
Classical Chinese or Literary Chinese is a traditional style of written Chinese based on the grammar and vocabulary of ancient Chinese, making it different from any modern spoken form of Chinese...

); the newer form, composed of bits of Chinese characters put together to indicate the method of play is called Prescriptive Notation. Rhythm is only vaguely indicated in terms of phrasing. Tablatures for the qin are collected in what is called qinpu
Qinpu
Qinpu are tablature score collections for the Chinese musical instrument, the guqin.-What are qinpu?:Qinpu are collections of tablatures of music for the guqin. In the past, music was passed on from teacher to student. Only recently has tablature been written down, often to preserve music or as a...

.

Gongche notation
Gongche notation
Gongche notation or gongchepu is a traditional musical notation method, once popular in ancient China. It uses Chinese characters to represent musical notes. It was named after two of the Chinese characters that were used to represent musical notes, namely "工" gōng and "尺" chě...

 used Chinese characters for the names of the scale.

The jianpu
Numbered musical notation
The numbered musical notation, better known as in Chinese, is a musical notation system widely used among the Chinese people. Some people call it the numeric notation or numerical notation, but it is not to be confused with the integer notation...

 system of notation (probably an adaptation of a French Galin-Paris-Cheve system) had gained widespread acceptance by 1900. It uses a movable do system, with the numbers 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 standing for do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si. Dots above or below a numeral indicate the octave of the note it represents. Key signatures, barlines, and time signatures are also employed. Many symbols from Western standard notation, such as bar lines, time signatures, accidentals, tie and slur, and the expression markings are also used. The number of dashes following a numeral represents the number of crotchets (quarter notes) by which the note extends. The number of underlines is analogous to the number of flags or beams on notes or rests in standard notation.

Japan



Japanese music is highly diversified, and therefore requires various systems of notation. In Japanese shakuhachi
Shakuhachi
The is a Japanese end-blown flute. It is traditionally made of bamboo, but versions now exist in ABS and hardwoods. It was used by the monks of the Fuke school of Zen Buddhism in the practice of...

 music, for example, glissandos and timbres are often more significant than distinct pitches, whereas taiko
Taiko
means "drum" in Japanese . Outside Japan, the word is often used to refer to any of the various Japanese drums and to the relatively recent art-form of ensemble taiko drumming...

 notation focuses on discrete strokes.

Indonesia



Notation plays a relatively minor role in the oral traditions of Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

. However, in Java
Java
Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population of 135 million , it is the world's most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. It is home to 60% of Indonesia's population. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is in west Java...

 and Bali
Bali
Bali is an Indonesian island located in the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east...

, several systems were devised beginning at the end of the 19th century, initially for archival purposes. Today the most widespread are cipher notations ("not angka" in the broadest sense) in which the pitches are represented with some subset of the numbers 1 to 7, with 1 corresponding to either highest note of a particular octave, as in Sundanese
Sundanese script
Sundanese script Sundanese script Sundanese script (Aksara Sunda, is a writing system which is used by some Sundanese people. It is built based on Old Sundanese script (Aksara Sunda Kuna) which was used by ancientSundanese between 14th and 18th centuries....

 gamelan
Gamelan
A gamelan is a musical ensemble from Indonesia, typically from the islands of Bali or Java, featuring a variety of instruments such as metallophones, xylophones, drums and gongs; bamboo flutes, bowed and plucked strings. Vocalists may also be included....

, or lowest, as in the kepatihan notation of Java
Java
Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population of 135 million , it is the world's most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. It is home to 60% of Indonesia's population. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is in west Java...

nese gamelan
Gamelan
A gamelan is a musical ensemble from Indonesia, typically from the islands of Bali or Java, featuring a variety of instruments such as metallophones, xylophones, drums and gongs; bamboo flutes, bowed and plucked strings. Vocalists may also be included....

. Notes in the ranges outside the central octave are represented with one or more dots above or below the each number. For the most part, these cipher notations are mainly used to notate the skeletal melody (the balungan
Balungan
The balungan is sometimes called the "core melody" of a Javanese gamelan composition. This corresponds to the view that gamelan music is heterophonic: the balungan is then the melody which is being elaborated....

) and vocal parts (gerong
Gerong
Gerong is the Javanese verb meaning "to sing in a chorus." Penggerong is the proper name of a member of the chorus, but often the word gerong is used to refer to the unison male chorus that sings with the gamelan. The chorus or the melody may also be called the gerongan.The gerong generally sings...

an), although transcriptions of the elaborating instrument variations are sometimes used for analysis and teaching. Drum parts are notated with a system of symbols largely based on letters representing the vocables used to learn and remember drumming patterns; these symbols are typically laid out in a grid underneath the skeletal melody for a specific or generic piece. The symbols used for drum notation (as well as the vocables represented) are highly variable from place to place and performer to performer. In addition to these current systems, two older notations used a kind of staff: the Solo
Surakarta
Surakarta, also called Solo or Sala, is a city in Central Java, Indonesia of more than 520,061 people with a population density of 11,811.5 people/km2. The 44 km2 city adjoins Karanganyar Regency and Boyolali Regency to the north, Karanganyar Regency and Sukoharjo Regency to the east and...

nese script could capture the flexible rhythms of the pesinden
Sindhen
A pesindhèn is a female solo singer who sings with a gamelan. They may perform in unaccompanied music, dance, or wayang performances....

 with a squiggle on a horizontal staff, while in Yogyakarta a ladder-like vertical staff allowed notation of the balungan by dots and also included important drum strokes. In Bali, there are a few books published of Gamelan gender wayang
Gamelan gender wayang
Gamelan gender wayang is a style of gamelan music played on Bali, Indonesia. It is used for wayang, but also for other ceremonial purposes. In I Wayan Loceng's book on gender wayang, he reports that "Gender wayang, one of the most ancient musical ensembles existing in Bali, accompanies shadow...

 pieces, employing alphabetical notation in the old Balinese script.

Composers and scholars both Indonesian and foreign have also mapped the slendro
Slendro
Slendro is a pentatonic scale, one of the two most common scales used in Indonesian gamelan music, the other being pélog.-Tuning:...

 and pelog
Pelog
Pelog is one of the two essential scales of gamelan music native to Bali and Java, in Indonesia. The other scale commonly used is called slendro. Pelog has seven notes, but many gamelan ensembles only have keys for five of the pitches...

 tuning
Musical tuning
In music, there are two common meanings for tuning:* Tuning practice, the act of tuning an instrument or voice.* Tuning systems, the various systems of pitches used to tune an instrument, and their theoretical bases.-Tuning practice:...

 systems of gamelan onto the western staff, with and without various symbols for microtones
Microtonal music
Microtonal music is music using microtones—intervals of less than an equally spaced semitone. Microtonal music can also refer to music which uses intervals not found in the Western system of 12 equal intervals to the octave.-Terminology:...

. The Dutch composer Ton de Leeuw
Ton De Leeuw
Antonius Wilhelmus Adrianus de Leeuw was a Dutch composer. He was known for his experiments with microtonality....

 also invented a three line staff for his composition Gending. However, these systems do not enjoy widespread use.

In the second half of the twentieth century, Indonesian musicians and scholars extended cipher notation to other oral traditions, and a diatonic scale
Diatonic and chromatic
Diatonic and chromatic are terms in music theory that are most often used to characterize scales, and are also applied to intervals, chords, notes, musical styles, and kinds of harmony...

 cipher notation has become common for notating western-related genres (church hymns, popular songs, and so forth). Unlike the cipher notation for gamelan music, which uses a "fixed Do" (that is, 1 always corresponds to the same pitch, within the natural variability of gamelan tuning), Indonesian diatonic cipher notation is "moveable-Do" notation, so scores must indicate which pitch corresponds to the number 1 (for example, "1=C").

Cipher notation


In many cultures, including Chinese
Music of China
Chinese Music has been made since the dawn of Chinese civilization with documents and artifacts providing evidence of a well-developed musical culture as early as the Zhou Dynasty...

 (jianpu
Numbered musical notation
The numbered musical notation, better known as in Chinese, is a musical notation system widely used among the Chinese people. Some people call it the numeric notation or numerical notation, but it is not to be confused with the integer notation...

 or gongche
Gongche notation
Gongche notation or gongchepu is a traditional musical notation method, once popular in ancient China. It uses Chinese characters to represent musical notes. It was named after two of the Chinese characters that were used to represent musical notes, namely "工" gōng and "尺" chě...

), Indonesian
Music of Indonesia
The music of Indonesia demonstrates its cultural diversity, the local musical creativity, as well as subsequent foreign musical influences that shaped contemporary music scenes of Indonesia. Nearly thousands of Indonesian islands having its own cultural and artistic history and character. This...

 (kepatihan), and Indian
Music of India
The music of India includes multiple varieties of folk, popular, pop, classical music and R&B. India's classical music tradition, including Carnatic and Hindustani music, has a history spanning millennia and developed over several eras. It remains fundamental to the lives of Indians today as...

 (sargam
Swara
The seven notes of the scale , in Indian music are named shadja, rishabh, gandhar, madhyam, pancham, dhaivat and nishad, and are shortened to Sa, Ri or Re , Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, and Ni and written S, R, G, M, P, D, N. Collectively these notes are known as the sargam...

), the "sheet music" consists primarily of the numbers, letters or native characters representing notes in order. Those different systems are collectively known as cipher notations. The numbered notation
Numbered musical notation
The numbered musical notation, better known as in Chinese, is a musical notation system widely used among the Chinese people. Some people call it the numeric notation or numerical notation, but it is not to be confused with the integer notation...

, or numerical notation, is an example, so are letter notation and Solfège if written in musical sequence.

Solfège



Solfège is a way of assigning syllables to names of the musical scale. In order, they are today: Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti Do' (for the octave). The classic variation is: Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Si Do' . The first Western system of functional names for the musical notes was introduced by Guido of Arezzo
Guido of Arezzo
Guido of Arezzo or Guido Aretinus or Guido da Arezzo or Guido Monaco or Guido d'Arezzo was a music theorist of the Medieval era...

 (c.991 – after 1033), using the beginning syllables of the first six musical lines of the Latin hymn Ut queant laxis
Ut queant laxis
Ut queant laxis or Hymnus in Ioannem are verses in honour of John the Baptist written in Horatian Sapphics by Paulus Diaconus, the eighth century Lombard historian...

. The original sequence was Ut Re Mi Fa Sol La, where each verse started a scale note higher. "Ut" later became "Do". The equivalent syllables used in Indian music are: Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni, while the 'bilinear music notation' system offers a fully chromatic method. The European (Guido-Kodály
Zoltán Kodály
Zoltán Kodály was a Hungarian composer, ethnomusicologist, pedagogue, linguist, and philosopher. He is best known internationally as the creator of the Kodály Method.-Life:Born in Kecskemét, Kodály learned to play the violin as a child....

) and Indian solfeges are both used for tonsilabo
Tonsilabo
A tonsilabo is a syllable describing a tone of a certain relative frequency. Tonsilabos are used for writing or typing music in the form of text, as an alternative to music notation by design .-History:...

 notation. See also: solfège
Solfege
In music, solfège is a pedagogical solmization technique for the teaching of sight-singing in which each note of the score is sung to a special syllable, called a solfège syllable...

, sargam
Swara
The seven notes of the scale , in Indian music are named shadja, rishabh, gandhar, madhyam, pancham, dhaivat and nishad, and are shortened to Sa, Ri or Re , Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, and Ni and written S, R, G, M, P, D, N. Collectively these notes are known as the sargam...

, Kodály hand signs. In China Xi is used instead of Ti.

Tonic sol-fa
Tonic sol-fa
Tonic sol-fa is a pedagogical technique for teaching sight-singing, invented by Sarah Ann Glover of Norwich, England and popularised by John Curwen who adapted it from a number of earlier musical systems...

 is a type of notation using the initial letters of solfège.

Letter notation



The notes of the 12-tone scale can be written by their letter names A–G, possibly with a trailing sharp or flat symbol, such as A or B. This is the most common way of specifying a note in English speech or written text.

In Northern and Central Europe (e.g., Germany, Austria, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Flemish Belgium, and the Netherlands—and with diminishing frequency in Sweden), the letter system used is slightly different for historical reasons. Due to the effects of globalization though, it is slowly getting phased out by the international system, especially among rock and pop musicians. In these countries, the note called simply B elsewhere (i.e., B) is called H, and the note B is named B. (The C chromatic scale thus looks like this: C C D D E F F G G A B H C) Also, in pronouncing the tone names, the endings "-is" (for sharp) or "-es"/"-s" (for flat) are used; e.g., the note a semitone above C is either "Cis" or "Des", and A is "Aes". Sometimes this is also used in writing (instead of using the sharp or flat symbol), especially in flowing text.

Tablature



Tablature was first used in the Middle Ages
Medieval music
Medieval music is Western music written during the Middle Ages. This era begins with the fall of the Roman Empire and ends sometime in the early fifteenth century...

 for organ music and later in the Renaissance
Renaissance music
Renaissance music is European music written during the Renaissance. Defining the beginning of the musical era is difficult, given that its defining characteristics were adopted only gradually; musicologists have placed its beginnings from as early as 1300 to as late as the 1470s.Literally meaning...

 for lute
Lute
Lute can refer generally to any plucked string instrument with a neck and a deep round back, or more specifically to an instrument from the family of European lutes....

 music. In most lute tablatures, a staff is used, but instead of pitch values, the lines of the staff represent the strings of the instrument. The fret
Fret
A fret is a raised portion on the neck of a stringed instrument, that extends generally across the full width of the neck. On most modern western instruments, frets are metal strips inserted into the fingerboard...

s to finger are written on each line, indicated by letters or numbers. Rhythm is written separately with one or another variation of standard note values indicating the duration of the slowest moving part. Few seem to have remarked on the fact that tablature combines in one notation system both the physical and technical requirements of play (the lines and symbols on them and in relation to each other representing the actual performance actions) with the unfolding of the music itself (the lines of tablature taken horizontally represent the actual temporal unfolding of the music). In later periods, lute and guitar music was written with standard notation. Tablature caught interest again in the late 20th century for popular guitar
Guitar
The guitar is a plucked string instrument, usually played with fingers or a pick. The guitar consists of a body with a rigid neck to which the strings, generally six in number, are attached. Guitars are traditionally constructed of various woods and strung with animal gut or, more recently, with...

 music and other fretted instruments, being easy to transcribe and share over the internet in ASCII format
ASCII tab
ASCII tab is a text file format used for writing guitar, bass guitar and drum tabs using plain ASCII numbers, letters and symbols. It is the only widespread file format for representing tab, and is extensively used for disseminating tab via the Internet....

. Websites like Tablature#OLGA.net (currently off-line pending legal disputes) have archives of text-based popular music tablature.

Klavar notation



Klavar notation (or "klavarskribo") is a chromatic system of notation geared mainly towards keyboard instruments, which transposes the usual "graph" of music. The pitches are indicated horizontally, with "staff" lines in twos and threes like the keyboard, and the sequence of music is read vertically from top to bottom. A considerable body of repertoire has been transcribed into Klavar notation. Klavar notation eliminates the need of accidentals and key signatures, and its advocates claim that this facilitates music-reading.

12-note non-equal temperament


Sometimes the pitches of music written in just intonation
Just intonation
In music, just intonation is any musical tuning in which the frequencies of notes are related by ratios of small whole numbers. Any interval tuned in this way is called a just interval. The two notes in any just interval are members of the same harmonic series...

 are notated with the frequency ratios, while Ben Johnston devised a system that represents just intonation with traditional western notation, with the addition of accidental
Accidental (music)
In music, an accidental is a note whose pitch is not a member of a scale or mode indicated by the most recently applied key signature. In musical notation, the symbols used to mark such notes, sharps , flats , and naturals , may also be called accidentals...

s that indicate the cent
Cent (music)
The cent is a logarithmic unit of measure used for musical intervals. Twelve-tone equal temperament divides the octave into 12 semitones of 100 cents each...

s to lower or raise a pitch.

Chromatic staff notations


Over the past three centuries, hundreds of music notation systems have been proposed as alternatives to traditional western music notation. Many of these systems seek to improve upon traditional notation by using a "chromatic staff" in which each of the 12 pitch classes has its own unique place on the staff. Examples are the Ailler-Brennink notation, Jacques-Daniel Rochat's Dodeka system, Tom Reed's Twinline notation, Paul Morris' TwinNote, John Keller's Express Stave, and José A. Sotorrio's Bilinear Music Notation. These notation systems do not require the use of standard key signatures, accidentals, or clef signs. They also represent interval relationships more consistently and accurately than traditional notation. The Music Notation Project (formerly known as the Music Notation Modernization Association) has a website with information on many of these notation systems.

Graphic notation



The term 'graphic notation' refers to the contemporary use of non-traditional symbols and text to convey information about the performance of a piece of music. Practitioners include Christian Wolff
Christian Wolff (composer)
Christian G. Wolff is an American composer of experimental classical music.-Biography:Wolff was born in Nice in France to German literary publishers Helen and Kurt Wolff, who had published works by Franz Kafka, Robert Musil, and Walter Benjamin. After relocating to the U.S...

, Earle Brown
Earle Brown
Earle Brown was an American composer who established his own formal and notational systems...

, Anthony Braxton
Anthony Braxton
Anthony Braxton is an American composer, saxophonist, clarinettist, flautist, pianist, and philosopher. Braxton has released well over 100 albums since the 1960s...

, John Cage
John Cage
John Milton Cage Jr. was an American composer, music theorist, writer, philosopher and artist. A pioneer of indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music, and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde...

, Morton Feldman
Morton Feldman
Morton Feldman was an American composer, born in New York City.A major figure in 20th century music, Feldman was a pioneer of indeterminate music, a development associated with the experimental New York School of composers also including John Cage, Christian Wolff, and Earle Brown...

, Krzysztof Penderecki
Krzysztof Penderecki
Krzysztof Penderecki , born November 23, 1933 in Dębica) is a Polish composer and conductor. His 1960 avant-garde Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima for string orchestra brought him to international attention, and this success was followed by acclaim for his choral St. Luke Passion. Both these...

, Cornelius Cardew
Cornelius Cardew
Cornelius Cardew was an English experimental music composer, and founder of the Scratch Orchestra, an experimental performing ensemble. He later rejected the avant-garde in favour of a politically motivated "people's liberation music".-Biography:Cardew was born in Winchcombe, Gloucestershire...

, and Roger Reynolds
Roger Reynolds
Roger Reynolds is an American composer born July 18, 1934 in Detroit, Michigan. He is a professor at the University of California at San Diego. He received an undergraduate degree in engineering physics from the University of Michigan where he later studied composition with Ross Lee Finney...

. See Notations, edited by John Cage and Alison Knowles, ISBN 0-685-14864-5.

Simplified Music Notation


Simplified Music Notation
Simplified Music Notation
Simplified Music Notation is an alternative form of music notation designed to make sight-reading easier. It is based on classical staff notation, but sharps and flats are incorporated into the shape of the noteheads...

 is an alternative form of musical notation designed to make sight-reading
Sight reading
Sight-reading is the reading and performing of a piece of written music, specifically when the performer has not seen it before. Sight-singing is often used to describe a singer who is sight-reading.-Sight-reading:...

 easier. It is based on classical staff notation
Modern musical symbols
Modern musical symbols are the marks and symbols that are widely used in musical scores of all styles and instruments today. This is intended to be a comprehensive guide to the various symbols encountered in modern musical notation.- Lines :- Clefs :...

, but incorporates sharps
Sharp (music)
In music, sharp, dièse , or diesis means higher in pitch and the sharp symbol raises a note by a half tone. Intonation may be flat, sharp, or both, successively or simultaneously...

 and flats into the shape of the note
Note
In music, the term note has two primary meanings:#A sign used in musical notation to represent the relative duration and pitch of a sound;#A pitched sound itself....

heads. Note
Note
In music, the term note has two primary meanings:#A sign used in musical notation to represent the relative duration and pitch of a sound;#A pitched sound itself....

s such as double sharps
Sharp (music)
In music, sharp, dièse , or diesis means higher in pitch and the sharp symbol raises a note by a half tone. Intonation may be flat, sharp, or both, successively or simultaneously...

 and double flats are written at the pitch
Pitch (music)
Pitch is an auditory perceptual property that allows the ordering of sounds on a frequency-related scale.Pitches are compared as "higher" and "lower" in the sense associated with musical melodies,...

 they are actually played at, but preceded by symbol
Symbol
A symbol is something which represents an idea, a physical entity or a process but is distinct from it. The purpose of a symbol is to communicate meaning. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a picture of a tent might represent a campsite. Numerals are symbols for...

s called history signs that show they have been transposed
Transposition (music)
In music transposition refers to the process, or operation, of moving a collection of notes up or down in pitch by a constant interval.For example, one might transpose an entire piece of music into another key...

. The notation was designed to help people who struggle with sight-reading
Sight reading
Sight-reading is the reading and performing of a piece of written music, specifically when the performer has not seen it before. Sight-singing is often used to describe a singer who is sight-reading.-Sight-reading:...

, including those who suffer from working memory
Working memory
Working memory has been defined as the system which actively holds information in the mind to do verbal and nonverbal tasks such as reasoning and comprehension, and to make it available for further information processing...

 impairments, dyslexia
Dyslexia
Dyslexia is a very broad term defining a learning disability that impairs a person's fluency or comprehension accuracy in being able to read, and which can manifest itself as a difficulty with phonological awareness, phonological decoding, orthographic coding, auditory short-term memory, or rapid...

 and other learning difficulties
Learning disability
Learning disability is a classification including several disorders in which a person has difficulty learning in a typical manner, usually caused by an unknown factor or factors...

.

Parsons code



Parsons code is used to encode music so that it can be easily searched. This style is designed for individuals with no musical background.

Braille music



Braille music is a complete, well developed, and internationally accepted musical notation system that has symbols and notational conventions quite independent of print music notation. It is linear in nature, similar to a printed language and different from the two-dimensional nature of standard printed music notation. To a degree Braille music resembles musical markup languages such as XML for Music or NIFF.

Integer notation


In integer notation, or the integer
Integer
The integers are formed by the natural numbers together with the negatives of the non-zero natural numbers .They are known as Positive and Negative Integers respectively...

 model of pitch, all pitch class
Pitch class
In music, a pitch class is a set of all pitches that are a whole number of octaves apart, e.g., the pitch class C consists of the Cs in all octaves...

es and interval
Interval (music)
In music theory, an interval is a combination of two notes, or the ratio between their frequencies. Two-note combinations are also called dyads...

s between pitch classes are designated using the numbers 0 through 11. It is not used to notate music for performance, but is a common analytical
Musical analysis
Musical analysis is the attempt to answer the question how does this music work?. The method employed to answer this question, and indeed exactly what is meant by the question, differs from analyst to analyst, and according to the purpose of the analysis. According to Ian Bent , analysis is "an...

 and compositional
Musical composition
Musical composition can refer to an original piece of music, the structure of a musical piece, or the process of creating a new piece of music. People who practice composition are called composers.- Musical compositions :...

 tool when working with chromatic music, including twelve-tone technique
Twelve-tone technique
Twelve-tone technique is a method of musical composition devised by Arnold Schoenberg...

, serial
Serialism
In music, serialism is a method or technique of composition that uses a series of values to manipulate different musical elements. Serialism began primarily with Arnold Schoenberg's twelve-tone technique, though his contemporaries were also working to establish serialism as one example of...

, or otherwise atonal
Atonality
Atonality in its broadest sense describes music that lacks a tonal center, or key. Atonality in this sense usually describes compositions written from about 1908 to the present day where a hierarchy of pitches focusing on a single, central tone is not used, and the notes of the chromatic scale...

 music.

Tonsilabos



Tonsilabo notation is devised as a way of conveying music simply as text
Written language
A written language is the representation of a language by means of a writing system. Written language is an invention in that it must be taught to children, who will instinctively learn or create spoken or gestural languages....

. It is used for instrumental as well as vocal music and has the advantage that the same text can be applied by human or computer—whether in text documents and messages or by the computer program playing tonsilabo music. It is also extremely expressive in terms of number and accuracy of pitch
Pitch (music)
Pitch is an auditory perceptual property that allows the ordering of sounds on a frequency-related scale.Pitches are compared as "higher" and "lower" in the sense associated with musical melodies,...

es, rhythm
Rhythm
Rhythm may be generally defined as a "movement marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements, or of opposite or different conditions." This general meaning of regular recurrence or pattern in time may be applied to a wide variety of cyclical natural phenomena having a periodicity or...

 and syncopation
Syncopation
In music, syncopation includes a variety of rhythms which are in some way unexpected in that they deviate from the strict succession of regularly spaced strong and weak but also powerful beats in a meter . These include a stress on a normally unstressed beat or a rest where one would normally be...

 and is adaptable to solfege
Solfege
In music, solfège is a pedagogical solmization technique for the teaching of sight-singing in which each note of the score is sung to a special syllable, called a solfège syllable...

s of any option.

Music notation on computer


Many computer programs have been developed for creating music notation (called scorewriters or music notation software). Music may also be stored in various digital file formats for purposes other than graphic notation output.

File formats


With the integration of computers and music, a variety of file formats have emerged for storing notation. One simple format is the Abc notation
Abc notation
ABC notation is a shorthand form of musical notation that has been in use since at least the 19th century, In basic form it uses the letters A through G to represent the given notes, with other elements used to place added value on these - sharp, flat, the length of the note, key, ornamentation...

. A special category in this field is format for computer video games.

Perspectives of musical notation in composition and musical performance


According to Philip Tagg and Richard Middleton
Richard Middleton (musicologist)
Richard Middleton FBA is Emeritus Professor of Music at Newcastle University in Newcastle upon Tyne. He is also the founder and co-ordinating editor of the journal Popular Music.-Education:...

, musicology and to a degree European-influenced musical practice suffer from a 'notational centricity', a methodology slanted by the characteristics of notation.

Notation-centric training induces particular forms of listening, and these then tend to be applied to all sorts of music, appropriately or not. Musicological methods tend to stress those musical parameters that can easily be notated...they tend to neglect or have difficulty with widened parameters that are not easily notated. Examples include the unique vocal style of Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell, CC is a Canadian musician, singer songwriter, and painter. Mitchell began singing in small nightclubs in her native Saskatchewan and Western Canada and then busking in the streets and dives of Toronto...

 and the String Quartets
String quartet
A string quartet is a musical ensemble of four string players – usually two violin players, a violist and a cellist – or a piece written to be performed by such a group...

 of Elliott Sharp
Elliott Sharp
Elliott Sharp is an American multi-instrumentalist, composer, and performer.A central figure in the avant-garde and experimental music scene in New York City since the late 1970s, Sharp has released over eighty-five recordings ranging from blues, jazz, and orchestral music to noise, no wave rock,...

. Because of conventional musical notation limitations, many present-day composers in various genres prefer to compose music that is either not notated, or notated only through the computer language of digital recording.

Patents


In some countries, new musical notations can be patent
Patent
A patent is a form of intellectual property. It consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention....

ed. In the United States, for example, about 90 patents have been issued on new notation systems. The earliest patent, was published in 1839.

See also

  • Jewish Torah Trope Cantillation
    Cantillation
    Cantillation is the ritual chanting of readings from the Hebrew Bible in synagogue services. The chants are written and notated in accordance with the special signs or marks printed in the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible to complement the letters and vowel points...

  • Colored music notation
    Colored Music Notation
    Colored music notation is a technique used to facilitate enhanced learning in young music students by adding visual color to written musical notation...

  • Eye movement in music reading
    Eye movement in music reading
    Eye movement in music reading is the scanning of a musical score by a musician's eyes. This usually occurs as the music is read during performance, although musicians sometimes scan music silently to study it, and sometimes perform from memory without score. The phenomenon has been studied by...

  • Guido of Arezzo
    Guido of Arezzo
    Guido of Arezzo or Guido Aretinus or Guido da Arezzo or Guido Monaco or Guido d'Arezzo was a music theorist of the Medieval era...

    , inventor of modern musical notation
  • History of music publishing
    History of music publishing
    - Early publishing:Music publishing did not begin on a large scale until the mid-15th century, with the first printing of music. The earliest existence of printed music dates from about 1465, and then only liturgical chants were printed...

  • List of scorewriters
  • Mensural notation
    Mensural notation
    Mensural notation is the musical notation system which was used in European music from the later part of the 13th century until about 1600."Mensural" refers to the ability of this system to notate complex rhythms with great exactness and flexibility...

  • Modal notation
  • Modern musical symbols
    Modern musical symbols
    Modern musical symbols are the marks and symbols that are widely used in musical scores of all styles and instruments today. This is intended to be a comprehensive guide to the various symbols encountered in modern musical notation.- Lines :- Clefs :...

  • Music engraving
    Music engraving
    Music engraving is the art of drawing music notation at high quality for the purpose of mechanical reproduction. The term music copying is almost equivalent, though music engraving implies a higher degree of skill and quality, usually for publication. Plate engraving, the process the term...

  • Music OCR
    Music OCR
    Music OCR is the application of optical character recognition to interpret sheet music or printed scores into editable and, often, playable form. Once captured digitally, the music can be saved in commonly used file formats, e.g...

  • Neume
    Neume
    A neume is the basic element of Western and Eastern systems of musical notation prior to the invention of five-line staff notation. The word is a Middle English corruption of the ultimately Ancient Greek word for breath ....

     (plainchant notation)
  • Rastrum
    Rastrum
    A rastrum is a five-pointed writing implement used in music manuscripts to draw parallel staff lines. The word "raster" is derived from the Latin for "rake". Rastra were used to draw lines on paper that had not been pre-ruled, and were widely used in Europe until printed staff paper became cheap...

  • Scorewriter
    Scorewriter
    A scorewriter, or music notation program, is software used for creating sheet music.A scorewriter is to music notation what a word processor is to text.-Comparison with multitrack sequencer software:...

  • Sheet music
    Sheet music
    Sheet music is a hand-written or printed form of music notation that uses modern musical symbols; like its analogs—books, pamphlets, etc.—the medium of sheet music typically is paper , although the access to musical notation in recent years includes also presentation on computer screens...

  • Time unit box system
    Time unit box system
    Time Unit Box System is a simple system for notating events that happen over a period of time. This system is mostly used for notating rhythms in music. The notation consists of one or more rows of boxes; each box represents a fixed unit of time...

    , a notation system useful for polyrhythms
  • Tongan music notation
    Tongan music notation
    The Tuungafasi or Tongan music notation is a subset of the standard music notation, originally developed by the missionary James Egan Moulton in the 19th century for singing church hymns in Tonga.- The notation :...

    , a subset of standard music notation
  • Znamenny Chant

Further reading

  • Hall, Rachael (2005). Math for Poets and Drummers. Saint Joseph's University
    Saint Joseph's University
    Saint Joseph's University is a private, coeducational Roman Catholic Jesuit university located partially in the Wynnefield section of Philadelphia and partially in Lower Merion Township and located in the Pennsylvania Main Line, Pennsylvania, United States.The school was founded in 1851 as Saint...

    .
  • Gayou, Évelyne. “Transcrire les musiques électroacoustiques.” eContact! 12.4 — Perspectives on the Electroacoustic Work / Perspectives sur l’œuvre électroacoustique (August 2010). Montréal: CEC
    Canadian Electroacoustic Community
    Founded in 1986, La Communauté électroacoustique canadienne / The Canadian Electroacoustic Community is Canada’s national electroacoustic / computer music / sonic arts organization and as such is dedicated to promoting this progressive art form in its broadest definition: from “pure” acousmatic...

    .
  • Gould, Elaine (2011). "Behind Bars - The Definitive Guide to Music Notation". London: Faber Music.
  • Karakayali, Nedim (2010). "Two Assemblages of Cultural Transmission: Musicians, Political Actors and Educational Techniques in the Ottoman Empire and Western Europe". Journal of Historical Sociology 23, no. 3:343–71.
  • Lieberman, David (2006). Game Enhanced Music Manuscript. In GRAPHITE '06: Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques in Australasia and South East Asia, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), 29 November–2 December 2006, edited by Y Tina Lee, Siti Mariyam Shamsuddin, Diego Gutierrez, and Norhaida Mohd Suaib, 245–50. New York: ACM Press. ISBN 1-59593-564-9
  • Read, Gardner (1978). Modern Rhythmic Notation. Victor Gollance Ltd.
  • Read, Gardner (1987). Source Book of Proposed Music Notation Reforms. Greenwood Press.
  • Stone, Kurt (1980). Music Notation in the Twentieth Century: A Practical Guidebook. W. W. Norton & Company.

External links