Does anyone on this board who is a musician or otherwise has some familiarity...

Firespawn
Firespawn

Does anyone on this board who is a musician or otherwise has some familiarity with music just find the system of musical notation we use an eyesore? Surely something more efficient and heuristic-based must exist.

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Supergrass
Supergrass

There's probably a lot you could do to simplify the current accepted notation, but at what point would it be too difficult for a human to read by sight in the moment? Current notation makes it intuitive to distinguish different pitches and rhythms once you learn it, and is so established that no one would switch. What do you even mean by more heuristic-based? How would written music benefit from symbols with even fuzzier meanings that encompass a series of notes if the old way is more explicit and still way within the realms of being processed just in time by the human brain? Shortcuts like that wouldn't save any writing time either, 99% of it is written in software anyway.

Harmless_Venom
Harmless_Venom

Also, love those joke compositions. We used to pass these out to beginning 11-year-old musicians and tell them they had to play it by the end of the month. This one is probably my favorite.

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Boy_vs_Girl
Boy_vs_Girl

Ever heard of Tabs you mong?

happy_sad
happy_sad

Why can't they write it out in letters and numbers like every other writing system we have?

BlogWobbles
BlogWobbles

Currently looking at a note by itself tells you very little about what it is. There are 15 key signatures and you basically just have to memorize which notes are sharped/flattened. Notes do not even reliably appear on a line or space. And this is all rather arbitrarily built around the diatonic scale. As for rhythm, often the mere amount of information needing to be squeezed into the bar causes a massive expansion which visually will register like a longer or slower phrase. And you can't tell me that the way the same rhythmic figure can appear in many different "isomorphic" arrangements is exactly intuitive.

I do agree though that it would be completely fruitless to try to supplant the current system. However that hardly seems like a reason to altogether abandon the project of making a more efficient system of musical notation.

PurpleCharger
PurpleCharger

Fucking newfags.

Dreamworx
Dreamworx

Nah, you're right. So used to just having the key sig in the back of my mind while playing, but I do remember that being hard to get down when first starting. It could be improved.

MPmaster
MPmaster

Heuristic [email protected]@

Garbage Can Lid
Garbage Can Lid

he doesn't call notes Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Si
plebs

Soft_member
Soft_member

kys

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Harmless_Venom
Harmless_Venom

Composer here. Let me clear some of this up.

There are 15 key signatures and you basically just have to memorize which notes are sharped/flattened.
The sharps and flats appear in a fixed order. It's easy to figure out if you know how the system works. Besides, if you can't play a scale in every key then you need to practice more. This just sounds like you aren't familiar with your instrument.
Notes do not even reliably appear on a line or space.
Are you talking about enharmonic equivalents? There are a few very good reasons that it is the way it is. The first is that the same interval can have many different meanings when put into harmonic context. It gives an analyst or musician information about what the composer thought the function of the note was, whether it should be emphasized or should support other tones, whether it is part of an new or routine harmonic structure.
The second is that ascending/descending chromatic runs are easier to notate if certain notes have multiple names. It's very useful when typesetting a piece and allows potentially confusing passages to be easily sight-readable.
And this is all rather arbitrarily built around the diatonic scale.
The system was actually built specifically for notating diatonic music. It happens to occasionally be used for music in other scales (Messiaen, Debussy, Partch, Blackwood) or in no scale at all (Boulez, Schoenberg). However most music notated with this system does use diatonic scales. Especially in the last couple of decades the modes made a comeback in academic music.
As for rhythm, often the mere amount of information needing to be squeezed into the bar causes a massive expansion which visually will register like a longer or slower phrase.
Honestly this sounds like an issue with typesetting. Complex music is going to look complex, though in any system.

(cont)

farquit
farquit

Attach emotion to color, depth to hue.

:3

w8t4u
w8t4u

And you can't tell me that the way the same rhythmic figure can appear in many different "isomorphic" arrangements is exactly intuitive.
This is actually an advantage of the system. It allows a good typesetter to make a passage easily readable while still conveying the composer's basic ideas about how the passage should be played.

Overall, having a single, unified music notation system is better than having a ton of competing standards that all musicians have to learn. The current system allows for skilled musicians to sight read by seeing groups of notes as he would words. If you had multiple standards, you probably wouldn't have adept sight-readers as well. If you don't believe me check out how unbelievably shitty and unreadable ABC notation and guitar tabs are.

TurtleCat
TurtleCat

native Finnish speaker defends his language

More at 11

Sir_Gallonhead
Sir_Gallonhead

Yes, speaking of Schoenberg. He incidentally agreed with me.

“The need for a new notation, or a radical improvement of the old, is greater than it seems, and the number of ingenious minds that have tackled the problem is greater than one might think.” — Arnold Schoenberg

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askme
askme

It would need to be applicable to all western instruments.

Stupidasole
Stupidasole

I grew up playing violin, and the musical system we use is perfectly tailored to it, so in that use it works very well. There is something slightly arcane about it as well.

Trying to translate it to guitar is a nightmare, so I usually just do things by ear - my ear is really good.

Tablature seems to work for most of the normies pretty well. A great software for composition is powertab. It's suited well to writing tab, and also generates sheet music.

LuckyDusty
LuckyDusty

anyone else here learn their theory knowledge exclusively through tabs? I played the piano for a few years when I was a kid so I can read sheet music, but I never enjoyed the instrument or practiced on my own (it was a thing my parents made me do)

When I was in hs I got a guitar and I loved it, practiced all the time. Finally by looking at tabs I realized there was a pattern here. For example, most metal/rock songs are gonna be in e min which on the bottom string of the guitar translates into 0-2-3-5-7-8-10-12. And I think of all the scales as numbers and the intervals as numbers. Before I knew what a chord was I knew that a minor arpeg followed a +3+4+5 pattern, or on the bottom string thats 0-3-7-12-15-19-24 etc. It made total sense to me because you can translate the frets up and down the strings with a +-5(or 4 for G to B).

Now though Im thinking it is just a bad habit because whenever I read sheet music I always try to retranslate it into mental tablature in my head. Its like learning a second language, for now I can only translate back to my first language. I hope with enough practice ill be able to just intuitively read sheet music again

Lord_Tryzalot
Lord_Tryzalot

I played trombone and piano. I picked up on scales and how to read early on.

I was lazy as fuck with scales as an 11 year old though. I preferred to play it by ear instead of by memory.

Now as a mathematician, I understand the fundamental construction of the note system better and it makes scales trivial. I don't understand how tabs are any more illuminating or how you would improve on this schema.

MPmaster
MPmaster

I abhor tabs, and fortunately since I am the god of my own little universe, I don't have to use them.

If anybody ask me for tabs of my material to learn I just laugh. I aint got time for that shit.

If you can't learn by ear, you are mostly useless to me.

Of course, being able to read sheet music is necessary to being a studio musician. That is a whole other world.

kizzmybutt
kizzmybutt

it tells u where your fingers go man, what could be easier?

cum2soon
cum2soon

Standard notation tells your fingers how to move, irregardless of instrument. At a certain point, you no longer read each individual note. Instead you look an an entire phrase and contextualize the distances between each note, picking just a few actual notes as reference. The beauty of notation vs tab is that when the music goes up, the notes go up on the page. It makes it easier to shape and contour a piece because you can literally see how a piece will sound without having to care about the actual notes.

Skullbone
Skullbone

easier, but susceptible to ambiguity if you don't already know the tune, and not to mention tabs only really apply to one class of instruments.

i concede that tabs are definitely a better choice if you aren't planning on being a session musician or playing in a jazz band.. which is probably why they exist. learning to read music is mundane.

Need_TLC
Need_TLC

tablature is not the answer. one of the principle values of staff notation it that it quickly conveys musical ideas, so a trained musician will know what something sounds like, how it is phrased, the rhythm.
diatonic scale
this is an area where we need improvement. mainstream music hasn't really escaped the diatonic scale either though, so the demand isn't pressing
harder to process
so one of the problems with tablature is it's complete shit for alternate tunings (which are common). one of the other problems is it doesn't translate to the "composer's view". but classical notation often uses a limited form of tablature: "fingerings" are presented above the staff, and every instrument has idiosyncratic notation to convey what the standard does not.

Crazy_Nice
Crazy_Nice

arranged by accident
lel

TreeEater
TreeEater

I'm not saying there is anything fundamentally wrong with diatonicism, it provided us with 3 centuries or more of superlative music. However there is no reason it needs to appear in the notation system, especially when this wont accommodate even diatonic modulations all that nicely.

TalkBomber
TalkBomber

The whole point of key signatures is so that you don't need to think about which notes are sharp and flat while you're reading.

Garbage Can Lid
Garbage Can Lid

basically notation follows instruments, is my theory. right now the primary instrument is the standard keyboard, and grand staff notation is fine for that. singers are pretty flexible because they don't need to read particularly fast/complicated stuff anyway.
re: modulation what's the alternative? key-dependent notation (i.e. everything is written in C) is impractical for most instruments.

Gigastrength
Gigastrength

Aspects of music notation that are kinda dumb:
The way intervals are named, 3&1/2 steps is a fifth, etc.
Middle c up to c' or down to C is 3 lines and a space.
Helmholtz notation generally, naming the notes C,, C, c, & c'.
Give me a chord chart as a reminder of the progression, and I'll try to fake it; I'm illiterate when it comes to piano rolls.

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