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Thread: atonal notation

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    Senior Member Phil loves classical's Avatar
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    Default atonal notation

    I have a good idea how to put accidentals on tonal music. How do you put accidentals on atonal? Any guidelines? When there are notes a semitone apart, I would try to call them C# and D instead of Db and D natural for example, since I would it is easier to see the different note values. Is that right?


    I hear when ascending, should use sharps, and descending use flats, but I noticed Schoenberg doesn't quite follow this rule.


    Also in some instances I see B and E flats are used, the rest are all sharps.
    Last edited by Phil loves classical; Apr-16-2019 at 03:19.
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    Senior Member mikeh375's Avatar
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    Phil,

    In my experience, practicality in the spelling from the players p.o.v should play a major role, likewise, note resolution.
    Avoid awkward and unusual intervals between notes as often as possible and go for the most direct spelling you can. It's not always possible to avoid some awkwardness but anything to mitigate comprehension is welcome.
    Sometimes it's just not worth being too pedantic about spelling in atonal fields imv.
    Last edited by mikeh375; Apr-16-2019 at 11:03.

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    Senior Member Tikoo Tuba's Avatar
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    I prefer just one mark and this is the ' and denotes a flat . It is small .

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    It doesn't really matter in general, but for certain instruments different notation would give an idea for a different way of playing. For example the C# above middle C on a violin would lead me to play it with my third finger, while a Db would imply playing it with my fourth.

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    It doesn't matter how you notate using traditional notation.
    It represents rank-2 regular musical temperament - 7 out 12 pitches. The rest are considered alterations.

    You want to compose in 12 equal - rank-1 temperament. All notes are considered unique, there are no alterations.
    It is easy to see why traditional notation is incapable of creating readable chromatic music.
    (Btw, Schoenberg was one of the first composers that experimented with graphical notation, similar to what you see in modern DAW piano roll editors.)

    Something interesting - alternative music notations for 12 equal - http://musicnotation.org/systems/

    More on temperaments -

    http://oro.open.ac.uk/21510/1/X_System.pdf
    https://oro.open.ac.uk/21504/1/tuningcontinua.pdf

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    Senior Member Kjetil Heggelund's Avatar
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    I would notate it in a-minor

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    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    I would defer to having intervals appear correctly - so say a 3rd of some flavor is space-space or line-line then prioritize ascending sharps or descending flats

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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    In set theory, the pitches are all placed on a straight number line, so they are assigned numbers. Intervals can then be determined by modulo 12 addition and subtraction.

    In notating this, however, we run into the same old diatonically-derived nomenclature of notation: clefs, letter-names, etc, all biased for the piano.

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    Senior Member mikeh375's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    ......In notating this, however, we run into the same old diatonically-derived nomenclature of notation: clefs, letter-names, etc, all biased for the piano.
    On a practical level though, the nomenclature is fine if used with pragmatic common sense regarding dense chromaticism. I'd like to know why you think clefs are biased to the piano MillionR.

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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeh375 View Post
    On a practical level though, the nomenclature is fine if used with pragmatic common sense regarding dense chromaticism. I'd like to know why you think clefs are biased to the piano MillionR.
    It's not chromatic; it's definitely diatonic. The letter-names, with a 1/2 step between E-F and B-C; this translates on to the piano keyboard and staff. If it was all chromatic, then every line and space would be uniform,with no 1/2 steps. Key signatures, the same. You're just so "in the box" that you never questioned this; you didn't need to; you were a piano player, yes?
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Apr-29-2019 at 16:37.
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    Senior Member mikeh375's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    It's not chromatic; it's definitely diatonic. The letter-names, with a 1/2 step between E-F and B-C; this translates on to the piano keyboard and staff. If it was all chromatic, then every line and space would be uniform,with no 1/2 steps. Key signatures, the same. You're just so "in the box" that you never questioned this; you didn't need to; you were a piano player, yes?
    I'm a first study professional composer, piano was a second study.
    I honestly don't understand the thrust of your point(s) here MR, perhaps a prejudice against piano keyboard layout, or just pianos? - anyhow, I asked about your position on clefs and the piano! How does a C clef for example, fall under the dictatorship of a piano? and how specifically has the piano influenced note names? - e-f and b-c translates to all instruments. I am interested to hear this.

    The nomenclature handles chromaticism/atonality well enough to get the job done, that, I and countless others can vouch for - you must at least agree with that.
    Last edited by mikeh375; Apr-30-2019 at 13:13.

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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeh375 View Post
    and how specifically has the piano influenced note names? - e-f and b-c translates to all instruments. I am interested to hear this.
    And, the system arose as it did primarily for notating modal vocal music. Much early keyboard music used tablature. I too am interested in this.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Apr-30-2019 at 14:16.

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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeh375 View Post
    I'm a first study professional composer, piano was a second study.
    I honestly don't understand the thrust of your point(s) here MR, perhaps a prejudice against piano keyboard layout, or just pianos?
    Prejudice is not my main driving perception; like Pat Martino, this is simply the perception of a guitar player who learned to make music as a fun activity, sees the guitar as a "toy" or game, is challenged by it and finds endless joy in pursuing its mastery. You would call me an "outsider" or unlearned, an auto-didact, not of academia; but I've learned your language of music, and can communicate my musical ideas in those ways. As an aside, I love music! That gives us common ground to celebrate the joy of music! Let's not forget that.

    What you fail to see is how someone can "think outside the box," because that's not where I started. I will answer your questions, but if you fail to see the obvious, that's your responsibility, not mine to explain.

    - anyhow, I asked about your position on clefs and the piano! How does a C clef for example, fall under the dictatorship of a piano?
    I never said that Western notation developed from the piano; only that the layout of the piano reflects and exemplifies this diatonic system in a mechanical way, i.e. its "automatic mechanisms."

    Thus, we can avoid ancient history of how the diatonic scale and notation evolved, which is not what I want to discuss in this thread. That strategy has been tried before.

    ...and how specifically has the piano influenced note names?
    Again, your question is designed to bait me into the assumption that note names evolved from the piano, which all historically aware musicians like myself (and you) know is not true. I suspect that your question is not really "up front", perhaps because you don't know me.

    - e-f and b-c translates to all instruments. I am interested to hear this.
    I can bet you are intellectually salivating in anticipation of my reply; any misstep, and you will leap upon it, tearing the meat from my flesh.

    The nomenclature handles chromaticism/atonality well enough to get the job done, that, I and countless others can vouch for - you must at least agree with that.
    Yes, us guitar players have adapted. You should appreciate that, rather than pick at it.

    Meanwhile, how about pondering the thread idea?
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Apr-30-2019 at 15:00.
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    Senior Member mikeh375's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    Prejudice is not my main driving perception; like Pat Matino, this is simply the perception of a guitar player who learned to make music as a fun activity, sees the guitar as a "toy" or game, is challenged by it and finds endless joy in pursuing its mastery. You would call me an "outsider" or unlearned, an auto-didact, not of academia; but I've learned your language of music, and can communicate my musical ideas in those ways. As an aside, I love music! That gives us common ground to celebrate the joy of music! Let's not forget that.
    Me too, I started on jazz guitar and despite my formal education, consider myself autodidactic..it is the best way to be imv. Your knowledge and lateral thinking is interesting regardless, even if I don't agree sometimes. We have enough in common to be pleasant right?

    ..."Again, your question is designed to bait me into the assumption that note names evolved from the piano, which all historically aware musicians like myself (and you) know is not true. I suspect that your question is not really "up front", perhaps because you don't know me".

    I don't know you and was sincere in asking, I said I was interested remember. I wasn't baiting you.


    ...."I can bet you are intellectually salivating in anticipation of my reply; any misstep, and you will leap upon it, tearing the meat from my flesh".


    Actually I'm finishing off scoring for a big orchestral work at present, so no. I'm not picking at your comments or looking for a fight, I thought there may be more substance to your post above and was curious, that's all. One day we might be able to exchange thoughts without the needle, what do you say?
    Last edited by mikeh375; Apr-30-2019 at 14:48.

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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeh375 View Post
    Me too, I started on jazz guitar and despite my formal education, consider myself autodidactic..it is the best way to be imv. Your knowledge and lateral thinking is interesting regardless, even if I don't agree sometimes. We have enough in common to be pleasant right?
    Yes! and I'm so glad to know about you. I recall a British book called "Lateral Thinking," and that seems to be the way my brain is wired. I feel compelled to question the most basic ideas that most others accept as "givens."

    ..."Again, your question is designed to bait me into the assumption that note names evolved from the piano, which all historically aware musicians like myself (and you) know is not true. I suspect that your question is not really "up front", perhaps because you don't know me".

    I don't know you and was sincere in asking, I said I was interested remember. I wasn't baiting you.
    Okay, sorry...but the questions were phrased in that direction: "How does a C clef for example, fall under the dictatorship of a piano? and how specifically has the piano influenced note names?"


    ...."I can bet you are intellectually salivating in anticipation of my reply; any misstep, and you will leap upon it, tearing the meat from my flesh".


    Actually I'm finishing off scoring for a big orchestral work at present, so no. I'm not picking at your comments or looking for a fight, I thought there may be more substance to your post above and was curious, that's all. One day we might be able to exchange thoughts without the needle, what do you say?
    Sure! Sorry for my defensiveness, as I am used to fending-off academic thinkers. I'm just being up-front to avoid having to needlessly explain myself over and over. I thought that surely, direct quotes from Pat Martino would be seen as sufficient to give credibility to this "diatonic bias" idea.
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Apr-30-2019 at 15:11.
    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
    -Confucious

    "In Spring! In the creation of art it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg

    "We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made us." -Jean-Paul Sartre

    "I don't mind dying, as long as I can still breathe." ---Me

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