Introduction to Notation Systems
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|This lesson is part of the Fundamentals of Sound & Music module.|
- Student will be able to critically assess the difference between an aural cue and its visual representation
- Student will learn the definitions of etic vs. emic; prescriptive vs. descriptive notations
- Student will be able to identify the emic/etic and descriptive/prescriptive aspects of various notations
- Student will assess the functionality of different notation system(s) according to specific goals (i.e. performativity vs. representation)
- Student will be familiar with various notation systems and the main sonic aspect they annotate, notably: guitar tablature, lead sheet notation, braille music notation, and electronic notation formats such as DAW diagrams, MIDI 1.0 and MusicXML files.
- Handout on Prescriptive/Descriptive and Etic/Emic notations
- Granade, "Cracking the Code: What Notation Can Tell Us About Our Musical Values" (Open Access Musicology, forthcoming)
- Rowbury, From the Front of the Choir Blog:
- Global Notation: "Specifying the information you want."
Histories of Western Notations
- Bennett, "How was musical notation invented? A brief history."
- Williams, "The evolution of music notation."
Individual Notation Types
- Western notations through history
- Common popular music notations
- Tablatures (historical and worldwide):
- Music Notes Now Blog: "Guitar Tab Explained."
- Chinese Gugin
- Other World Musics
- Various modalities
- Braille notation
- MIDI signals
- XML (or other computer-coded notations)
- DAW visualizations
- Wikipedia: Dance notation
- Alvarez-Pereyre and Arom, "Ethnomusicology and the Emic/Etic Issue." (The World of Music 35.1: 7-33, 1993)
- Bauman, "Listening as an Emic/Etic Process in the Context of Observation and Inquiry." (The World of Music 35.1: 34-62, 1993).
- Chang, Chinese Gugin Playing and Notation
- Seeger, "Prescriptive and Descriptive Music-Writing." (The Musical Quarterly 44.2: 184-195, 1958)
- Sumarsam, "Introduction to Gamelan"
- Ultimate Guitar Tabs
- Jazz Studies Chord Charts Database
- MIDI Monitor (Software; Mac only)
- MIDIOX (Software; Windows only)
- Audacity (Software)
- Braille Music Notator
- Discussion and demonstration of different notation systems and their individual purposes, strengths and weaknesses
- Transcription of a simple melody in guitar tablature (given fretboard diagrams) and braille music notation
- Demonstration of the creation of various electronic notation formats
- Demonstration of MIDI signals using MIDI monitor software
- Listening and "quick" transcription of musical examples: compare to score and discuss differences based on notation's function.
- In-class interpretation of various notations on different instruments.
- If you have a Javanese gamelan: Have students perform from gamelan notation and illustrate non-written practices
- Notating short melodies in different notation systems
- Transcription assignment: ask students to transcribe examples from various musical traditions with different aims and/or given different parameters (i.e. "notate the pitch parameter.")