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#19 Shas Cho

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 12:03 AM

"I also understand that there are actually people who can play off an abc but not read music. "

I'm not understanding this dichotomy between abc and sheet music.
I use BarFly on my Mac, and by simply selecting Split Screen Mode
the abc IS displayed as sheet music.
Better yet, by listening to the midi version of the tune
and following with my eyes on the score and my fingers on the buttons
(well, on the holes of my penny whistle, to be accurate)
I have actually learned to read sheet music from abc!

The files are so small and easy to download and store,
even on my glacial dial-up service,
that I never hesitate to try any piece that catches my eye.

Another powerful learning tool
is that by simply typing in a halved value for "L" (note length)
I can slow down a tune to learn the fingering,
then by replacing the original value
I'm back up to speed at the stroke of a key.

It's fast, it's free, it provides written scores
as well as providing a basic audio rendition,
and it requires no trees to be cut and processed.
What's not to like?

#20 malcolmbebb

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 04:02 AM

I learnt to read music many years ago, but pretty much forgot. I used abc to get started again with my concertina, now I struggle to play directly from abc but am getting better with the dots.

But the real beauty is the transportability. I can find a tune on the net, try it at home, bung it on my laptop, view both the easily edited abc and the score on screen at once if I wish. All within minutes.

My abc program keeps track of dozens of tunes, much more compact and easy than graphics or pdfs, or, heaven forbid, those crumpled bits of coffee-stained paper that I fish out of the gig bag...

It isn't the be-all and end-all, but it's an extremely useful tool for a lot of people.

Malcolm

#21 cboody

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 11:59 PM

I think we can all agree that abc is an efficient way to "store" a tune, and that it is easy to put abc into a message like this. Where folks seem to get bent out of shape is turning that abc into standard notation. Yeah, Tune-o-tron is great but you have to cut and paste.


Here's a very nice solution: Go to

http://www.thesessio...s#comment561298

and try that out. You may need to read a couple of other messages in order to understand what to do. Essentially just create a bookmark in your web browser, go to edit the bookmark, rename it as you wish, and replace the URL with the code mentioned in the message. You've created a "bookmarklet." Put reference to the bookmarklet somewhere easy to get at. I have it in the list of things on the top of the Firefox page. Now, when you come to some abc (assuming it is complete) just copy it and choose the bookmarklet. It will automagically copy what you selected, go to tune-o-tron, paste in the abc, and create the notation. Really quick and very helpful. Yeah, it doesn't always work because of poorly formed abc from time to time, but almost always it does. Quick and easy.

And, if you want to use abc on your computer check out EasyABC which works on all platforms, and wraps around abcm2ps so that you see on the screen exactly what you are going to get and around abc2midi so you can hear things. Transposition and other things built in. Lilypond is interesting and complex. abcm2ps with format files can do almost everything much easier. Check out

http://www.nilsliberg.se/ksp/easyabc/

for EasyABC and

http://abcplus.sourceforge.net/

for a huge PDF file explaining all the capabilities of abc with abcm2ps.

If you've read all that and tried it and still want to use Lilypond be my guest. I tried it and found the complexities not worth the effort for traditional tunes.

As to Sibelius: well I use Finale for complex things like full concert band arranging, but would not use it for much else. Sibelius falls in the same category.

As to getting things from Sibelius to abc: I think Sibelius can create XML files. EasyABC will read an xml file and instantly turn it into abc (and display the result so you can check for errors.

Hope this helps. I've a rather large background in all of this, having been at one time president of the Association for Technology in Music Instruction (primarily college professors), a beta tester for version 1 of Finale, and a developer of my own music software back in the dark ages. I also helped train the guy who is still (I think) the main support programmer for Finale. All this doesn't mean you have to agree though. Horses for courses as someone remarked. Different strokes too. :)

#22 Randall Cayford

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 04:26 PM

Thanks for the bookmarklet pointer. I had never used one before but that is really nice.

Also the EasyABC link. I have been dreading the loss of barfly, which won't run on my next machine (or my current one if I upgrade), so I've been looking for an adequate replacement.

#23 cboody

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 11:11 PM

Thanks for the bookmarklet pointer. I had never used one before but that is really nice.

Also the EasyABC link. I have been dreading the loss of barfly, which won't run on my next machine (or my current one if I upgrade), so I've been looking for an adequate replacement.

EasyABC comes close to Barfly, but still misses some things. On the other hand it is still growing and improving. Each new version adds more capabilities and it handles some things (multipart music and songs with words for example) much better than Barfly. And, it has an incipit creator which works quite well though there still seem to be a couple of small bugs. Phil Taylor (Barfly) has said no update to it for Lion OS, though I heard one faint rumor that he might be reconsidering. I haven't written him to find out though.

#24 Doug Anderson

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 07:40 PM

Thanks from me too for the EasyABC link. I upgraded to Lion so I could provide better phone support for a relative who just switched to a Mac. I hoped that I'd find a replacement for Barfly and this looks promising.

I sing in a church choir. I can't imagine using anything but dots (standard musical notation) for sharing music in that context. I can sight read choral music pretty well. But dots don't work for me for playing the Anglo (or the melodeon). I play the melody by ear and improvise the accompaniment in both instances. I gave up trying to play from dots because the accompaniment drives the choice of buttons and reversals and I found it too confusing. So I use a pad of blank staves, a pen and a scanner to suggest harmonizations to our choir director and abc to share tunes with other instrumentalists.

--Doug

#25 Dirge

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 01:13 AM

I wish I'd never started this ("What the Hell does it matter to me anyway? I should have just kept quiet." is what I am thinking as I start this.) but I don't want to leave it without a last attempt to explain my point.

Playing music is about excellence. Now I've been told off before for daring to suggest an idea so contrary to modern 'everyone's a winner' thought, but I stand by it. If you are disappointed when you fail to do yourself justice when you play your party piece, or you practice occasionally to improve your technique, or even listen to a CD and steal someone elses's phrasing you are backing my argument. Anyone know anyone who genuinely doesn't care how they perform? Or is interested in listening to such a person, for that matter? What your personal level of excellence is moves on with time; at varying speeds too, but it is intrinsic in playing music that we all try and do our best. Beause we have all been there we all happily give a beginner a sympathetic hearing and encouragement, but the beginner is doing their best to give a good account of themselves at their level and we the audience expect and appreciate that.

Now if you'll swallow that, or even just concede that I have an argument, I can move on one step further. Try an analogy. It's the future. Someone suggests that learning to walk is a distressing business, that all that practice and falling over and stuff is permanently affecting the mental stability of the nation's citizens. A benign government, flush with taxes, decides to save everyone the distress by providing all citizens a motorised wheelchair at birth. Everyone is on the move faster, they are happier without that stressful part of early childhood to haunt them and it's cheaper for the government than a lifetime of prozac. Unfortunately someone has an urge to climb Ben Nevis and asks why no one taught him to walk...See what I mean? (He is told that he should be grateful he's a dalek and to get on and practice saying 'Exterminate!' in a mechanical voice...)

I don't think you teach someone to be a decent bricklayer by giving him a plastic gardening trowel, and you certainly don't expect him to learn anything much about flemish bond by setting him to a lego set, even if he can still build a nice (lego) wall.

I was scared off the dots as a kid by a sadistic 'music teacher'.


Didn't you say you used to teach, Mike? You should know, then, that a rotten teacher can ruin anything. I had one did the same for me with physics...only a minor edge of sadism with mine. I suspect this is a common one though. Imagine 30+ small kids in a music class, deeply disinterested in all that 'cissy stuff' or at least admitting it in front of their mates. They get one chance to understand and are left in the dark for ever more as they try and sing through 'Cherry Ripe'. That is not 'trying to learn to read music'. Be fair. (Sorry, Mike, I'm not picking specifically on you, more everyone who thinks like that. I bet it's a few)


The basics of reading music staff are very simple, and doubly so when you have a keyed instrument ("Oh look Mother, he means a concertina I expect!") to use as an aid. "Hmmm, C... that's THAT one!". Then you have to work at it to get good at it, yes, but I'm sure you have to work at reading abc fast too. Let's be pessimistic and say it takes 20 mins to get the basic idea, to which you then, later, add further concepts, (sharps and flats, whole tones and half tones on the scale are the 2 obvious ones.) But the moment you've got the first bit, that basic line of letters labelling all the dots on the picture of a wire fence, you're on level footing with the abc and you have a much more powerful tool that will give you more information in less room and faster if you need it. All right, some of us will live a lifetime without needing it (and some will manage quite nicely without any music reading ability of any sort). What I feel quite strongly is that to encourage someone to learn abc instead of staff is to ask them to waste their time on an inferior tool and that it would be more helpful to encourage everyone to just take the larger first step onto the staircase that goes all the way up.

Just because you find it easy does not mean everyone does. I do find playing from abc easier than manuscript but I don't denigrate those who use manuscript.


Well I wasn't denigrating anyone and clearly not you, Lester, you old music reader you. I was expressing frank amazement that someone would be willing to learn to sight read abc INSTEAD of learning to cope with a stave. If you saw someone barging a door repeatedly with his head because he couldn't really be bothered to work out how the latch operated, but someone had told him that this is how the dog opened it, your comments would be in the same vein and for the same reason. It's that sort of thing. Perhaps I put it a bit bluntly; but that's the nearest you get to any contriteness from me for that one.

I'm a music reader, am I the only one sensitive to the needs of fellow musicians who find written music a bit of a challenge ?


Unfair. I'm suggesting that encouraging people to a soft option just because it is easier to get started is not the right thing to do. I found playing a Maccan challenging when I started but I never thought of flogging it and buying a stylophone. You, I suggest, might have encouraged me to give up and buy a stylophone.

It strikes me that I have had almost exactly the same argument with the 'Oh Brilliant, another Hayden duet!' merchants. They say that Wim Wakker's cheap small range starter duets (The Elise) are a great thing. I say that learning Hayden is tantamount to starting a novice down a musical dead end, that it's very mean because unless they are fabulously rich and patient (buying new) or just rich and lucky (someone dies and they get their instrument!), the day will come when they will want a larger, better Hayden, be unable to find one and have to go right back to square one and learn Crane or Maccan from scratch.

There are some people, it seems, who can live within the ranges of a very small duet, just as there are some for whom abc is sufficient. Fine. But isn't it better to start down a path which is limited by the traveller's own horizons rather than artificial fences?

#26 Randall Cayford

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 02:20 AM

What I feel quite strongly is that to encourage someone to learn abc instead of staff is to ask them to waste their time on an inferior tool and that it would be more helpful to encourage everyone to just take the larger first step onto the staircase that goes all the way up.



Ah, you're tilting at a different windmill than I thought. I completely agree with you. I suspect every other poster in this thread agrees with you.

Has anyone actually said "if you are only going to learn only one, learn ABC and not staff notation"? More than one person? I don't think that's a common attitude. I mostly hear "learn staff notation, then ABC is trivial to pick up".

I think most of this thread can be summarized as: when you store and distribute music, use ABC. When you're ready to play it, translate it to staff notation.

#27 Boney

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 02:37 AM

I agree with Randall. ABC is mostly a quick way of distributing editable staff notation. Select the text in the post, open a new browser window, click on your bookmark for the ABC Convert-A-Matic, paste the text in, click submit, see written music. It takes about ten seconds. Or if you have ABC editing software, paste it in there. You can also use programs or web tools to listen to MIDI, transpose, put in chord symbols and hear chords, change a note or two, or whatever.

If I want to make a more complex arrangement, I can paste the ABC into an editing program, output MIDI, and import the MIDI into my full-fledged music score editing software. Saves a lot of time.

But I admit I have used ABC notation on a tune list to remind myself of the first half-dozen notes of a tune, it's more compact and easier to write or type than a staff.

#28 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 03:21 AM

I think most of this thread can be summarized as: when you store and distribute music, use ABC. When you're ready to play it, translate it to staff notation.

That is exactly my notion (and what I use to do myself frequently, of course).

Nevertheless, I'd agree with Dirge on the impression of a certain fear occuring of and thus restraint from using staff notation. I find it usefull to point out that the difficulties and limitations resulting of that refusal overshadow the avoided efforts by far.

#29 JimLucas

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 04:08 AM

I wish I'd never started this...

Well, I'm glad you did.

I've been extremely busy with other things, but I've now managed to find time to read the entire thread, and I'm surprised at several things that have not been said. So I want to say them, and see what responses they elicit.

It will still be 2-3 days before I'll be able to post my thoughts -- one entire day taken up in travel, -- but I will do it. You are all forewarned. :ph34r: B) :D

#30 michael sam wild

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 05:33 AM

When I started to try to read the dots they looked like Arabic or hieroglyphs. ABc made immediate sense ( as a sort of phonetic system) and helped me enormously. I can jot down first notes in my little book of tunes as an aide memoire . Now I am beginning to play off the stave and that will be an increasing help when I buy tune books or get manuscripts at workshops.

As people say , ABc is a great medium for sending info ,as was morse code or semaphore . For most people it needed converting to normal script but people like my Dad , an old salt, could think in it. I suppose some people can think in digital!

What matters is how quick you can get it through your eyes, brain and fingers into the listening ear. Ear learning beats all I say B)

ABCD goldfish, MNO goldfish. SDR goldfish. RDL goldfish!

#31 RAc

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 06:45 AM

I was expressing frank amazement that someone would be willing to learn to sight read abc INSTEAD of learning to cope with a stave. If you saw someone barging a door repeatedly with his head because he couldn't really be bothered to work out how the latch operated, but someone had told him that this is how the dog opened it, your comments would be in the same vein and for the same reason. It's that sort of thing. Perhaps I put it a bit bluntly; but that's the nearest you get to any contriteness from me for that one.

...

But isn't it better to start down a path which is limited by the traveller's own horizons rather than artificial fences?


yet another random piece of noise on the subject, from the point of view of somebody who has from the beginning worked with dot music:

ANY form of musical notation is a crutch; namely, an attempt to map something that is meant for one sense (the ear) to another sense (the eye) so that the eye can do its best to retranslate the visual to an audible. In the history of music, there have been many attempts to do this mapping; some have gotten lost, some prevailed, and some others pop up as technology progresses. Nothing is ever cast in stone and nothing is ultimately "the best" or better than something else just because it's been around longer (otherwise we'd all be taught music as written out by Gregorian monks or some other ancient form of notation). Any notation has its limits which lose information that the ear has to try to get from elsewhere.

I personally feel comfortable with dot notation, but it has its limitations and weaknesses. For example, if you try to decipher a ragtime piece written out in conventional notation, you have a fairly hard time because the syncopations used in ragtime rarely line up with the measure bars, ending up with a lot of dotted notes, connecting bows, 16th pauses and stuff like that. It would be possible to make the scores much more readable (and more faithful to the musical spirit behind it!) by for example rearranging the measure bars along the syncopations, but the notation conventions don't allow that (and, thanks to the digital reality, it can't even be done when you use music type setting software. Good old music pads and pencils). Not even mentioning the age old debates as to whether some phrase shouldn't be written out as 5/32 to 3/32 instead of 3/16 to 1/16.

To me, the ultimate purpose of any notation is to be able to render music (again, something from the ear to the ear!) as faithful as possible and as sharable by as many people as possible. That is why I never got into Guitar tab; sure, Tab makes it easier for those who limit themselves to the guitar to access music, but whoever does that will never be able to for example tackle violin or piano music unless somebody else undertakes the translation (or the musician has good enough musicality to do it by ear in which case no notation is needed in the first place).

I was dimly aware of ABC and its possibilities, and thanks to this discussion, I now have an incentive to look a little closer into it - it seems as if due to its close interoperability with MIDI, ABC offers a number of possibilities that make "interactive" dealing with music a little easier, such as slowing down or transposing scores. On the other hand, it seems to me as if it's not easy to write out polyphonic music well on ABC. Oh well. If ABC should become the state of the art and as much music is available in ABC as is in dotted notation now - fine with me, I'll switch to ABC then, as long as the expressive power of it is at least roughly compatible to that of dot notation.

Anyways, once more, what counts is the music, not the way to approach it. When I hear a good piece of music and I like it, I don't care how the musician got to the point of playing it - everybody has a different approach to music, and the more ways there are to get a handle on it, the more folks have a chance to be musically active, and that can never be wrong.

And as a final note - at the end of the day, there's not a big difference between the two anyways. Try expressing things like blue notes, non concert pitch, tempered tunings, oriental quarter notes, near east scales and some of the more complex African rhythms with either, and you'll run into the same limitations. ABC, dotted notation and MIDI all run off the Western musical understanding (that among other things divides the octave into 12 in part arbitrarily spaced intervals, assume that the "normal" scales contain only half and full note steps which are divided in order between the 12 half note steps and assumes somewhat linear rhythms). Which is not to say that the notations systems couldn't handle those things; they can, if need be with modifications and extensions, they just don't model them naturally or intuitively.

<edited to block out possible misunderstandings thanks to cboody's input and subsequent private conversation>

Edited by Ruediger R. Asche, 22 September 2011 - 02:44 AM.


#32 Pete Dunk

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 06:59 AM

Has anyone actually said "if you are only going to learn only one, learn ABC and not staff notation"? More than one person? I don't think that's a common attitude.


Precisely, I'm a great advocate of using abc as a simple means of storing and distributing music and would expect the end user to either convert it to staff notation or in the case of 'ear' players listen to the midi. I have never, ever suggested that learning to play straight from an abc file makes any sense to me, although I have mentioned that I believe some people do.

Dirge seems to think I'm championing some alternative to written music for use by everyone which couldn't be further from the truth. 'Something for the Weekend' was my way of sharing tunes I liked with others and I presented it in a way I thought was quite well received. I could haved attached PDFs to each post but saw little point. To suddenly criticise the content of a thread more than three years after it started strikes me as pretty odd!

Perhaps I should make this my last contribution to this particular thread, talk of duet concertina vs stylophone is unrelated, bewildering to say the least and starts to look like an unwarranted personal attack.

[/tallship]

#33 Dirge

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 04:05 PM

Oh dear.


Has anyone actually said "if you are only going to learn only one, learn ABC and not staff notation"? More than one person? I don't think that's a common attitude.


Precisely, I'm a great advocate of using abc as a simple means of storing and distributing music and would expect the end user to either convert it to staff notation or in the case of 'ear' players listen to the midi. I have never, ever suggested that learning to play straight from an abc file makes any sense to me, although I have mentioned that I believe some people do.

[/tallship]

Fair enough


Dirge seems to think I'm championing some alternative to written music for use by everyone which couldn't be further from the truth.
[/tallship]


That is what I thought, it's true. Still feels a bit like it if I'm honest. Not just you though, by any means.

'Something for the Weekend' was my way of sharing tunes I liked with others and I presented it in a way I thought was quite well received. I could haved attached PDFs to each post but saw little point. To suddenly criticise the content of a thread more than three years after it started strikes me as pretty odd!
[/tallship]

Sorry, I didn't mean to come across as particularly knocking Something For The Weekend, careless of me if I did. I have always been able to see what a nice idea it is and you know yourself it is enjoyed from the comments others make. It is the abc use I was interested in and that happens throughout Cnet to a large degree not just there.


Perhaps I should make this my last contribution to this particular thread, talk of duet concertina vs stylophone is unrelated, bewildering to say the least and starts to look like an unwarranted personal attack.

[/tallship]

Sorry. Attempt at levity, clearly applied with too heavy a hand. Apologies, Pete and I've had enough too. Jim will be too late!

#34 Pete Dunk

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 06:32 PM

Sorry. Attempt at levity, clearly applied with too heavy a hand. Apologies, Pete and I've had enough too. Jim will be too late!


Long day, tired and time for bed. Let's take up the cudgel another time and sort out the misunderstandings. I am enthusiastic about abc because of the possibilities (but it is limited in many ways!) You perhaps haven't grasped some of the more interesting aspects that this odd little text based language is capable of.

G'night Dirge. ;)

#35 cboody

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 12:13 AM

[


I personally feel comfortable with dot notation, but it has its limitations and weaknesses. For example, if you try to decipher a ragtime piece written out in conventional notation, you have a fairly hard time because the syncopations used in ragtime rarely line up with the measure bars, ending up with a lot of dotted notes, connecting bows, 16th pauses and stuff like that. It would be possible to make the scores much more readable (and more faithful to the musical spirit behind it!) by for example rearranging the measure bars along the syncopations, but the notation conventions don't allow that (and, thanks to the digital reality, it can't even be done when you use music type setting software. Good old music pads and pencils). Not even mentioning the age old debates as to whether some phrase shouldn't be written out as 5/32 to 3/32 instead of 3/16 to 1/16.


I was dimly aware of ABC and its possibilities, and thanks to this discussion, I now have an incentive to look a little closer into it - it seems as if due to its close interoperability with MIDI, ABC offers a number of possibilities that make "interactive" dealing with music a little easier, such as slowing down or transposing scores. On the other hand, it seems to me as if it's not easy to write out polyphonic music well on ABC. Oh well. If ABC should become the state of the art and as much music is available in ABC as is in dotted notation now - fine with me, I'll switch to ABC then, as long as the expressive power of it is at least roughly compatible to that of dot notation.

Anyways, once more, what counts is the music, not the way to approach it. When I hear a good piece of music and I like it, I don't care how the musician got to the point of playing it - everybody has a different approach to music, and the more ways there are to get a handle on it, the more folks have a chance to be musically active, and that can never be wrong.

And as a final note - at the end of the day, there's not a big difference between the two anyways. Try expressing things like blue notes, non concert pitch, tempered tunings, oriental quarter notes, near east scales and some of the more complex African rhythms with either, and you'll run into the same limitations. ABC, dotted notation and MIDI all run off the Western musical understanding (that among other things divides the octave into 12 in part arbitrarily spaced intervals, assume that the "normal" scales contain only half and full note steps which are divided in order between the 12 half note steps and assumes somewhat linear rhythms). So why should any of those be superior to the other if neither one can adequately express music that is alive only a few miles beyond its borders?...


Hmm. Lots of interesting things above. I hope my comments below help folks to understand the capabilities of notation software and other related things and are NOT viewed as an attack on this particular writer. I'm not meaning the comments in that way at all. My apologies in advance if it seems that way.

Let's take the paragraphs in order from the top:

1) a) I've never seen a rag where the syncopations were particularly difficult to notate. Yes, like any other style the intricacies of the playing style can be problematic to put on the page, but go look at the Joplin rags. Notation is not an issue there, though performance style is. b)Good notation software can do things far more complex than you might think. It has no trouble with things like 1&1/2 / 4 time (which I can even write out correctly here. If the question is whether notation can accurately represent a player's performance or whether transcribers can agree on how to notate something I can agree with you that it is very difficult. But I don't think that is relevant to the rest of the discussions here. It is an interesting issue that many folks, particularly ethnomusicologists, have spent considerable effort on. An equally interesting discussion among those same folks is whether notation should attempt to accurately represent the detail of a performance or merely a close approximation of it. We can have those discussions if someone wishes, but not here.

2) a) There is actually a movement of a Beethoven Symphony score written out in ABC and there are many examples of polyphonic music from the Renaissance and some examples of Bach pieces. ABC can do this. I wouldn't choose to do so, but it can do it. B) If one views ABC as a tool for quick transmission of notated music (my view and one expressed by others above) your argument about waiting for ABC to be as popular as regular notation seems rather useless. Still you are welcome to the opinion. I just can't agree with it.

3)BOY HAVE YOU GOT THIS RIGHT. All of this discussion is beside the main point. ABC and notation and listening and lessons are just ways to discover the keys to ANY musical style. Anyone who sees any of those things as either useless or the be all end all is, in my not at all humble opinion, missing the point.

4)Your argument here shows, I think, a lack of awareness of the various tools you denigrate. Even ABC has ways to represent micro-tones, glissandi, and lots of other things needed to represent on paper the music of other cultures and of contemporary art music. Programs like Finale and Sibelius do even more with that, including among many other things the ability to represent patterns of notes that gradually increase or decrease in tempo. MIDI contains all the commands to play this sort of thing too. None of those tools are limited to 12 note scales in common rhythms. So, the tools can probably do the work if the users can properly use them and know what they want to "say". Your last sentence though, remarking that it is silly to argue about which tool is best is, I think, spot on even though the justification you decided to use might be wrong.

In sum: Seems to me you might not have all the knowledge about the tools but you have fine and accurate attitudes about what is important in music. Would that everyone had that!!! Bravo to you.

I hope these comments are helpful in clearing the air, and don't just add to the mud!!!

#36 RAc

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 02:43 AM

1) a) I've never seen a rag where the syncopations were particularly difficult to notate. Yes, like any other style the intricacies of the playing style can be problematic to put on the page, but go look at the Joplin rags. Notation is not an issue there, though performance style is. b)Good notation software can do things far more complex than you might think. It has no trouble with things like 1&1/2 / 4 time (which I can even write out correctly here. If the question is whether notation can accurately represent a player's performance or whether transcribers can agree on how to notate something I can agree with you that it is very difficult. But I don't think that is relevant to the rest of the discussions here. It is an interesting issue that many folks, particularly ethnomusicologists, have spent considerable effort on. An equally interesting discussion among those same folks is whether notation should attempt to accurately represent the detail of a performance or merely a close approximation of it. We can have those discussions if someone wishes, but not here.


This discussion proably deserves a separate thread which I may take up at another time - then again it may be too special here, maybe a candidate for offline discussion...

I hope these comments are helpful in clearing the air, and don't just add to the mud!!!


I do wish to thank you for your curteous and considerate responses to my ranting. As far as I am concerned, the answer to your hope is a definite and clear yes.




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