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I will just add that, as a mathematically-minded person, the book "Musimathics" by Gareth Loy did a great job of explaining why a lot of things that seem arbitrary in music are the way they are (or at least fesses up on which ones really are historical accidents). I credit that feeling of arbitrariness with being the leading cause of my consistently showing zero interest in music classes as a child.

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3 hours ago, Owen Anderson said:

I will just add that, as a mathematically-minded person, the book "Musimathics" by Gareth Loy did a great job of explaining why a lot of things that seem arbitrary in music are the way they are (or at least fesses up on which ones really are historical accidents). I credit that feeling of arbitrariness with being the leading cause of my consistently showing zero interest in music classes as a child.

Interesting, thanks for the pointer! Would that chapter be part of Volume 1 or Volume 2?

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If you can, stick at it with manual music learning too. By that I mean sit down and do some music copying, and it does not have to be over complex, and by looking on actual pages of printed manuscript. This will give you a very thorough way into really understanding even more musical things.

Often, I feel, there can be a bit too much theory provided, which can be useful, but sometimes maybe overly complicated, particularly for anyone wanting to get going in the subject.

 

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16 hours ago, Owen Anderson said:


Volume 1. Volume 2 is really only if you want to learn DSP algorithms.

I bought Vol. 1 based on your recommendation, and for completeness' sake I'd like to add that the issue that has become the focus of this thread's attention - notation systems - is not addressed in Loy's book at all; the book introduces the "standard traditional" 5 line staff system (CMN) in chapter 2 and bases of all of its subsequent elaborations on CMN without any further discussion on CMN itself, nor its history, pros, cons or alternatives.

 

There is nothing wrong with that by itself; notation is simply not in its focus. I just thought I'd like to make it clear that the debates in this thread do not find any echo or clarification in the book.

 

Other than that, the book is ok, but anybody who has come as far as the Pythagorean comma already can safely skip the first three out of 9 chapters. The remaining chapters become fairly technical and abstract elaborations on sound physics and the math behind it.

 

I would classify the book as a "competitor" to "How music really works," whereas the latter would be more attractive to the practising musician whereas Loy does a pretty good job with respect to comprehensiveness.
 

Thanks again!

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5 hours ago, RAc said:

I bought Vol. 1 based on your recommendation, and for completeness' sake I'd like to add that the issue that has become the focus of this thread's attention - notation systems - is not addressed in Loy's book at all; the book introduces the "standard traditional" 5 line staff system (CMN) in chapter 2 and bases of all of its subsequent elaborations on CMN without any further discussion on CMN itself, nor its history, pros, cons or alternatives.

 

There is nothing wrong with that by itself; notation is simply not in its focus. I just thought I'd like to make it clear that the debates in this thread do not find any echo or clarification in the book.

 

Other than that, the book is ok, but anybody who has come as far as the Pythagorean comma already can safely skip the first three out of 9 chapters. The remaining chapters become fairly technical and abstract elaborations on sound physics and the math behind it.

 

I would classify the book as a "competitor" to "How music really works," whereas the latter would be more attractive to the practising musician whereas Loy does a pretty good job with respect to comprehensiveness.
 

Thanks again!


Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that the book specifically addresses notation systems. I came to it with essentially zero musical knowledge (but a lot of math background), and it helped me understand things like why keys even exist, which then helped justify to me why you’d want a notation system that was key-oriented.

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16 hours ago, Owen Anderson said:


Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that the book specifically addresses notation systems. I came to it with essentially zero musical knowledge (but a lot of math background), and it helped me understand things like why keys even exist, which then helped justify to me why you’d want a notation system that was key-oriented.

No reason to be sorry - on the opposite, thanks, this is still a good read! Also, in your last sentence, you raise a point that only Steve has taken up so far but that for me is a strong argument in favor of CMN (as well as any other notation systems that are key oriented): It helps my brain and fingers "lock into" the tonal sphere of the underlying scale. Iow, as soon as I see two sharps in the beginning of a piece written in CMN, I (more or less subconsciously) pre-sort the chord material I will most probably use into D-A-G-Bm-Em-F#m and the note material into the diatonic D major scale (or one its modal variants).

 

Of course, this advantage disappears as the music heards towards atonality or heavily modulated, but at least for me, it applies to 99+x% of what I play.

That gives me a head start right there, being a harmony oriented person (ie a guitar player turned concertina). I do not see how a notation system that does not hint you towards the underlying tonal sphere can provide so much support for sight reading. Unless, of course, one plays a fully transposing instrument in which the difference between key signatures is just a lateral shift of equal chord positions such as a Hayden - but I would expect such a "consistent" pairing (eg Parnassus and Hayden) to pose other problems such as the danger to end up in the wrong key in the middle of a session... 😉

 

But again, that does not imply that alternative notation systems would be inferior, they certainly have their justifications and advantages, and I am happy for everybody whose road to music becomes easier with one of them.
 

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3 hours ago, RAc said:

No reason to be sorry - on the opposite, thanks, this is still a good read! Also, in your last sentence, you raise a point that only Steve has taken up so far but that for me is a strong argument in favor of CMN (as well as any other notation systems that are key oriented): It helps my brain and fingers "lock into" the tonal sphere of the underlying scale. Iow, as soon as I see two sharps in the beginning of a piece written in CMN, I (more or less subconsciously) pre-sort the chord material I will most probably use into D-A-G-Bm-Em-F#m and the note material into the diatonic D major scale (or one its modal variants).

 

Of course, this advantage disappears as the music heards towards atonality or heavily modulated, but at least for me, it applies to 99+x% of what I play.

That gives me a head start right there, being a harmony oriented person (ie a guitar player turned concertina). I do not see how a notation system that does not hint you towards the underlying tonal sphere can provide so much support for sight reading. Unless, of course, one plays a fully transposing instrument in which the difference between key signatures is just a lateral shift of equal chord positions such as a Hayden - but I would expect such a "consistent" pairing (eg Parnassus and Hayden) to pose other problems such as the danger to end up in the wrong key in the middle of a session... 😉

 

But again, that does not imply that alternative notation systems would be inferior, they certainly have their justifications and advantages, and I am happy for everybody whose road to music becomes easier with one of them.
 


The thing is - most of chromatic notation systems can just as easily be used as key oriented (either by simply using key signatures or as I do, by colour coding accidentals, so one look at the score gives you all the information you want at a glance) as they can be used for chromatic or atonal music. With opposite approach such as CMN, making it work for atonal or simply chromatic music is an awkward and unreasonably complicated workaround.

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Wow! I did not realise my post would take this course

 

Apologies for my late returning to my thread - I did not receive any emails and I just assumed that I had no replies!!

I will remember to apply "Follow topic" next time!

 

I was only posing the questions as examples of the sorts of things a newby like me is asking and why a teacher would probably save me hours of painful google-self-learning!

Off my own back I had decided that 6 line staffs would be perfect for the 12 semitones - and I think I'm glad but a little disappointed (though I really shouldn't be given I've been doing music for 5 minutes) that someone else already did it 🙂

 

I accept that the huge body of pre-existing music in the traditional style will preclude any new style so I will just have to suck it up!

 

I'm glad to see that there is a local group I can join - I will be doing that today!

 

I have tried to keep my hand in but I am struggling to keep motivated - hopefully a teacher will help

 

Thank you all for helping and validating my questions! 

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