One shortcoming of Musical Notation

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trumpetsplus, Jan 10, 2015.

  1. therealnod

    therealnod Pianissimo User

    Dec 30, 2014
    After further investigation, I was wrong, it is not a framework. It is, indeed, a high-level interpreted language. I may take you up on that PM, though.
  2. therealnod

    therealnod Pianissimo User

    Dec 30, 2014
    Not what I was driving at. In Vietnamese the inflection changes the word in it's entirety. As in, "lam" can mean "work" or "pretty" or "much." Makes for a pretty difficult language to learn. We should be happy with our musical language.
  3. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    Boy, you guys sure killed this thread. Nicely done.
  4. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Great Southern Land
    Not entirely, I'd say. I often use MuseScore to play back the score I've entered into it, and use my ears to confirm what my eyes should be reading. You could say that in this respect the notation is programming the playback component to play the music, and it doesn't apply any subjective changes to the way the notes will sound.
    If it doesn't flow like you want it to then you can check the score more closely and make some micro changes to help MuseScore play it better, or add your own notation which you are sure the human player will be able to read (and obey).

    In computer language terms you might say the first approach is like detailed, pedantic programming, while the second approach involves the application of some fuzzy logic.
    Or yet another way, the first approach adjusts the hardware response, the second approach influences the wetware.

    In Ivan's example, and some of the responses, I suspect that unless the change in the way the notes are written actually resolves to something different, the programmed machine will not play it any differently, but the programmed human may well.

  5. Honkie

    Honkie Pianissimo User

    Feb 22, 2013
    ...haven't read all 8 pages of this thread, but...

    I think trying to get musical notation to accurately reflect phrasing would be like spelling the Inglish lang-wage fone-et-a-cal-ee.

    Enough is anuff.
  6. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    It's quite interesting seeing this from the opposite perspective.

    It's nearly twenty years since I lived close to a handy music shop, so when I've come across a tune I've liked, I've tended to play along to the recording until I've got it more-or-less off pat, and then transcribed it down onto manuscript.

    Occasionally, I'll come across an 'official' copy somewhere, and the differences can be very interesting. Most blues and swing numbers as Kehaulani notes, will be written in 'straight' 4/4 as opposed to the compound time of my transcription. And also, many trumpet parts originally written for other instruments will have been 'doctored' to make them more easily playable on the trumpet.

    And one advantage of learning tunes by ear from a preferred recording is that a first bash at the musical interpretation comes FOC without having to start from scratch with the raw manuscript.
  7. tjcombo

    tjcombo Forte User

    Nov 12, 2012
    Melbourne, Australia
    The analogy you've drawn to tonal languages underlines Ivan's original point about the shortcomings of notation or for that matter of written language.

    Of tonal languages, a funny thing happened a few years back when I decided to learn some Mandarin because I was doing a fair bit of work in Asia. My chosen mode for learning was audio lessons which I could do in my car and refresh on long flights.

    In a bar with a few colleagues, I decided to test my new "skills" when ordering a beer. I was greeted with stunned silence from my mates! Horrified that I may have accidentally said something nasty by using the wrong inflection, I asked what was wrong. One of them replied "nothing wrong, you speak exactly Chinese" :-)

    A written and read lesson would've been totally unable to arrive at this outcome.

    As to English being "concise, efficient and flexible"? Flexible - yes, concise and efficient - no way. To build on the example of English being used as a programming language, program design often involves trade-offs between functionality and ease of use. English is incredible functional, but can be difficult to drive.
  8. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
  9. Reedman1

    Reedman1 Piano User

    Sep 5, 2013
    NY, USA
    That is certainly a shortcoming of musical notation!
  10. therealnod

    therealnod Pianissimo User

    Dec 30, 2014
    Try Vietnamese, the words have very clear instructions for the pronunciation, and the markings are unmistakable (you can thank the French for this), like music. As for your programming example, I have no idea what you mean. If you have an example, share, but I can't even discern what you mean by that sentence. I mean, functionality and ease of use? If you know the function, it's easy to use...just pass it the arguments it needs. All of this is going to have to wind down to basic, simple logic at some point, Our understanding of the entire universe boils down to this.

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