[PD] Musical notation object on Pd

Ed Kelly morph_2016 at yahoo.co.uk
Wed Nov 10 16:37:09 CET 2010

To wade in again, as I am still writing my objects...

I think we need to think of opening up possibilities that encompass others, 
rather than restricting any new objects to "traditional" tonal/rhythmic 

The reason why I chose GEM as the platform for my notation experiments was that 
it can be augmented (a la Busoni) with standard GEM objects (i.e. non-standard 
notation) so that if a composer (me) wishes for the lines of the stave to go 
haywire, it is a possibility. But this sort of graphical manipulation of the 
objects falls outside of what I would deem "standardised" music notation - 
Busoni/Busotti is for poetic interpretation by someone like David Tudor, rather 
than proscriptive execution of symbols with definite meanings.

However, any new object specifically designed for standardised music notation 
must at least have the capability to represent possibilities that can be 
well-defined e.g. 1/4 tones, glissandi, different stops, noteheads, beam styles, 
proportional notation, non-standard key signatures (armature? See Messeian's 
Mode 2 for an 8-note scale) etc. Non-standard (i.e. deliberately ambiguous) 
elements of notation should be left out of such a system I think.

...But this is also why I've chosen to represent the notation elements using 
truetype fonts, which can be easily edited and augmented. Meanwhile, just 
organising rhythmic groupings within a bar is enough of a perplexing problem, 
especially when one is using dynamic patching to achieve this!

There is my 2 crotchets worth for today :)

 Metastudio 4 for Pure Data - coming soon!
Metastudio 3 still available at http://sharktracks.co.uk/puredata

----- Original Message ----
From: João Pais <jmmmpais at googlemail.com>
To: patko <colet.patrice at free.fr>
Cc: pd-list <pd-list at iem.at>
Sent: Wed, 10 November, 2010 11:55:17
Subject: Re: [PD] Musical notation object on Pd

> we can have a few examples in here:
> http://james-ingram-act-two.de/stockhausen/stockhausenScores.html

ah, didn't know he had these examples, weren't there last time I visited
this site.

> particulary Xi for flûte, 
> he use exactly the same notation shown in your preview picture, thank you for 
>showing it.
> Those are samples of papers written by the master, but the pieces I played at 
>school contained also explanations about symbols used all along the scores,
> maybe be that's why I confused the issue by saying he used his own standard.

master indeed, but not about microtonal music or notation. these pieces I
don't know (am not very interested in the Licht period), and if you look
at the Licht formula
(http://www.analogartsensemble.net/blog/licht_superformula.jpg), it's
basically chromatic. The Klang cycle I also don't know, it can be that
there are more microtonal works there.
In current day notation there are also huge amounts of symbols for all
kinds of actions (and as with pitch notation, some composers share
symbols, other decide to make new ones), but that's not important for this

>  Also, how a composer would do when he need to build his own scale, from 
>empiric harmonic rules?
> Let me try to explain, music composition has evolved a certain way technically 
>that one composer could build up a scale for each different piece he makes.
> How could he write scores that could be read by any genuine musician any time?

[warning for anyone else, the rest of the paragraph has nothing to do with

I'm going backwards on the sentences:

Absolutely, he can't (and that can be a good thing). How do you know how a
staccato in a Beethoven piano sonata really sounds? Even if you get the
right instrument (not a piano, but a pianoforte, and a specific model at
that), you would have to go to the propper room where it should be
performed (not a concert hall, but some ballroom at some aristocrat's
castle), where the people with huge dresses [that probably absorb more
frequencies than nowadays jeans and t-shirts] sit or stand around, some of
them talking (planning a war or a love escapade) or eating, or even
pissing in a corner or behind a door (if it would be played at Versailles).

For a 20th century composer (with Cds and other technologies around), he
can notate his score as clear as possible - if the music is notateable,
which isn't the case with e.g. Bussoti

and many others -, but the rest is related to performance practice, and
theoretical documentation. Speaking of Stockhausen, he's done a good job
at that, because he always worked with specific performers who specialized
in his music (and were even prohibited from playing anything else than
Stockhausen), who now teach in his music courses. He also recorded all his
works himself (tradition started by Stravinsky), so there is a concrete
reference that is accessible, and many theoretical articles about his
works and his views on music etc.

The composer can choose any system he wants to, as long as there is enough
(fixed and aural / written and recorded) documentation, and everything is
explained somewhere quite clearly. Going back to the notation examples,
the symbols I sent are "mainstream", but in some pieces they don't make
sense musically, so they won't fit 100% of music around. But they fit lots
of it, and many composers think on those "scales" when working.
Nowadays, mostly, a "scale" is just a pitch reservoir without hierarchies
(which in a traditional scales are important), what most composers do is
to choose the highest definition they want/can hear (usually being 1/4
tone, but also going up to 16th or 32th tone) and/or makes sense musically
for the piece in question.

There are always exceptions. One example, a friend of mine did a piece
where at some point the amplified instruments should generate beatings
between each other. So one instrument stays put, and the other has an
accidental with an arrow (like in the picture) and a number with the
beating frequency he should try to get at (very difficult to play). This
moment in the piece needs another system than the normal tempered
notation, because it hasn't much to do with tempered music. He explained
it clearly in the notes, so it should be clear what the piece should sound


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