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Chris H. #1178584 04/11/09 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris H.
Kenny, do you mean my sarcasm or your sarcasm? confused

I was being serious.


I know that you were serious. And yes I agree, reading music (wow! On Topic!) is much like learning reading words. It is a struggle at first but with practice it becomes much easier and eventually second nature.

I was just trying to poke [Linked Image] a little fun at the gyrations this topic has gone through.

Being assimilated by the Grand Staff of current music theory, becoming one with it to the exclusion of all else.....you know, that sort of stuff. smile


Last edited by kennychaffin; 04/11/09 04:10 PM.

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Thorium #1178596 04/11/09 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Thorium
The Cambridge History of Western Music Theory has answers for some of these questions. Mine's an older edition. It's nice reference book, if you don't mind 1000 tersely prosed pages - but then again, this thread is nearly as long by now.

Here's a browsable online copy. There's a passage on Guido d'Arezzo's contribution to staff notation toward the end of page 344 and on page 345. Note especially the image on page 345.

http://books.google.com/books?id=ioa9uW2t7AQC&printsec=frontcover

There are other nuggets as well.


That's a great resource Thorium. Thanks for that!

and your post: nice, concise, useful. smile



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Originally Posted by Betty Patnude
Hello, Guido. The beginning of music notation.


I don’t think Guido of Arezzo was the “beginning of music notation.” Other kinds of notation were in use before the staff, and my Grout, A History of Western Music, which is a pretty standard music history text, says “By the eleventh century Guido of Arezzo was describing a four-line staff then in use, on which letters indicated the lines for f, c’ and sometimes g’ .” I also checked the on-line reference in Thorium’s post (thanks, Thorium! I’ve bookmarked it!), and it states, on page 347, “Guido did not specify how many lines should be used; multiple-line staves are found in practical sources from the mid-eleventh century, and the four-line staff had become standard by the thirtheenth.” The illustration we call “Guido’s hand” specified pitches by associating them with knuckles/joints, not whole fingers, so the 5 fingers are not implicated in the staff from that graphic, any way. In fact, I have never seen the development of the 5-line 4-space staff attributed to having 5 fingers on our hands. Do you have a cite for that, Betty?

The Cambridge History of Western Music Theory that Thorium provided a link to did say that Guido was responsible for the spaces between lines representing notes, and not just the lines.

Originally Posted by Betty Patnude
Mans - French for hands - manu-script! Music is written on manuscript paper. Let's put that in RED letters for the doubters.


My dictionary says the word “manuscript” appeared in 1597 and indicated that something was written by hand rather than printed, and not as having anything to do specifically with 5 fingers. It’s not evidence for 5-line staves having been a consequence of a hand having 5 fingers.

I hope you do a LOT of research on what you heard on that Numbers TV program and how our brains work before you draw any conclusions.

Cathy






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Chris H. #1178675 04/11/09 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris H.
I'm no great historian but I would say that the 5 line staff is about reading notes within a convenient range without the use of too many ledger lines. 4 lines is not enough, 6 lines not easy on the eye, so we ended up with 5. One thing is for sure, it has nothing to do with being able to easily identify the notes. I guess nobody ever imagined that this would be a problem.


I agree.

Jeff Hao #1178679 04/11/09 07:30 PM
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The original question proposing a 6-line staff would give us two identical staffs that have lines named E,G,B,D,F,A and one single middle C between them. Memorizing different line names would be eliminated and that probably prompted the idea. But secondly, there would be one single middle C in a middle ledger line exactly between the two staffs, joining them. Currently each staff has its own middle C. That was the proposal.

If that came about, the space between the two staffs would shrink. Voice ranges extend up above and down below the staffs, so a voice would invade the staff above or below its own staff and that would make it hard to distinguish voices. I was thinking of a diagram I drew a while back:

[Linked Image]
Notice how far up the tenor voice and how far down the alto voice go. What happens if we have one common middle C belonging to both staffs as was proposed with the 6-line staff? Where do you put those notes? Unless you kept separate middle C's.

The other factor is another kind of symmetry. Betty mentioned "middle lines". In the existing staff we have two lines above and two lines below the middle line and that helps us to orient quickly. Possibly with 6 lines we would have a "middle space" but with 6 lines can we still recognize a note's location in a split second? Maybe we can - it would have to be tried, otherwise it's conjecture.

Whether or not the span of the human hand on a keyboard is involved, these are some extra thoughts.

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Keystring, with the extra thoughts,

Learning and observation never stops when it's a sheet of music involved.

What you are calling having to remember the names of the lines and spaces and the keys of the piano, is just not all there is to reading music. You can be very poor at calculating the letter names on the grand staff, but still play very well and convincingly by reading in association or relationship of the distance and direction up or down the scale the the melody or harmony is moving. It's like looking at an EKG with it's spikes, rising and dropping, and moving forward.

Using the alphabet fluently would require that first you could say and think in stepwise alphabet progression from A-G. Then to reverse the order from G to A when the music moves down the scale. Stepwise is known as conjunct (joined), and disjunct is anything requiring more than a step.

So you need to be able to recognize: Degrees of the scale and Intervals

Starting on any line note to the next adjacent line is a 3rd
Line to line to line is a 5th
Line to line to line to line is a 7th

Line to next adjacent space is a 2nd
Line to line to space is a 4th
Line to line to line to space is a 6th
Line to ;ine to line to line to space is an 8th (octave)

Lines calculating degrees by 3rds (distance)
______ 9
______ 7
______ 5
______ 3
______ 1


Spaces calculating degrees by 3rd (distance) - awkward drawing
9
_______ (8)octave
7
_______
5
_______
3
_______
1
_______

The point being that if you know the numerical distance between notes you know how wide to open your hand in preparation to land on the notes needed.

This can relate to melodic reading as well as harmonic reading.

The naming of the note virtually serves the purpose for finding keyboard location: It does not have to be thought by letter name, in fact, you want that process to go away, and to begin to see it as distance between notes and a hand shape requirement.

Pianists in early study will always be fishing for the correct notes with no plan for fingering, unless they prepare themselves in several different systems. Alphabet by itself simply gets you the orientation between the music staff and the keyboard.

Next the fingering is vital, along with duration of the note, but the real agility comes in when you see music as a choreography "noted" on the page.

The mind is constantly solving the "from here to there" of a composition by moving gracefully note to note. The letter name goes by the wayside because it is no longer needed.

Co-ordination happens because of earnest and thorough preparation that bring thinking skills to the front.

Nothing happens at the piano without a thought process...an impulse to a finger in a certain location.

Gazelles!

Betty

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Oh wow! I just checked my Fitzwilliam Virginal book and the fascimiles in the front of each volume are 6-line staves! The G clef has the line for middle C lined all the way across, and the F clef does, too! But the clefs have a considerable space between them, so the stems of notes from each clef sometimes protrudes into it. There is one long continuous vertical line on each end which connects *all* the staves on the page, not just each pair of G and F clefs. The introduction to the Dover edition I have says all of the pieces were hand written on 6-line staves. The pieces are dated from about 1550 to 1620.

How cool is that?

Cathy


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[Linked Image]Now, that's art and all written in the Tower of London I believe - sorry I've just read that's now bunkum!

jotur #1178838 04/12/09 02:26 AM
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Oh, this is fun. I hadn't looked at my Fitzwilliam books in a couple of years. A ton of the compositions are by William Byrd, Orlando Gibbons, John Bull - sort of the giants of the age, huh? I've played several for English country dances - they're still lovely and lively dance pieces - Sellenger's Round by William Byrd; Daphne, Woody-cock, and Up Tails All by Giles Farnaby. There's probably more, but I don't play as often for English as I do other kinds of dances.

Kind of a little treasure hunt -

Cathy


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Oh, kbk - thanks! I hadn't thought about scanning it in -

Cathy

EDIT - yes, that's art. I love hand-written music when someone has a good hand. A friend of mine dedicated one of her piano/viola duets to me and gave me a copy that she had hand written. It's beautiful.

Last edited by jotur; 04/12/09 02:31 AM.

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jotur #1178840 04/12/09 02:29 AM
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One of Myra Hess' favourites was the Fall of the Leaf.

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Originally Posted by keyboardklutz
sorry I've just read that's now bunkum!


But it was a good story while it lasted, wasn't it laugh Does someone have a better line on whose book it was?

Cathy


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Thank you again. Exquisite music. You play virginals, don't you? clavichord, too? Do you have a cd out smile ? I think you have some youtubes up -

Cathy


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Kenny, I wondered if you might be joking with me. I usually pick up on that kind of thing but I was a bit confused by the confused icon. confused grin


Keystring,

The 6 line stave doesn't necessarily need to make any difference to what happens in the middle. If you take the diagram you provided showing vocal range and simply draw an extra stave line above and below I believe this is what Carl was thinking. It's possible to do this with any piece of standard notation and it probably does no harm at all. But the rest of your post goes some way towards explaining why it isn't like this.

I think the answer to the original question (if anyone can remember what that was!) lies in what Betty said in her last post.


Last edited by Chris H.; 04/12/09 03:26 AM.

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jotur #1178876 04/12/09 04:41 AM
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Originally Posted by jotur
Thank you again. Exquisite music. You play virginals, don't you? clavichord, too? Do you have a cd out smile ? I think you have some youtubes up -

Cathy
Only clavichord: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94umaSoU9AY&feature=channel_page

Just found this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoIv0Rw-EaM&feature=related Must get one!

Chris H. #1178885 04/12/09 05:19 AM
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Quote
Keystring,

The 6 line stave doesn't necessarily need to make any difference to what happens in the middle. If you take the diagram you provided showing vocal range and simply draw an extra stave line above and below I believe this is what Carl was thinking.

Chris, if you look at Carl's post, he says "with one middle C" and his diagram shows one single middle C. You may also recall posts in the past that wondered why there isn't a single middle C. I chose to explore the idea in full for that reason. A six line staff is possible, but a common C would create problems.

There is another reason to have a space between the two staves. Dynamic markings, ties, and slurs are often written in the middle. We need a space for that.

In addition to everything that has been said, I think a small shift in perspective also helps. Instead of thinking of "the names of the lines and spaces" I think of the names of the notes that are on these lines and spaces, and how they relate to the clefs (the squiggly markers that identify them as bass or treble). One clef marks G4 and the other marks F3. If you see it that way, you never get lost in the bass clef. If for some reason you need to learn the other two clefs - the treble and tenor C-clefs, you use the same device and it's a breeze. It's more as if the notes stand still and you just slide a grid of parallel lines under them. It's exactly the same thing as before with a tiny shift in focus. wink Everything else that has been said stays the same.

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Quote
What you are calling having to remember the names of the lines and spaces and the keys of the piano, is just not all there is to reading music. You can be very poor at calculating the letter names on the grand staff, but still play very well and convincingly....

Betty, you are so right in stressing the role of intervals in reading music. It explains why 40 years ago I was able to play the music I found in the house without knowing the names of notes. I played Clementi, Mozart, Beethoven, Kuhlau from the sheet music (I knew how to find the tonic and thought in solfege) and essentially followed the way the notes went up and down. I recognized intervals without being able to name them, but my fingers, eyes, and ears knew what to do. Chords were familiar shapes so they came out fluidly. It was, in fact, intervalic reading I now realize.

The only thing that I had to add a few years ago was the names of these notes. If you play with others, and they, or a teacher, say "Start at the Bb" you feel rather stupid if you don't know what that Bb might be... especially if you have been playing fluidly from the sheet music. smirk

I used to regret that I did not get formal instruction as a child and did not learn my notes until later, but now I see that I had an important component of music reading all along. It also strikes me that while we cannot read words at all without knowing the alphabet, we can read music without knowing note names (as long as you can find at least one note.

I have been fluid in both for a number of years, and only had to add the topography of the keyboard last year. Intervals and pitch names can both be recognized by the ear, but the map of the keyboard makes a difference. As you said, it's not one thing - all components work together.

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Originally Posted by jotur
Oh wow! I just checked my Fitzwilliam Virginal book and the fascimiles in the front of each volume are 6-line staves! The G clef has the line for middle C lined all the way across, and the F clef does, too! But the clefs have a considerable space between them, so the stems of notes from each clef sometimes protrudes into it. There is one long continuous vertical line on each end which connects *all* the staves on the page, not just each pair of G and F clefs. The introduction to the Dover edition I have says all of the pieces were hand written on 6-line staves. The pieces are dated from about 1550 to 1620.

How cool is that?

Cathy


grin



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What a wonderful way to start Easter Sunday. I went on to listen to your Polonaise: Bach Polonaise in E minor
I don't think one can make it sing in quite that way on the piano, sustain or not. One would almost imagine a voice - beautiful playing! smile

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