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Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
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Joined: Jul 2011
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I just found out about this from the musical fossils blog. Didn't even know it existed. Has anyone ever tried Klavarskribo?

http://www.klavarmusic.com/klavarskribo/about.htm

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I always think these alternative (supposedly easier) notation systems are a bit like taking your driving test in an automatic - it may be easier to learn at the time but you'll regret it later.

Music notation is not that easy to learn, but if you put the hours in on your sight-reading practice it does eventually become second nature. There's so much music out there in standard notation (for the piano at least, although there are instruments with viable alternatives like tab for guitar), that any attempt to introduce a new system is surely doomed.


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I found it interesting but to be honest rather freaky on my eyes. My sight reading must be improving as the standard system is easier on my eyes and I can make much more sense of it!

I cannot drive a car so the analogy is a bit lost on me- but I can relate it somewhat to using different computer operating systems. I'm not on Microsoft any more; I am still able to use it.(In fact I can use 3 OS). There are advantages and disadvantages of each one.

Last edited by EdwardianPiano; 09/30/12 03:03 PM.
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This is not like changing operating systems. It would be about rewriting everything that has been in print for a very long time.

It is like inisting that a new, logical phonetic writing system should replace the one we are using. At first it seems logical, but then you realize you won't be able to read anything that is not in a new system.

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Attempts to reform notation to overcome one or another supposed difficulty or irregularity is a perennial topic in music history. It also recurs frequently on this forum. Here is a quote from one of my posts on a "new notation" thread from a couple of years ago:

Quote
This is just one of hundreds (and I do mean hundreds) of proposals for easier or better music notation. Gardner Read's Source Book of Proposed Music Notation Reforms lists 961(!) proposals dating back to the 17th century. None have replaced standard notation, of course, and most have scarcely outlived their inventors. Read's book was published in 1987, and since then the internet seems to have triggered a new wave of inventions, of which several have been promoted on this very forum.


I think one of the reasons that Klavarskribo has outlasted some of its competitors is that there is an organization behind it that actually publishes music in the system. So many reforms are only championed by their sole inventors and never result in a significant published literature. Nevertheless, I don't think it will fare any better in the long term. Primarily, I believe this is because it is too specialized to a single instrument and too focussed on a specific problem (i.e. mapping written notes to physical locations on a keyboard).

Music notation covers a broad range instruments and musical styles. It also conveys a great deal of musical information about all aspects of a piece, not just the mechanical process of pushing keys. And standard notation already admits of much dialectical specialization within a single broad framework (e.g. just look at the difference between percussion and keyboard notation). I don't think specialized notation systems often survive outside very small niches. Perhaps the early stages of teaching or self-learning are areas where they can make a contribution, but as others have pointed out, real musicians still need to learn the standard language of their craft at some point.


Paul Buchanan
Estonia L168 #1718

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