Music notation or musical notation is any system used to visually represent aurally perceived music played with instruments or sung by the human voice through the use of written, printed, or otherwise-produced symbols. Types and methods of notation have varied between cultures and throughout history, much information about ancient music notation is fragmentary. In the same time period, such as in the 2010s, different styles of music and different cultures use different music notation methods; the symbols used include ancient symbols and modern symbols made upon any media such as symbols cut into stone, made in clay tablets, made using a pen on papyrus or parchment or manuscript paper. Although many ancient cultures used symbols to represent melodies and rhythms, none of them were comprehensive, this has limited today's understanding of their music; the seeds of what would become modern western notation were sown in medieval Europe, starting with the Catholic Church's goal for ecclesiastical uniformity.
The church began notating plainchant melodies so that the same chants could be used throughout the church. Music notation developed further in the Baroque music eras. In the classical period and the Romantic music era, notation continued to develop as new musical instrument technologies were developed. In the contemporary classical music of the 20th and 21st century, music notation has continued to develop, with the introduction of graphical notation by some modern composers and the use, since the 1980s, of computer-based score writer programs for notating music. Music notation has been adapted to many kinds of music, including classical music, popular music, traditional music; the earliest form of musical notation can be found in a cuneiform tablet, created at Nippur, in Babylonia, in about 1400 BC. The tablet represents fragmentary instructions for performing music, that the music was composed in harmonies of thirds, that it was written using a diatonic scale. A tablet from about 1250 BC shows a more developed form of notation.
Although the interpretation of the notation system is still controversial, it is clear that the notation indicates the names of strings on a lyre, the tuning of, described in other tablets. Although they are fragmentary, these tablets represent the earliest notated melodies found anywhere in the world. Ancient Greek musical notation was in use from at least the 6th century BC until the 4th century AD; the notation consists of symbols placed above text syllables. An example of a complete composition is the Seikilos epitaph, variously dated between the 2nd century BC to the 1st century AD. Three hymns by Mesomedes of Crete exist in manuscript; the Delphic Hymns, dated to the 2nd century BC use this notation, but they are not preserved. Ancient Greek notation appears to have fallen out of use around the time of the Decline of the Western Roman Empire. Byzantine music has survived as music for court ceremonies, including vocal religious music, it is not known if it is based on the monodic modal singing and instrumental music of Ancient Greece.
Greek theoretical categories played a key role to understand and transmit Byzantine music the tradition of Damascus had a strong impact on the pre-Islamic Near East comparable to Persian music. Unlike Western notation Byzantine neumes always indicate modal steps in relation to a clef or modal key; this key or the incipit of a common melody was enough to indicate a certain melodic model given within the echos. Despite ekphonetic notation further early melodic notation developed not earlier than between the 9th and the 10th century. Like the Greek alphabet notational signs are ordered left to right; the question of rhythm was based on cheironomia, well-known melodical phrases given by gestures of the choirleaders, which existed once as part of an oral tradition. Today the main difference between Western and Eastern neumes is that Eastern notation symbols are differential rather than absolute, i.e. they indicate pitch steps, the musicians know to deduce from the score and the note they are singing presently, which correct interval is meant.
These step symbols themselves, or better "phonic neumes", resemble brush strokes and are colloquially called gántzoi in Modern Greek. Notes as pitch classes or modal keys are represented in written form only between these neumes. In modern notation they serve as an optional reminder and modal and tempo directions have been added, if necessary. In Papadic notation medial signatures meant a temporary change into another echos; the so-called "great signs" were once related to cheironomic signs. Since Chrysanthos of Madytos there are seven standard note names used for "solfège" pá, vú, ghá, dhē, ké, zō, nē, while the older practice still used t
In musical terminology, tempo is the speed or pace of a given piece. In classical music, tempo is indicated with an instruction at the start of a piece and is measured in beats per minute. In modern classical compositions, a "metronome mark" in beats per minute may supplement or replace the normal tempo marking, while in modern genres like electronic dance music, tempo will simply be stated in bpm. Tempo may be separated from articulation and meter, or these aspects may be indicated along with tempo, all contributing to the overall texture. While the ability to hold a steady tempo is a vital skill for a musical performer, tempo is changeable. Depending on the genre of a piece of music and the performers' interpretation, a piece may be played with slight tempo rubato or drastic accelerando. In ensembles, the tempo is indicated by a conductor or by one of the instrumentalists, for instance the drummer. While tempo is described or indicated in many different ways, including with a range of words, it is measured in beats per minute.
For example, a tempo of 60 beats per minute signifies one beat per second, while a tempo of 120 beats per minute is twice as rapid, signifying one beat every 0.5 seconds. The note value of a beat will be that indicated by the denominator of the time signature. For instance, in 44 the beat will be a crotchet; this measurement and indication of tempo became popular during the first half of the 19th century, after Johann Nepomuk Maelzel invented the metronome. Beethoven was one of the first composers to use the metronome. Instead of beats per minute, some 20th-century classical composers specify the total playing time for a piece, from which the performer can derive tempo. With the advent of modern electronics, bpm became an precise measure. Music sequencers use the bpm system to denote tempo. In popular music genres such as electronic dance music, accurate knowledge of a tune's bpm is important to DJs for the purposes of beatmatching; the speed of a piece of music can be gauged according to measures per minute or bars per minute, the number of measures of the piece performed in one minute.
This measure is used in ballroom dance music. In different musical contexts, different instrumental musicians, conductors, music directors or other individuals will select the tempo of a song or piece. In a popular music or traditional music group or band, the bandleader or lead singer may select the tempo. In popular and traditional music, whoever is setting the tempo counts out one or two bars in tempo. In some songs or pieces in which a singer or solo instrumentalist begins the work with a solo introduction, the tempo they set will provide the tempo for the group. In an orchestra or concert band, the conductor sets the tempo. In a marching band, the drum major may set the tempo. In a sound recording, in some cases a record producer may set the tempo for a song. In classical music it is customary to describe the tempo of a piece by one or more words, most in Italian, in addition to or instead of a metronome mark in beats per minute. Italian is used because it was the language of most composers during the time these descriptions became commonplace.
Some well-known Italian tempo indications include "Allegro", "Andante" and "Presto". This practice developed during the baroque and classical periods. In the earlier Renaissance music, performers understood most music to flow at a tempo defined by the tactus; the mensural time signature indicated. In the Baroque period, pieces would be given an indication, which might be a tempo marking, or the name of a dance, the latter being an indication both of tempo and of metre. Any musician of the time was expected to know how to interpret these markings based on custom and experience. In some cases, these markings were omitted. For example, the first movement of Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 has no tempo or mood indication whatsoever. Despite the increasing number of explicit tempo markings, musicians still observe conventions, expecting a minuet to be at a stately tempo, slower than a Viennese waltz. Genres imply tempos. Thus, Ludwig van Beethoven wrote "In tempo d'un Menuetto" over the first movement of his Piano Sonata Op. 54, though that movement is not a minuet.
Many tempo markings indicate mood and expression. For example and allegro both indicate a speedy execution, but allegro connotes joy. Presto, on the other hand indicates speed. Additional Italian words indicate tempo and mood. For example, the "agitato" in the Allegro agitato of the last movement of George Gershwin's piano concerto in F has both a tempo indication and a mood indication. Composers name movements of compositions after their tempo marking. For instance, the second movement of Samuel Barber's first String Quartet is an Adagio. A particular musical form or genre implies its own tempo, so composers need place no further explanation in the score. Popular music charts use terms such as bossa nova, ballad
In music, a notehead is the elliptical part of a note. Noteheads may be the same shape but colored black or white, indicating the note value. In a whole note, the notehead, shaped differently than shorter notes, is the only component of the note. Shorter note values attach a stem to the notehead, beams or flags; the longer double whole note can be written with vertical lines surrounding it, two attached noteheads, or a rectangular notehead. An "x" shaped notehead may be used to indicate percussive effects, or speaking. A square, diamond, or box shaped notehead may be used to indicate a artificial harmonic. Noteheads derive from the neumes used to notate Gregorian chant; the punctum, seen at right, is the simplest of the shapes and most anticipates the modern notehead. When placed on a clef, the position of a notehead indicates the relative pitch of a note; the development of different colors of noteheads, the use of it to indicate rhythmic values, was the use of white mensural notation, adopted around 1450.
Franco of Cologne, ancient composer and music theorist, codified a system of rhythm notation. He explained this system in his work, Ars Cantus Mensurabilis, circa 1280. In this system, the relative duration of notes was indicated by the note shapes; the noteheads were squares, or diamonds depending on the note length. This system was expanded during the Ars Nova period. Shortly before the Renaissance, scribes began to write the notes of the Franconian and Ars Nova style with open noteheads. During the Renaissance, composers added shorter note durations. Near the end of the 16th century, the square or diamond-shaped notes changed to the round noteheads that are used today. Note value
A part refers to a single strand or melody or harmony of music within a larger ensemble or a polyphonic musical composition. There are several senses in which the word is used: the physical copy of printed or written sheet music given to any individual instrument or voice. A musician's part does not contain instructions for the other players in the ensemble, only instructions for that individual; the music played by any group of musicians. This sense of "part" does not require a written copy of the music. Any individual melody that can be abstracted as continuous and independent from other notes being performed simultaneously. Within the music played by a single pianist, one can identify outer parts or an inner part. On the other hand, within a choir, "outer parts" and "inner parts" would refer to music performed by different people. See the section Polyphony and Part-writing below. A section in the large-scale form of a piece. See the section Musical form below. Part-writing is the composition of parts in consideration of counterpoint.
In the context of polyphonic composition the term voice may be used instead of part to denote a single melodic line or textural layer. The term is generic, is not meant to imply that the line should be vocal in character, instead referring to instrumentation, the function of the line within the counterpoint structure, or to register; the historical development of polyphony and part-writing is a central thread through European music history. The earliest notated pieces of music in Europe were gregorian chant melodies, it appears. Many histories of music trace the development of new rules for dissonances, shifting stylistic possibilities for relationships between parts. In some places and time periods, part-writing has been systematized as a set of counterpoint rules taught to musicians as part of their early education. One notable example is Johann Fux's Gradus ad Parnassum, which dictates a style of counterpoint writing that resembles the work of the famous Renaissance composer Palestrina; the standard for most Western music theory in the twentieth century is generalized from the work of Classical composers in the common practice period.
For example, a recent general music textbook states, Part writing is derived from four-voice chorales written by J. S. Bach; the late baroque era composer wrote a total of 371 harmonized chorales. Today most students' reference Albert Riemenschneider's 1941 compilation of Bach chorales. Polyphony and part-writing are present in many popular music and folk music traditions, although they may not be described as explicitly or systematically as they sometimes are in the Western tradition. In musical forms, a part may refer to a subdivision in the structure of a piece. Sometimes "part" is a title given by the composer or publisher to the main sections of a large-scale work oratorios. For example, Handel's Messiah, organized into Part I, Part II, Part II, each of which contains multiple scenes and one or two dozen individual arias or choruses. Other times, "part" is used to refer in a more general sense to any identifiable section of the piece; this is for example the case in the used ternary form schematized as A–B–A.
In this form the first and third parts are musically identical, or nearly so, while the second part in some way provides a contrast with them. In this meaning of part, similar terms used are strain, or turn. Partbook Cantus firmus Polyphonic strumming
A chord, in music, is any harmonic set of pitches consisting of multiple notes that are heard as if sounding simultaneously. For many practical and theoretical purposes and broken chords, or sequences of chord tones, may be considered as chords. Chords and sequences of chords are used in modern West African and Oceanic music, Western classical music, Western popular music. In tonal Western classical music, the most encountered chords are triads, so called because they consist of three distinct notes: the root note, intervals of a third and a fifth above the root note. Chords with more than three notes include added tone chords, extended chords and tone clusters, which are used in contemporary classical music and other genres. A series of chords is called a chord progression. One example of a used chord progression in Western traditional music and blues is the 12 bar blues progression. Although any chord may in principle be followed by any other chord, certain patterns of chords are more common in Western music, some patterns have been accepted as establishing the key in common-practice harmony—notably the resolution of a dominant chord to a tonic chord.
To describe this, Western music theory has developed the practice of numbering chords using Roman numerals to represent the number of diatonic steps up from the tonic note of the scale. Common ways of notating or representing chords in Western music include Roman numerals, the Nashville number system, figured bass, macro symbols, chord charts; the English word chord derives from Middle English cord, a shortening of accord in the original sense of agreement and harmonious sound. A sequence of chords is known as a chord harmonic progression; these are used in Western music. A chord progression "aims for a definite goal" of establishing a tonality founded on a key, root or tonic chord; the study of harmony involves chords and chord progressions and the principles of connection that govern them. Ottó Károlyi writes that, "Two or more notes sounded are known as a chord," though, since instances of any given note in different octaves may be taken as the same note, it is more precise for the purposes of analysis to speak of distinct pitch classes.
Furthermore, as three notes are needed to define any common chord, three is taken as the minimum number of notes that form a definite chord. Hence, Andrew Surmani, for example, states, "When three or more notes are sounded together, the combination is called a chord." George T. Jones agrees: "Two tones sounding together are termed an interval, while three or more tones are called a chord." According to Monath. However, sonorities of two pitches, or single-note melodies, are heard as implying chords. A simple example of two notes being interpreted as a chord is when the root and third are played but the fifth is omitted. In the key of C major, if the music comes to rest on the two notes G and B, most listeners will hear this as a G major chord. Since a chord may be understood as such when all its notes are not audible, there has been some academic discussion regarding the point at which a group of notes may be called a chord. Jean-Jacques Nattiez explains that, "We can encounter'pure chords' in a musical work," such as in the Promenade of Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition but, "Often, we must go from a textual given to a more abstract representation of the chords being used," as in Claude Debussy's Première arabesque.
In the medieval era, early Christian hymns featured organum, with chord progressions and harmony an incidental result of the emphasis on melodic lines during the medieval and Renaissance. The Baroque period, the 17th and 18th centuries, began to feature the major and minor scale based tonal system and harmony, including chord progressions and circle progressions, it was in the Baroque period that the accompaniment of melodies with chords was developed, as in figured bass, the familiar cadences. In the Renaissance, certain dissonant sonorities that suggest the dominant seventh occurred with frequency. In the Baroque period, the dominant seventh proper was introduced and was in constant use in the Classical and Romantic periods; the leading-tone seventh remains in use. Composers began to use nondominant seventh chords in the Baroque period, they became frequent in the Classical period, gave way to altered dominants in the Romantic period, underwent a resurgence in the Post-Romantic and Impressionistic period.
The Romantic period, the 19th century, featured increased chromaticism. Composers began to use secondary dominants in the Baroque, they became common in the Romantic period. Many contemporary popular Western genres continue to rely on simple diatonic harmony, though far from universally: notable exceptions include the music of film scores, which use chromatic, atonal or post-tonal harmony, modern jazz, in which chords may include up to seven notes; when referring to chords that do not function as harmony, such as in atonal music, the term "sonority" is used to avoid any tonal implications of the word "chord". Chords can be represent
In music theory, a scale is any set of musical notes ordered by fundamental frequency or pitch. A scale ordered by increasing pitch is an ascending scale, a scale ordered by decreasing pitch is a descending scale; some scales contain different pitches when ascending than when descending, for example, the melodic minor scale. In the context of the common practice period, most or all of the melody and harmony of a musical work is built using the notes of a single scale, which can be conveniently represented on a staff with a standard key signature. Due to the principle of octave equivalence, scales are considered to span a single octave, with higher or lower octaves repeating the pattern. A musical scale represents a division of the octave space into a certain number of scale steps, a scale step being the recognizable distance between two successive notes of the scale. However, there is no need for scale steps to be equal within any scale and as demonstrated by microtonal music, there is no limit to how many notes can be injected within any given musical interval.
A measure of the width of each scale step provides a method to classify scales. For instance, in a chromatic scale each scale step represents a semitone interval, while a major scale is defined by the interval pattern T–T–S–T–T–T–S, where T stands for whole tone, S stands for semitone. Based on their interval patterns, scales are put into categories including diatonic, major and others. A specific scale is defined by its characteristic interval pattern and by a special note, known as its first degree; the tonic of a scale is the note selected as the beginning of the octave, therefore as the beginning of the adopted interval pattern. The name of the scale specifies both its tonic and its interval pattern. For example, C major indicates a major scale with a C tonic. Scales are listed from low to high pitch. Most scales are octave-repeating. An octave-repeating scale can be represented as a circular arrangement of pitch classes, ordered by increasing pitch class. For instance, the increasing C major scale is C–D–E–F–G–A–B–, with the bracket indicating that the last note is an octave higher than the first note, the decreasing C major scale is C–B–A–G–F–E–D–, with the bracket indicating an octave lower than the first note in the scale.
The distance between two successive notes in a scale is called a scale step. The notes of a scale are numbered by their steps from the root of the scale. For example, in a C major scale the first note is the second D, the third E and so on. Two notes can be numbered in relation to each other: C and E create an interval of a third. A single scale can be manifested at many different pitch levels. For example, a C major scale can be started at C4 and ascending an octave to C5; as long as all the notes can be played, the octave they take on can be altered. Scales may be described according to the number of different pitch classes they contain: Chromatic, or dodecatonic Octatonic: used in jazz and modern classical music Heptatonic: the most common modern Western scale Hexatonic: common in Western folk music Pentatonic: the anhemitonic form is common in folk music in Asian music. Many music theorists concur that the constituent intervals of a scale have a large role in the cognitive perception of its sonority, or tonal character.
"The number of the notes that make up a scale as well as the quality of the intervals between successive notes of the scale help to give the music of a culture area its peculiar sound quality." "The pitch distances or intervals among the notes of a scale tell us more about the sound of the music than does the mere number of tones."Scales may be described by their symmetry, such as being palindromic, chiral, or having rotational symmetry as in Messiaen's modes of limited transposition. Scales can be described by their distribution patterns and possibilities for notation. For example, a heliotonic scale is one that can be notated with one note head on each line and space, using only single and double alterations, thus all heliotonic scales are heptatonic. Since heliotonia is a metric of a scale's tone distribution pattern, is related to evenness, spectra variation, the Myhill Property; the notes of a scale form intervals with each of the other notes of the chord in combination. A 5-note scale has 10 of these harmonic intervals, a 6-note scale has 15, a 7-note scale has 21, an 8-note scale has 28.
Though the scale is not a chord, might never be heard more than one note at a time, still the absence and placement of certain key intervals plays a large part in the sound of the scale, the natural movement of melody within the scale, the selection of chords taken from the scale. A musical scale that contains tritones is called tritonic (though the expression is used for any sca
In music, polyphony is one type of musical texture, where a texture is speaking, the way that melodic and harmonic aspects of a musical composition are combined to shape the overall sound and quality of the work. In particular, polyphony consists of two or more simultaneous lines of independent melody, as opposed to a musical texture with just one voice, monophony, or a texture with one dominant melodic voice accompanied by chords, called homophony. Within the context of the Western musical tradition, the term polyphony is used to refer to music of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. Baroque forms such as fugue, which might be called polyphonic, are described instead as contrapuntal; as opposed to the species terminology of counterpoint, polyphony was either "pitch-against-pitch" / "point-against-point" or "sustained-pitch" in one part with melismas of varying lengths in another. In all cases the conception was what Margaret Bent calls "dyadic counterpoint", with each part being written against one other part, with all parts modified if needed in the end.
This point-against-point conception is opposed to "successive composition", where voices were written in an order with each new voice fitting into the whole so far constructed, assumed. The term polyphony is sometimes used more broadly, to describe any musical texture, not monophonic; such a perspective considers homophony as a sub-type of polyphony. Traditional polyphony has a wide, if uneven, distribution among the peoples of the world. Most polyphonic regions of the world are in sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania, it is believed that the origins of polyphony in traditional music vastly predate the emergence of polyphony in European professional music. There are two contradictory approaches to the problem of the origins of vocal polyphony: the Cultural Model, the Evolutionary Model. According to the Cultural Model, the origins of polyphony are connected to the development of human musical culture. According to the Evolutionary Model, the origins of polyphonic singing are much deeper, are connected to the earlier stages of human evolution.
Although the exact origins of polyphony in the Western church traditions are unknown, the treatises Musica enchiriadis and Scolica enchiriadis, both dating from c. 900, are considered the oldest extant written examples of polyphony. These treatises provided examples of two-voice note-against-note embellishments of chants using parallel octaves and fourths. Rather than being fixed works, they indicated ways of improvising polyphony during performance; the Winchester Troper, from c. 1000, is the oldest extant example of notated polyphony for chant performance, although the notation does not indicate precise pitch levels or durations. European polyphony rose out of melismatic organum, the earliest harmonization of the chant. Twelfth-century composers, such as Léonin and Pérotin developed the organum, introduced centuries earlier, added a third and fourth voice to the now homophonic chant. In the thirteenth century, the chant-based tenor was becoming altered and hidden beneath secular tunes, obscuring the sacred texts as composers continued to play with this new invention called polyphony.
The lyrics of love poems might be sung above sacred texts in the form of a trope, or the sacred text might be placed within a familiar secular melody. The oldest surviving piece of six-part music is the English rota; these musical innovations appeared in a greater context of societal change. After the first millennium, European monks decided to start translating the works of Greek philosophers into the vernacular. Western Europeans were aware of Plato and Hippocrates during the Middle Ages; however they had lost touch with the content of their surviving works because the use of Greek as a living language was restricted to the lands of the Eastern Roman Empire. Once these ancient works started being translated thus becoming accessible, the philosophies had a great impact on the mind of Western Europe; this sparked a number of innovations in medicine, science and music. European polyphony rose prior to, during the period of the Western Schism. Avignon, the seat of the antipopes, was a vigorous center of secular music-making, much of which influenced sacred polyphony.
It was not polyphony that offended the medieval ears, but the notion of secular music merging with the sacred and making its way into the papal court. It gave church music more of a jocular performance quality removing the solemn worship they were accustomed to; the use of and attitude toward polyphony varied in the Avignon court from the beginning to the end of its religious importance in the fourteenth century. Harmony was not only considered frivolous and lascivious, but an obstruction to the audibility of the words. Instruments, as well as certain modes, were forbidden in the church because of their association with secular music and pagan rites. Dissonant clashes of notes give a creepy feeling, labeled as evil, fueling their argument against polyphony as being the devil’s music. After banishing polyphony from the Liturgy in 1322, Pope John XXII spoke in his 1324 bull Docta Sanctorum Patrum warning against the unbecoming elements of this musical innovation. Pope Clement VI, indulged in it.
The oldest extant polyphonic setting o