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RESEARCH MATERIALS
AND SOME CONSIDERATIONS





General observations on proposals of music notation reform

A. During the past two centuries (specifically from 1789 to 1990), one can find 223 cases of proposals of linear notation reform, from those of one line to those of sixteen lines (with the exception of fifteen lines). From the point of view of their formal structure, all of them are made up of groups of lines. Some are composed of single lines, double lines or quadruple lines; some of continuous and broken lines, others of full and undulated lines; some are formed of groups of equidistant parallel horizontal lines, while others are formed of groups of parallel horizontal and vertical lines. The reform proposals of note symbolism are even more numerous: there are some that use dots, curls, little triangles or squares; still others that use different types of graphics, letter symbols, etc. All of the research definitely seems to have been concentrated on formal structure, while a more thorough study of logic and mathematics has often been neglected.

B. We can divide these 223 reform proposals on the basis of the number of horizontal lines they use:

-   1 line:   30 proposals;
-   2 lines: 14 proposals;
-   3 lines: 40 proposals;
-   4 lines: 20 proposals;
-   5 lines: 41 proposals;
-   6 lines: 32 proposals;
-   7 lines: 20 proposals;
-   8 lines: 7   proposals;
-   9 lines: 2   proposals;
- 10 lines: 2   proposals;
- 11 lines: 6   proposals;
- 12 lines: 1   proposal;
- 13 lines: 2   proposals;
- 14 lines: 1   proposal;
- 15 lines: no proposal as yet;
- 16 lines: 5   proposals.


C. The 32 reform proposals that make use of six horizontal lines can be divided analytically as follows:
l) Six proposals that place C (Do) on the first line, followed by the other notes in ascending order, generally separated by an interval of one semitone for each level (line or space):

-1789, Johannes Presbyter
   "De musica antiqua et moderna", Diphthérographie musicale 1, p. 396

- 1883, August Wilhelm Ambros
   Das System Ambros

- 1910, Karl Laker
   Vereinfachung der Notenschrift und der Einführung in die Musiklehre

- 1948, Velizar Godjevatz
   The New Musical Notation

- 1968, Thomas S. Reed
   Equalized Music Notation

- 1968, Franz Herf
   "Das Chromatische Tonsystem", Musikerziehung 21, 5, pp. 219-220




2) Five proposals that place C (Do) on the first line, followed by the other notes in ascending order, generally separated by an interval of a whole tone for each level (line or space):

- 1886, Kalo Morven
   Notation-Morven

- 1925, Arnold Schoenberg
   "Eine neue Zwölftonschrift", Musikblätter des Anbruch 7, 1, pp. 1-7

- 1961, Harry Bruce Armstrong
   Interval System of Musical Notation

- 1964, Hilbert Howe
   Howe-Way 6-3-3 Notation System

- 1973, Ralph G. Cromleigh
   Musical Notation and Actuator System




3) Four proposals that place C (Do) in the first ledger space below, followed by the other notes in ascending order, generally separated by an interval of one semitone for each level (line or space):

- 1811, Johann Friedrich Christian Werneberg
   Allgemeinen Plan für eine neue viel einfachere Musik-Schule

- 1838, François Ange Alexandre Blein
   Principes de mélodie et d'harmonie déduits de la théorie des vibrations

- 1838, Michel Eisenmenger
   Traité sur l'art graphique et la mécanique appliqués à la musique

- 1860, Josiah Warren
   Written music remodeled and invested with the simplicity of an exact science




4) Three proposals that place C (Do) in the first ledger space below, followed by the other notes in ascending order, generally separated by an interval of a whole tone for each level (line or space):

- 1840, Emmanuele Gambale
   La riforma musicale riguardante un nuovo stabilimento di segni e di regole per apprendere la musica

- 1911, August Unbereit
   "Ein neues Notensystem von August Unbereit", Blätter für Haus- und Kirchenmusik XVI, I

- 1984, Louis Appell
   The Novox Piano Notation




5) One proposal that places D (Re) on the first line, followed by the other notes in ascending order, generally separated by an interval of one semitone for each level (line or space):

- 1952, Parry Hiram Moon
   "A Proposed Musical Notation", Journal of the Franklin Institute 253, 2, pp. 125-144




6) One proposal that places D (Re) in the first ledger space below, followed by the other notes in ascending order, generally separated by an interval of one semitone for each level (line or space):

- 1870, Gustave Decher
   Rationellen Lehrgebäude der Tonkunst




7) One proposal that places D (Re) in the first ledger space below, followed by the other notes in ascending order, generally separated by an interval of a whole tone for each level (line or space):

- 1832, Treuille de Beaulieu
   "Résumé d'un nouveau mode d'écriture musicale", Revue Musicale de Fétis XII, p. 281




8) One proposal that places D (Re) in the second ledger space below, followed by the other notes in ascending order, generally separated by an interval of a semitone or by two intervals of semitones for each level (space):

- 1837, Anonymous
   Nouveau système de notation musicale, suivi d'un essai sur la nomenclature des sons musicaux, par un ancien professeur de mathématiques




9) One proposal that places E (Mi) on the first line, followed by the other notes in ascending order, generally separated by an interval of a whole tone for each level (line or space):

- 1947, Herbert Rand
   The Trilinear System of Musical Notation




10) One proposal that places G (Sol) in the first ledger space below, followed by the other notes in ascending order, generally separated by an interval of one semitone for each level (line or space):

- 1936, John Leon Acheson
   A Douzave System of Music Notation




11) Four proposals that place A (La) on the first line, followed by the other notes in ascending order, generally separated by an interval of one semitone for each level (line or space):

- 1851, F. A. Adams
   The Octave Staff; Diatonic and Chromatic; Reducing the Different Staves to One; Furnishing an Exclusive Place for Each Tone, without Flats or Sharps

- 1914, Arthur Eaglefield Hull
   "Duodecuple Staff", Modern Harmony

- 1934, Marguerite Roesgen-Champion
   "L'écriture musicale nouvelle", Le Courrier Musical 7/8

- 1962, Marshall Bailey
   "Duodecuple Notation", American Composers Alliance Bulletin 10, 3, pp. 12-14




12) Four proposals of reform, based upon the Pentagram system, which make use of six lines only in order to unify the reading of the notes of the "Treble staff" and of the "Bass staff":

- 1850, William Striby
   Universal System of Music Notation

- 1940, Bernard L. Bonniwell
   "Sixline Music Staff", The Journal of Musicology 2, 1, pp. 24-26

- 1958, Fang Jisheng and Zhao Songguang
   "The Presentation of the Sixline Music Staff", The Beijing Songs, pp. 28-29

- 1968, Traugott Rohner
   Musica: An Improved Modern System of Music Notation


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