Musical notation is an established system of symbols we used in music to depict pitch and its duration. This gives us the privilege to write melody and rhythms on paper or visual object for documentation. In other sense, notation is an act that gives musicians the privilege to reproduce their music on visual object like papers for distribution.
Specifically, there are standard symbols and signs for music written that are well accepted worldwide. These are known as musical symbols and we use them in musical notation. Moreover, any symbols or sign that is use in written music into paper to indicate its pitch and length is called musical notes.
When musical notation is rightly utilized, the actual pitch of a sound and its time can be reproduced in written form. We also used musical notes to represent period of silence in music. This is because silent is a part of music activities both in signing and playing of any musical instrument. Availability of sign and symbol for both silent and sound makes an absolute way to symbolic represent any music on paper and visual object.
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Notation in music can also be in a symbol for performance instruction. This can be an information about the dynamics, tempo or the singing/playing style. A trained musician will be able to read music notation fluently like a book. What those notes represent will be more appreciated in performance when play by instrument or sing as a song.
Certainly, we hear music and see musical notation. Thus, musical notation is a visual aspect of music. This field of music require a special training on how to write and read. A trained musician will be able to write and read music notation fluently like a book.
Important of Musical Notation
The system of musical notation is one of the significant aspect of music performance and interpretation. They are at the same level with the written system in speech, where words are written down as a text in sentence and phrase to convey a meaningful message to the readers. In fact, musical notation is the same as the text of a speech both in written and interpretation.
Remember that words can be said without written them down. Likewise, music can be played without musical notation. However, there will be a limitation to its performance and interpretation. It is possible for a music to be played the same way it was composed without direct contribution of the composer.
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Certainly, musical notation in its essence give a composer a privilege to transfer a musical message to any musician who will someday perform his composition. However, the composer needs to follow the rules and guideline of the musical notation. The more his or her notation complies with the common rules and guidelines of the musical notation, the more successfully the music will be interpreted and performed.
And when a musical notation is well defined, the performer of the piece will be more literal in its interpretation. This makes it an adventitious for trained musicians to play and perform music they have not heard before.
In addition, musical notation portrays music in a way good enough for subsequent performance, review and analysis. The notation in music also provides a channel to conserve music art and promote performance by other musicians. In actual sense, it serves as a means of musical communication that enable musical information to be shared. In other words, it makes music arts to reach out to people in the far distance.
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Equally important, musical notation with the good knowledge of theory helps composers to advance in more developed music composition to a level beyond an oral heritage.
System of Musical Notation
Over the time, people around the world have put in different effort to make reading and writing of music viable. They have tried different system to arrive at a particular one. Eventually, the system employs in various musical notation is well defined graphic and symbol representation of sound in pitch and time. The systems made it possible for musical note to be writing down in a way that made music reading effortless.
Besides, the system of musical notation has developed from old era to modern era and we have an array of systems for music notation. Most of these systems have survived different era of music and have been in existence since when music has been recorded. In short, many traditions and cultures have acquired the system of notation from one another. And this system has been passed down from one generation to the other for continuity.
Currently, there are two well-known systems of musical notation. These are tonic sol-fa notation and staff notation. Tonic sol-fa is a notation system that utilized “do” solfege. Every musical tonic in sol-fa has its name in accordance with the way it is connected with other musical tone in the key. Above all, the symbols and signs used in tonic sol-fa solfege syllables are: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, and ti. The “do” from the solfege syllables is the tonic of any key.
Staff notation is widely used notation and majorly in music printing and distribution. It employs five lines to represent pitch of the sound and shape of a symbol to indicate its time. Symbols employ in staff system include staves, clefs, musical notes, bars, tempo markings, chromatic signs (sharp or flat) etc.
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In addition to all the symbols used in tonic sol-fa and staff notation, words or phrases that guide performance and give directions to the musicians are also employ. The word can be direct word of a language or special musical phrase. All of this make it feasible for musicians to write and read music.
In conclusion, musical notation is a heritage of all musicians. It creates a world for them to put their musical mind into visual object in symbolic way. Though technology in sound recording has made it possible to record the music but notation is an anatomy of any music. It puts everything about the music in picture and made sharing of the music a comfort.