The world just got a new musical note writing system!

Musicians and those aspiring to learn music will be happy to hear this! The conventional, notorious way of jotting down musical notes has been replaced by an easier and more comprehensive system.

Around the world, music is written down in many different ways with each system designed to suit its region’s musical tradition.

However, musicians and music researchers increasingly work across traditions and regions and need to communicate about musical sound in a common written language. Now, this is more possible than ever.

The new Global Notation System was recently presented at an international world music conference in Thessaloniki, Greece.

The classic western music notation system.

Global Notation System: Why it’s better

The traditional way of communicating musical sounds in a written form has always been the Western music notation system, also known as sheet music notation. This has been the universal format for writing musical notations.

Advocating his new system and criticising the existing one, Dr Andrew Killick of the University of Sheffield who created the system says according to their news release:

“Preserving pieces of music and teaching them to new performers can be much easier when the music is written down. It’s exciting to discover and learn music from different parts of the world, but with the notation systems currently available, this is more difficult than it could be.”

According to the university, the system is difficult to learn and often struggles to represent non-Western music accurately.

The Global Notation System has been developed to overcome these problems.

How does the system function?

“In the new system, the notator is always allowed to choose whether to specify a given feature of the sounds or not, whether it be pitch, duration, metre, or anything else. Any desired feature can then be specified in terms of the music’s own principles rather than Western ones,” the professor explains.

The system can notate and represent any type of music from around the world equally well while being easy to learn and use.

Reportedly, this universal system could also make it easier for people to understand and discuss musical sound.

The basic principle of global notation is simple: the notation should be able to give just the information that we actually want about the sounds and not force us to give irrelevant information, which Western notation often does when it’s used for non-Western music,” said Killick.

Killick started to develop the new system in 2016 as part of his teaching on world music for his students. The system is now available for anyone to learn and use.

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