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MUSIC AND NOTATION

 
By 14.3.2010         Phone:9453201374       Mail Now Send Mail   Post Comments

“Swarastu Bhashayah Moolam”

Language is the mirror of a civilization. All civilizations that have been in the existence till now had their own language to describe their art, thoughts, messages, culture, life style and era. Few of them expressed their elements by drawing, pictures, symbols where as a few had a defined notation system. The necessity of period and age, experiments and research modified the language and their interpretation.

For the purpose of preserving language and so art and culture for the benefit of all ages, it is must to have a well defined set of visible symbols called notation, which represent the elements of the language. The notation used in the word language is called its ‘alphabet’ and that for sign language that is signs used for the expressions of thoughts and feelings has not yet been formulated as the sphere of language. A dumb person uses natural signs more than ordinary people. In sign language eye, brows, checks and so many muscles of face are used therefore it would be a crucial job to invent notation system to express different moods of expressions.

The best form of language must consist of picture notation, paintings etc. the terminology and technique of language is perfected in the “Natya Shastra” of Hindus and rhythm is indicated by Ta, Dhi, To, Na, etc. but artificial side of the language has been developed to a great extent. The railway signals, the military and naval signals with color distinctions of green and red are all of the artificial kind.



The notation of music has only thirteen sounds to represent. Only an intelligent analysis of the structure of the language is required. Western musicians have perfected their notation for music. It has two type the staff notation and tonic-solfa.

Till the last decade it was wrongly supposed that method of recording Indian music by means of the letters Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma,…. etc is very crude and that the staff notation of the west should be substituted. In fact this opinion involves a psychological blunder. Earlier Indian music writers have so intelligently selected the names of notes that they are capable of being committed to memory easily and sung with the greatest rapidity. 

Musical instruction begins with singing the notes Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, etc. By constant practice a reflex action is established in the brain, by which the mere remembrance of the letter Sa or Ri takes the voice at once to its proper pitch, and an Indian singer displays, therefore, a wonderful capacity for singing songs by the means of the names of the notes only and also extemporizes a varied combination of notes so as to produce the greatest artistic effect.

Let us see what psychic processes take place when we see a note Sa, Ri, or, Ga written on paper, the image of the letter is conveyed to the brain through the optic nerve, by simple association its name is ascertained and the impression is transferred to the name controlling the vocal chords, and then the correct pitch of the note is sung.

The actions that are involved in this cause are (1) formation of the visuals image, (2) association of image and its name (3) reflex action between name and pitch. Let us see the mental processes involved in the use of the staff notation, (1). The image of the note is conveyed to the brain, (2) an enquiry is set up as to the name of the note with, reference to the clefs and the key signature, (3) association of the name (4) reflex action of the remembrance of the name of the note and its pitch.,

It will be seen that in the use of the staff notation an extra psychic feat in the second stage in involved. The same symbol also represents seven different notes. The staff notation is therefore, seven times as difficult as the Indian notation. The wide space it occupies and the special writing materials it requires make its adoption very difficult. The native notation is a picture for the ear, while the staff notation is for the eye, and it is therefore, very necessary to improve the existing symbols so that they may accurately represent pitch time and grace and leave the staff notation to the music of the west. 

However a convenient alternate notation system is still awaited which must have following characteristics.

1. The notation is convenient for a human writer (as contrasted with a machine) to express musical ideas. The notation is convenient for a human performer to recreate those musical ideas. 

2. The notation can be written conveniently and quickly with nothing more than a writing tool (such as a pencil) without the absolute necessity of a ruler or other drawing aids or specially prepared paper. 

3. The notation is independent of all musical instruments for intelligibility so that the notation is readily adaptable to all instruments including the human voice. 

4. The notation can express music of all reasonable degrees of complexity – not only simple music.

5. The notation is relatively simple so as to be practical for both children and adults. 

6. The notation possesses a fully proportional pitch coordinate, where each of the twelve common pitches is spaced in a graphic manner, so that progressively larger pitch intervals have progressively larger spacing on the coordinate, providing a visual representation of each interval that is exactly proportional to its actual sound.

7. The notation provides for convenient addition of optional or supplementary kinds of information’s.

“The need for a new notation, or a radical improvement of the old, is greater than it seems, and the number of ingenious minds that have tackled the problem is greater than one might think.:


TAGS: MUSIC AND NOTATION,   Music notes,   Indian classical music,   Hindustani classical,   music notes,  


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