Acoustics & Sound For Musicians - Online Book

The Theory Of Sound Which Constitutes The Physical Basis Of The Art Of Music.

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X. § 113.] ESTABLISHED MUSICAL NOTATION. 209
more on his own unaided ear, lay aside his corks and swim out boldly into the ocean of Sound.
113. The Musical notation in ordinary use evi­dently takes for granted a scale consisting of a limited number of fixed sounds. Moreover, it indi­cates directly absolute pitch, and only indirectly relative pitch. In order to ascertain the interval between any two notes on the stave, we must go through a little calculation involving the clef, the key-signature, and perhaps additional 'accidental' sharps or flats. Now these are complications which, if necessary for pianoforte Music1, are perfectly gra­tuitous in the case of vocal Music. The vocalist wants only to be told on what note to begin, and what intervals to sing afterwards, i.e. is essentially concerned with absolute pitch only at the start, and needs be troubled with it no further.
The established notation thus encumbers the voca­list with information which he does not want, and yet fails to communicate the one special piece of in­formation which he does want, viz. the relation which the note to be sung bears to its tonic or key-note. There is nothing in the established notation to mark clearly and directly what this relation is, in each case,
1 In a Paper published in Vol. I. of the Proceedings of the Musical Association (London, Chappell and Co.), I have -en­deavoured to prove that there is no such necessity.
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