Options for Context-Specific Functional Notation?

Making my way through a long (and weirdly-structured) video by Martin Keary about diverse systems which can be used to notate music.

Got many thoughts already and I’m not even in the core of it. (Finding many issues with Tantacrul’s approach to “research” and I get the impression that it’s more of a visceral reaction to a quip by Epic CEO’s Tim Sweeney than the MuseScore UX Designer would be willing to admit.)

At any rate, part of the reason I find that video relevant to this forum because of the connection with Ziffers @amiika .

Another part is about the way Sonic Pi as a whole contributes to new approaches to musical learning… which more or less bypass notation in the way we typically understand it. A key piece of insight comes very early in the tutorial: with play and sleep, one can recreate any piece of music which relies on pitch and duration, which is the large majority of musics that users might know. Can you sightread from that? Nope. Would that matter, in terms of understanding or creating music? Probably not so much. SPi isn’t a tool to train instrumental performers. Which might lead to a deeper understanding of the “problem space” than what typically comes out in those clickbait videos.

And while I may sound dismissive, here, I typically enjoy Tantacrul’s videos and I’ll probably find something insightful in this one. Who knows, the guy behind the Audacity overhaul might even get into the type of research that I can get behind. It’s just that… I’ve found @samaaron ’s approach to Sonic Pi to be more ear-opening and more conducive to deep learning than much of what I hear in those pieces of content setting up positions in large debates.

Soooo… Would some of you have thoughts on ways to use Sonic Pi as the basis for systems to transcribe, notate, share, analyze, document, and identify musical bits, from full pieces to short patterns?

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Rather clicky bait, but still a nice introduction to alternative musical notations and pointing different views on why some consider modern notation outdated or hard to grasp. Way too long video yet still only scratched the surface. For example, he only briefly mentiones Jianpu but not even a word about of poor Jean-Jacques Rousseau … but gotta admit that roasts on some of those modern “alternatives” were quite funny.

In the end, at the last minutes or so, he had a good point for Musescore being on right track to enable multifaceted approach on musical notation and not just to enforce one model for everyone.

Sonic Pi excels in teaching programming concepts, but there could be some room for improvements on how music theory could be included in the library. Sonic Pi could be a great tool to teach how to build scales, chords, harmonize melodies and do counterpoint and such. One obstacle on using Sonic Pi to teach music theory could be that it is rather verbose compared to traditional music notation. In that regard notation like Ziffers could make it easier to input musical ideas and do some operations for example:

a = zparse "q 0 3 8 1 e 3 9 s 4 3 8 0", key: :D4
print a.pcs
print a.durations
print a.notes
print a.harmonize([2, 5,"b4"]).notes
zplay a, harmonize: [2, 5, "b4"]

But im not saying that Ziffers is doing any better job in teaching music theory concepts at this point. It’s still an ongoing excursion on number based music theory and experiment on creating algorithmic live coding notation for generating and manipulating sequences from short snippets rather than doing “traditional” coding. It does combine some ideas from pitch class notation and other live codin mini-languages out there like tidal … but keeps the notation more aligned with the traditional notation so you can roundtrip it easily from the traditional notation. There is also a MuseScore plugin for that :slight_smile:

Been busy this year and there is now research article on Ziffers and also a library for Python and new one for Typescript which is already put to use in a new web based live coding environment Topos.

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