Overtone Music Network

a common space & database for harmonic overtones

# Let's discover Optimal notation syst. for musicians

When it is done: I would recommend to try to combine it with the "Scientific" one. So the octaves would become visible again. :)
What do You think?

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### Replies to This Discussion

I have just a simple idea or suggestion for the "musical markings" on overtone numbers.

Please, try to create some suggestions, so that we have something to discuss and choose from. :)
Corrected attachment...
dear filip,
if i am right, your system tries to combine diatonic numbers and harmonics. for my practical work (both composing and performing) is it much easier to separate these systems clearly because they denote two very different contexts. counting in integer relations or harmonics (theoretically unlimited) belongs to one single fundamental pitch and refers to overtone music only. diatonic numbers are related to a system of harmonic progressions, means changing chord-fundamentals around a central pitch (cadence). it implies scales with limited steps. their array is necessarily different to the harmonic scale. a third system needs to count chromatically. so you have 12 intervalls resp. the number 13 for an ovctave without a central pitch. and if you are looking for microtonality (like indian or gamelan music) the amount of numbers and systems rises increasingly.
in my opinion we don't need to think in numbers while making music or try to express something. our imagination, ears and fingers/voice are directly connected and intuition is faster than a thougt. but to understand the rules of music and to use them as composing tools or to discover new functionally areas (means useful scales, chord structures and progressions) just needs that effort and patience to learn and to practise. finally, comparing the different systems we find a wonderous beauty. all these regularities are audible! mathematics and music, thinking and emotions are tightly connected.
best wishes, jan
Good point!
Music and mathematics, thoughts and emotions are tightly connected.

I agree that this is beautiful! (and helps connecting both hemispheres together) :)
This is Brother Jacob in traditional old notation:

And this is Brother Jacob in "my Optimal notation" system:

I see your system as having some advantages, i.e. visually having the fundamentals and overtones closer together so one does not have to also jump with their eyes (especially when reading complex polyphonic pieces). Also because we tend to perceive the intervals as being closer together than they actually are anyway. And the single line notation would save the need for so many extra pages in the case of longer works (and save trees!)
One possible drawback might be in the case where the overtone appears to drop below the fundamental (as in the 6th overtone in your example). Although the singer knows what is meant, it may be disconcerting.
Thank Thee for Thy comment, Kiva.

Yeah, sure! It can be drawback.

I believe this drawback can be nearly completely avoided if this system is used properly.
( I mean: one 3rd or 6th overtone under the actual octave is no problem for reading the interval at all. Those who are reading notes are used to understand interval "perfect forth" under like "perfect fifth" from the tone which is an octave lower from our base-tone. )

In Czech we call the lower "G" under our "c" (when c is our actual fundamental of tonica) the
"Bottom fifth degree".

For example: Immediatelly, as the melody goes UNDER the 8-th overtone and it is gonna stay there for a while we just RE-DEFINE the "Sounds 22ma" to "* = 15ma" and we have 4-th on the same place as 8 before the change, and 5, 6, 7, 8, etc... above the fundamental again. :)

( * symbolizes the small accental note.)
It's all very interesting to me, as I tend not to use notation with my vocals and haven't worked with "overtone/harmonic" choirs, where such concerns seem more likely to arise. So, I'm pretty open and unencumbered by experience so far, but it's a skill that I should get with ;-)

I wonder just how much exactitude is necessary, though... maybe things can be fairly simple once conventions are agreed upon, like in jazz. There, notation is often simplified and literally inaccurate, at least rhythmically, but the players KNOW that they will swing the time, so it works and saves much time and efffort.

Anyway, thanks to those of you grappling with this issue. I'll watch and learn.

Steve
Thanks for pointing out the 'bottom fifth degree' distinction in Czech. I have also noticed in some communications between European and North American members- a confusion about the names of notes:
Bb (North America)= B in Europe
B (North America) = H in Europe
Yes, it is true with the note names. I was disappointed when I've found this out!
Is it necessary? That such an universal peaceful language (Music) has this confusion in naming still un-resolved ??? Oh, come on, unify this nonsense. (We could unify it at least in the community of overtone singers. We can actually start the process... )

Thank You, Kiva, for remembering me this.

I think the Bottom Fifth Degree of the C-major scale used in the score of Brother Jacob is clearly visible even to all who read scores just a little bit - who have the very basics of reading notes.
Hi all - just write that I am only reading your discussion in this group. I am happy that I can read notations a little bit - sure I prefer the notation which we are used in the European Overtone Choir Meeting in Liberec - how do you called it Filip? - I remember it is the "normal" system with the fundamental note and with numbers upon the fundamental note. So ... good read here more and by this way learn more about it.

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