Nota : Amadeus notation is also available with the left hand bass clef.
A simplification of the traditional musical notation
The actual musical notation, coming from an ancestral tradition, has been developed at old time notably with the aim to facilitate the task of the composer, through simplifying to a maximum the repetitive elements of music writing.
This notation of the depth of ages can eventually, within a certain measure, be justifiable for instruments not playing more than one note at a time on few octaves, as for wind or string instruments. However, for keyboard instruments as for the piano – which appeared later on – the conventional notation with two staffs and two different clefs is not adequate.
Inadequate, even insensate, because if we had intentionally tried to complicate the work of the musician, we would not have acted otherwise…
Indeed, in traditional notation to properly play a note written on the staff, it should first ask themselves three questions :
1 : Am I in a G clef or in an F clef ?
2 : Is there a sharp or a flat for this note ? relative to the key signature in which we are – key signature at staff start.
3 : In the measure I am, is there a precedent, same note, to which we could have added a sharp, a flat or a natural ? In fact in the traditional notations, each note inflection is valid for all the following same notes in the rest of the measure.
When, on a piano musical score, there are a lot of notes in one measure, chords for both hands, a key signature with 4 or 5 sharps or flats at the key, a romantic or modern piece with a lot of inflictions, a piece that you know little of or which you have not well the music intoo your head, then this becomes almost impossible to decipher : A thrue ” stone of Rosette”…
Here-below is an excerpt of ‘Gaspard de la Nuit’ from Ravel (Durand Publisher), one of the most famous classical piano pieces of all times. How much time will it take for you to learn how to play without error those few measures to the indicated tempo – moderato ?
– Five minutes ? Ten minutes ? Half an hour ? More… ?
We could furthermore present you many other examples which are more difficult and more complicated. Effectively, you will noticed in this extract from Ravel, the two thirds of the staff is in C major…
But there is also another problem : A given note – for example you hear an A note – or a given chord, both can be written in many different ways following the key signature, the clef or the infliction operating in the measure ! A same note on the keyboard can be written in five different ways : Simple, sharp, flat, natural, double sharp or double flat…For a chord with several notes, we can have more than ten ways for writing it !
Here-below is chord often used in music (diminished seventh) and few possibilities of writing it depending on the key signature you are :
And we haven’t taken into consideration in this example the eventual inflictions previously present in the measure, inflictions which can modify the appearance of this chord or change it into another…For example take this first measure mentioned here-above and let’s suppose that previously in this same time signature, there was a G to which we had added a sharp – a G sharp. The chord you see is no longer a sharp C diminished, but another, which sounds differently !
Therefore, it is difficult to create here automatisms. Imagine the case of a professional typist who will have to search all the time on his keyboard where this or that letter position, or depending on the texts to type, to change the value of some given letters – for example when she sees a ‘T’ she will have to type a ‘B’ instead, etc. We’re not too far away from this situation with the traditional musical notation…
The professionals have developed since their early shildhood a series of technics, reflexes and a fabulous memory to be able to decipher more or less fast enough their music. Moreover, a variety of different very specific memories have been perfected, memories which can works together or separately : Visual memory, auditive memory, tactile memory, in space finger positioning memory, etc.
A full program, a real gymnastics which obviously has to practiced regulary for not to louse the reached level. Regulary practiced as well – specially if you do not learn your pieces by heart – to keep the quality level of your interpretation, except for few privileged ones who have total memory, because memory memory fades with time.
Another doubtful technic used by many musicians to earn time consists of, during deciphering, to correct the wrong notes by ear. For this obviously you must have heard the piece to be deciphered played before.
Even though helps to save time temporarily, this trick has a bad side, because it makes the musician play – few… wrong notes before he gets to the right one. But, here it is, the brain has learned a wrong information…We would have a tendency, more so because the first impression is the most important, to reproduce the error each time. The defect then, is registered in your neurones, and it will be hard to extirpate it. And even extirpated, the bad ‘reflexe’ could resurge in particular cases : fatigue or stress –for example during an examination. If your satisfied with just playing for yourself, well there is no problem : you can handle without hardships few wrong notes here and there. However, if you want to play your piece ‘properly’ before an audience, this technic of correcting by ear is dangerous and makes you lose lots of time…
For the majority of other musicians, and more so for the professionals, a new more simple notation will certainly be most welcome…Well there have been obviously many attempts to write music differently, for example with number or colours.
Many other differents methods have been also realized and tried by ourselves. But in fact, each time you have to start from scratch all the reflexes and the learning of deciphering, which take a lot of time to be put together – you must certainly know something about it if you happen to be a musician…This is the reason why none of these new methods will ever be able to impose itself really when faced with the traditional.
The research of Mr. Dominique Loup, have been oriented towards a musical writing ‘whysiwig’ : ‘what-you-see-is-what-you-get’ However, through keeping as much as possible the parameters of the old method of notation, in order to remain in a well known environment ; and to easily be able to switch, back and forth from one to the other, if need be !
Thus, the “Amadeus” notation has been created !
■ First step with Amadeus
From the beginning of use of the Amadeus notation, you will get a more comfortable and faster deciphering. You learn your songs faster – the gain in speed will of course depend on your level and the difficulty of the piece- and less painful mental gymnastics. You will have, already in the first contacts with your musical piece, more availability for the interpretation of the music.
Note also that during sustained intellectual activity, the brain gets tired – from the same way as muscle for the physically effort and becomes less efficient. With the comfort of Amadeus, you decipher longer, more efficiently. If for example you can decipher your scores for two hours a day instead of one hour usually, you’ll still won twice more time to learn your musical…
You can also expand your repertoire and consider learning more difficult pieces. If you do not learn your songs by heart -that the case of the majority of musicians for most of them-directory and you do not play for a period shorter or longer, you return to them so much easier.
To establish objective comparisons, it would be desirable to decipher a song you do not know and challenging enough for your level … having of course beside the traditional notation score to compare!
After a while, as for learning typing, you create automatisms which still increase significantly the speed and comfort of your musical readings.
About automatisms, note that the third’s chords or second’s – elements which includes all chords – are limited : Few dozen are most commonly used. So they will be quickly assimilated as reflex with Amadeus. When these reflexes are in place – a few months if you decipher all days – the deciphering speed will be even more substantial.
We have of course no Amadeus practical experience over many years, especially for someone – a child – who have started and directed learning piano with Amadeus notation. Time savings for deciphering should here, no doubt, still be increased significantly
For instruments other than keyboard instruments Amadeus notation is virtually identical.
Playing a melody note, however, could still seem “acceptable” in traditional notation. Perhaps, but only if the musician does not decide to switch instruments during his musical career…
Indeed, during a change of instrument, write music may also change, for example if you start the flute or the violin and later you decide you for piano and cello. For a child in this case, if the change comes too late – especially the F key for the left hand of the piano – will be difficult to acquire.
This especially as the integration of two different staff for each hand, alone, represents yet another difficulty.
More reflexes readings will be acquired young, faster and better they will be controlled. More will be learned later, they will be more difficult to acquire. From the end or middle adolescence, the perfect assimilation that we could have obtained during childhood can no longer be achieved. Shame…
For this reason we believe that even in the case of instruments other than keyboard, traditional notation is ” inappropriate ” for learning music.
■ Questions – Answers
Question : A flat for each altered note, that he will not overload some scores ?
Answer : Yes and no … In case of flats are added, reading is not difficult as long … and time savings remains almost the same. So…? There will in any case not more flat than black piano keys, namely 5 black keys for seven white keys…
On average we will have a little more a note on three that include a flat -in assuming all tones are used equally, which is far from the case. Indeed, for a piece written with 6 or 7 alterations to the key, we have ten songs written with one or two! Who knows why…
In addition, the partition remains visually “aesthetics”. Each element in its definite place following an approach and logical laws. Let’s just say that even with some additional flats, the Amadeus scores are aesthetically beautiful, because they reflect the true…
As for the proliferation of flats on the scope, especially in the case of romantic and modern pieces that feature a lot of alterations and often change key signature, Amadeus notation rather simplifies writing… with a less loaded than in the score traditional notation !!
Note also the space available in the beginning the staff because there is never key signature. In practice, we have more opportunity to make more airy partition, therefore less loaded… In F sharp, for example, we earn almost 10% more space in the staff…
Without even mentioning the lack of “electrical wires” with Amadeus, which limits strictly necessary presence in the score long slurs, note in the field “load of writing” no natural sign and the bar line between the lands which not only promotes a more regular placement of notes but also frees additional space.
Question : Read the left hand in treble clef will not create problems for experienced players ?
Answer : Yes ! It takes time to adapt, at least in the early hours of practice Amadeus: You have to “disconnect” the F key reflex for the left hand.
But this is not really a problem as you do it regularly in traditional notation, the left hand of the piano is written sometimes in treble clef … Without even mentioning the right hand which can also be written in F clef!
It will simply be alert and do not release the effort of deciphering and – small reminder for the piano – first read the notes of the left hand.
For experienced players, this will give them – remember – (!) a few small memory… Indeed, if they have trouble reading the notes of the left hand in treble clef then they can glimpse the difficulties of beginner or an amateur who needs it, in traditional notation, read her left hand with the F key !
You will also have the first reading of a song you already know, a hesitation to play a note or chord that you have always been written differently. By the second reading, the phenomenon fades, your brain having been previously “reassured” by listening to the right sound associated with another design.
NouWe recall that to be objective in assessing the Amadeus notation, you must decipher a song you’ve never heard and challenging enough for your level … and have beside you the traditional notation score to compare.
Obviously if you are a professional piano and you decipher a very easy partition like “the moonlight” you will not really understand the benefits that can bring you the Amadeus notation – except perhaps for some people that they decipher thrue informations…
But from pieces of medium difficulty – that you never decipher and with several flats or sharps at the beginning of the staff, saving time begins to become significant for a pro, even with “effort” to further provide to read the left hand in treble clef.
For professionals who could not do without their good standby F key way for the left hand, we send Amadeus partition with the F key for the left hand too !
Question : Do each note with its alteration not disrupts a musician who used to place it “mentally” when deciphering ?
Answer : For this alteration for each note, no reflex to change and it works immediately. Indeed, consciously or unconsciously, you mentally place each note in a measure … thus finding yourself in a perfectly known and controlled environment.
In addition, the brain is a “lazy” smart-namely that he will always seek the easiest and quickest solution to solve a problem. Then he immediately understands the system benefit to him…
Let us not forget that our brain is programmed for the real : He sees red, it’s red, it sees further, it is far, etc. and ” wrong ” indications tend to the stress and destabilize it.
You will see for this last reason, during a deciphering Amadeus, it creates in you a pleasant and kind welcome “peace of mind”. A philosophy to develop … but that is not our purpose.
Question : And for singing the C major scale with the Amadeus notation ?
Answer : In the case of music theory where you would sing the scale in C major, no problem. But in E major, you indeed sing with Amadeus scale “E, G flat, A flat …” etc.
This may seem strange, but this is not a problem ! Firstly because when we sing, we rather say the words that the note names … Second, because this “problem” is not solved with traditional notation. Indeed in traditional notation note “D” – for example – can be associated with both a natural re a D flat or even a C#…
Three ways to write the same note, this is probably one of the reasons making musical dictation so difficult for those who do not have perfect ear pitch. The musical dictation – to write the names of the notes of a melody that you play you or you hear in your head – is important for any musician who wants to go into the musical composition. With Amadeus, musical dictation will therefore become easier, because every note you hear will only have one name…
Question: If there are no flats and sharps at the beginning of reach, how to know in what key signature it is ?
Answer : The number of flats or sharps at the beginning of range does not give you the key signature in which you are located, since the key signature may change several times throughout a piece…
On the other hand, know the key signature is not an essential element for the interpretation of a musical work… In traditional notation, it is simply and solely knowing when deciphering the music, the number of flats or sharps there at the beginning of the staff and allow you – thank you gentlemen composers of yesteryear … to place them mentally yourself when deciphering your piece!
If you really want to know the tone in which you find yourself at some point in the song, take a few notes of a measure and yourself humming an end to this musical excerpt. The last note you sing tell you the key signature in which you are…
Question : If I’m used to decipher in Amadeus notation, do not I have problems if I have to reuse the traditional notation ? For example, if the work that I want to play is not on your catalog…
Answer : You would think in fact that if you are used to reading in Amadeus notation and for various reasons you were decipher sometimes traditional, you’d find it difficult to return.
And although curiously no ! You will not put more time than before to learn your traditional songs ! Maybe it’s because the traditional notation is really complex and it is difficult to make even more complicated … You’ll just have some regrets spending time unnecessarily because of inadequate notation!
When you know your song perfectly in traditional notation – you will have to play regularly, because memory fades over time … you will have no problem either in case you’d play on another piece written with Amadeus.
The reason is that when the song is perfectly learned, your brain does not read the names of the notes, but combines visual design formed by a note, a suite of notes or group of notes with a position of the fingers and hands in the space.
At that time, the kind of notation used is of lesser importance. You have an example in traditional notation when playing a pieces with many key change for both hands and / or passages in 8va and 8vb
Nota : A sdtuy by the Uvinersity of Cmabrigde, the oerdr of ltteres in a wrord deos not mtater, the olny ipmrortnat tnihg is taht the frist and lsat lteter be in the rgiht palcae. The rset can be a ttoal mses and you can siltl raed wihotut prbleems. This is bauecse the hmaun mnid deos not raed erevy lteter istlef but the wrod as a wolhe. As we see lses mtaiskes…
Note also a versatile musician or conductor must know decipher his scores in five different keys – treble clef, bass clef and 3 keys ut … even if one or more keys are less or rarely used !
Question : And a pianist who began directly with Amadeus, and has never learned the bass key and other ut key ?
Answer : First, few music lessons do not provide music lessons in addition to courses given for the instrument. A violinist, for example, follow the music theory classes or he will work his bass clef or other ut keys, although his violin sheet music is written in treble key… It is in these music lessons you will need to learn if you really want, the deciphering of another key !
Then, for those who would teach the G key, he actually put a little more time to learn his score if he has never worked the other keys. But not much more… Indeed, who mastered, exept a professional – and even … writing music in different keys? Even after more than ten years of practice, many pianists are still at the deciphering of the bass clef, mentally read notes two step below … – you go down two step a note in F key and then you find yourself in treble clef !
If you do not have to Amadeus transcription and the problem of the bass clef and/or ghosts alterations in traditional notation bothers you, there is a simple way to transform yourself manually and within minutes, your partitions or laid Amadeus notation…
As an example, below a traditional notation in D flat major (excerpt from “Take Five” by P. Desmond) :
1. First, you delete with TIPEX (pencil eraser with white ink) the top line of the staff in bass clef :
2. Finally, you add the missing alterations in both staves and replacing the F key by the treble key 15 via bassa :
If you wish, you can leave the 5 flats – key signature – at the beginning of the staff.
Note also that the musical character recognition software – you scan a partition and transfer ready for changes on a Musical writing software – are making progress fast. For now, it is still a bit faster to recreate a partition manually from the original.
In a few years at most, the quality of recognition will be close to 100% and two or three mouse clicks suffice to transform a traditional score in Amadeus notation…
Question : You “upset” notation that is part of a heritage developed for centuries. Is not “unseemly” ?
Answer : Compliance with the “ancestors” and “tradition” ? This makes us smile… because in today’s world where everyone is involved – so… more or less responsible for what is happening, it is clear that nobody respects nothing more : Pollution, destruction environmental exploitation and slaughter of animals and men… Who call this kind of “respectful” grievances in fact almost all have financial interests to preserve the traditional method…
Even a music teacher, consciously or unconsciously, has no interest in offer a method to learn faster. Indeed, you may stay less time at home…
For some others who remain, this is perhaps the following curious mentality: “I’ve spent twenty years of my life working my reflexes to decipher, and this of course since my childhood. Just do like me !
There will be a thousand other reasons for this kind of person to challenge new. Consciously or unconsciously, it is difficult to admit that they may have spent years plugging away on an apprenticeship while a solution was easy…
Do not listen to the detractors who have no sense objectively : We now whether you want to spend your time learning deciphering notes or to learn the Music…
Question : A new, more powerful music notation ? If that were really the case, why did she not been found and applied earlier ?
Answer : Note relevant to human pride, but be aware that our intelligence – especially the collective one, has its limits… and sometimes operates on unusual patterns at first. Note first that the attachment to traditional and ancestors is with the herd instinct, a prominent traits of the human person, well rooted in the depths of his conscience. Indeed, it is an individual and collective security guarantee.
Moreover, the traditional music notation is taught and practiced since childhood. It is therefore -in addition to a traditional a reflex action always, just like going to buy his piece of bread … at the bakery. Few are those who will think to question it.
Then human history shows us that, paradoxically, the best solutions and the most simple are always found last!
An example : When man tries to fly since the dawn of time, it was not until the era of interplanetary rockets to be invented as a way to steal the simplest: a piece of cloth with a few strings – paragliding ( !) which has already been manufactured in the Neolithic.
As Descartes said, “I almost never trust me the first ideas that come to mind”…