Notating pop music


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What is typical about the way pop music is notated? How do existing file formats and software applications cope with this?

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Notating pop music

  1. 1. Dec. 2010 Think Tank<br />Pop Music Notation Software<br />Wijnand Schepens<br />
  2. 2. What is so special about the notation of pop music?<br />What is pop music?<br />Pop music<br />Folk music<br />“Classical” <br />Rock<br />Blues<br />Contemporary <br />Jazz<br />
  3. 3. Art music information flow<br />Score / Sheet music<br />Common Music Notation (CMN)<br />
  4. 4. Pop music information flow<br />score ?<br />
  5. 5. “Covering” a pop song<br />(partial) score<br />
  6. 6. Folk music information flow<br />(partial) score<br />
  7. 7. What is the “essence” of a song?<br />Philosophical implication<br />
  8. 8. What can we do with a score?<br />storage<br />storage<br />performance<br />SCORE<br />distribution<br />analysis<br />editing<br />SOFTWARE ?<br />DIGITIZATION !<br />
  9. 9. Is CMN suitable/appropriate for the notation of pop music?<br />How about software?<br />File formats<br />Applications for viewing, editing, playing, …<br />Core questions<br />
  10. 10. Full score (fragment)<br />-complex rhythm (syncopation)<br />-microtiming<br />-microtonality (e.g. blue notes, glissandi, …)<br />-timbre, sound effects<br />Hard to read<br />
  11. 11. Why? <br />The pop musician knows the music<br />because he composed it <br />by listening to recordings<br /><ul><li>An aide-memoire is sufficient</li></ul>The pop musician can’t read notes (well)<br />Partial scores<br />
  12. 12. Chord sheet (1)<br />Chord labels<br />Lyrics<br />
  13. 13. Chord sheet (2)<br />Meta-information<br />Chord labels<br />Song structure<br />Lyrics<br />
  14. 14. Chord sheet (3)<br />Meta-information<br />Chord labels<br />Song structure<br />Timing?<br />
  15. 15. Chord sheet (4)<br />Meta-information<br />Metric structure<br />Song structure<br />Chord labels<br />Timing?<br />
  16. 16. Chord sheet (5)<br />Meta-information<br />Fret diagrams<br />Chord labels<br />Song structure<br />Bars<br />
  17. 17. Chord sheet (6)<br />Meta-information<br />Fret diagrams<br />Lyrics<br />Chord labels<br />Guitar tablature(no timing)<br />
  18. 18. Tab sheet<br />Meta-information<br />Instrument-specificinstructions<br />Guitar tablature(no timing)<br />Lyrics cues<br />Song structure<br />
  19. 19. Tab sheet (2)<br />Chord labels<br />Bars (numbered)<br />Harmonyrhythm<br />Guitartablature<br />Song structure<br />
  20. 20. Lead sheet (1)<br />Meta-information<br />Metric structure<br />Lyrics<br />Notes (rhythm+pitch)<br />Parlando lyrics?<br />
  21. 21. Lead sheet (2)<br />Chord labels<br />Metric structure<br />Lyrics<br />Backing lyrics?<br />Notes (rhythm+pitch)<br />
  22. 22. Lead sheet (3)<br />Meta-information<br />Metric structure<br />Chord labels<br />Song structure<br />Lyrics<br />Notes (rhythm+pitch)<br />
  23. 23. Lead sheet (4)<br />Meta-information<br />Metric structure<br />Chord labels<br />Song structure<br />Notes (rhythm+pitch+articulation)<br />
  24. 24. Lead sheet (5)<br />Pitch for dummies<br />Lyrics(multipe lines)<br />
  25. 25. Lead sheet (6)<br />Notes (rhythm+pitch)<br />Same notes (pitch+fingering)<br />
  26. 26. Lead sheet (7)<br />Fret diagrams<br />Chord rhythm<br />
  27. 27. Lyrics with rhythm<br />
  28. 28. song structure<br />lyrics<br />chord labels <br />notes<br />rhythm (time)<br />pitch (frequency)<br />dynamics, accents<br />bars, measures<br />instrument specific:<br />fingerings<br />fretboards <br />phrasing<br />…<br />Partial score ingredients<br />Mix and match…<br />
  29. 29. Are common music formats appropriate/suitable for partial scores?<br />Are common software applications up to the task?<br />If not, what should be changed? <br />Core questions (2)<br />
  30. 30. CM7, CMaj7, C <br />C+7(#9), Calt, C7<br />C6, Am7/C<br />Chord labels<br />Standardization?<br />Normalization?<br />Check validity?<br />Toggle style?<br />Simplify?<br />Transpose?<br />(#5 #9)<br />
  31. 31.<br />
  32. 32. = incremental addition of information <br /> possibly by multiple users<br />Example:<br />1. lyrics<br />2. song structure <br />3. chord labels<br />4. bars<br />5. fret diagrams<br />6. tablature (pitch)<br />7. chord rhythm<br />8. lyrics rhythm<br />9. melody pitches<br />10. tablature rhythm<br />11. add bass-part<br />…<br />Wiki-flow<br />repetition<br />normalization<br />tapping<br />
  33. 33. Measure-centric<br />Note-centric<br />Hiding is possible (but awkward)<br />Chord label treatment is variable<br />Sibelius, Finale…<br />
  34. 34. MusicXML<br />Measure-centric<br />Chord labelsbetween notes<br />Note-centric<br />Lyrics attached to notes<br />
  35. 35. Space alignment (monospaced font!)<br />Very popular on internet(OLGA, napster, ultimate-guitar, …)<br /> - Alignment not always clear<br /> - Editing is awkward<br /> - Not standardized  hard to handle for computers<br />Text-based<br />
  36. 36. ASCII tab<br />Structure, cues:<br />Informal!<br />
  37. 37. ChordPro<br />Chord labels between lyrics<br />Structure tags<br />STANDARD ? DOCUMENTATION ?<br />
  38. 38. Flexibility and standardization<br />flexible<br />hand-written<br />? ? ?<br />text-based<br />free<br />standardized<br />Sibelius, Finale…<br />ChordPro<br />MusicXML<br />rigid<br />
  39. 39. Develop software and file formatsfor handling partial scores<br />Avoid note- and measure-centricism<br />Allow untimed information<br />Allow flexible combination of separate streams<br />…<br />Our research<br />
  40. 40. = online lead sheet editor<br />Chord labels, lyrics, structure, metric, notes<br />Wiki workflow<br />To be used in<br />Ched<br />
  41. 41. = XML-format and API<br /> for the representation of complex time structures<br />Applications:<br />Pop, jazz, folk, …<br />Karaoke<br />Contemporary music<br />Pre-classical music<br />Non-western music<br />Poetry<br />Choreography, movement<br />Light show<br />Robot control<br />Scheduling, planning<br />…<br />Chronicle<br />
  42. 42. Questions?<br />That’s all folks!<br />
  43. 43. Lilypond<br />MIDI (+Karaoke)<br />Other formats<br />
  44. 44. Pop music uses “partial” scores<br />Most formats and software applications are<br />Note-centric<br />Measure-centric<br />Conclusions<br />
  45. 45. thoughts<br />System breaks versus line breaks ex: lied om lied<br />(intro): difference between classical and pop?<br />Pop: composer is performer<br />Pop: audio, not score<br />How well does software cope? (partial info, non-CMN like chord labels ..)<br />How well do formats cope?<br />Nomenclature badly standardized (chord sheet, leadsheet, tab, …)<br />Notations by amateurs: errors, inaccuracy (inherent??)<br />Software / usability: <br />Transpos.<br />Chord reduction<br />Auto fingering…<br />TUBS, tracker notation, module file<br />Integer notation<br />Transpositie wordt veel gevraagd. Bestaat ook in tekstfiles<br />Fret diagram = chord grid<br />
  46. 46.<br />Lyricist:<br /> MS Word plugin for chord sheets (with transposition). Textual alignment (?)<br />Song sheet: (ChordPro + formatting)<br />(niet zelfde als Song Sheet Generator: gebruikt ook ChordPro ?)<br />ScoreChart:<br />Karaoke-editors<br />Sib/fin etc.<br />BiaB / Chord Composer …<br />editors…<br />