Does anyone recognize this musical notation? It looks like a bunch of vertical bars. Is it supposed to be read by a machine? It was found in an issue of Scientific American from 1846. I'm guessing the "C" at the beginning means common time, as it usually does.
I find this absolutely fascinating, so I decided to use phoog's terrific answer to figure out how this march sounded. So, I present the "Princeton Hill March"!
I won't pretend that this is without error. It's an exceedingly cumbersome notational system, and even slight aberrations in printing can ruin the notation. (For instance, some of the early pitches are unclear: are they Es or F-sharps?) Furthermore, I've found a few errors in the notation, two of which I've marked with asterisks in the above score:
- The first asterisk (the B in m. 5) is technically an octave lower, as is the following D. But then the very next measure jumps up an octave to the written D. This seems odd, so I evened it out here.
- The penultimate A in m. 14 is technically written as just a quarter note, and written one octave lower. But this destroys not only the melodic line, it also results in a measure with one eighth note too few. This pitch is the first glyph on the bottom line of the notational excerpt; the pitch comprises the skinny long-short line, the thick long-short line, and then the notch in the lower half. This notch moves it down an octave (to below middle C), but I'm guessing it's a misprint, and it should be a longer notch in the top half, which both keeps the A in the main register and makes it a dotted quarter instead of just a quarter.
So I'm happy to hear if anyone has any corrections, but really I was just curious to try out this system.
(...I don't recommend it.)
That looks like the control sheet for a barrel organ or hurdy-gurdy.