How can we help someone who doesn't know reading sheet music to design his own ideas or to interpret a musical score?

I call this graphic design (something of a enhanced neumes of the gregorian choral) "PRE-NOTATION"

closed as too broad by Carl Witthoft, David Bowling, Todd Wilcox, Richard, Dom Feb 12 at 15:25

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  • Chances are that we collectively may not have a good answer. I've read that Yanni still writes his music in his own notation and needs hired hands to translate that into regular sheet music, and I doubt his notation matches anyone else's. – Dekkadeci Feb 11 at 8:21
  • do we need to have collectively one unique good answer? wouldn't it suffice if a few answers would provide suggestions for helping to read, understand, notate, memorize or abstract musical ideas? – Albrecht Hügli Feb 11 at 8:28
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    The things that sprang to mind for me were - 1) Recordings and video often do this job these days; 2) when it comes to abstractions, piano rolls, drum grids, chord and symbols also have functions in these areas - though they're not so much 'pre-notation' as just a different abstraction. Are these the kind of thing you mean? – topo morto Feb 11 at 9:06
  • @topo morto: yes, you can post them as answers I will accept them! - I've known drum grids since atari 512 and twenty four sequencer, but when I asked the question I wasn't actually remembering this presentation. Thery are good examples for what I mean. But not everyone - especially not beginners! have them. but the piano tutorials on Youtube of course. I think a list up of all different kind of video-presentations would also be helpful. (In the moment of aksing I was really fixed on graphic designs by paper and pencil :) – Albrecht Hügli Feb 11 at 9:19
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    Yes, there needs to be one good answer to questions on Stack Exchange. That is the Stack Exchange model. There doesn't have to be one good answer in life, just for Stack Exchange. See: stackexchange.com/tour – Todd Wilcox Feb 11 at 15:50

My kids' elementary school ran a free-form class in which the children were told to invent their own music and notation. They produced various marking sets, shapes, and even color-codes to define what was in their head. (This was, for almost all of them, their first introduction to any kind of musical notation)

I'm relating this story to point out that someone can design any notation he wants, ... but, if he wants to learn to interpret existing scores, he dang well better learn standard sheet music notation. End of story.

  • This is some kind of answers I was expecting. We use to practise the same but not only in primary school also in teachers further education seminars. I came to this question as someone was asking here in music SE how he can find or identify the beat when he is recording his song and I thought it could be helpful notate first in a kind of graphic notation to get the rhythm. – Albrecht Hügli Feb 11 at 16:59

...what elementary notation principles...

Personally, I like the diagrams in Gjerdingen's book Music in the Galant Style.

An example...

enter image description here

Principles expressed...

  • mode
  • meter
  • scale degree function
  • open/closed statements
  • direction ascending/descending
  • chord inversion/intervals

Obviously some of those concepts are for a student of theory, like chord inversion, or scale degree function. But, I think some of the principles are not so technical and general the diagrams offer a great example of how to capture musical concepts in a graphical form without staff notation. These schemata diagrams capture only a few measures of music, but a similar graphic could be used for larger scale sections of a score.

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