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2

There's no specific name as to who exactly invented modal jazz but the elements of modal play have always been there in jazz. Jazz borrows a lot of influences from different traditions including classical music and it is from this classical music that history shows the extensive use of modes around the 19th century - but make no mistake, "modal theory" has ...


1

Given all the music theory treatises from the time period they were not just winging it and had a refined sense of technique. It may be helpful to read up on the church modes (as apposed to modes/scales as used in jazz and rock) to get a sense of how tonality was conceived back then. I'm still learning about Medieval music so I can't summarize much, but it ...


2

As you suggested in your question the reason is historical. A very long time ago the only "key signature" was a single flat. That was back in the modal system, the Medieval period. As harmony developed into the major/minor system, the notion of "key" and key signatures developed. Obviously key signatures work most clearly when the harmony is diatonic. The ...


3

All of the above is correct. However, the main reason that Italian became the international language for musical performance directions, over all other languages is remarkably simple. In the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries, many people could not read or write in their native language, let alone in any other. Also, the majority of workers were ...


3

Perhaps a better alternative to writing 'A-flat' would be '4 flats', the point being that at least for a long time in the history of music, 4-flats always meant B-flat, E-flat, A-flat, D-flat. So when you look at the key signature you just see that there are 4 flats, you don't actually need to see which lines and spaces are indicated, because they are always ...


4

Actually, for your 4 sharps example, the key doesn't have to be E major. It could be C♯ minor, or any other mode. Key signatures don't actually specify the tonal center of a piece. They simply define a set of seven pitch classes that are going to be written without accidentals. I've got no evidence that this is historically why they never simplified it, but ...


1

Let's suppose that notation was changed at some point in the past. But at that point 100% of sheet music already out there was still in the old notation. So musicians would have had to learn the old notation too, anyway. Even decades or centuries later, until the old sheets were completely replaced, people would have had to learn and use both notations.


3

The only real reason is "convention changes slowly, if it changes at all". For example, consider how much worse are the flaws of time signatures: time signatures are misleading to beginners (6/8 usually has two beats in a bar, not six), and fundamentally ambiguous in many cases (7/8 could be two or three beats arranged in any order of longs-and-shorts). ...


6

I think the basic answer is that the vast majority of classical music used notes beyond the diatonic scale, and even in pop music today it's still pretty frequent to have chromatic notes. Thus, if you're playing in the key of D major, and there's a C-natural, you need to write C♮ with the natural sign. If this continues for several measures (as sometimes ...


37

Actually, it seems to me that designating the key by a letter instead of the arrangement of sharps or flats is not simplifying the process. Simply stating the intended key by letter and accidental ignores the need for information that many less advanced musicians need to know in order to make sense of what is written in the sheet music. I can look at a key ...


6

The traditional style of key signatures is pretty close to optimal for the music written from about 1700 to 2000 or so. During the 1700-1800 (give or take a few decades), it was traditional style was to use 1 less sharp or flat than the piece would now call for. Thus Bach's "Dorian Fugue" is really in D minor with all the Bbs accidentally notated. Bartok ...


17

I believe it's not simplified for some reasons: 1st: Music notation is an orthodox practice which has kept its standardization globally for common understanding. The Boethian notation (alphabet notes A, B, C, D...) was developed as early as the 6th century, but key signature as we known today was developed in the 16th century. Musicians could have chosen to ...


0

I am familiar with 'Nashville Strung' or 'High Strung' guitar situations, but not Nashville tuning. In Nashville Strung, a standard six-string guitar is strung with the typical three light-guage (un-wound) on the bottom three strings, and the three upper (normally wound, heavier strings) are replaced with the same three light-gauge strings. This creates ...


0

As the quotation about Werckmeister suggests ex tempore also means improvisation. (The German wiki site is more extended than the English:) In music Extempore since the 16th century refers to the free variation of a melody to a given voice (usually the bass part, see Generalbass), but also of ornaments that can delay the process. Et al in jazz, on the ...


2

I'm not sure if there IS a definitive answer to this question, but here are some thoughts. In the Baroque court, composers were under such time-constraints there would have been little time for soloists to memorize the music. While the orchestra was drawn from the court entourage, who were already on the payroll, professional musicians were hired to play ...


3

Musicians starting memorizing music during the Romantic Era. This practice was introduced by virtuosos such and Liszt and Paganini who may have wanted to show off.


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