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Re: Quarter-tone notation with arrows

From: Kees van den Doel
Subject: Re: Quarter-tone notation with arrows
Date: Sun, 05 Apr 2009 16:20:18 -0700

----- Original Message -----
From: Joseph Wakeling <address@hidden>
Date: Sunday, April 5, 2009 2:41 pm
Subject: Re: Quarter-tone notation with arrows
To: Kees van den Doel <address@hidden>
Cc: address@hidden

> Kees van den Doel wrote:
> > A given alteration results in one specific glyph.
> :-(
> > Of course a -1/4 flat can be presented by numerous glyphs,
> > anything you like, really, but you'll have to decide which one 
> is the default and if you want another symbol
> > at some point in the score (I can't imagine why you would want 
> that) you'll have to override the glyph.
> Well, why I _want_ it is for much the same reason as why, if you want
> the note that is one semitone in-between C and D, sometimes you 
> want it
> to be a C sharp and sometimes a D flat... :-)
> Another reason could be that if your quarter-tones are _approximate_
> rather than precise, it can be helpful to know which of the 12 
> standardnotes you are bending.

Unfortunately Western notation doesn't work like that. Accidentals (microtonal 
or not) operate on the 7
diatonic pitches, not on 12 semitones. I think you think the "arrow" somehow 
already altered notes (like Bb), but the alteration operates on the diatonic 
so there can be no difference between natural-quarterflat and 
flat-quartersharp, but
C# and Db are distinct.

> Graham Breed wrote me a nice note suggesting defining some kind of
> override or tweak to redefine the symbol on the fly, but 
> considering it
> I think I'll probably go with 'cheaty' definitions of pitch 
> alterations,like +/- 101/400 (or 1001/4000 or whatever seems 
> most appropriate:-)

I think that works so well and easy that there is no reason to have anything 
better :-)


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