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Re: Quarter-tone notation with arrows

From: Joseph Wakeling
Subject: Re: Quarter-tone notation with arrows
Date: Mon, 06 Apr 2009 11:57:43 +0200
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20090319)

Kees van den Doel wrote:
> 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 
> alters
> already altered notes (like Bb), but the alteration operates on the diatonic 
> notes,
> so there can be no difference between natural-quarterflat and 
> flat-quartersharp, but
> C# and Db are distinct.

It's trivial (and intuitive, from a reader's point of view) to add an
up- or down-arrow to a note/accidental to raise or lower its pitch by a
quarter-tone.  Whether this violates some theoretical ideal of how
Western notation 'should' work seems to me to be not very important --
the notation _can_ be used in this way and it's expressively useful to
do so.  (I can come up with plenty of other examples where it would be
preferable to alternatives, and plenty of other examples of breaches of
notational correctness that are more intuitive and easy to understand
than the strictly-correct notation.)

Whether Lilypond (or other notation software) easily permits this use of
notation is another matter ... :-)

   -- Joe

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