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Re: Quarter-tone notation with arrows

From: Kees van den Doel
Subject: Re: Quarter-tone notation with arrows
Date: Mon, 06 Apr 2009 20:27:04 -0700

> 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 ... :-)

I agree it makes total sense to have an "accidental_level2" which make 
additional microtonal
alterations to the 12 "diatonic pitches  and their equally tempered 
"accidental_level1" alterations (b and #)", 
but there is only one level of accidental in Lilypond, as it adheres to the 
strict Western notation
principles of diatonic pitches modified by an accidental.

If your microtonal accidentals are approximate it makes logical sense to me 
that B_natural_downarrow
and B_flat_uparrow should be assigned slightly different pitches, for they will 
not sound the same anyways. 
Just as Bb and A# are not the same pitches in all but one tuning.


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