JI notation comparison

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Juhani
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JI notation comparison

Post by Juhani » Fri Apr 29, 2016 1:57 am

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In this pic an elegant scale recently discussed on the microtonal forums - an otonality from 1/1 and an utonality from 15/8, comprising 12 notes - is notated in both Johnston's and Sabat's JI notation. Could someone please post the same in mixed Sagittal? One-symbol-per-prime multi-accidental-Sagittal, first and foremost, but other versions would be interesting to see, too.
Juhani

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Dave Keenan
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Re: JI notation comparison

Post by Dave Keenan » Fri Apr 29, 2016 1:34 pm

1/1 15/14 9/8 15/13 5/4 15/11 11/8 3/2 13/8 5/3 7/4 15/8

C  :\!::|)::#:C  D  :\!::(|\:D  :\!:E :\!::\!/::#:F  :/|\:F  G  :(!/:A :\!:A  :!)::b:B  :\!:B  Multi-sagittal (one symbol per prime)    [For composer?]

C   :|(::#:C  D  :/ /|:D  :\!:E   :(|(:F  :/|\:F  G  :(!/:A :\!:A  :!)::b:B  :\!:B  Athenian                          [For performer?]

I'm afraid I'll have to leave it for you to hand-write these on the staff for comparison with the other notations. You can see how they are intended to appear on the staff, in figure 7 on page 14 of http://sagittal.org/sagittal.pdf. This shows the Athenian notation for all the pitches above, although not in that order.

I note that although the Sagittal notation for 11/8 is essentially the same as Johnston's, in Sagittal the head of the arrow aligns with the notehead, and the shaft is somewhat shorter. And remember it's OK to "square up" the shoulders of the curved flags.

I think you have the 7 prime accidental the wrong way up for 15/14 in SvS notation. What I've read suggests they are the opposite to Johnston's. I believe you have it correct for 7/4.

Juhani
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Re: JI notation comparison

Post by Juhani » Fri Apr 29, 2016 8:29 pm

Thank you Dave! I'll write them on the staff. I'll have to study the Athenian symbols to see how they approximate the precise ratios. As I've said before, while it certainly looks clearer, for a performer of music in JI this is not necessarily the better solution because it doesn't show (well, maybe it does if so defined) how the intervals are to be tuned by ear in relation to other pitches - which is the whole point of traditional JI notation.

Thanks for pointing out the mistake in the Sabat version! The inverted 7 pops up as I've used Johnston for 15 yeas and I've only now started to try my hand on these other systems.

I note the Athenian version uses as many as 7 different microtonal accidentals whereas all the other systems use only four. I'm afraid that despite my admittedly modest efforts, I continue to find Sagittal symbols quite hard to write and read and to distinguish from each other; and it's painfully slow for me to learn and memorize them.

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Re: JI notation comparison

Post by Juhani » Sat Apr 30, 2016 12:39 am

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Dave Keenan
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Re: JI notation comparison

Post by Dave Keenan » Sat Apr 30, 2016 12:57 am

Thanks for that, Juhani. I agree that some of your arcs are difficult to distinguish from straight barbs. I suggest you forget the whole squaring-up idea and instead go for the exaggerated curls as shown by William here:
viewtopic.php?f=10&t=13
The one you have for the 15/14 is good. I note that most of the shafts on your Sagittals, as well as some of your flats, are about 1.5 times as long as they would be if typeset (usually only 2 staff spaces long).

By all means ignore Athenian and stick with multi-Sagittal if that's what works for you. As you say, only 4 symbols to learn. It must have taken some time to learn the Sabat & von Schweinitz notation too, although it probably doesn't seem like it now. Doesn't the mnemonic of the 7 coloured arc of the rainbow help for the 7-comma symbol, and the head of the 11-arrow being like two slanted ones, while the head of the 13 arrow is like a 1 and a 3. Then you only have to remember that an otonal 11 points upward, while otonal 5, 7 and 13 point down.

It is the 5 comma notation in S&vS that I find particularly bad.
1. It uses a full arrow, which several other notations have used for the much larger alterations of quartertones or 11-dieses.
2. The arrow is vertically nowhere near the notehead to which it applies. This could be confusing in chords.
3. It requires a redundant natural for the arrow to attach to, making it look like a far larger or more complex alteration than it is.
4. It makes for very tall accidentals, causing others to be set horizontally far from their noteheads in chords.

Juhani
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Re: JI notation comparison

Post by Juhani » Sat Apr 30, 2016 3:42 am

It is the 5 comma notation in S&vS that I find particularly bad.
1. It uses a full arrow, which several other notations have used for the much larger alterations of quartertones or 11-dieses.
2. The arrow is vertically nowhere near the notehead to which it applies. This could be confusing in chords.
3. It requires a redundant natural for the arrow to attach to, making it look like a far larger or more complex alteration than it is.
4. It makes for very tall accidentals, causing others to be set horizontally far from their noteheads in chords.
1. True, but in European scores the arrow is widely used for alterations less than a quarter-tone (the quarter-tone symbols having been standardized to reversed flats and half-sharps from the '60's on). What alteration it is, varies from score to score - typically sixth-tone, eighth-tone or just an imprecise small change in intonation. So here in Europe the arrows might be confusing for those who know Johnston's or Kyle Gann's music but that's about it.
2. True, and it happens especially in big or complex chords, but that's more a problem for the composer's sketches rather than published scores, and it bothers me less than the wide symbols and the wide horizontal space needed for combinations of them in Sagittal. The instruments that play big chords do not play from JI notation, anyway, because they're keyboards. String triple and quadruple stops would be the rare exception, and Just Intonation multi-fretted guitars an even rarer one.
3. Yeah. I suppose the arrow could be used by itself as in Johnston; I used the arrow for sixth-tones, in addition to quartertone accidentals, in one of my first microtonal works some 20 years ago. Again, the naturals are what European musicians are used to seeing. And it's been quite common to print a lot of redundant naturals in 12-equal atonal and highly chromatic scores for a century now, so people are quite used to it. It doesn't bother me. For instance, I use the arrows-on-naturals-and-sharps/flats notation for 22edo myself, rather than the mixed Sagittal version that I've made all those Finale demos and examples of for the Facebook groups. I find it looks neater, takes less space and is easier to read and write; in this case I have, obviously, learned the Sagittal version well enough, so it's just a personal preference, rather than a question of being used to one or another. Granted, the Sagittal symbols (only :/|: and :\!:) are quite easy, so I have no problem of using that when people so prefer.
4. I find them more more pleasing in shorthand than the wide and fussy Sagittal symbols. For chords, see 2. But I'll look at William's drawings, as you suggest.

Juhani

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