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#2065280 - 04/16/13 12:52 AM hummingbird notation? huh?!?!
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5261
Loc: Europe
http://www.hummingbirdnotation.com/index.html

Why change? If it ain't broken don't fix it, the say. And while I don't feel that way, I do think that most things in the current (and very classical) notation system is fine as it is... Perhaps there would be ways to make it look better, but I can't see how a Chopin work would look with the hummingbird notation... brrr...

thoughts?
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#2065284 - 04/16/13 01:03 AM Re: hummingbird notation? huh?!?! [Re: Nikolas]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7598
Loc: New York City
Very bad idea...it would be a huge pain in the butt for every single pianist, of any level, on the planet. And I mean HUGE. Plus, why change? Just why?
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Polyphonist

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#2065287 - 04/16/13 01:06 AM Re: hummingbird notation? huh?!?! [Re: Nikolas]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19773
Loc: New York
What's their point?

How is this supposed to be easier?

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#2065292 - 04/16/13 01:16 AM Re: hummingbird notation? huh?!?! [Re: Mark_C]
MathGuy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/09
Posts: 232
Loc: California
Doesn't look like it would be much easier, or much harder, for someone starting from scratch. Maybe the redundancy, whereby the name of a note is indicated by both its position on the staff and the style of the note head, would be helpful; in theory, at least, there'd be no more "is this supposed to be an E or an F?"

I hope BTB weighs in, since he's a fan of alternative notations.

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#2065319 - 04/16/13 02:12 AM Re: hummingbird notation? huh?!?! [Re: Nikolas]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5313
Loc: Philadelphia
I'm hoping it's a joke. If they're serious, it is very poorly conceived. For starters, why use a staff at all if the notes are individually identifiable?

I messed around with it (conceptually) to try and wrap my head around reading the pieces. I think it's possible, but can't see any reason to support why it would be considered "easier". It's just as visual-spatial and patter-recognition-based as "classical" notation.

Almost seems like someone was trying to create guitar tabs for the piano, doesn't it?
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#2065426 - 04/16/13 09:40 AM Re: hummingbird notation? huh?!?! [Re: Nikolas]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13789
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I saw this over the weekend. It's sort of interesting, but ultimately not helpful. Why?

The difficulty people have with reading music has nothing to do with the symbols themselves. The difficulty people have with reading music is simply a lack of time spent on learning it at a young age.

If language were taught in the schools for 40 minutes each week, nobody would be able to write, either. (And yes, I think it's that simple.)
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"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#2065458 - 04/16/13 10:52 AM Re: hummingbird notation? huh?!?! [Re: Nikolas]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2338
Loc: San Jose, CA
The only element of the notation I don't like is the symbols for the notes. If they were all black, and the rest of the notation the same, I think it would be very usable. The curlicues indicating sharps or flats are a brilliant idea, and the lines that indicate the duration of sound are helpful as well. I usually end up having to write lines in beginners' music to indicate how long the note is, that should be enough to show that the traditional system isn't intuitive.

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#2065463 - 04/16/13 11:03 AM Re: hummingbird notation? huh?!?! [Re: Nikolas]
beet31425 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3787
Loc: Bay Area, CA
How easy a system is to learn is different from how easy it is to use once learned. I think that Hummingbird is thinking only about the first question.
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Beethoven: op.109, 110, 111

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#2065504 - 04/16/13 12:11 PM Re: hummingbird notation? huh?!?! [Re: Nikolas]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3572
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Total waste of time. Anybody who can learn this can learn standard notation. Anybody who wants to go further in music will have to convert to standard notation. There is nothing difficult or wrong with standard notation. It has all the information you need, in the most succinct way possible. This Hummingbird notation is a poor solution to a non-existent problem.

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#2065516 - 04/16/13 12:18 PM Re: hummingbird notation? huh?!?! [Re: Nikolas]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4772
Loc: USA
Idiotic.

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#2065598 - 04/16/13 02:54 PM Re: hummingbird notation? huh?!?! [Re: Nikolas]
mermilylumpkin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/08/13
Posts: 121
To me that just looks like someone playing with the "Wingdings" font, but even if it were miraculously simpler than traditional notation, I doubt it would ever take hold for the same reason that the QWERTY keyboard persists despite not making ergonomic sense.

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#2065610 - 04/16/13 03:30 PM Re: hummingbird notation? huh?!?! [Re: mermilylumpkin]
Dwscamel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/22/13
Posts: 466
For me, the hummingbird notes are distracting because of all the different shapes and fillings. This looks much less convenient than standard notation.

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#2065671 - 04/16/13 06:25 PM Re: hummingbird notation? huh?!?! [Re: mermilylumpkin]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5313
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: mermilylumpkin
To me that just looks like someone playing with the "Wingdings" font, but even if it were miraculously simpler than traditional notation, I doubt it would ever take hold for the same reason that the QWERTY keyboard persists despite not making ergonomic sense.

I didn't even think of that.. but now that you mention it, that's exactly what it looks like!

What kind of keyboard do you use? I had a roommate in college who was obsessed with ergonomic keyboards.. split/angled/inverted.. some really weird stuff. But some of them were much more comfortable.
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#2065681 - 04/16/13 06:48 PM Re: hummingbird notation? huh?!?! [Re: Nikolas]
boo1234 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/09
Posts: 509
I'm sorry, but that looks more difficult to read than standard notation, even from just glancing at it, especially if your eyesight is not what it once used to be. Who has time to see what [art of the circle is filled or if it has a dot or some random squiggly?

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#2065831 - 04/17/13 02:49 AM Re: hummingbird notation? huh?!?! [Re: boo1234]
Ferdinand Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/23/07
Posts: 943
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: boo1234
I'm sorry, but that looks more difficult to read than standard notation, even from just glancing at it, especially if your eyesight is not what it once used to be. Who has time to see what [art of the circle is filled or if it has a dot or some random squiggly?

To be fair, you wouldn't have to notice what part of the circle is filled, if you know the staff already. The pitch designation signs seem not to be essential, rather just an aid for beginners.

The time-value notation is where the system truly departs from traditional notation. There is an advantage to showing long notes stretched out along the measure; it provides a graphic, intuitive image of the relative note values. But I wonder how it looks in a complex polyphonic texture. It might start looking rather cluttered. Traditional notation, which confines the information about a note to the spot in the measure where the sound begins, is clean and easy to look at. There are fewer horizontal objects competing with the staff lines.

Traditional notation distinguishes voices in polyphonic music by means of stem direction. Does the hummingbird system have a way to do this?

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#2065832 - 04/17/13 02:54 AM Re: hummingbird notation? huh?!?! [Re: Nikolas]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5261
Loc: Europe
Problem is that apart from 8ths and 16ths we have triplets, quinteplets, and various other ratios going on, etc... So I think that this system might be quite complicated in such music.
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#2065887 - 04/17/13 07:42 AM Re: hummingbird notation? huh?!?! [Re: Nikolas]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3160
The only thing I noticed from it is how foreign and confusing it is, which gives me empathy for my beginner students, especially the adults.

Regular notation, with which pianists are all familiar and at home with, is probably just as confusing to them as this Hummingbird thing is to us.
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Music teacher and piano player.

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#2066001 - 04/17/13 12:50 PM Re: hummingbird notation? huh?!?! [Re: Nikolas]
Janus K. Sachs Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/07
Posts: 1710
Loc: Betelgeuse, baby!
I've seen worse -- on this forum, amongst other, er, places.

Incidentally, Brahms devised his own system of notation during his childhood, before he knew of the existence of standard notation.

Schoenberg proposed a new system of notating pitch specifically to eliminate the constant and potentially confusing use of accidentals in post-tonal music.
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Die Krebs gehn zurücke,
Die Stockfisch bleiben dicke,
Die Karpfen viel fressen,
Die Predigt vergessen.

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