Most notation Systems have a form of hierarchy. In traditional western notation contour was the first aspect of notation that was developed. Later followed by phrase structures and pitch as neume notation developed and eventually rhythmic modes were developed around the 13th century. If you look at western music education it is based primarily on pitch and rhythm. Not to say that articulation, phrasing, dynamics and more are not covered, but the focus is largely on these two aspects (source). One might say that the notational system reinforces what is viewed as important by either the composer or the societal standards (source).

With this in consideration, as a composer and improvisor, I spent many years searching for my own way to express my the way I hear, approach and conceptualize music. It came down to years of composing to find a voice, and evaluating what that voice was really about. There were works written with notational systems so precise that the works became cumbersome and not representative of my musical values, others were too free and did not express my own thoughts and ideas, and of course there was over a 1000 years of musical tradition that I am a product of that led to traditional notations that locked my music in a place that was not comfortable for my process.

For years I looked at the scores of Ligeti, Xennakis, Penderecki, Brown, Cage, Leonin, Machaut, Bingen and more, while listening to improvisations by Dolphy, Coltrane and Sun Ra. My style has landed on the cusp of the experimental classical and jazz styles, not a Third Stream as Schuller would say, so much as where the styles and musical cultures of these two styles actually converge (source). Tradition is not ignored in my notation, it is embraced. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. It is a merely a re-appropriation of other people’s notational systems and symbols for my own means.

Gesture and improvisation are very important the resulting hierarchy. Development is often comes in the form of timbre, texture, pitch, dynamic and harmonic. The notation system is a vehicle to bring music to the stage, offer a chance for performance and aid in the organization of thoughts.

Community and Accessibility

As a member of the open-source community, it has become very important to make art that is accessible to all, while also encouraging community interaction. My notation system requires a level of community involvement. Pedagogically it allows for open discussion of music amongst students …….. …..




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