2.10.1 Common notation for non-Western music

This section discusses how to enter and print music scores that do not belong to the Western classical tradition, also referred to as Common Practice Period.


Extending notation and tuning systems

Standard classical notation (also known as Common Practice Period notation) is commonly used in all sorts of music, not limited to ‘classical’ Western music. This notation is discussed in Writing pitches, and the various note names that may be used are explained in Note names in other languages.

Some types of non-Western music and folk/traditional music often employ alternative or extended tuning systems that do not fit easily into standard, classical notation.

Standard notation is still used but with pitch differences being implicit. For example, Arabic music is notated with semi and quarter-tone accidentals but with precise pitch alterations being determined by context. In the case of Arabic music, the init file ‘arabic.ly’ provides a suitable set of macros and definitions that extend the standard notation using Italian note names. For more details see Arabic music.

Other types of music require extended or unique notations, for example, Turkish classical music (also known as Ottoman classical music) employs melodic forms known as makamlar where intervals are based on 1/9 divisions of the whole tone. Standard, Western staff notes are still used, but with special accidentals uniquely defined in the files ‘turkish-makam.ly’. For more information on Turkish classical music and makamlar see Turkish classical music.

Other, related init files are also available; ‘hel-arabic.ly’ and ‘makam.ly’.

To locate these init files on your system, see Other sources of information.

See also

Music Glossary: Common Practice Period, makamlar.

Learning Manual: Other sources of information.

Notation Reference: Writing pitches, Note names in other languages, Arabic music, Turkish classical music.


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