Uucp@ofa123: ASCII music notation FAQ 31 Aug 92 10:04 From ucivax!ucbeh.san.uc.edu!tso.uc.edu!usr6184a From: usr6184a@tso.uc.EDU (Joseph A. Ellis , Jr.) Subject: ASCII notation v1.1 Revised May 1992 Here is the format I've developed for sending music notation via ASCII characters. ----------------------------- C5 = C 2 ledger lines above treble clef staff C4 = octave above middle C, third space treble clef staff C3 = Middle C C2 = C second space bass clef staff C1 = C 2 ledger lines below bass clef staff (this is standard terminology) C is the change point for octaves. The note immediately below C3 (middle C) is B2. A C scale starting on middle C would be as follows: C3 D3 E3 F3 G3 A3 B3 C4. By using all capital letters for notes, we can use the more intuitive # = sharp and b = flat. (C#2, F##4, Eb3, Bbb1) All sharps and flats are indicated in the notation. No key signatures are used, but you should include a text notation of the key at the beginning or at changes. Time signatures should be included in the same manner (3/4 D major, 7/8 A minor). ----------------------------- For values, simply use a one or two letter initial code: DW = Dotted Whole W = whole DH = Dotted Half H = Half DQ = Dotted Quarter Q = Quarter DE = Dotted Eighth E = Eighth DS = Dotted Sixteenth S = Sixteenth ad nausem... Double dotted notes use _2_ 'D's like this: C4DDQ ----------------------------- Rests, of course, use 'R' followed by the value: RDH Use '!' for bar lines, and '!!' for double bars. Repeats are '!!: :!!' Use '--' for a tie. Use '-!-' or '-!!-' for a tie across bar lines. Tuplets are indicated thusly: +--- 3 ---+ C3H ! G3H ! F3E E3E D3E C4Q-!-C4Q G3Q ! ----------------------------- So, for example, 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' played in the octave immediately above Middle C would look like this: 4/4 C Major C G7 ! E3Q D3Q C3Q D3Q ! E3Q E3Q E3H ! D3Q D3Q D3H ! C ! E3Q G3Q G3H ! E3Q D3Q C3Q D3Q ! E3Q E3Q E3Q E3Q ! G7 C ! D3Q D3Q E3Q D3Q ! C3DH RQ ! It is, of course, POSSIBLE to write the words below the notes, but unless it is necessary I would not recommend it. Why? First, it makes things VERY 'busy' on the page. Secondly, and more importantly, it means that someone who wants to USE the song will probably have to delete those lines to get a workable lyric sheet, and then have to re-format the text, too! It's a lot easier just to delete the music if it's all alone at the top of the page! ----------------------------- A few comments on style: Try to keep notes spaced in proportion to note length. It GREATLY helps readability! Note pitches ALWAYS come first, and end with an octave number. Note values follow pitch with NO SPACE BETWEEN. (Think POD... _P_itch, _O_ctave, _D_uration) ----------------------------- My primary goal was to create a notation system that could be used intuitively by anyone familiar with standard notation. Some elements are drawn from other proposed encoding systems, and we all owe those people a debt for believing it COULD be done. I don't think this is the last word in ASCII music, but I do feel it is a good, solid foundation. I expect to modify and add to this as I receive comments on it, and welcome other viewpoints... but keep in mind what we're trying to accomplish. This is NOT a performance-level notation system, and is not intended to be. The amount of information packed into a single page of sheet music in a minimum number of symbols is phenominal, and we cannot hope to begin to match it in any humanly readable form given the constraints of ASCII code, but I think we DO have, now, a fairly intuitive format for transmitting music without concern for file or computer type... so spread the music around! Joe Ellis o/' The Synthetic Filker o/' | TesserAct Studios Internet: usr6184a@tso.uc.edu | P.O. Box 18577 GEnie: J.ELLIS22 | Fairfield, OH 45018 All filked up and no place to sing! | New Dimensions In Filk! Now available: "The Dream Is Alive! Music of the Space Shuttles"