Radix Notation

Table of Contents

Intro

Radix notation came predominantly from one idea. I don't like the arbirary and c-major-centric nature of current the current staff of western music. I could have researched more standards from other cultures, but I'm a programmer; I make standards. Why would I try to learn another standard and try to adjust my sense of musical structures in order to express myself? The answer is obviously "That's what communication is, you twat". And that's fair, but I've never seen music as communication (ie, not a universal language) but a tool of self expression. So this is a system born of my own needs and the way I look at music.

  1. I don't like calling notes 'sharp' or 'flat' when they are as equally valid and unspecialized as any other note in the set of playable notes. I think this was the #1 concept that blocked my musical progression in its early days.

  2. I don't want to be limited to 12 notes, but I do like the idea of playing from fixed-sized sets of notes, like having a palette to pick from.

  3. I never liked the lack of symmetry on the grand staff. Because the standard 12-tones is an even number of notes, a note will alternate between being on a line and a space as you change octaves.

  4. I think time signatures are obstructions to feeling the music. I always found the denominator of a time-signature to be arbitrary and anything other than a 4 is hipster nonsense. (7 / 5 isn't actually irrational, just harder to draw and therefor read.)

  5. I don't like including dynamics in the notation. I also see duration of note presses a dynamic and not really part of the musical structure.

  6. I don't like 'chords'. I prefer to look at simultaneous notes as harmonizations and the emergent properties thereof. Which, in my mind, means that each note needs to be specifically placed rather than placed as an afterthought of some chord.

  7. I want to be able to use text-editor to edit a piece

The Standard

Notes are expressed in two parts: 'The Octave' and 'The Offset'

This is why I call it radix notation. Notes are just being express as n-base numbers. If you use 12 tones, you get 12 digits.
3rd octave --> 2 5 <-- 6th note (D)

** Note how the values seem to be off by one, if that doesn't make sense to you consider this: the first 10 numbers don't have a1 before them.

Here's a quick reference to convert western notes:

Western Note Radix
A1 00
A#1 01
B1 02
C1 03
C#1 04
D1 05
D#1 06
E1 07
F1 08
F#1 09
G1 0A
G#1 0B
A2 10

Keep in mind that I'm just using 12 as an example. Any number of tones can be expressed if you have the instrument to play it or the software supports it (its in the works).


No Time signature, no measures. Only beats.

Every | delimits a beat.

{ 43 | 43 | 43 | 43 }

is the equivalent of this:


Subdivisions

Every piece starts and ends with { & }

Every [ and ] delimit a subdivison

Every beat or subdivision is split by commas

{ 43 | 43, [53,4B] | 43, 43, 43 | .. }

is the equivalent of this:


One note per line

More than one line can exist, but only one note can be placed simultaneously per line

    {50 |50 |50 |50 }
    {53 |54 |53 |.. }
    {57 |57 |.. |60 }

is the equivalent of this:


Relative Notes

+/-/v/^ can be used to denote a note is relative

+N means that this note is N steps up from the previous

-N means that this note is N steps down from the previous

^N means that this note is N octaves up from previous

vN means that this note is N octaves down from previous

{ 43 | ^1, v1 | +4, +3 | -4, -3 }

is the equivalent of:


An example

Here's a simple transcription of Erik Satie's Gymnopedie #1

Download Raw

{..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|69|70|6A|69|64|62|64|65|60|..|..|59|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|69|70|6A|69|64|62|64|65|60|..|..|64|..|..|69|..|..|57|..|..|..|5A|..|..|..|..|60|62|63|67|65|62|65|..|62|65|55|..|..|55|65|67|68|6A|70|63|65|67|..|62|65|55|..|..|55|65|6A|..|..|69|..|..|62|60|62|64|..|67|64|..|67|59|55|5A|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|69|70|6A|69|64|62|64|65|60|..|..|59|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|69|70|6A|69|64|62|64|65|60|..|..|64|..|..|69|..|..|57|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|60|62|63|67|65|62|65|..|62|65|55|..|..|55|65|67|68|6A|70|63|65|67|..|62|65|55|..|..|55|65|6A|..|..|68|60|..|62|63|68|67|..|63|67|..|63|58|55|5A|..|..|..|..|..|..}
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
{..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|63|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|65|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|65|..|..|65|..|..|..|..|63|..|..|65|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|63|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|65|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|65|..|..|65|..|..|..|..|63|..|..|65|..|..}
{..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|57|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|57|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|60|..|..|60|..|..|..|..|60|..|..|60|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|57|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|57|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|60|..|..|60|..|..|..|..|60|..|..|60|..|..}
{..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|57|..|..|59|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|58|..|..}
{..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|53|..|..|55|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|55|..|..}
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
{..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|55|..|..|57|..|..|57|..|..|52|..|..|50|..|..|50|..|..|58|..|..|57|..|..|52|..|..|50|..|..|50|..|..|5A|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|..|..|..|59|..|..|..|55|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|59|..|..|..|..|..|5A|..|..|55|..|..|57|..|..|57|..|..|52|..|..|50|..|..|50|..|..|58|..|..|57|..|..|52|..|..|50|..|..|50|..|..|5A|..|..|58|..|..|58|..|..|..|..|..|58|..|..|..|55|57|..|..|..|..|..}
{..|55|..|..|54|..|..|55|..|..|54|..|..|55|..|..|54|..|..|55|..|..|54|..|..|55|..|..|54|..|..|55|..|..|54|..|..|55|..|..|54|..|..|55|..|..|54|..|..|54|..|..|55|..|..|52|..|..|55|..|..|50|..|..|53|..|..|52|..|..|4A|..|..|47|..|..|49|..|..|53|..|..|53|..|..|4A|..|..|47|..|..|49|..|..|57|..|..|54|..|..|55|..|..|57|..|..|54|..|..|50|52|4A|..|..|45|..|..|..|55|..|..|54|..|..|55|..|..|54|..|..|55|..|..|54|..|..|55|..|..|54|..|..|55|..|..|54|..|..|55|..|..|54|..|..|55|..|..|54|..|..|55|..|..|54|..|..|54|..|..|55|..|..|52|..|..|55|..|..|50|..|..|53|..|..|52|..|..|4A|..|..|47|..|..|49|..|..|53|..|..|53|..|..|4A|..|..|47|..|..|49|..|..|57|..|..|55|..|..|53|..|..|57|..|..|53|..|..|50|52|53|..|..|45|..|..}
{..|52|..|..|50|..|..|52|..|..|50|..|..|52|..|..|50|..|..|52|..|..|50|..|..|52|..|..|50|..|..|52|..|..|50|..|..|52|..|..|50|..|..|52|..|..|50|..|..|50|..|..|52|..|..|4A|..|..|52|..|..|48|..|..|50|..|..|4A|..|..|45|..|..|43|..|..|43|..|..|50|..|..|50|..|..|45|..|..|43|..|..|43|..|..|52|..|..|50|..|..|52|..|..|54|..|..|50|..|..|42|47|40|..|..|40|..|..|..|52|..|..|50|..|..|52|..|..|50|..|..|52|..|..|50|..|..|52|..|..|50|..|..|52|..|..|50|..|..|52|..|..|50|..|..|52|..|..|50|..|..|52|..|..|50|..|..|50|..|..|52|..|..|4A|..|..|52|..|..|48|..|..|50|..|..|4A|..|..|45|..|..|43|..|..|43|..|..|50|..|..|50|..|..|45|..|..|43|..|..|43|..|..|52|..|..|50|..|..|50|..|..|53|..|..|50|..|..|42|47|4A|..|..|40|..|..}
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
[3A|..|..|35|..|..|3A|..|..|35|..|..|3A|..|..|35|..|..|3A|..|..|35|..|..|3A|..|..|35|..|..|3A|..|..|35|..|..|3A|..|..|35|..|..|3A|..|..|35|..|..|39|..|..|32|..|..|37|..|..|37|..|..|35|..|..|30|..|..|35|..|..|35|..|..|35|..|..|35|..|..|35|..|..|35|..|..|35|..|..|35|..|..|35|..|..|37|..|..|39|..|..|32|..|..|37|..|..|37|..|..|37|..|..|..|..|..|35|..|..|3A|..|..|35|..|..|3A|..|..|35|..|..|3A|..|..|35|..|..|3A|..|..|35|..|..|3A|..|..|35|..|..|3A|..|..|35|..|..|3A|..|..|35|..|..|3A|..|..|35|..|..|39|..|..|32|..|..|37|..|..|37|..|..|35|..|..|30|..|..|35|..|..|35|..|..|35|..|..|35|..|..|35|..|..|35|..|..|35|..|..|35|..|..|35|..|..|37|..|..|37|..|..|37|..|..|37|..|..|37|..|..|37|..|..|40|..|..|35|..|..}