Written Music Essay

654 Words 3 Pages
Written Music

For a very long time music was not written down. It was sung or played from memory. As it was passed on from person to person, many changes crept into the tunes. A way of writing music down was needed so that it would be sung or played exactly as it had been composed. The name for written music that man developed is notation.

The system of musical notation generally used today is the result of centuries of development- from about the end of the ninth century to the early 1700’s. This development began in the cathedrals in monasteries of the Roman Catholic Church.

Since many of the Church’s services were sung, they were sung from memory. Towards the end of the ninth century dots and dashes and squiggles were
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A method of notation that made it possible to show the length of each note was developed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Notes took new shapes and stems were added to some notes according to their length. By the 1600’s the notes had become round and musical notation began to look like it does today.

Today music is written and printed in a picture language. This language of notation indicates the pitch of the tones, their place in a sequence of tones, their duration (the length of time a tone is held), and the composer’s ideas about how they should be played. Notes are written signs that represent tones (musical sounds). The notes appear on a staff, a set of five horizontal lines. The higher the composer places the note, the higher its pitch. The order in which he places it, from left to right, indicates its place in a sequence of notes.

The shape of a note shows its time value.

A clef sign at the left end of a staff determines the position of notes on the staff. The treble clef is often called the G clef because its sign fixes the G above middle C on the second line from the bottom of the staff. The bass clef, often called the F clef, fixes the F below middle C on the second line from the top of the staff. Higher notes, such as those for the right end of the piano, appear in the treble clef. Lower notes appear in the bass clef. Music for the viola is written in the alto clef, and music written for the trombone, bassoon,
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