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Exploring the Musical MindCognition, emotion, ability, function$
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John Sloboda

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780198530121

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198530121.001.0001

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The Uses of Space in Music Notation

The Uses of Space in Music Notation

(p.43) Chapter 3 The Uses of Space in Music Notation
Exploring the Musical Mind

John Sloboda

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes how space is used in music notation. Music notation (score) is very different from language notation (text) and so some prefatory comparative remarks may help to place this notation in a wider context. Perhaps the most fundamental difference between score and text is that a score must be able to specify different events as occurring simultaneously whereas text portrays a single sequence of events. The problem of how to link up parallel streams of information has thus been fundamental to the development of score. No analogous problem exists for text. A second difference concerns use. Score readers are mainly concerned with producing a musical performance. Text readers are more concerned with understanding and remembering what they read. This difference makes issues of layout of foremost importance in a score. The music reader cannot afford to lose his place or experience ambiguity even for a second if he is to maintain the flow of performance.

Keywords:   space, music notation, score, language notation, text, musical performance, music reader

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