Different Forms of Musical Notation

These are some different forms of musical notation:

  • Hand Signs

  • Letter notation

  • Number notation

  • Solfa/sargam

  • Neumes

  • Tablature

  • TUBS (Time unit box system)

  • Stave notation

  • Graphic notation

Notation can have different functions:

  • to preserve music

  • to help remember music, an aide memoire

  • to keep a record of what you have composed

  • to assist in refining or revising your work

  • to standardise performance

  • to communicate musical ideas to others

  • to develop a common cross-cultural (i.e.non-verbal) language

  • to provide a visual reminder of the sounds of the music

  • to promote the commercial aspects of the music

  • to extend the range of performance situations, or develop a wider audience

  • to enable composers to organise and manipulate more complex musical ideas

  • to help people to learn music

  • to support study and analysis

Some forms of notation are better at some of these functions than others.