What is Simplified Music Notation?
Simplified Music Notation is a training aid to help develop sight-reading skills. It is designed for learners in general as well as students with working memory problems and other learning difficulties. It enables students to learn repertoire faster, and with an increased level of confidence. It can also be helpful for more advanced musicians, especially in modern music.
Play what you see
Simplified Music Notation eliminates the need to make constant ‘mental translations’ for accidentals and key signatures. Players no longer have to remember the key signature or accidentals, because all flats and sharps are represented by their own unique symbols.
Instead of having to think about how to modify each note according to the key signature or accidentals, you simply play what you see.
Double sharps and flats are transposed to the position on the staff on which they are actually played and preceded by a ‘History Sign’ to justify this transposition. The History Sign indicates the origin of the transposed note for the benefit of the theorist, but can be completely disregarded by the player.
Nothing is lost
Unlike other notations which have been suggested over the years, with Simplified Music Notation, nothing is lost. The key signature is retained, because it is essential to understanding the structure of the music. History Signs precede all transposed notes, allowing the theorist to observe how the score was originally written.
Easy to learn
Simplified Music Notation is easy to learn, as it is complementary to traditional notation. By removing the need to remember the key signature and accidentals, players can apply their energies and concentration to interpretation and timing.
It enables relatively inexperienced players to explore pieces previously considered too difficult, due to a complex key signature or excessive accidentals.
Simplified Music Notation greatly assists the memory process. Trials showed that student volunteers could memorise pieces in Simplified Music Notation in approximately one third of the time it would take in traditional notation. Students’ ability to render works in traditional notation also improved, as they became more confident in their sight-reading skills.
Makes sight-reading enjoyable
Simplified Music Notation was originally designed as an aid to musicians with memory retentive problems, learning difficulties and visual impairments. However, it has proven popular with teachers, students, self-taught, amateurs and professionals alike, and is helpful to anyone who struggles with sight-reading.