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.

See how it works!  (instruction.pdf)

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.


"I have read the book with interest and played some of the examples given and commend your scheme. Your concise clarification of sharps and flats alleviate retentive memory problems and overall leads to the quicker learning of pieces, thus giving more time for interpretative aspects."
DR. HERBERT WINTERBOTTOM DMus (Hon), MSc, FNSM, FRCL, FRSA, LRAM, ARCM Organist, Former Examiner, Adjudicator, Professor of Music

"I believe your system has the potential for simplifying pitch reading at sight and eliminating errors in young musicians."
DR. JIM CARGILL, EdD, Music Education, Musicology, President, Dawson Community College

"What an absolutely splendid system! The whole idea of having a note with no necessity of an accidental is ingenious. The case of the double flats and sharps is eminently clear and with a little practice easy to master . . . I wish you all the best in this exciting new development."
RICHARD RODERICK JONES MMus, GRSM, ARCM Composer, Musicologist, Pianist

"I was delighted to receive a copy of your ingenious teaching method. As a musician and teacher for 31 years, I welcome this approach, especially as regards beginners learning to play the piano. Co-ordination is always a major problem with certain pupils, but your technique instils immediate confidence."

"An inspired response to ease the difficulty of note reading for musicians and would-be musicians alike. This thoughtful approach is worthy of world-wide acceptance."
SISTER RITA SCHWEITZER SSND, MMus, Formerly: Associate Professor, Chair Music Dept. Mount Mary College, Music Education, Theory, Piano

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.

Assists memorisation

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.

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