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Combining Bar-graph (MAM) Notation with Standard Music Notation
There are several ways in which the pitch representation of bar-graph notation and standard music notation differ; these include:
- Vocal versus Instrumental. The treble and bass clefs used in standard music
notation span a range of a little less than three octaves, the typical range
of human singing. The range of musical instruments is approximate equal to the
range of the piano, which covers a little more than seven octaves.
- Diatonic versus Chromatic. In standard musical notation, one vertical step means a
pitch change of one "diatonic scale degree" which can be either the smallest
musical distance on a keyboard (called a "half step," the distance between C
and C-sharp) or twice that (a "whole step," the distance between C and
D). In standard bar graph notation, all vertical steps are the same
musical size, one half step.
- Clefs. Standard musical notation has clefs which provide an absolute pitch reference; bar graph notation has no standard method for showing absolute pitch.
Because of these differences (which can be seen in the
diagram below), applying conventional staff lines to bar-graph notation requires
some adjustments and has some limitations. The mismatch between diatonic
and chromatic scales, the pitch lines of the staff, when shown in bar-graph
notation, are not equally spaced. Also, the two clefs are closer together
than it typical for, say, piano music. And, most notably, many pitches are
beyond the range of the clefs. In standard notation, these out-of-range
notes are handled with ledger (or leger) lines above
or below the staves, or by notating pitches one or more octaves higher or lower
than they sound. Ledger lines could be added to bar-graph notation without too much intrusion, but octave transpositions would upset the continuity of the music.