Clairnote: an Alternative Music Notation System
Clairnote is a notation system that makes music easier to read and learn. It gives each of the twelve notes of the chromatic scale its own vertical position on the staff, as shown below. The vertical distance between notes is always proportional to their difference in pitch — their interval (which is not the case on a traditional staff). This provides the following advantages.
1. Key Signatures
It is not necessary to remember the key signature just to play the right notes. You simply play the notes as you see them on the Clairnote staff. There is no extra step of having to mentally process them first, according to one of fifteen different key signatures that you have to memorize and then constantly keep in mind as you play. (Clairnote has its own key signatures.)
2. Accidental Signs
As with key signatures, reading accidental signs (sharps, flats, and naturals) is not required just to play the right note. Sharp, flat, and natural notes have their own distinct appearance on Clairnote’s staff, so you simply play them as you see them, without having to mentally modify them first based on an accidental sign. (Clairnote has its own accidental signs.)
The representation of intervals is more precise, clear, and consistent. This makes it easy to read the interval relationships between notes and understand the basic patterns of music like scales and chords. Clearly seeing each interval that you play also helps with learning to improvise and play by ear, skills that typically involve playing by interval, or in other words, relative pitch. (See Scales and Intervals.)
On the staff the groups of two lines repeat on the octave and always represent the same two notes (E and G sharp / A flat). So notes one or more octaves apart always fall on “the same” line or space, and any given note always has the same appearance regardless of its octave. This makes it very easy to identify notes. Here is an illustration of notes an octave apart.
Since every octave on the staff has the same appearance, there is no need to learn to read in different clefs (i.e. bass and treble). Clairnote has its own “clef” symbols that simply indicate the current octave or register of the staff. (See Clefs.)