An intuitive notation system that makes music easier to read and understand.
Explicit and Direct — Each of the twelve notes of the chromatic scale has its own unique vertical position on the staff. There are no indirect alterations by key signatures or accidental signs. Play what you see and see what you play.
Consistent and Intuitive — It is easy to see the interval relationships between notes because they are represented clearly and consistently by the vertical positions of the notes on the staff. Hear what you see and see what you hear.
Whether a note is solid or hollow is its most prominent visual feature, so solid and hollow noteheads are used to help convey pitch rather than duration. The vertical positions on the staff alternate between solid and hollow noteheads.
This visual pattern makes individual notes easier to identify and interval relationships easier to see.
Any given note looks the same in every octave. This makes it easy to identify notes and easy to play music in any octave.
Traditional rhythm symbols are used except half notes are given a double stem to distinguish them from quarter notes.
Look and Listen Closer (AudioVisualizer)
Below you can see and hear scales, intervals, modes, and/or the notes you play on an on-screen keyboard. For scales and modes, look for the different interval patterns (whole steps, half steps, etc.) that make up each one. Notice how these interval patterns remain consistent when you transpose the scale or mode to a different root note. For intervals, notice how easy it is to identify them and to differentiate between them.
Intervals and Chords
In traditional music notation different intervals and chords may look the same (e.g. major and minor thirds and triads). In Clairnote the differences between intervals are always clearly visible making it easy to see the relationships between notes and understand the common patterns of music found in chords, scales, keys, etc. Improvising and playing by ear involve playing by interval (by relative pitch), so clearly seeing each interval as you play will help support learning these skills.
Clefs and Octaves
In traditional music notation the notes represented by the lines and spaces of the staff change depending on the current clef (treble, bass, alto, tenor, etc.). Piano music entails reading in two different clefs at once. In Clairnote the lines and spaces of the staff look the same in every octave and always mean the same thing in every octave, so there is no need to learn to read different clefs.
Clairnote's clef symbols simply indicate the octave register of the staff, and if you can read one octave you can read them all.
Key Signatures and Accidental Signs
In traditional music notation the notes on the staff may be altered by accidental signs (sharps, flats, naturals, double sharps, double flats) or by one of fifteen different key signatures that have to be learned and remembered in order to play the correct notes. With Clairnote you simply play the notes as they appear on the staff.
Clairnote’s key signatures and accidental signs do not complicate the process of reading notes. They only provide supplemental information — all the same information conveyed by traditional notation, like the current key, when a note is an accidental (i.e. not in the current key), and the different names of enharmonically equivalent notes.
Sheet Music Videos
A taste of reading music in Clairnote music notation.
- The Blue Danube Waltz, by J.J. Strauss – Sheet Music (PDF)
- Somewhere Over the Rainbow
- Do Re Mi from the Sound of Music
- Greensleeves – Sheet Music (PDF)
- The Well Tempered Clavier I, Prelude I, by J.S. Bach – Sheet Music (PDF)
- Für Elise by L.V. Beethoven – Sheet Music (PDF)
- The Entertainer by Scott Joplin – Sheet Music (PDF)
Sheet Music and Software
There are currently over 600 works in the Clairnote Sheet Music Library, all available to download for free as PDFs. They were created with LilyPond – free / open-source music notation software that anyone can use to automatically convert traditional music files into Clairnote. (See Software: LilyPond.) A collection of fiddle tunes, a piano lesson book, and a number of other works are available under More Sheet Music.
Here are a few well known pieces from the Clairnote Sheet Music Library (PDF files):
- Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, arranged for piano
- The Blue Danube Waltz (Main Theme) by Johann Strauss Jr., arranged for piano
- Greensleeves Traditional English melody, arranged for four-part vocal harmony
- Das Wohltemperierte Clavier I, Praeludium I by J.S. Bach
- Für Elise by Ludwig van Beethoven, for piano
- The Entertainer by Scott Joplin, for piano
- Maple Leaf Rag by Scott Joplin, for piano