Clairnote represents the twelve notes of the chromatic scale as two whole tone scales. (A whole tone scale is a series of notes evenly spaced a whole step apart.) One is a series of 6 solid notes, and the other is a series of 6 hollow notes. This is known as a “6-6” pitch pattern.
These two whole tone scales combine in a regularly alternating pattern to form the chromatic scale.
This regular pattern in the representation of pitch means that intervals, scales, and chords have a consistent appearance regardless of the current key or their vertical position on the staff. In technical terms, this is known as isomorphism (“iso” meaning “same,” and “morph” meaning “shape”).
For example, all major scales start with three solid notes, followed by four hollow notes (or vice-versa). All minor thirds are a solid note and a hollow note, while major thirds are two solid notes or two hollow notes. What you see always corresponds with what you hear.
This is why Clairnote uses hollow and solid noteheads to help indicate pitch and interval relationships (through the 6-6 pitch pattern), rather than using them for duration (rhythm). See the Scales and Intervals pages for illustrations and further discussion.
Comparison with Odd and Even Numbers
The benefits of the 6-6 pitch pattern can be understood by analogy with the distinction between odd and even numbers. Odd and even numbers help with counting and determining the relationship between two numbers. In a similar way, the 6-6 pitch pattern makes the interval between two notes easier to perceive and understand. It makes the contours of scales and melodies easier to see, as well as the patterns that make up chords and harmonies.