Clairnote and Clairnote SN

Clairnote SN (Standard Noteheads) is a different “flavor” or variant of Clairnote music notation. You can see the differences between the two systems in the following example:

Illustration of Clairnote and Clairnote SN music notation systems

Basically, Clairnote uses hollow and solid noteheads for pitch, while Clairnote SN does not. Clairnote gives half notes double stems to differentiate them from quarter notes — its only difference from standard music notation’s rhythm notation system. Clairnote SN uses the standard rhythm notation system without modification, with hollow noteheads for half notes and whole notes, and solid noteheads for quarter notes, eighth notes, etc.

Where Clairnote has a highly visible 6-6 pattern of alternating solid and hollow noteheads, Clairnote SN has a more subtle 6-6 pattern of alternating line notes and space notes. Clairnote SN uses ledger lines to provide this regularly alternating pattern. (The notes D, F-sharp/G-flat, and A-sharp/B-flat are ledger line notes.) This means that in Clairnote the differences between pitches (and between intervals) are more obvious.

Why Use Clairnote SN?

In short, Clairnote SN has more in common with standard music notation since they use the same rhythm symbols. This makes it somewhat easier to learn both of these systems at the same time and to use them interchangeably, switching back and forth between them “bilingually”. So Clairnote SN may make more sense for musicians who already know standard notation well, or who want to learn to read standard notation at a high level of proficiency.

Why Use Clairnote?

Clairnote offers clearer and more obvious distinctions between pitches and intervals, by using solid and hollow notes for pitch. This may well be a better use of the highly visible difference between hollow and solid noteheads, especially if greater compatibility or similarity with standard notation is not a factor. Even if it is, some may find they can switch between Clairnote and the standard system just fine without significant difficulty.

Musicians should consider their own goals, particularly whether they include becoming a proficient reader of standard notation. Some may prefer Clairnote and others may prefer Clairnote SN. Both offer similar advantages over standard music notation.

Most pages on this site have both Clairnote and Clairnote SN versions. You can think of the site as two parallel sites, one for each system. You can switch between these two sites/systems via the links in the main navigation menu, under “Clairnote Music Notation” or “Clairnote SN Music Notation”.