Background

By Dan Lindgren

In 1993 I filed an application for a patent on a new musical notation system. Some years later, in 1999, I filed yet another application for what I considered to be an even better notation - a notation that had a lot in common with the present version of Classic Nydana. It has then taken me years of experimenting with dozens of various systems that I have come up with. The present notation though, is the best of these attempts, and it has been designed with the objective to satisfy even the most demanding and advanced musicians.

The notation below is an example of one of my rejected attempts. The problem with this notation is that it occupies too much vertical space. Besides the obvious disadvantage that musical pieces typically will require more pages, you will have to scan each stave up and down with your eyes, and also identify each of the notes in a chord individually rather than seeing them as a group. The notation, which is a kind of piano tablature, looked like this:

example 1

Although I searched patent archives, read various music dictionaries and even payed a patent engineer to search for similar notations, nothing that resembled Classic Nydana appeared. In September 2002 I borrowed a book from the library entitled "Source Book of Proposed Music Notation Reform", written by Gardner Read. From this book I discovered that three other persons had used the same basic arrangement of stave lines; and they also had their respective versions of a black/white system of note heads.

However, none of these musical notation systems seems to have joined ledger lines to form closed loops comparable to the "ledger bands" of Classic Nydana. There are also a number of other distinct features that seem to be new and unique for this kind of notation. The other three musical notation systems and their inventors are presented briefly below:

1. Henk Beunk (Zwolle, Holland) proposed his system entitled "Notenschrift" (Notation) in 1935. At first he tilted his note heads to the left for flat notes and to the right for sharp notes. By adding a sharp or flat sign before a note, he achieved double sharp and double flat, respectively. He later seems to have abolished this solution and used ordinary white note heads for naturals and black note heads for sharps, leaving out flat notes entirely. Ledger lines are differently arranged compared to Classic Nydana, and left out for naturals. A whole note is written as a traditional notation double whole note; and a half note as a traditional notation whole note. Clef signs were not regarded necessary.

example 2

2. Professor Thomas Howard Stix published his system in 1959 entitled "Proposal for a New System of Music Notation" (Princeton, New Jersey). Professor Stix was born in 1924 and died in 2001. He was a professor in Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University, and was one of the most prominent researchers in plasma physics and fusion energy for use in peacetime. He received numerous awards and also worked for human rights. His musical notation system is the one that has the most in common with Classic Nydana. He used different clefs for each octave. A sharp or flat sign is used as a key signature. Half-notes are written with an additional stem parallel to the ordinary stem. Other note values are notated as in traditional notation.

example 3

3. Carol M. Fuller published "A notation based on E and G" in 1966 (Journal of Research in Music Education 14, 3, pp. 193-196). Her system has a characteristic T as treble clef, and a matching B as bass clef.

example 4

To distinguish black notes from naturals, she slightly detached the stems from their note heads.