Claims of Intellectual Property regarding Modulo Notation

This document contains unique and important features with claims of intellectual property regarding Modulo notation. This list is not exhaustive. Rights are mostly based on, but not limited to, copyright, and moral rights.

Updated 18 Jun 2024

Dates given below refer to the moment in time when something was being communicated to the outside world for the first time.

I, Dan Lindgren, have spent almost a lifetime to figure out what became finally Modulo notation. This is a list that is intended to faithfully show what I invented and therefore consider, either in isolation or as part of an integrated solution, as my intellectual property. If you find anything in here that you disagree with, let me know, so that I can update this text.

What was later refined to become the current version of the notation was first presented on the 11th of March, 2007, to the MNMA (Music Notation Modernization Association) members. The new rhythmical system was conceived in June 2016, but not published on my website until May 3, 2019 (beam breaks and connectors were added on May 8, 2019).

1. Staves

An octave cyclic stave that is based on the chromatic button accordion layout, having either two or three lines, is my own original invention.

The notation came about in the following way: I had just bought my very first chromatic button accordion. I gazed at its pearly marbled buttons and wondered what it would be like if the buttons were instead note heads. I then tried to fit stave lines so that the notation would become octave cyclic. It can be done in various ways.

The next problem to solve was that some note heads would occupy the same vertical position on the stave. To be able to tell them apart, I decided to use solid black vs. white (hollow/open) note heads.

Modulo notation is likely the first octave cyclic chromatic notation built upon the chromatic button accordion layout. The staves were basically derived from a traditional five-line stave from which lines 2 and 4 were removed in order to make the staves octave cyclic. On the 2nd of February, 2014, the current two-line staves were introduced. Actually, already in 1993 (on the 6th of June) I proposed such a stave, but it was then intended for a diatonic notation system.

I found that there was a problem with eye orientation when the current two-line stave was repeated to cover more than one octave; so on March 14, 2014, I switched to staves with three lines per octave. I realized, however, that this problem could be overcome by stipulating that a stave should only be allowed to have stave lines covering one octave. So, after that I decided to return to the current two-line staves.

A Dane, Peter Hass (who is no longer with us), was probably the first person to present a notation that also functioned as an accordion tablature. At the time that my notation was presented, very little (if anything) was known about his notation in alternative notation circles. His staves were regular 5-line staves of the traditional kind, and thus not octave cyclic. Hass used oval and triangular solid black note heads to achieve a seemingly pitch-proportional notation. The note heads were centered on the stems. Hass later adopted the three-line stave that I had previously introduced on my website. Hass indicated on his website that the octave cyclic three-line stave, being used with a chromatic button accordion notation, was not his own idea.

2. Note head color scheme

The first version of the notation had a 7-5 note head coloring scheme. It was then changed to a 4 x (white, black, black) scheme that was suitable for a chromatic button accordion. It also had the advantage that for two successive chromatic note heads on the same stave position, the white note head always held the higher pitch. Finally I settled on a 6-6 note head color scheme. I didn't want to use this approach earlier because I was afraid that it would be confusing if sometimes the black note head would have a higher pitch than a white note head on the same vertical position, and sometimes the reverse would be the case. I later realized that black note heads a major second apart between lines, gravitate vertically towards each other. Black note heads that touch stave lines can also be moved by a very small amount towards the middle. White note heads that touch stave lines can be gently embedded into the stave lines. It does not exactly create a pitch-proportional notation, but this has never been considered a necessary requirement.

3. Stave segments

On the 1st of February, 1999, I made public a diatonic notation system that included what I called ledger bands. A ledger band consists of two contiguous and extended ledger lines that are connected by a half-circle at each end. Modulo notation uses a similar innovation of mine: stave segments. A stave segment is a box with rounded corners (with a height equal to two stacked note heads) that functions as an extension to a stave.

4. Stave braces

Modulo notation has characteristic stave braces with rounded corners. Another unique thing is that there are braces on both the left and the right side in a system of staves.

5. Key signatures

A key signature is placed inside a characteristic frame with rounded corners that is unique for Modulo notation.

6. Time signatures

A time signature is written inside square braces, and placed above the stave. The time signature typically yields the number of beats per measure. A new feature is that if an exclamation mark is added, it means that the duration of a beat does not change. Without the exclamation mark, the duration of a measure does not change.

7. Specifiers

Modulo notation has a unique system of specifiers/accidentals that look like comma signs. Basically these are dots with dashes/tails. The direction of a tail indicates a pitch difference equal to a Pythagorean comma. This type of dot + tail specifier, that I introduced on October 24, 2008, would be the very first of its kind.

8. Bar lines

Modulo notation has very short bar lines. There are also alternative bar lines consisting of two dots between the stave lines ( : ). More importantly, bar lines are never drawn out between staves in a system of staves.

9. Note heads with an invisible inner ledger line

Open/hollow note heads with ledger lines do not show the portion of the ledger line that is inside the note head. An open note head can therefore always rightfully be referred to as a "white" note head.

10. Clefs

Modulo notation uses a set of unique clefs. These clefs sometimes incorporate arrows that indicate whether the pitch goes up or down. The clefs are intentionally very slim so that they can be easily interjected between stems.

11. Octave designations

All'ottava with a dashed line is no longer considered necessary, thanks to the versatility of the new clefs. Inspired by a well-known classical composer (whose name I have forgotten) I designed a way to denote octaves in octave transpositions. The composer would write, for example, "2 Okt." instead of writing the conventional "15ma". I came up with the idea to instead write (in this specific case) "+2". One can then conversely use a minus sign for "ottava bassa".

12. Microtonal signs

A specific set of microtonal signs were introduced on October 24, 2008. As these microtonal signs could sometimes be confused with accent marks, the latter are recommended to be written a bit differently than usual.

13. Jump instructions

A system of jump instructions was developed to replace the sometimes complicated Italian terms used in traditional notation. The system includes specific signs, along with rules on how these signs should be applied. The jump instruction system was introduced on February 2, 2014.

14. Pointers

A so-called pointer was invented by adding an arrowhead at the end of an arc. Pointers were added to my chromatic notation and introduced on my website on October 16, 2011.

15. Ties

Modulo notation could be the first notation to actively promote the use of tie arcs that connect with an empty stem. The tie arc connects precisely at the point where the stem ends, without any gap. On August 26, 2012, I proposed that multiple tie arcs in chords should be replaced with just one arc.

16. Cue notes

Special cue notes were suggested on February 4, 2013, and added to my website on June 19, 2013. These have note heads that are shaped like half-circles (small note heads are thus no longer employed for this purpose). I had considered this kind of half-circle note head many years prior to introducing them, but I didn't intend to use them as cue notes then, but rather as regular note heads (I experimented with letting a note head be interpreted differently depending on which side of the stem it was placed, but this idea was abandoned).

17. The role of stems in durations

I have suggested that anything that has a well defined duration should have a stem (cf. stemless whole notes in traditional notation).

18. Stem value indicators

I originally placed augmentation triangles (my own invention) on the right side of the stem, near the free end (where sometimes a beam is connected). I introduced this idea to the MNP (Music Notation Project) members on February 26, 2011. By using hollow triangles, I could replace multiple augmentation dots in chords. The triangles could also have vertical dashes for doubly dotted notes, etc. When the new rhythmic notation system was introduced later, so-called stem value indicators were placed near the stem, in the same position that the previous augmentation triangles occupied. I have also considered the possibility of halving a stem value indicator. For example: /2 would indicate a stem whose duration is half that of a stem that has no stem value indicator. Other divisions, like /3 etc. would also be possible.

19. Y-shaped stem extension

A Y-shaped stem extension was introduced on January 22, 2020, so that stems densely populated with note heads could be written.

20. SaLaTa note names

The basic idea behind the SaLaTa note naming scheme is to have the alternating vowels o and a applied to the solfa note names. As it turns out, however, this idea isn't new. In 1920 Mlle R. Frémond proposed the following note names (actually a modification of French engineer Mr. A. Frémond's original proposal): do ta ro pa mo fa co sa vo la bo ga

In the early years, when I started exploring alternative notation systems, I once borrowed a book from the library called Source Book of Proposed Music Notation Reforms, by Gardner Read. I was mostly interested in diatonic notation systems at the time, and not in chromatic note naming schemes. In that book there is a table showing a number of chromatic note naming schemes. I was quite surprised when I revisited the book in 2021 (the book had now been to some extent made available online) and found Mlle Frémond's proposal. I cannot exclude the possibility that I could have observed this basic idea in the book, and then many years later having constructed the SaLaTa note names without being consciously aware of where I may have gotten it from.

SaLaTa, however, is a concept that represents much more than just the note naming scheme.

21. Grace notes

Normal size stemless note heads were introduced as grace notes on October 25, 2008 (or possibly earlier).

22. Rest signs

Many different signs were considered before settling on a horizontal dash to replace a note head on a stem to signify a rest. It had not been presented elsewhere before it was introduced by me on May 3, 2019. Another proprietary feature is to make the stem very short so that a whole-beat rest looks like a T. Unique is also that a rest sign can be rotated in accordance with the part it belongs to. Multi-measure rests have a new look.

23. Splitting the beam

A beam can be split in ways that are very characteristic for Modulo notation. It was proposed as a means to create rhythmical groups. It was first published on my website on May 8, 2019.

24. Connectors

Characteristic connector braces were introduced on May 8, 2019, to make it possible to form rhythmical groups by concatenating beats.

25. Courtesy numerals

A courtesy numeral that could be associated with a beam was introduced in May 2019. The numeral indicates the smallest possible time value within the beam.

26. Phrase signs

No later than May 10, 2019, ampersands, and a sign consisting of three vertically aligned dots, were introduced to mark out musical phrases.

27. Discarding of multiple beams

Using multiple beams to subdivide a beat was abandoned when the new rhythm system was introduced on May 3, 2019.

28. Clusters

On November 21, 2016, I introduced a new way to notate clusters: two triangular note heads point towards each other, and thus embrace a certain range.

29. Replacing rhombic note heads

Rhombic note heads traditionally used for some flageolets are replaced with regular note heads and a circle.

30. Alternation

Tremolo is indicated in the same way as trills. On February 25, 2023, the tilde sign was introduced (instead of having a parenthesized stemless auxiliary note head).

31. Breath marks

Breath marks are drop-shaped.

32. Dynamics

On May 1, 2022, I introduced new dynamics symbols that mimic volume knobs. The volume knobs can also have arrows. Percentage digits can be added.

33. Accents

On May 1, 2022, I introduced new accent signs that can also show when a note or chord should be played softer.

34. Tempo

On May 1, 2022, I introduced new tempo symbols in the form of squares. The squares can also have arrows. BPM digits can be added.

35. Diamonds

On May 15, 2022, I introduced new customizable symbols in the form of diamonds. The diamonds can also have arrows. Digits can be added.

36. Arrows

On May 18, 2024, I introduced the use of vertically arranged arrows to indicate that a part that is played on one stave belongs to an adjacent stave.

37. X and Y

On Jun 4, 2011, I introduced X and Y to denote 10 and 11, respectively.

38. Arpeggios

On Jun 18, 2024, to indicate arpeggios I introduced the use of simple undulated vertical lines to which a black triangle or a black dot can be fitted at either end.

39. String Numerals

On Jun 18, 2024, I suggested writing string numerals followed by colons instead of having dashed lines. A stop sign :¬ and writing, for example, IV¬ to affect a single stem, was also introduced.