Western Notation and Performance
In previous parts, we discussed ways to record music directly using digital technology. These techniques require us to think of music as precise air pressure variations, and they encode this acoustic data. The advantage of this approach is great accuracy in reproducing sound. However, computers are essential to the process; only a computer can read and write digital sound files. Historically, music was perceived as a series of gestures (see Chapter 2), rather than a string of sound waves. The traditional approach to ‘recording’ music is therefore to symbolize these gestures instead of the acoustics they create. Such efforts started with the medieval neumes and resulted in modern notation systems that we call symbolic.
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