As a practical matter of music notation, graphic symbols work better than words, hands down. Actually words are symbols too, but they are constructed of building blocks of letters and punctuation that can result in very close to a million viable combinations in English alone. Thankfully, our musical language is much more finite, making its symbols and graphical elements much faster to process, and great sight-reading relies on the removal of all possible information bottlenecks. Remember “RISC” processors in our computers some years ago? The acronym stood for “Reduced Instruction Set Computer” and referred to a chip which accomplished more tasks with fewer and simpler embedded commands, thus achieving faster performance benchmarks. Think of our collection of articulations, dynamics, and graphic symbols, etc., as our own RISC (no, not “risk-y”) technology. When possible, it behooves us “score-meisters” to befriend them and use them first, whenever possible in our pursuit of clarity and efficiency.
Thanks for your interest in The Chart Doctor. The full text of this article is now available in the updated and expanded eBook “The Chart Doctor: Volume 1″ available from The Film Music Store.
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