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Publication numberUS438429 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 14, 1890
Filing dateNov 14, 1889
Publication numberUS 438429 A, US 438429A, US-A-438429, US438429 A, US438429A
InventorsEmerson F. Clemens
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Music notation
US 438429 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

No Model.)


No, 438,429. Patented Oct. 14, 1890.

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SPECIFICATION forming part of Letters Patent No. 438,429, dated October 14, 1890.

Application filed November 14, 1889. Serial No. 330,326. (No model.)

To aZZ whom, it may concern.-

3e it known that I, EMERSON F. CLEMENs, a citizen of the United States, residing at Albion, in the county of Noble and State of Indiana, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Music Notation; and I do hereby declare the following to be a full, clear, and exact description of the invention, such as will enable others skilled in the art to which it appertains to make and use the same.

This invention relates to music notation; and it consists in the novel combination and arrangement of the lines and characters forming such notation, as hereinafter fully described and claimed. This novel notation is specially adapted for stringed instruments and to the guitar in particular. It can be used for all stringed instruments similar to the guitar in which the higher notes are produced by shortening the vibrating portions of t e strings.

In the drawings, Figure 1 represents a few bars of the tune known as The Old Folks at Home, written in the old or common notation. Fig. 2 represents the same bars of the same tune written in the new notation according to the present invention.

A series of parallel lines e, I), g, (Z, A, and E are used, and are similar to those used in ordinary music notation, and are provided with bars w to mark the divisions of equal portions of the music in exactly the same manner. These lines also represent the strings of the instruments, as many lines being used as there are strings on the instrument. The top line represents the e treble string, the bottom line the E bass string, and the intermediate lines the intermediate strings of the same denomination as the respective letters used to indicate them on the drawings.

The notes to be struck or played are inclicated by numerals or characters placed on the parallel lines, and these numerals or characters also indicate the manner in which the said notes are to be formed upon the instru ment, For this purpose each of the ordinary frets on the instrument is indicated by a numeral, and these numerals are placed upon the lines to indicate the notes to be played.

The frets are numbered consecutively 1 2 3, &c., from the top downward, the numeral 1 representing the fret nearest the tuning-head of the instrument. It is obvious that the frets might be numbered in the reverse or any other prearranged order without departing from the spirit of the invention; but it is most convenient to number them 1 2 3, due, from the top downward.

The music may be made clearer by using numerals of different size or appearance to represent the different kinds of notes, crotchets, for instance, being represented by numerals of larger size than those used to indicate quavers. A dot placed after a note has the same signification as in ordinary notation, and most of the usual signssuch as p or ffare used and have the same signification; but it should be noticed that no accidentals are required in the new notation.

Referring now to the figures on the drawings, it will be seen by the old notation that the two first notes to be played are the middle c sharp of the treble and the A natural of the bass. These are represented in the new notation by the numeral 2 on the second line from the top, and the cypher (0) on the second line from the bottom. This indicates that the b and A strings are to be struck simultaneously, the Z) string being shortened or fingered at the second fret from the top and the A string being left open. The two second notes to be played are the a natural and the 6 natural of the treble. These are represented in the new notation by the numerals 2, placed on the g and (Zlines, respectively, indicating that the g and d strings are both to be shortened to their second frets and are to be struck simultaneously. The rest of the tune is written in a similar manner.

The new notation has many advantages over the old for guitar-players. It is easier to write or print, and can be followed much more readily by those unfamiliar with musical notation.

Vhat I claim is 1. A method of musical notation consist ing in representing the series of strings on the instrument by a similar series of parallel lines and indicating the strings to be struck IOO and the amount of shortening or fingering of desired notes by suitable characters placed :0 them necessary to produce the desired notes upon the said lines, substantially asset forth. by means of suitable characters placed upon In testimony whereof I affix my signature in the said lines, substantially as set forth. presence of two witnesses.

5 2. method of musical notation consistin g in representing the series of strings on the EMERSON CLEMENS instrument by a similar series of parallel Witnesses: lines and indicating the strings to be struck JOHN W. SMITH, J r., and the frets to be fingered to produce the THURLOW B. PHILLIPS.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3331271 *Jun 15, 1964Jul 18, 1967Glenn Helen GreggMusical notation
US7897862 *Apr 27, 2008Mar 1, 2011Spencer Saburo TashimaStringed instrument learning and teaching method, music notation system, and corresponding visual aid
US8039722 *Jan 5, 2010Oct 18, 2011Maccoy JasonMethods and formats for visually expressing music
Cooperative ClassificationG09B15/02