Nomenclatures Overview

This page gives a summary overview of proposals for new naming schemes for notes.

Alphabetical Nomenclatures

Some proposals maintain the traditional letter names for the notes A B C D E F G and introduce five new names for the “sharp or flat” notes (black keys on the piano).  Hass Notation retains the traditional German nomenclature in which B is called H and A#/Bb is called B.  VaWu follows traditional solfege names for the white key notes and adds five new names for the black key notes (when used as a fixed do system).

Some proposals rename all twelve notes of the chromatic scale, and some employ repeating patterns for consonants and/or vowels. NoteTrace uses two repeating patterns: B M T for the consonants and e i o a for the vowels. Bakedi (Chromatic Pairs) similarly uses B K D for the consonants and e i o a for the vowels, but it cycles through the vowels first (at a lower level), before cycling through the consonants, which is the opposite approach from NoteTrace’s. SaLaTa uses a 6-6 pattern of alternating “a” and “o” for the vowels, while retaining the initial consonants of the seven traditional solfege names and introducing new consonants for the other five. Plain Notation System uses the cycle o u e a i for the vowels while retaining the seven traditional consonants and introducing five new ones.

Alphabetical Nomenclatures A A#
Bb
B C C#
Db
D D#
Eb
E F F#
Gb
G G#
Ab
Hass Notation
by Peter Hass:
A B H C O D S E F V G I
Express Stave Nomenclature
by John Keller:
A H B C I D J E F K G L
SaLaTa
by Dan Lindgren:
La Bo Ta Do Pa Ro Na Mo Fa Wo Sa Go
Plain Notation System
by Ivaylo Naydenov:
S
(Sa)
T
(Te)
V
(Vu)
B
(Bo)
D
(Da)
F
(Fe)
G
(Gu)
L
(Lo)
M
(Ma)
N
(Ne)
P
(Pu)
R
(Ro)
VaWu
by Robert Stuckey and Richard  Parncutt:
 
La/A
Ze  
Si/B/H
 
Do/C
Va  
Re/D
Wu  
Mi/E
 
Fa/F
Xe  
Sol/G
Yu
Notetrace
by Enrique Prieto:
Be Me Te Bi Mi Ti Bo Mo To Ba Ma Ta
Bakedi (Chromatic Pairs)
by Fernando Terra:
De Di Do Ba Be Bi Bo Ka Ke Ki Ko Da

 

Numerical Nomenclatures

Many proposals rename the notes using numbers, or even use numbers in visual music notation systems. See the MNP’s tutorial on Numerical Notation Systems for more thorough documentation.

Numerical Nomenclatures A A#
Bb
B C C#
Db
D D#
Eb
E F F#
Gb
G G#
Ab
Base-12 symbols
by Dominique Waller:
9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Dozenal (Pitman digits)
by Joe Austin:
9 Ɛ 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Nueva Escritura Musical
by Julián Carrillo:
9 10 11 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Untitled Notation System
by Robert Stuckey:
9 X N 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Hamburg Music Notation
by Robert Elisabeth Key:
A B 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Numbered Notes
by Jason MacCoy:
10 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
FinKeys Notation System
by Victor Mataele
X Y Z 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

 

Single-Digit Symbols for Ten and Eleven (PDF) by Dominique Waller

Dominique Waller designed a numeric notation system, and wrote this article (PDF) about his search for single-digit symbols to substitute for the numbers 10 and 11. He writes: “To make it easier to write and read, a duodecimal music notation that goes from 0 to 11 needs two new single-digit symbols for 10 and 11. But how to choose them? I’ve been searching for ten years now and have often changed my mind, but I now have come to a conclusion. That’s what I’m going to explain here.”

 

Relative “Movable-Do-Style” Nomenclatures

In addition to the fixed-pitch nomenclatures described above, there are also relative  nomenclatures along the lines of moveble-do and the equivalent major scale numbering which goes by the various names of Jianpu/Galin-Paris-Cheve/Nashville.

Relative “Moveable-Do” Nomenclatures Do Di
Ra
Re Ri
Me
(Ma)
Mi Fa Fi
Se
Sol Si
Le
(Lo)
La Li
Te
(Ta)
Ti
Express Stave Sol-fa
by John Keller:
Doh Zaw Ray Naw Mee Fah Vee Soh Yaw Lah Paw Tee
VaWu
by Robert Stuckey and Richard Parncutt:
do/1 va re/2 wu me/3 fa/4 xe so/5 yu la/6 ze ti/7
Rhyming Major Thirds Solfege
by David Zethmayr:
Do Re Mo Fa Si La Ti
Squiggle Solfege—”né-nà”
by David Zethmayr:
Ne Ne Ne Na Na Na Na