*“With so many solutions, you know there must be a
problem.” — MNMA member Andre Lippens*

Out of the hundreds[1] of alternative notation systems that exist, we primarily focus on those that meet our particular set of desirable criteria (see Guided Tour and Gallery). Below we list a number of additional systems that take a different approach, in one way or another. We include links to their websites (or other documentation) and numbers to indicate which of our criteria each system does not meet, to the best of our knowledge. Suggestions for corrections are welcome. (This is intended to be a factual analysis, not a judgment on whether the system is well designed or meets the inventor’s goals, because those goals might be different from those of the Music Notation Project.)

Some websites linked below are in languages other than English. Use Google Translate if needed.

### Contents

- Systems with twelve vertical staff positions per octave (chromatic staff)
- Systems with six vertical staff positions per octave (two
pitches per position)
- Systems with four vertical staff positions per octave (three pitches per position)
- Systems with non-standard diatonic staves
- Systems with other types of non-standard staves
- Systems that do not use a staff
- Systems that use the traditional diatonic staff
- Websites of systems presented elsewhere on our site
- More specialized systems that may be of interest

## Systems with twelve vertical staff positions per octave (chromatic staff)

**Ambrose Piano Tabs**

by Russell Ambrose

Website. See criteria 7 and 8, and comment about Klavar below. Formerly known as
“keyPlay” at keyPlay.co.uk

**Chro-Nat**

by Adam A. Król

Website. A 12-degree
chromatic system using 5 shapes (downward triangle, leftward
triangle, oval, rightward triangle, upward triangle) to distinguish
octaves. Unlike most notation systems, Chro-Nat places notes that
have the same pitch class at the same vertical position on a single
5-line staff, regardless of the notes’ octave registers. This
feature greatly reduces the use of space in music with a wide range,
but it interferes with pitch proportionality. (See criterion 8.) The website also presents two other systems, 3SiT and 2SiT,
described below, but it indicates that the inventor prefers
Chro-Nat.

**Dodeka Notation**

by Jacques-Daniel Rochat

Website. See criteria 1, 2, and 17.

**Drielijn Notation**

by Pierre Hendriks

Website (Netherlands). See criterion 11.

**Hass Notation, 5-Line Version**

by Peter Hass

Website, (Denmark). Wiki Page. See criteria 9 and 15. Hass notation uses a five-line, pitch-proportional chromatic
staff whose lines are spaced three semitones (a minor third) apart.
Three notehead shapes are used: an oval on lines, and downward and
upward triangles in the spaces. This regularly alternating pattern
of three noteheads corresponds directly to the three rows of a
chromatic button accordion, which has an isomorphic layout. The
5-line staff does not cycle at the octave (criterion 9), but Hass later designed a 3-line version that meets all the MNP criteria. For more see also the Hass Notation Wiki Page.

**Hellenic Music Notation**

by Pablo Bellinghausen

Technical paper on academia.edu (2010). See criteria 9 and 15. Hellenic Music
Notation is so named because of its nomenclature, which assigns the
Greek letters α (alpha) through μ (mu) to the pitches of the
chromatic scale from C through B. Rhythmic notation is traditional.
The system’s alternating oval and upward or downward
triangular notehead shapes make it similar to Tom Reed’s Twinline, but there are some important differences. As in traditional
notation, notehead color depends on duration (open for whole and
half notes, solid for shorter values), and a 5-line staff is used
rather than a 2-line staff. The 5-line staff does not cycle at the
octave (criterion 9), but rather
at two octaves. Multiple staves can be placed contiguously
(criterion 15), but each
represents two octaves, always resulting in an even number (rather
than an “arbitrary” number) of octaves. Traditional
ledger lines are used beyond the staff, but Bellinghausen recommends
using “octave modifiers” frequently to avoid ledger
lines when possible. These modifiers are either Roman numerals
indicating octave numbers, or the traditional sharp, flat, and
natural signs, used to indicate octave changes rather than chromatic
alterations.

**I-Accord Music Notation**

by Saieb Khalil

Wiki Page. See criterion 8. The staff has three lines per octave, corresponding to the notes
of the tonic triad. Thus the staff uses relative pitches rather than
absolute pitches, similarly to Thumline. There are two forms of the staff: one for major keys and the
other for minor. (The inventor’s description does not state
how the system deals with modulation or with music in which the key
is ambiguous.) The diatonic pitches are depicted by oval noteheads,
and the chromatic pitches by half-ovals (optionally replaceable by
hollow triangles). Traditional duration symbols can be used.

**Klavar Music Notation (Klavarskribo)**

by Cornelis Pot

Wikipedia Page, Klavar Music Foundation of Great Britain, Klavar Foundation of the Netherlands, Klavar Vereniging Nederland (Dutch Klavar Union), KlavarScore website. See criteria 8 and 13 — Klavar almost meets 8, but the staff is not quite pitch-proportional,
because it mirrors the piano keyboard, whose white keys divide the octave
into seven equal steps. Note that there are four variants of Klavar featured
on our site: Pot’s own 6-6 Klavar, Jean de Buur’s Mirck Version, Tadeusz Wójcik’s Isomorph Notation, and Antoon Dekker’s variant. See also software for Klavar.

**Meloz Music Tablature**

by Jerald Lepinski

See criterion 8, and comment
about Klavar above. The website (http://www.meloz.com) no longer
exists.

**Numbered Notes**

by Jason MacCoy

Website. See criterion 17. Places
numbers (1-12) in front of each note to help with note
identification and interval calculation. See also the only notes version and the only numbers version on our site.

**NUME (New Understanding of Musical Expression)**

by Mike Ellis

Website. See
criteria 10 and 15. Uses an alternative symbol system of noteheads for rhythmic
notation.

**SuperMusic**

by Ernest Moore Hume

Link to Book. See criteria 8 and 15.

**Symmetrisch Chromatisches System (SCS)**

by Robert Doll

See criteria 10 and 15. The website (http://www.scs-rad.de) no longer exists, formerly in
German and English.

**Untitled 4-line notation system**

by Johann Ailler

Wiki page. See criterion 9. The earliest
4-line chromatic staff system, dating from 1904. It does not cycle
on the octave, but places only one ledger line between vertically
stacked staves. See wiki page for details.

## Systems with six vertical staff positions per octave (two pitches per position)

*See criterion 8 for all of the
notation systems in this group.* They are all 6-6 systems since they group the 12 chromatic pitches into two whole-tone
scales. As such, they have a certain amount of isomorphism, but do not have full pitch proportionality (criterion
8). By reducing the pitch proportionality, they allow the staff to
occupy less vertical space.

**Black White Notation (BWN)**

by C.J. Wang

Website (2011). See criterion 8. Uses a
six-degree staff rather than either a pitch-proportional
twelve-degree chromatic staff, or a traditional staff. Hollow and
solid noteheads are used to help indicate pitch, otherwise rhythm
notation is similar to traditional notation.

**Chromatic Pairs**

by C.J. Wang

Wiki Page (October 2011). See criterion 8.

**Equiton Notation**

by Rodney Fawcett

Wiki Page. See criterion 8. Published by
Fawcett in Zurich in 1958, with a more recent version by Mark Gould
(2004). A system with an innovative and comprehensive approach to
rhythmic notation. It uses a six-degree staff rather than either a
pitch-proportional twelve-degree chromatic staff, or a traditional
diatonic staff.

**Howe-Way Music Notation**

by Hilbert A. Howe

Wiki Page (1964). See criterion 8. Uses a
six-line staff that spans two octaves, a six-degree-per-octave staff
with three lines and spaces per octave. Each line or space
represents two of the twelve pitches of the chromatic scale. The two
pitches appearing on a given line or space are distinguished by
having black or white noteheads.

**MusiScript**

by André Lippens and Luc Lippens

Website. MusiScript is a hybrid 6-6 and 7-5 system in that its two
notehead shapes (oval and right-pointing isosceles triangle) form a
6-6 pattern, while its two notehead colors (blue and black) form a
7-5 pattern. Rhythm is traditional. There are six distinct
vertical positions per octave (criterion 8). The space for F# and G is shaded (see criteria 2 and 7). MusiScript uses four
colors: black, white (background), gray (the space for F# and G),
and blue (see criterion 7). The
inventors propose a criterion for notation systems that they call a
“peeping hole“, which states that a note’s pitch should be
detectible when looking only at the notehead and its immediate
vicinity, rather than at a larger context such as a whole staff.
MusiScript passes this test by using multiple notehead colors and a
shaded space.

**2SiT**

by Adam A. Król

Website. See criteria 8 and
9. A six-degree, 6-6 system using two shapes (oval and triangle) to
distinguish the two neighboring chromatic pitches that occupy the
same vertical position. The staff consists of five lines, reducing
the clarity of the octave cycle as compared to a two-line staff. The
website also presents two other systems, Chro-Nat (described above)
and 3SiT (described below).

## Systems with four vertical staff positions per octave (three pitches per position)

**3SiT**

by Adam A. Król

Website. See criteria 8 and
9. A four-degree system using three shapes (leftward triangle,
oval, rightward triangle) to distinguish the three neighboring
chromatic pitches that occupy the same vertical position. Like the
systems in the previous category (six vertical staff positions per
octave), this system has a certain amount of isomorphism but lacks pitch proportionality (criterion
8). The staff consists of five lines, reducing the clarity of the
octave cycle. The website also presents two other systems, Chro-Nat
and 2SiT (described above).

## Systems with non-standard diatonic staves

*See criterion 8 for all the notation
systems in this group.*

**Color Coded Music**

by Mary Hale

Website. Wiki Page. See criteria 7 and 8. Uses a 7-degree staff of four lines and three spaces for A
through G. The five “black-key” notes are named H, I,
J, K, and L, exactly as in Express Stave. They are indicated by diamond-shaped noteheads whose vertical
position generally lies between the positions of the neighboring
naturals. (The seven “white-key” notes use oval
noteheads, as in traditional notation.) Rhythm is traditional. The
notehead optionally contains the note’s letter name. The
staff’s spaces are colored, with a different color used in
each octave. Multiple octaves can be placed continuously, with
enough space between the staves for the notehead of L (G#/Ab) (which
seems to be centered on the G line, however).

**Easy Music Notation**by Ion Wittler

PDF. See criterion 8. Uses a non-standard diatonic staff that cycles on the octave. The staff consists of two solid lines with a dotted line in between. The lines are E, G, and B (the bottom three lines of the traditional treble clef). C is written with a ledger line, similar to a traditional Middle C. Traditional clef signs are kept, with a slight modification to the bass clef. Other features include: (1) some new accidentals, and symbols attached to noteheads as reminders of sharps and flats from the key signature; (2) exaggerated width of a notehead to help indicate the note’s duration; (3) graphical symbols for tempo changes; (4) textual notation for quick handwriting; (5) simplifying the notation of repeated patterns by selectively removing noteheads or shading them gray [see criterion 7]; (6) echoing the first notes of a new system (line of music) at the end of the previous system, to ease the visual transition.

**Leszer Notation**

by Eduardo Terol

Website. See criterion 8. Uses a
non-standard diatonic staff that cycles on the octave.

**Nydana Notation**

by Dan Lindgren

Website. See criterion 8. Uses a
non-standard diatonic staff that cycles on the octave. The staff
consists of two lines, for E and G, and a ledger line for C. Thus
the staff can be read identically to part of the traditional treble
clef: the part that ranges from the B below Middle C to the A above
Middle C. Originally the noteheads had a 7-5 coloring, with white
and black noteheads for the respectively colored piano keys; later
the inventor switched to a 6-6 notehead coloring, with black
noteheads for the whole-tone scale containing C and white noteheads
for the other whole-tone scale. A novel system of “ledger
bands” allows the staff to be temporarily extended upward or
downward in a distinctive manner without ledger lines per se. See
also Chromatic Nydana Notation.

## Systems with other types of non-standard staves

*See criterion 8 for all the notation
systems in this group.*

**Dozenal Conventional Music Notation**by Robert
Elisabeth Key

Website. See criteria 8,9. (Note that “Robert Elisabeth Key” is a pseudonym.) Also known as Hamburg Music Pianotype Notation or Hamburg Music Emoji Notation. Uses a 5-line quasi-diatonic staff whose lines are C, E, G, A, and C and whose spaces are D, F, G#/Ab, and B. (The notes are not named using these traditional letter names but instead using dozenal numbers as in Hamburg Music Notation, above.) Pitches corresponding to white keys on the piano have a normal notehead; those corresponding to black keys have an x for the notehead, giving this system a 7-5 notehead pattern. C#/Db is placed on the C line, D#/Eb on the E line, F#/Gb on the G line, and A#/Bb on the A line. Between successive five-line staves, ledger lines occur on E, G, and A; thus the staff pattern can be considered to cycle every two octaves. Rhythm is traditional, except that half and whole notes on “black-key” pitches have a notehead consisting of an x inside a hollow circle.

**Finkeys Notation System**

by Victor Mataele

Link to Patents. See criteria 8, 9, and 3. Pitches are represented
by the numbers 1-9 followed by the letters X, Y, and Z (C is 1 and B
is Z). Time is represented on the vertical axis. Duration is
indicated with colors. (See Criterion 7.) The horizontal axis does not represent pitch but finger number,
so it is divided into ten columns, five per hand. (See criteria
8 and 9.) The music therefore has
a different appearance for different instruments, as well as for
different ways of fingering a passage on the same instrument. (See
criterion 3.)

**Hamburg Music Notation**

by Robert Elisabeth Key

Wiki Page. See criterion 8. Uses a
series of numbers and letters (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, A, B)
rather than noteheads, to represent the twelve notes of the
chromatic scale. The letters are used in order to avoid having to
use numbers with double digits. 1 corresponds to the traditional C,
and 0 to the traditional B (or H in Germanic pitch nomenclature).
All pitches within the same octave from C to B (traditional names)
are written at the same vertical level. A variant of this system
uses the letter C in place of 0.

## Systems that do not use a staff

**3JCNGUYEN Music Notation**

by Thomas Nguyen

Website. See criterion 8. A note is
represented by a lower-case letter for the pitch class (a through
g), preceded by the note’s octave and followed by the
note’s duration (for example, 4c1 for a quarter note on Middle
C). Sharps, flats, and naturals are indicated by +, -, and o
respectively. Rests are represented by numbers without letters (for
example, 0.5 for an eighth rest). Durations of notes can be written
as decimal fractions (for example, 1.5 for a dotted quarter) or
ratios (for example, 3/4 for a dotted eighth). A group of notes that
would be slurred in traditional notation is instead enclosed in
parentheses. All notes are written at the same elevation.

**The Music Integrated Solution**

by Enrique Prieto

Website. See criteria 2, 7, and 13. Notes are represented
by horizontal line segments (called note traces) whose length is
proportional to duration, as in a piano-roll notation. (There are no
explicit duration symbols; see criterion 13.) A note trace is typically attached to a “reference
head.” The reference head looks rather like a notehead in
other systems, but instead of representing a note it is a guide that
aids in identifying the pitches of nearby notes, as there are no
staff lines. A reference head has one of four shapes. There are
three vertical positions at which a note trace can attach to a
reference head: at the head’s bottom, middle, or top. This 3 x
4 pattern is also reflected in a correlated system of nomenclature
for pitches, intervals, and chords. The system generally uses shaded
horizontal bands in the background behind the notes to aid with
pitch orientation. (Formerly called “NoteTrace”.)

## Systems that use the traditional diatonic staff

*See criteria 8 and 9 for all the notation systems in this group.*

**Amadeus Musique**Website. See criteria 8 and 9.

**Cleanotation**

by Clark Battle

Website. See criteria 8 and 9.

**iCanPiano Notes**

by Ophir Atar

Website. See criteria 8 and 9. Formerly known as “Prima Vista Notes”.

**Shape Note Notation**

See criteria 8 and 9.

Sacred Harp and Shape Note singing (fasola.org) and Shape Note Bibliography by John Bealle.

Sacred Harp Singing and Samples of Musical Notation by Warren Steel.

**Simplified Music Notation**

by Peter Hayes George

Website. See criteria 8 and 9.

**VaWu**

by Robert Stuckey and Richard Parncutt

Wiki Page. See criteria 7, 8, and 9. VaWu uses traditional notation with some modifications: the staff
has white lines and gray spaces, and the noteheads are letters (one
of twelve letters indicating the twelve chromatic pitches per
octave). The five “black-key” pitches use the letters
V, W, X, Y, and Z. The seven “white-key” pitches use
the traditional English (or, optionally, German) letter names (or,
optionally, the initials of the fixed-do solfege syllables).
Harmonic functions are optionally indicated above the staff using
the initials of the relative-do solfege syllables.

## Websites of systems presented elsewhere on our site

Ailler-Brennink Notation by Albert Brennink

Bilinear Music Notation (Spectral Music) by Jose Sotorrio. Website no longer exists. (http://www.spectralmusic.com/)

Chromatic 6-6 Notation by Johannes Beyreuther (German Site)

Clairnote Music Notation by Paul Morris

MUTO Music Notation (MUTO Music Method Foundation) (Japanese Site)

Thumline Music Notation (Thumtronics) by Jim Plamondon. Website no
longer exists.

(thummer.com/thummusic1.asp)

TwinNote Music Notation by Paul Morris

## More specialized systems that may be of interest

Braille Music Notation, and Opus Technologies offering software, print, and braille materials for learning and using braille music notation.

Symecord, an alternative guitar tablature by Mark Lee. Unlike standard guitar tab, which uses the non-time axis to represent strings, and symbols to denote fret numbers, Symecord uses the non-time axis to represent frets, and symbols to denote strings.

Tablature, and a Novel Guitar Tablature by Michael Harris