9450 SKILLMAN ST # 101 Dallas TX, 75243 | (469)855-6865


NUME Could Revolutionize the World of Music
Posted on:Tuesday, September 3, 2013

N.U.M.E. (New Understanding of Musical Expression) unifies the way music is transcribed, making it easier to write music and to read music.

The world’s first true “Tablature for Piano” could turn out to be so much more. It could speed student progress exponentially by removing the need for key signatures, by eliminating time signatures, and by “rationalizing” the concepts of beat, phrasing, and timing. By utilizing the most primal concept of music, the beat, as the basis for conveying music to the average person, rather than the complicated concepts of staff lines and note values, NUME has proven to be the most quickly understood method of conveying music to students with no musical experience at all.

The current method, which is actually hundreds of years old, Has two clefs or staves (plural for staff). Each staff has five lines with a space above each. This gives us ten places for the seven natural notes, but what about the sharps and flats? So we had to have key signatures.

The bottom line of the bass clef is a G note, while the bottom line of the treble clef is an E note. You have to memorize that. Also, since the top line of the bass clef is an A note and the bottom line of the treble clef is an E note, it appears that there are three notes between the two clefs, those notes being B, C, and D. Actually, there are six notes: A#, B, C, C#, D, and D#. This antiquated method is not only confusing, but requires key signatures to account for the black notes on the piano. Suddenly, there were five more notes added to the seven existing notes. Key signatures tell you whether the note on the line or space is one of the current notes or one of the new notes, each of which has two different names, by the way. Couldn’t there have been a better way?

By adding one more line to each clef, all twelve notes could be accommodated by having six lines with a space above each. There would be no need for key signatures because each note would have its own location on the staff.

You should probably stop the use of two names for a note. Just get rid of all the flat names. The only reason they were ever there at all is because you were always supposed to retain alphabetical order when scales were involved. It’s really not necessary and without alphabetical order, you can see the scale steps more easily.

Also, each clef could have the bottom line be the A note, the first letter of the alphabet. In NUME, if you see a note on a space followed by another note on the line above, you know to play the next note up from the first one. In the current method, the note on the bottom space of the treble clef is an F note. The note on the line above the F space is a G note and is two notes above F, not one note above.

What is currently called tablature for piano is often cumbersome and determining the time each note receives is conveyed in different ways depending upon which piano tablature method you find on the web. The most primal concept of music is the beat. Your foot taps by going down and it rises up to tap the next beat. The current method of writing notes has whole notes, half notes, dotted half notes, tied notes, and lots of rules to govern these types of notes. In 4/4 time, a whole note gets held for four beats. This is easier for the transcriber, but more rules for the student. Also, you only see one mark that represents four beats. If there was a sustain mark, you could show the note that is played followed by the three sustain marks. You could see the four beats instead of memorizing rules. A dotted half note gets held for three beats. You could show the note and two sustain marks. The same holds true for rests. There are several types of rests conventionally. You could just have one kind, one that represents a beat. Some notes do not last for a whole beat, so conventional note “stems” could be used to show a half of a beat or a quarter of a beat, etc. for rests and sustains as well as for notes. The rules for these stems are quite simple and easy to understand.

The NUME method is completely free to use and reproduce. It is not intended to replace the current method of transcribing notes any more than guitar tablature was intended to replace it. It is just an easier way for students to grasp and understand what notes to play and how to play them. The Music Notation Project accepted the method as an alternative to the current method. You can find out more and see some examples of NUME by visiting Mike Ellis Music Instruction on the web.


Back to Top