Modern musical notation was created in the first half of the XI century. After that, it was subjected to minor changes, and still successfully used by musicians. But whether all musicians use notes? Reading-desk standing before the rock musician is an extremely rare phenomenon.
Perhaps someone will say that popular music is not complex, and it is easy to remember the melody. Nevertheless, there are many instances where musicians, performing complex classical pieces, also ignore the notes. An example is Denis Matsuev – one of the most outstanding pianists of our time. Performing Rachmaninoff’s Concerto, he only uses its own memory.
So, whether the notes are necessary during performance?
To answer this question it is necessary to understand – what you need in order to best perform a piece of music. There is no doubt that maximum concentration and deep involvement into the playing are key factors. Psychologists say that the human brain is not able to perform multiple tasks simultaneously. The fewer distractions, the better the result.
Many musicians while playing a blind eye to disable the visual flow of information and to focus exclusively on the auditory sensation.
But what musicians do when play notes. Primarily they focus on a music sheet, and visual organs involved in recognition of musical symbols. Hands play a musical instrument entirely by reflexes; those are responsible for their actions. Is it possible in this case to achieve outstanding quality playing and keep track of nuances in real time? Probably every musician has his own answer to this question.
Creating music without notes
Ok, all above is about the live performance. But what about making music? Is it possible to write music without using notes? Definitely yes. Most programs for music producers such as Cubase or Reason, do not even have musical notation tools, but have built-in MIDI editor with wide opportunities of editing MIDI files.
What is the process of making music? Composer mentally create musical phrase, then writes notes. In the program editor, the same musical information can be entered by playing the melody on a MIDI keyboard or using piano roll. The number of custom nuances here is almost unlimited.
What process is impossible without music notes?
Pretty hard to play without music notes in a live orchestra when accompanying. Orchestra musicians play a variety of pieces and often have very little time to study the musical material. Play by memory in such cases practically impossible.
So, what are the music notes – necessity or anachronism?
I think in the next 50 to 100 years, the musicians will continue to use the music, though not as widespread as before. Moreover, for some people music sheet is the source of sensations, similar to those experienced by people when picks up an old book instead of using modern e-book. In the end, you can read sheet music, just sing a melody in head – and it is no less interesting from a practical point of view to do.