[Doggiebox] Re: Playing vs. Displaying in DB

Sterling Beckwith beckwith at yorku.ca
Fri Mar 11 15:45:25 EST 2005

	Once we recognize the need to hear the same drum-type PLAYED using a 
limited selection of different kinds and levels of attack, we naturally 
ask next: How and to what extent these gradations can best be DISPLAYED 
in the pattern-editor, without compromising the usability and economy 
of our notation system.  Apropos, it's tempting to offer a few 
off-the-cuff observations:

	1)  Not everything that is played needs to be displayed--at least, not 
on the same screen view.

	2)  To notate any kind of music always implies reduction, i.e., 
leaving out a whole lot of what the performers (or the computer) must 
then put back into the intended audible result.

	3)  Only a notation that is simple, logical, and easy to learn will be 
used by a lot of people to WRITE with.  A complete specification of the 
actual sounds desired is of course needed at some level somewhere along 
the line, and a few of the more ambitious early computer music 
languages actually proposed using such a thing as the ideal composing 
tool of the future.  Thank goodness Doggiebox doesn't, and in my view 

	4)  A typical late-19th-century orchestral score goes pretty far in 
attempting to show (albeit in highly relative terms) almost every 
significant parameter, employing dozens of different systems of 
representation in the process, including Italian words, letters, 
diacritical marks, trills, numbers, and so on.  Computers, on the other 
hand, can switch quickly among alternate representations of the same 
"score" so easily that we have become used to a multiple-screens 
approach, allowing each particular, single-purpose view to be simpler 
to read, less cluttered, and far easier on the eyes.  But any kind of 
readable "score" must still be a far cry from an actual "performance", 
whether in the realm of live or of digital percussion.

	5)  The crucial question then becomes: How much can we afford NOT to 
see?  How LITTLE by way of graphic support can we manage to work with 
in capturing our musical ideas?

	-Sterling Beckwith

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