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Does anyone have a better way of notating scores at a piano?


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I love writing out my compositions by hand before I put them in to a computer, but I find it really difficult to notate things when I'm sitting at the piano. Has anyone found a good way to do this without awkwardly reaching over the keyboard, or having the paper sit in your lap?

Thanks, Evan.

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5 hours ago, mercurypickles said:

I love writing out my compositions by hand before I put them in to a computer

So do I!  I can't compose in front of a computer.  I don't feel creative in that venue and I have creative angst when I try so ... yeah.

5 hours ago, mercurypickles said:

but I find it really difficult to notate things when I'm sitting at the piano. Has anyone found a good way to do this without awkwardly reaching over the keyboard, or having the paper sit in your lap?

I just write while laying in my bed and then if I come up with something that I feel I should really test out at the piano I will but that's a special circumstance.  Usually I just whistle things to myself and make sure that the passing harmonies and voice leading are acceptable and try to imagine my composition as best I can without an instrument.  But ... can't you put your music sheets or notebook in front of you on the piano music stand?  Do you have an upright piano or a grand?

Edited by PeterthePapercomPoser
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When I do write at a piano it's usually at an upright, but I find it really upleasent to have to reach up and over the keys every time I want to mark something, let alone erasing because that means I have to take the whole score off the piano. 

I think I might just be making up a problem for myself when it's really just a minor inconvenience.

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Yeah, as Theodore says, a little "end table" as close to you as it can get.

When using the piano, over a period of time I developed a shorthand based more on just dots for noteheads and a 'timeline' (so the distance between those notes/dots represented duration - or closer to it. It was much more important to get an idea down than to get it down formally correctly.

I also rarely use bar lines in the earliest stages, just commas over the stave; decide bar lines later. I doubt this applies to you if you normally write in a fixed rhythm, say 4/4.

And I use a 4B pencil and rarely ever erase. I just strike through.

Of course, this means extra time later sorting it all out later.  

However, we all have our ways of working and you'll develop your own all in good time!

Here's a photo of one of my recent scribblings.

music.jpg

Edited by Quinn
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It makes discomfort for me to play piano and in the parallel to write something on the paper or on computer. But I've found good tools to use (not commercial just my own thoughts). I'm a user in musescore and uploading there some scores from time to time, but there are some intereseting technical decisions in theirs apps (for android/ios/PC- https://musescore.com/our-products down below links to for downloading) and while playing on piano I can use app for writing score in electronic form. You are welcome!

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2 minutes ago, Patrick Hasselbank said:

It makes discomfort for me to play piano and in the parallel to write something on the paper or on computer. But I've found good tools to use (not commercial just my own thoughts). I'm a user in musescore and uploading there some scores from time to time, but there are some intereseting technical decisions in theirs apps (for android/ios/PC- https://musescore.com/our-products down below links to for downloading) and while playing on piano I can use app for writing score in electronic form. You are welcome!

 

Are you serious?

 

To answer the original question: I don't normally write at a piano. I would play, improvise, write, record and then transcribe later. But the suggestion of a small (portable) table that you can out next to the stool is probably the best way forward!

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12 minutes ago, Patrick Hasselbank said:

It makes discomfort for me to play piano and in the parallel to write something on the paper or on computer. But I've found good tools to use (not commercial just my own thoughts). I'm a user in musescore and uploading there some scores from time to time, but there are some intereseting technical decisions in theirs apps (for android/ios/PC- https://musescore.com/our-products down below links to for downloading) and while playing on piano I can use app for writing score in electronic form. You are welcome!

 

classic Patrick move

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6 hours ago, Patrick Hasselbank said:

It makes discomfort for me to play piano and in the parallel to write something on the paper or on computer. But I've found good tools to use (not commercial just my own thoughts). I'm a user in musescore and uploading there some scores from time to time, but there are some intereseting technical decisions in theirs apps (for android/ios/PC- https://musescore.com/our-products down below links to for downloading) and while playing on piano I can use app for writing score in electronic form. You are welcome!

Well... that was a creative segue into putting that link lol

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I like to record things using my phone and then go write the best bits down as a separate step.  Instead of recording one long session, which is then a pain to find things in, I start and stop the recordings as I get ideas and label them to help me remember what is what if I do a lot of them:  key change section, swung rhythm idea, funky bass line, possible ending, etc.  That way the time spent writing down doesn't get in the way of the next idea when you are feeling very inspired, but you still have a complete record of every note and rhythm you can listen back to when you do go to write it all out.  

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