University of Cambridge > > Pedagogy, Language, Arts & Culture in Education (PLACE) Group Seminars > Can Layout and Engraving Rules Affect the Readability of Musical Scores?

Can Layout and Engraving Rules Affect the Readability of Musical Scores?

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Lucian Stephenson.

This talk will present the results from a series of experiments looking into the influence of graphic design on the readability of musical scores: these results seem to show that the legibility of a score can be modified by including in it visual cues that refer to the underlying structure of the music, thus eliciting form participants readings with less errors and more temporal stability.

In the initial experiments several modifications in terms of layout, motif separation and note spacing were included as part of the design of the novel scores, and in the final experiment the effect of each of these modifications individually was analysed, showing that the most significant factor was the chunking of material into spatially separated motifs.

Finally, a possible comparison with the history of the conventions for the transcription of natural languages will be proposed, mainly focusing on the transition from ancient Scriptura Continua to word separation and the uses of space in text formatting.

Arild Stenberg is a final-year PhD candidate at the Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge, where he has been working at the Centre for Music and Science under the supervision of Professor I. Cross. His interest in notation and score design comes from his experience as composer and conductor, and from his interest in the parallels between the cognition of music and natural languages.

This talk is part of the Pedagogy, Language, Arts & Culture in Education (PLACE) Group Seminars series.

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