# Notation

### Notation

Hi everyone I’m very new to the site and apologies if this is posted in the wrong area. My question relates to the way the tunes are written in ABC notation. The following is an example of morrisons jig I found on the site. Can someone explain to me what the numbers throughout the notation are for ?
X: 1
T: Morrison’s
R: jig

M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Edor
|:E3 B3|EBE AFD|EDE B3|dcB AFD|
E3 B3|EBE AFD|G3 FGA|dAG FED:|
Bee fee|aee fee|Bee fee|a2g fed|
Bee fee|aee fee|gfe d2A|BAG FGA|
Bee fee|aee fee|Bee fee|faf def|
g3 gfe|def g2d|edc d2A|BAG FED|

The notation I can follow no problem but get confused with the numbering.

Many thanks Tim

### Re: Notation

The default note is an eighth note (or quaver). If it has a 2 after it, it becomes a quarter note (or crotchet); if it has a 3 after it, it becomes a dotted quarter note.

### Re: Notation

Don’t want to pick a fight here. Other opinions are just as valid as mine. That said I don’t have much use for ABC notation as a rule, though I do realize it’s value for communication with a computer. A well crafted score will provide so much more information. (note: "well crafted scores" aren’t what you usually find in trad tune books and on this site.)

Still I"ll bet that a short visit to the University of Google would find a plethora of tutorials on ABC notation. Once you’re tuned to it it’s pretty intuitive.

### Re: Notation

Hi Tim,

Basically,

M: 6/8 is the time signature… jig time although you can also get 12/8 and 9/8 but these tend to be slides and slip jigs respectively.

L:1/8 This signifies that each note is 1/8 in length or a quaver. This may be different depending on what ABC system you choose.

In the main body of the test, the number indicate the length of the note. So d2 would be be 2 times 1/8 or 1/4..i.e. a crotchet in length. B3 or G3 is 3 X 1/8 notes or One and a half crotchets or a dotted crotchet.

There are programs available which can convert ABC to standard notation and, of course, you can also get the dots on this site.

http://www.lesession.co.uk/abc/abc_notation.htm

### Re: Notation

Don’t waste time learning ABC, spend that energy and desire studying ‘proper dots’. Just as easy to learn and, err, very very much more general and adaptable and conventional and better and grown up and lovely.

### Re: Notation

Well, no real need to do so unless you wish to share tunes by this method including posting them on this site which many of us do.

There are plenty of converter programmes for translating ABC to standard notation including "online" facilities. So, you don’t even need to understand it if you don’t want to be bothered.

I would agree about learning the "proper dots" first. By all means, look at ABC as well afterwards.

### Re: Notation

Hi, Tim, it’s a form of computer code that we can also read , a bit. Just click on the sheet music link and it will be transcribed in dots. You can also take it to other cloud programs where it can be transposed to other keys . I’m sure there are many other uses too .

### Re: Notation

What I like about ABC is the ability to jot down a tune in text form on any device (or pen and paper!) without having to navigate staves etc.

There’s a downside, though: traditional notation gives you more of a sense of the rise and fall of a tune; ABC doesn’t give you that visual cue, which is something I didn’t appreciate until I tried to play Gamelan music in an ensemble, where the notation is similar to ABC (but with numbers instead of letters) - it’s very difficult to get the sense of the shape of a melody when it’s not mapped out onto a stave.

### Re: Notation

There are several very good reasons for using abc but the main one for me is that it’s a quick and easy way to create conventional notation. If I’m writing music in 3 or 4 parts I might use something more ambitious - say Musescore - but for creating a set of tunes (single line melody) that I can print off on a single sheet, typing the abcs into an appropriate program (I use abc Explorer) is by far the quickest and easiest way.

Posted by .

### Re: Notation

And it makes transposition easy!
I respectfully disagree with YaalHouse though. ABC is the servant of "the dots", not an alternative way of writing music. A learning tool, if nothing else. :)

### Re: Notation

Johnny Jay is spot on. ABC notation is a superb system. If you are more used to standard notation (and easier to learn ABC if you are) ABC can be learnt, understood and used after half an hour’s close study of Steve Mansfield’s tutorial.
There are some sites which employ ABC only, so if you are interested in ITM or
traditional English, Scottish, anythingish music (and you probably wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t) it’s a half hour well spent.
I find ABC is great for jotting down a tune when there is no music paper to hand.
Incidentally, does anyone else find tunes suddenly appearing in their mind - usually first thing in the morning - knowing that if you don’t record yourself humming it or writing it down for future reference it’s gone for ever?