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The Aspect of Traditional Symbolic Notations Adapts to Modern Music Notations and Its Reflection on Music Performance

Paper Presentation
26 August 2021
10:30 - 11:00 hrs (GMT+7)


Jiradej Setabundhu



Tanasit Siripanichwattana


Nowadays, the rhythmic patterns of traditional music are very popular among both percussion musicians and composers, possibly due to the charming melodies which are very touching to both performers and the listeners. However, the traditional rhythm often hasn’t been notated in written form, and this can cause difficulties for later generations. It makes it difficult for them to appreciate traditional music, which can then result in it becoming less popular over time.

Most of the time, percussionists try to imitate sounds based on what they hear, since not so many people notate these traditional rhythms in the scores. This article will focus on percussion music notation that can be used to describe methods for producing the correct sound on percussion instruments, including classical percussion, traditional percussion, and various types of sounds that require the use of various muscle groups to create grooves. This paper will also describe various playing techniques used to create a wide range of colors and power in music performance.

Some genres of music are performed by reading a score and trying to play the notes  correctly. In some performances, such pieces are interpreted incorrectly by the performers. For example, some performances lack the correct sound characteristics,  stylistic elements, and vivacity. Thus, they fail to capture the true nature of the music that the composers intended.  These performances will likely also fail to please audiences as well. Therefore, when performing a piece of music, the performer should take into account factors that make the music more profound, vivid and appealing to the listeners.

Adapting symbolic notation from the past to modern notations is one great way to realize “traditions in transition.” It can help musicians improve their sound production. Even before the age of traditional music, however, this method was used in many countries including various African nations, China, Japan, South Korea and countries in South-East Asia. In the past, music was learned by replicating sounds that the student heard, and trying various hitting methods on instruments to make different sounds. For example, in Thai Classical Music, the  practice of ‘Joh, Jah, Ting, Tung and etc.’ on different types of percussion instruments has been passed down for many  generations.

In addition, these sounds often help add groove and direction to the music better than Western music patterns. In many African cultures, music performers must first be able to dance. As a result, applying playing methods from various  traditional musical styles to Western music, and also adapting traditional symbolic notations to modern music notations, has become a very useful method for creating compelling rhythms and sounds.

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