A note on notes (Bruno Repp )

Subject: A note on notes
From:    Bruno Repp  <repp(at)ALVIN.HASKINS.YALE.EDU>
Date:    Thu, 10 May 2001 16:21:00 -0700

The following comment may strike some as pedantic, but I believe it is good practice to keep scientific terminology in order. I would like to suggest that, in scientific articles or exchanges on music-related subjects, the word "note" not be used when referring to sounds. Although this usage is common in everyday language (and sometimes hard to avoid, I admit), the term "note" should refer only to a printed symbol on paper. The audible consequence of playing a note on an instrument is a tone. Notes have neither pitch nor duration, only tones do. The term "note" in music is analogous to the term "letter" in language, which also denotes a written symbol, not a sound. If anyone disagrees with this proposal, I'd be interested in the counterarguments. --Bruno Bruno H. Repp Research Scientist Haskins Laboratories 270 Crown Street New Haven, CT 06511-6695 Tel. (203) 865-6163, ext. 236 FAX (203) 865-8963 e-mail: repp(at)haskins.yale.edu

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