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Musical notation redesigned - overdue or overcomplicated?

hummingbird notes

Traditional musical notation above, the new-look notation below. Is this a brilliant reinvention or a design classic best left alone?

Those of us who've learned to play an instrument will know the woes of memorising musical notation. It's similar to riding a bike - once you've got it, you've got it. But what if there was an easier way to learn to read music?

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Created by Blake West (opens in new tab), Hummingbird (opens in new tab) claims to be easier to learn, faster to read, and simpler for even the trickiest music. The traditional music note has been replaced by a variety of circles, with each note portrayed by a clever symbol. For example, the note 'F' is represented by a 'Full' circle.

The length of notes have also been simplified by using line lengths to represent the amount of time to hold the note down. Is this the start of new musical notation or are notes a design classic best left alone?

hummingbird notes

hummingbird notes

hummingbird notes

hummingbird notes

hummingbird notes

Watch the introductory video for Hummingbird on Vimeo (opens in new tab).

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