Advice on scoring for the Quartertone marimba.



Microtonal music can be notated in many different ways, using a variety of accidentals.

  • I prefer to use only the symbols for quartertone flat and quartertone sharp. Combined with the normal sharp and flat accidentals, they make up a palette which is easy to read and understand. As a result of this every marimba bar has its unique accidental.

  • I prefer not to use three-quarter high and three-quarter low accidentals. However, it is possible to use the three-quarter low symbol for three-quarter low E, A and B.

  • Be aware of the issue of quartertone sharp E and B which should be notated as quartertone flat F and C.

  • When using accidentals, consider using them on every note in the bar. If accidentals apply for one note only it becomes easier to read.

  • Remember that the distance from the score to the player is well over a meter. Make the score clean and clear.

  • Music should be notated on a regular two-staff system (like a piano score). In special cases the music can be dspread over a double system, one for each marimba.

This notation system will work for other instrumentalists as well.

Examples of scoring for quartertones

Using quartertones in notation software

Copyright: Kjell Tore Innervik | February 7, 2008