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The Two Axes: Time And Pitch (Music Theory For The Guitarist)

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Music is basically a temporal art. Unlike some other arts such as traditional painting, the performance and perception of a piece of music take place during the passage of time.

Music can be defined as ‘organized pitches occurring in time.’ Notation must account for two dimensions:

  1. Pitch
  2. Time

These are represented in graphic format on manuscript, music writing, paper by a set of template-based symbols using two axes:

Fig. 1

The passage of time shows on the horizontal axis from left to right.

The relative position of pitches is noted on the vertical axis moving up and down.

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Music Theory For The Guitarist