Music Book (EN)

1. Introduction

Systems of signs 

Graphic scores for a simple musical notation


This system is a compendium of graphic symbols aimed for creating instant musical compositions with the class group without the need for previous preparation. Through the projection of the symbols, it is possible to perform a sequence of guided improvisations.

It can be used as a music initiation exercise for a musically illiterate school population. The immediacy of this method allows everyone to experience what it means to read a score or direct a group.

The system was one of the methods used and developed during the Erasmus + Pinocchio Joins the Orchestra project both in the training meetings between teachers and in the composition workshops with students where the musical compositions were made. During the Erasmus project it was also possible to develop the system of signs in the form of an interactive digital tool "Paintagram" for greater dissemination, transferability and use of the system of signs in digital activities.

The origin of some signs dates back to over 10 years of work by the musician Aleksandar Caric in the elementary schools of the disadvantaged schools in Rome and finds a continuous evolution based on the environment in which it is being applied. In fact, this system encourages and stimulates the creative aspect of the class group by creating or modifying some symbols each time. Many of these drawings were in fact made or developed by students. Below we propose a selection of many drawings, indicating those that, based on empirical experience, were the most effective. This selection of many years of interaction with the school groups was the base for development of the Paintagram application.

Guided improvisation

Each symbol corresponds to a sound gesture or a sound action. Some symbols must be explained by the teacher to clarify the musical idea to which they refer, but most of the symbols require almost no explanation and are immediately understandable.

The execution that is created is given by the succession of symbols without any time or tempo reference except the one that is given by the director of the group (teacher or student), who guides the execution appointing symbol after symbol.

The versatility of the system of signs allows the students themselves (one after the other) to lead the group. This part of the activity is especially useful because it increases the sense of collaboration of the group and also the civic sense of responsibility and respect for the others.