Parsons code


Parsons code

The Parsons code, formally named the Parsons Code for Melodic Contours, is a simple notation used to identify a piece of music through melodic motion—the motion of the pitch up and down. Denys Parsons developed this system for his 1975 book, "The Directory of Tunes and Musical Themes". Representing a melody in this manner makes it easy to index or search for particular pieces.

The code

The first note of a melody is denoted with an asterisk (*), although some Parsons code users omit the first note. All succeeding notes are denoted with one of three letters to indicate the relationship of its pitch to the previous note:
*u = "up," if the note is higher than the previous note
*d = "down," if the note is lower than the previous note
*r = "repeat," if the note is the same pitch as the previous note
** = first tone as reference

Some examples

*"Twinkle Twinkle Little Star": *rururddrdrdrd
*"Silent Night": *udduuddurdurdurudddudduruddduddurudduuddduddd
*"Love Me Tender": *uduududdduu
*"White Christmas": *udduuuu
*First verse in Madonna's "Like a Virgin": *rrurddrdrrurdudurrrrddrduuddrdu
*First verse in "We Are the World": *rduduururdrddrududuu
*Verse in theme for "Att angöra en brygga": *uuudddduddududduddudduuuuuuuddddddududdu
*First verse in Shakespears Sisters "Stay": *dduuuuuuuddddu

References

*cite web | url = http://www.musipedia.org/pcnop.0.html | title = The Parsons Code for Melodic Contours | work = Musipedia
*cite book | last = Parsons | first = Denys | year = 1975 | title = The Directory of Tunes and Musical Themes | publisher = S. Brown | id = ISBN 0-904-74700-X

External links

* [http://www.musipedia.org/index.php?id=105&L=0 "The Open Music Encyclopedia" uses Parsons code for encoding songs in their database]
* [http://www.af.lu.se/~fogwall/notation.html The search for a notation index]


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