# Note functions

## Note identity checks

There are a number of functions that assist with music programming around note and pitch validation, comparison, equivalence checking, and various manipulations and transformations. In a previous section, you saw is_note and is_chord. Other identity functions include:

• note_is_natural
• note_is_accidental
• note_is_flat
• note_is_sharp
• is_diatonic
x <- "c e_ g b_"
note_is_natural(x)
#> [1]  TRUE FALSE  TRUE FALSE

note_is_accidental(x)
#> [1] FALSE  TRUE FALSE  TRUE

note_is_flat(x)
#> [1] FALSE  TRUE FALSE  TRUE

note_is_sharp(x)
#> [1] FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE


These note_is_* functions strictly accept notes. There is also is_diatonic, which less strictly requires any noteworthy string. It can be applied to notes and chords alike. Given the name, it is slightly less basic than the prior functions. It takes a key signature for context.

x <- "c e_ g b_ cd#g"
is_diatonic(x, "c")
#> [1]  TRUE FALSE  TRUE FALSE FALSE

is_diatonic(x, "b_")
#> [1]  TRUE  TRUE  TRUE  TRUE FALSE


## Noteworthy string summaries

There are a number of functions that summarize the data in noteworthy strings. Here are several examples.

• n_steps
• n_notes
• n_chords
• n_octaves
• tally_notes
• tally_pitches
• tally_octaves
• distinct_notes
• distinct_pitches
• distinct_octaves
• pitch_range
• semitone_range
• semitone_span
• octave_range
• octave_span
• octave_type
• accidental_type
• time_format
• is_space_time
• is_vector_time

See ?note-metadata for details. A few examples are shown here:

x <- "e_2 a_, b_, c#f#a# c#'f#'a#''"
tally_notes(x)
#> # A tibble: 6 x 2
#>   note      n
#>   <chr> <int>
#> 1 c#        2
#> 2 e_        1
#> 3 f#        2
#> 4 a_        1
#> 5 a#        2
#> 6 b_        1

tally_pitches(x)
#> # A tibble: 9 x 2
#>   pitch     n
#>   <chr> <int>
#> 1 e_2       1
#> 2 a_,       1
#> 3 b_,       1
#> 4 c#        1
#> 5 f#        1
#> 6 a#        1
#> 7 c#'       1
#> 8 f#'       1
#> 9 a#''      1

distinct_notes(x)
#> <Noteworthy string>
#>   Format: space-delimited time
#>   Values: c# e_ f# a_ a# b_

distinct_pitches(x)
#> <Noteworthy string>
#>   Format: space-delimited time
#>   Values: e_2 a_, b_, c# f# a# c#' f#' a#''

pitch_range(x)
#> [1] "e_2"  "a#''"

semitone_range(x)
#> [1] 39 82


## Coercion functions

### Accidentals

Note that it is common for functions to treat notes as different if they sound the same but one is transcribed as a flat and the other as a sharp. tabr makes the distinction for notation purposes; same pitch, different notes. This also supports transcription. Functions like transpose of course handle pitch as pitch and therefore the style of representation does not affect computation.

There are functions for enforcing a singular representation for accidentals in noteworthy strings since it is unusual to mix flats and sharps.

flatten_sharp(x)
#> <Noteworthy string>
#>   Format: space-delimited time
#>   Values: e_, a_, b_, <d_g_b_> <d_'g_'b_''>

sharpen_flat(x)
#> <Noteworthy string>
#>   Format: space-delimited time
#>   Values: d#, g#, a#, <c#f#a#> <c#'f#'a#''>


Do not be confused about the names of these functions. They are for enforcing a single type of accidental. To actually lower sharps by a half step or semitone as well as raise flats similarly, use naturalize.

naturalize(x)
#> <Noteworthy string>
#>   Format: space-delimited time
#>   Values: e2 a, b, <cfa> <c'f'a''>


These are helpful building blocks for music programming. A useful wrapper around flatten_sharp and sharpen_flat is note_set_key. Like is_diatonic, this function takes a key argument. Providing a key signature is often used in tabr functions for the purpose of enforcing the correct representation of accidentals intended by the user, which tabr cannot know until informed.

Be aware that the default for functions that take a key argument is c, but c and am have no accidentals in their key signatures, so note_set_key will have no effect if you pass these values to key. It is also important to recognize that it does not matter for this function what key you choose specifically; it only matters that you choose a key that has the type of accidentals in its signature that you wish to force your noteworthy string to use. If you want flats, it makes no difference if you set key = "f" or key = "b_". For this function, you can also literally enter key = "flat" or key = "sharp", options that stress the extent to which key actually matters to note_set_key.

note_set_key(x, "c") # no change possible
#> <Noteworthy string>
#>   Format: space-delimited time
#>   Values: e_2 a_, b_, <c#f#a#> <c#'f#'a#''>

note_set_key(x, "f") # key of F has a flat
#> <Noteworthy string>
#>   Format: space-delimited time
#>   Values: e_, a_, b_, <d_g_b_> <d_'g_'b_''>

note_set_key(x, "g") # key of G has a sharp
#> <Noteworthy string>
#>   Format: space-delimited time
#>   Values: d#, g#, a#, <c#f#a#> <c#'f#'a#''>


The intent is not to force notes which may not be diatonic to the key signature to fit that signature. All pitches remain exactly what they are. It does not matter if they are not in the key. But they are forced to conform to a key’s representation of accidentals.

For other functions in tabr, key arguments utilize the specific key signature in a more complete manner, and the options flat and sharp are not relevant or allowed.

### Octave numbering

Octave numbering can be ambiguous, including both tick and integer numbering format. You can coerce a noteworthy string strictly to one of the other:

x <- "c, c c' c2 c c4"
as_integer_octaves(x)
#> <Noteworthy string>
#>   Format: space-delimited time
#>   Values: c2 c c4 c2 c c4

as_tick_octaves(x)
#> <Noteworthy string>
#>   Format: space-delimited time
#>   Values: c, c c' c, c c'


### Timestep format

Similarly, you can coerce the time format of a noteworthy string between space-delimited time and vectorized time:

(x <- as_space_time(c("c", "e", "g", "ceg")))
#> <Noteworthy string>
#>   Format: space-delimited time
#>   Values: c e g <ceg>

(y <- as_vector_time("c e g ceg"))
#> <Noteworthy string>
#>   Format: vectorized time
#>   Values: c e g <ceg>


as.character(x)
#> [1] "c e g ceg"

as.character(y)
#> [1] "c"   "e"   "g"   "ceg"


## Comparative equivalence

The note_is_* functions mentioned earlier are vectorized, but the operations they perform are self checks. Other functions are available for comparative checks of identity or equivalence between two notes. These functions are also vectorized. Each note input can be an entire noteworthy string.

There are different dimensions along which the strictness of equality varies and are worth taking a moment to break these and other properties down clearly:

• These functions come in *_is_equal and *is_identical pairs. Equality is more relaxed than identity.
• The note_is_* pairs below also offer the argument ignore_octave. This further weakens the requirements for passing both equality and identity comparisons of two notes.
• These functions perform a noteworthy check, but do not require anything stricter. This means these comparisons work on all notes, even those belonging to chords.
• The general distinction between notes being equal and notes being identical is sound vs. transcription/written notation. If two notes sound the same, e.g. e_ and d#, they are equal, but not identical.
• There are additional nuances with octave comparisons using the octave_is_* pairs.

First look at note and pitch comparisons. The main difference is that pitch is more complete than note in that the former implicitly carries the octave position. Setting ignore_octave = FALSE for note comparisons makes them equivalent to their pitch comparison counterparts.

x <- "b_2 ce_g"
y <- "b_ cd#g"
note_is_equal(x, y)
#> [1] TRUE TRUE

note_is_identical(x, y)
#> [1]  TRUE FALSE


pitch_is_equal(x, y)
#> [1] FALSE  TRUE

pitch_is_identical(x, y)
#> [1] FALSE FALSE


There are minimal requirements for equivalence that precede the forms and degrees of equivalence described and shown above. At a bare minimum, two noteworthy strings must have the same number of time steps available for pairwise comparison. Otherwise a simple NA is returned. In the following example, the strings x and y have the same number of notes, in the same order, but the first has three times steps and the second has two.

x <- "b_2 ce_g b_"
y <- "b_2 ce_gb_"
note_is_equal(x, y)
#> [1] NA


In the next example, x and y have the same number of of the same notes, again in the same order, and even have an equal number of timesteps. Having the same number of timesteps makes pairwise comparisons possible. They return FALSE where unequal.

x <- "b_2 ce_g b_"
y <- "b_2 ce_ gb_"
note_is_equal(x, y)
#> [1]  TRUE FALSE FALSE


Finally, there are octave comparisons, which must be defined and behave somewhat differently. octave_is_equal and octave_is_identical allow much weaker forms of equivalence in that they ignore notes completely. These functions are only concerned with comparing the octave numbers spanned by any pitches present at each timestep.

When checking for equality, octave_is_equal only looks at the octave number associated with the first note at each step, e.g., only the root note of a chord. octave_is_identical compares all octaves spanned at a given timestep by considering all notes when a chord is present.

This still leaves open the definitions of equivalence. To clarify:

• It does not matter when comparing two chords that they may be comprised of a different numbers of notes.
• If the set of unique octaves spanned by one chord is identical to the set spanned by the other, they are considered to have identical octave coverage.

Consider an example: a1b2c3 is identical to d1e1f2g3. The notes are irrelevant. The number of notes is irrelevant. The fact that octave number one occurs a different number of times in each chord is irrelevant. What matters is that they both have the same set of unique octave positions {1, 2, 3}. To be equal, even less is required. In this case it only matters that the two chords begin with x1, where x is any note.

One alternative, for octave_is_identical only, is to set single_octave = TRUE. This increases the requirement for identity to require that all notes from both chords being compared at a given timestep share a single octave.

x <- "a1 b_2 a1b2c3 a1b4 g1a1b1"
y <- "a_2 g#2 d1e1f2g3 a1b2b4 d1e1"
octave_is_equal(x, y)
#> [1] FALSE  TRUE  TRUE  TRUE  TRUE

octave_is_identical(x, y)
#> [1] FALSE  TRUE  TRUE FALSE  TRUE

octave_is_identical(x, y, single_octave = TRUE)
#> [1] FALSE  TRUE FALSE FALSE  TRUE


## Slice, rotate, shift, arpeggiate

A noteworthy string can be subset by index. This can with specific integers or with a logical vector with the same length as the number of time steps.

x <- "a b ceg"
note_slice(x, 2:3)
#> <Noteworthy string>
#>   Format: space-delimited time
#>   Values: b <ceg>

note_slice(x, c(FALSE, TRUE, TRUE))
#> <Noteworthy string>
#>   Format: space-delimited time
#>   Values: b <ceg>


Vectorized time is more trivial but is of course handled the same way and still applies the noteworthiness check and class assignment.

x <- c("a", "b", "ceg")
note_slice(x, 2:3)
#> <Noteworthy string>
#>   Format: vectorized time
#>   Values: b <ceg>

note_slice(x, c(FALSE, TRUE, TRUE))
#> <Noteworthy string>
#>   Format: vectorized time
#>   Values: b <ceg>


Rotating or cycling a sequence of notes and chords in a noteworthy string is done with note_rotate. This is a simple function. It only rotates the sequence left or right. It does not do any transposition. It does not break chords, but rather rotates them intact.

note_rotate(x, 1)
#> <Noteworthy string>
#>   Format: vectorized time
#>   Values: b <ceg> a

note_rotate(x, -1)
#> <Noteworthy string>
#>   Format: vectorized time
#>   Values: <ceg> a b


note_shft only operates on notes, not chords, but is a more complex function. It also rotates notes, but it maintains a consistent direction of increasing or decreasing pitch. The direction is determined by n being negative or positive.

This function is intended for use on strings of notes that are already ordered by increasing pitch. However, if applied to a sequence of unordered notes, the sequence will eventually become ordered if n is large enough, because each shift transposes the current lowest note by however many full octaves necessary to be above the current highest note and as close to it as possible.

note_shift("c e g", 1)
#> <Noteworthy string>
#>   Format: space-delimited time
#>   Values: e g c4

note_shift("c e g", -4)
#> <Noteworthy string>
#>   Format: space-delimited time
#>   Values: g1 c2 e2


note_arpeggiate is like note_shift but it extends the original note sequence rather than shifting it and maintaining its fixed size. n refers to the number of additional notes to append to the sequence. The length of the final sequence is the length of the original sequence plus n.

note_arpeggiate("c e g", 5)
#> <Noteworthy string>
#>   Format: space-delimited time
#>   Values: c e g c4 e4 g4 c5 e5

note_arpeggiate("c e g", -5)
#> <Noteworthy string>
#>   Format: space-delimited time
#>   Values: e1 g1 c2 e2 g2 c e g


The next section on music programming covers various helper functions related to chords.