From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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 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 (very important)
For example, the beginning of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" is notated in Parsons code as follows: *rururddrdrdrd
- The Parsons Code for Melodic Contours. Musipedia.
- Parsons, Denys (1975). The Directory of Tunes and Musical Themes. S. Brown. ISBN 0-904747-00-X.
- Automatic music recognition
- "The Open Music Encyclopedia" uses Parsons code for encoding songs in their database