Who invented musical notes?

For a very long time, music was not written down. It was sung or played from memory. As it was passed on from person to person, many changes crept into the tunes. A way of writing music down was needed so that it would be sung or played exactly as it had been composed. The method that man de­veloped for writing music is called notation.

The system of musical notation generally used today in the Western .world is the result of centuries of development—from about the end of the 9th century to the early 1700's. This development began in the cathedrals and monasteries of the Roman Catholic Church.

Since many of the Church's services were sung, they were sung from memory. Toward the end of the 9th-century dots and dashes and little squiggles were written over the words in the service books. These signs, called neumes, showed the direction in which the melody should go. But they were still very vague.

About a.d. 900 the music was made a little easier to read. The neumes were written at certain distances above or below the horizontal red line (repre­senting the note F) to show how high or low the note should be sung.

Then the staff was invented by a monk called Guido d'Arezzo. This was made of four lines. A method of notation that made it possible to show the length of each note was developed in the 13th and 14th centuries. Notes took new shapes and stems were added to some notes according to their length. By the 1600's the notes had become round and musical notation began to look the way it does today.