Dan Mitchell

Location: Auckland, NZ

Total posts: 4
Posted:Is there any sort of notation for moves? I'm just learning, and I'm trying to make sure I've covered all the possible ways to do a particular thing before I start worrying about anything more complex. (eg, a turn -- can go forwards/backwards, LH leads/RH leads, turn L/R, hand leads in front of/behind/static, pausing in mid-turn, etc).

It gets pretty awkward describing everything in writing, especially now I'm realising that a lot of stuff that seemed difficult is actually pretty easy once you know how all the bits go together so the descriptions tend to be "it's like [foo], but left hand goes a beat later", which isn't as clear as I'd like.

Anyway, to save myself the effort, has anyone done this before? I realise there's no way to cover everything (or even a fraction of stuff -- wraps, stalls, releases, on and on), but heck, the less I have to do the better.

Also, it tends to work out that once you've got this sort of structure in place, it's possible to find things that you wouldn't have otherwise thought of.

(now, I realise I could use some sort of Labanotation (extended for props, I suppose), but good grief, that's a scary thing)

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Location: Springfield, MA - USA

Total posts: 162
Posted:I think someone may have tried something basic in the past, but not totally sure.

There is of course notation (text and state diagrams) for ball juggling and club passing. There is TFY notation for basic yo-yo string tricks. Even string figures have a text notation for the fingers.

Perhaps someone has done something for club swinging or meteors? That might be a good thing to jump off from if they have...

I do think that having something could be helpful, especially to cut through conflicting names of tricks or slight variations on things.

I don't think I have the time to do one from scratch, but if you want help with ideas on things, maybe we can come up with something...



DIAMOND Member since Nov 2001


The Ministry of Manipulation
Location: Bristol, United Kingdom

Total posts: 2523
Posted:"Anyway, to save myself the effort, has anyone done this before? "



GOLD Member since Nov 2001


still can't believe it's not butter
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Total posts: 6979
Posted:quote:Originally posted by Glss:
"Anyway, to save myself the effort, has anyone done this before? "
Yes i see that obi-wan has taught you well.
hi glass!

Laugh Often, Smile Much, Post lolcats Always


Dan Mitchell

Location: Auckland, NZ

Total posts: 4
Posted:quote: "Anyway, to save myself the effort, has anyone done this before? "

Yes Heh.. so what'd you come up with? I've thought about this some more, and I can't think of any good way to do it that'll actually simplify things a lot.

As a basic outline of what I'm thinking of, couple of simplifications:

1. No wraps/etc, poi always the same length, always in a straight line from hand to end.
2. Poi always move in the same plane. (body may turn, but the poi don't)

Then you just imagine time moving forwards, poi start at 12:00, tick on to 3:00, 6:00, ..., one rotation, etc. This gives you a timeline to work with.

At various points on the timeline, the hands can be in different places relative to the body; similarly, the body itself can turn relative to the poi.

Simplifications: if nothing happens for a while, there's no need to explain it, so you can avoid having to say what's going on for every beat.

Problem: even with this limited level of expressiveness, it's still fairly verbose; hands can move in X/Y/Z direction, obviously, and theoretically you could simplify those to (say) in front/at sides/behind, I don't think that'll work when going through body turns, it pretty much has to allow arbitrary values.

This doesn't really help a lot -- in the end, it'll be enough that you could animate it very easily with a computer because of the amount of detail needed. There doesn't seem to be any sort of obvious simplification like (say) siteswap that can be applied here without removing what little expressiveness remains.

I guess if you added macro expansion you could simplify it more, just add abbreviations for a particular sequence of moves, but I dunno how that'd work when going from move to move without trying it, I have my suspicions that it'll only really help for doing exactly the same thing three times in a row -- otherwise, the transitions are the important bit and those are the things you can't compress.


GOLD Member since Apr 2003

old hand
Location: New Zealand

Total posts: 920
Posted:Yeah, I tried to come up with visual language for Describing poi moves. I like the idea of focusing on the plane of the poi rather than the direction you are facing. Then you could lay the book on the ground in front of you and always focus the poi toward or away from the book.

It's something I always try to teach poiple at an early stage. It develops a strong sense of relativity.

Instead of a traditional x,y,z coordinate system I wondered whether a simplified Polar coordinate system might be more directly suited to the problem. Your clock solution seems just about right.

First off I tried to divide my local space into manageable x,y,z coordinates. You end up with a 3 x 3 x 3 Matrix;

x-axis is your line of sight i.e 1) Behind, 2) in Line, 3)in Front. Relative to your body

y-axis is along your spine, up to the heavens i.e, 1) Low move, 2) middle move, 3) High move.

z-axis is along your shoulders i.e, 1) Left, 2) Center, 3) Right. Relative to your body.

That then leaves T=Time as the 4th Dimension that we need to Describe in our graphics. If we apply your idea of

clocks we get a coordinate system of: (x,y,z,T)

It's about now that I think it's too difficult for people to Read but lends itself more to choreography.

Spherculism ~:~ The Act of becoming Spherculish.


Dan Mitchell

Location: Auckland, NZ

Total posts: 4
Posted:quote:x-axis is your line of sight i.e 1) Behind, 2) in Line, 3)in Front. Relative to your body I thought about splitting things up like that, too, but I think you need more, because, say you're spinning in the same plane as your feet, left hand by right hip, you could have moved your arm in front of you or behind you.

One solution is to describe where your elbows go as well, but that seems like a pain. I was going to have something where it depends on how you get to the other side, and assume that it's described in enough detail, so if your left hand starts on your left side, moves out, in front of you, and ends up on your right side at x=0, you've gone in front; same thing the other way for behind you.

I suppose this is more thinking about things that would make a simulator happy, rather than making it easy for people to read..

Basically, what I want out of a notation is something that'll let me notice that

poi going front to back, body doing 180 degree turns between them, alternate left/right hand behind back

is the same as

poi going side to side, left hand alternating in front/behind (staying by left hip), right hand alternating behind/in front, LH/RH out of step.

but with a bit more body twist. I keep on noticing that sort of thing as I'm playing, and so I'm wondering if there's any way to make this stuff all automatically noticeable.

I don't think it's going to be possible to do that just on paper, though -- I had to _do_ the moves to notice they're the same, which is why I'm trying to think in the directions of something that could be automatically animated.

Alternatively, I could try and come up with a metric for the distance between two moves, but that way leads to madness.. how many dimensions does the space have, anyway? yikes.

The reason I was thinking of basing everything around time is that when I was learning basic turns, I found it helped to think 'left hand's just gone through vertical, so now I turn', and the spin of the poi was the thing that drove everything else -- they just spin away of their own accord, and my body moves around between them. That's not what it feels like, but it seems to help when I think of it that way.

-- dan


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