Musical Phrasing

• Dec 11, 2019 - 14:45

This is not really a MuseScore question but has arisen through transcribing a piano piece into guitar TAB. Is there a convention for deciding when to use a tied note and when to use a dotted note?

In the example, (see image), the piano notation is shown in bar 1 but it would be simpler and make more sense to me to code this as bar 2. Is this simply down to personal preference or does it matter?

music.jpg


Comments

In reply to by yonah_ag

The second is definitely not clearer at all, it will cause far more errors from people reading it, because people read by recognizing the common patterns, not by laboriously adding up note values. The second example is just wrong, so editors know better than to write it, meaning musicians have never seen it before and won't recognize it and thus will very likely play it incorrectly when reading.

In reply to by bobjp

There is a special allowance made ion some genres of music for the case of eighth-quarter-quarter-quarter-eighth (particular if one or both eighths are tied across the barline), because that particular pattern is common enough (in those genres) to be instantly recognizable as well even if it isn't one the "big eight" universal patterns.

In reply to by BSG

Correct. The rule of exposing beat three only applies to measure that involve subdivisions (e.g., eighth notes). And even then, once it is established that a half note can start on beat two, this remains acceptable even if the remaining beats are subdivided.

The rules do allow some room for subjectivity - like the handling of the special case mentioned of a measure full of offbeat quarter notes. And it's true many of us learn to read rhythms but are never taught the rules that enable us to read as well as we do. But most composers get some of this training, and certainly any editor or engraver working for a music publisher knows them intimately - it's really part of the basic job description.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Out of pure curiosity, how much music knowledge (in general) have you amassed up to this point?

I've seen so many of your replies in the forums, and it seems very likely to me from what I've read that you've gotten some college-level (at least) education in music. I'm curious as to how much, considering the fact that everything I've read in your posts really makes sense to me musically, and I've already completed at least 3 semesters of college studying music, not to mention the occasional lessons in Music Theory I've gotten at my private piano teacher's master classes while in grade school. (not trying to toot my own horn, or anything like that) So, much of what you've commented on, I already know and definitely agree with.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I disagree with you on only one point. You said "editors know better." I'd say that's only true of editors who have the knowledge of the common patterns, and I know of some editors who don't. That, in turn, has thrown me off when I try to sight-read music that's been poorly edited just to try and make the score "cleaner" (which, ironically, actually makes it less so). So, yeah. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

You still make a very good point, as always.

In reply to by bobjp

If you think about the number of ways to fill a 4/4 measure with only whole beat values - quarter, half, and whole notes - you will see there are exactly eight patterns. So if there are no eighths in a measure, you don't need to show beat three; we are capable of recognizing those eighth patterns directly. But as soon as eighths enter the picture, then those same eighth patterns are the only ways of filling half a measure with only eighths, quarters, and halves. And for the same reason that you don't need to show beat 3 when no eighths are involved, you also don't need to show beat 2 once eighths enter the picture - unless there are sixteenths involved. Then you show each beat, because, once again, it's those exact same eight patterns that form the only ways of filling a beat with sixteenths, eighths, or quarters.

So, showing beat three is crucial in the example because it is what allows us to parse the measure into two easily-recognized patterns: the eighth-quarter-eighth pattern in the first half of the measure, followed by the quarter-quarter pattern in the second half. Instead of a rhythm that literally no musician has probably ever seen before in their entire life, it is two simple patterns that each and every one of us has probably seen a hundred times just this month, because again, if you break it down as I have, these eighth are all there is.

For more info, see for example:

https://musescore.com/marcsabatella/scores/5707410

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

The logic of needing to break the measure into halves in order to work would make more sense to me if this was in 2/4. I realize I'm a minority. I just don't need to see beat three. It's hard to talk in absolutes. Western notation is uptight as it is. It wasn't always so. Performance has always been up to the player. Both versions get the composer's intent across.

In reply to by bobjp

Hmm, somehow I think you may be misunderstanding something. Cutting a 2/4 measure in half makes no sense, then each half is only a single beat. The whole point is to group things in whatever size is necessary to get those eight universal patterns - the very same patterns that make up every measure of every piece of music you've ever read. Every piece of music ever published follows these same principle whether you've been aware of it or not, and it's entirely based on grouping things to produce a small number of recognizable patterns. And when eighth notes are the main unit, that means grouping of two beats max, regardless of the time signature.

It's true that both versions "get the point across", but one version is trivially easy for anyone to sightread, and the other ios guaranteed to cause errors. Writing something the wrong way is the surest way to make sure people don't play your music correctly. Just lyke ifff eye right a sen10se leyeke aye yam nou, ewe wood evenshooli gett thu poynt butt itt whill tayk mutch lawngur two reed itt. Ther'es a reason we try to agree on spelling for English, and a reason we agree on correct ways to write rhythms. It has everything to do with making yourself understood quickly and easily.

You say you personally might not read any better when rhythms are written correctly, but I think most likely you'd be shocked to see just how good at sightreading it is possible to become, if one isn't forced to read incorrectly written notation.

In reply to by bobjp

It's wrong in the same way my sentence is wrong. It might be possible to slowly read it, but it's absolutely a barrier to efficient and accurate reading, for people who otherwise are capable of reading quickly.

Anyhow, if you write for yourself only, and never share your music with anyone else, do what you want. Write rhythms incorrectly, invent your own clefs, indicate whole notes using triangular noteheads with stems and seven flags, have a ball :-). But if you want other people to read your music, you increase your chances of successful many-fold if you obey the rules when writing.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I was in music school in the mid 70's. Believe me, I know all too well about "the rules". I follow them to the best of my ability. Except when I might not. It's one thing to be a musician. It's another to be a arranger. But it is something very different to be a composer. Each have slightly different rules. You will say that writing easy to understand (correct) rhythms is common to each one because of the need to follow the rules. But I think the rules for composers are different. Otherwise we would all be writing Gregorian Chant still.

In reply to by bobjp

The "rules" you learn in music school are a totally different thing. Those aren't about right and wrong, those are subjective - things you can do if want in order yield a particular type of sound. E.g., follow the "rules" of Baroque fugues if you want your music to sound like a Baroque fugue, but no ever says you have to sound like a Baroque fugue.

What I'm talking about is different - these are the basic fundamentals ways modern music notation is designed to work, independent of genre. They are not about how to achieve a particular sound - you can achieve any sound you want. To be clear: I am not telling you what type of rhythms you may create. I am simply telling you that, given any particular rhythm you have created, there is a correct way to notate it if you want people to understand it correctly.

In other words, notation rules are not about what sounds to use or not use - they are simply about the correct way to notate that sound so others will understand correctly. The rules I am talking are just like the rules that say a half note has 4 beats in 4/4 time. This is true whether you are writing a Baroque fugue, a classical sonata, a Romantic tone poem, a serial tone row, etc.

Sure, you can invent your own non-standard notation and write music using that notation, and teach others to read it. Plenty of composers do that indeed. But they do with so with full knowledge they are writing music most musicians won't be able to read without special training.

So if you want all musicians to be able to read your music, without special additional training, you obey the normal rules of notation. Like the ones that says half notes get two beats in 4/4 time, or that rhythms involving eighth notes require a measure to be subdivided. It has nothing to do with whether you are an arranger or a composer. If you are a person who writes music in standard notation and wants other people to read that music, write it correctly, or people will very likely play it incorrectly, simple as that.

In reply to by bobjp

Here's another practical example. I would challenge you to sight read the first example well, or even to tell me what beat the indicated note falls on, in under 5 seconds. Whereas any even moderately skilled reader could play the second version perfectly the first time, and tell me instantly what beat the indicated note falls on. It's the same principle: divide things up to produce groups that exploit the eight fundamental patterns and readiong becomes trivial. Violate the rules and itz lyke riedingg miss speld wurdz. It can be done, but nowhere near as quickly.

right-wrong.png

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Sorry, neither one is obvious to me in 5 seconds. But then I've never been a good sight-reader. I haven't had to be. Sure, studio musicians have to be able to read things first time because of limited or no rehearsal time.
I probably wouldn't write a rhythm anything like that, anyway.

In reply to by bobjp

And that's my point - people who are good at reading get good because people write things correctly, and they can rely on things being done in correct ways so all they have to is recognize the patterns. In the example above, any experienced reader would know each beam group represents exactly one beat. The note in question is in the third beam group, so it's somewhere within beat 3. And the pattern in that group - sixteenth-sixteenth-eighth - is one of the eight patterns, as are all other beats in this measure or any other measure, so people experienced at reading would instantly see the note in question is the second sixteenth or "e" of beat 3.

Anyhow, you say you might not write something like that, but the example at hand in the OP is just a less-extreme of the same phenomenon. If it's just the one measure, and you have all the time in the world, sure, either can be read. But set the tempo at 240 BPM, write a hundred measures like that in a row, and I absolutely guarantee you get ten times as many errors writing it the incorrect way as the correct way.

In reply to by bobjp

The first version is perfectly correct. The second is needlessly complicated. A corollary of the rule about breaking up notes to show correct groupings is, don't break things up except to show the correct groupings. It's not as wrong to break up dotted quarters unnecessarily as it is to not break them up when necessary, but still, it's more cluttered and thus ultimately harder to read.

There is more to it than clutter, though. If one follows the rules the way they are intended to be followed, ties will only occur across these major groupings. So in other words, if there are no subdivisions (eighth notes) in a measure, you will only see ties into beat one. If there are eighths involved, you may see ties into one or ties into three, but no others. If there are sixteenths involved, you may see ties into any beat.

The idea is that you are supposed to be able to bank on the fact that the target of a tie is the start of a beat group. So if you are tapping your foot in accordance with the major grouping (a good practice!) you can be guaranteed your foot will come down on that second note of the tie. Writing unnecessary ties breaks that covenant, but at least we can still see the groupings, and most of us are accustomed to dotted notes being broken unnecessarily here and there because it's not considered a serious error.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Most of this discussion is going over my head and I think that I will just leave notation alone and stick with TAB. However, your assertion that the 2nd version is needlessly complicated is plainly false: the 2nd measure is less complicated and definitely less cluttered than the first, even if it is not best practise.

In reply to by yonah_ag

Saying that it's "less cluttered" is one thing, saying that it's "less complicated" is significantly more contentious. "Ufonik" might be a simpler and less cluttered spelling than "euphonic", but to a literate speaker of English, "Ufonik" suggests a Russian-tinged lover of extraterrestrial craft, while the meaning of "euphonic" is clear from Greek roots. "Ufonik" is less cluttered, but "euphonic" is consistent with literacy and tradition and the rules of the language.

In reply to by kuwitt

At least in this country, that term is routinely used for the merciful destruction of animals. The term way predates the Nazis (is "not see" a "simpler" spelling?), and their revolting abuse of it is not the issue here. I was talking about phonetics and false apparent simplicity, not the merits of historical atrocities. I have deleted the portion of my remarks that used a word which offended you. What other things that that regime abused can I not mention? Railroad trains? Wagner? No one today associates that word with mass murder.

In reply to by BSG

@BSG: Thank you for editing your comment. Concerning your questions: I am aware of Wagner and his connections/attitude to National Socialism (as well as the abuse of Beethoven's 9th). But nobody was killed because of it.
On the contrary, euthanisia was abused (also in my biography) to kill people against their will.
If you mean with "Railroad trains" the same as "deportation", I also would be careful to by using such a term. But maybe it's especially a German issue.

Btw. concerning the request of the OP: Personally I'm more familiar with the second measure ;-).

In reply to by kuwitt

Thanks. I am very much aware of the Holocaust; I lost family. I think it's a German cultural issue, because no one in this country uses the term the Nazis used for their genocide, not even neo-Nazis. "Euthanasia" was not abused, the term was abused.

In reply to by yonah_ag

"In my arrogant opinion", yes, the one that defies the marked time signature is "more complicated", even though it has fewer notes. I tried to make the point that decreased note-count and lack of ties is not the same as simplicity, but I see that I need better examples.

Here's a good example. (Begin sarcasm/strawperson example). Do you think we should use both flats and sharps when writing chords to be played on the piano? Why should F-Ab-C be a better way of writing the chord than F-G#-C? Isn't "sticking to sharps" better, so that people don't have to learn "two names for the same note"? There are hundreds of of people posting both classical and nonclassical scores here who do not care at all about 'proper' enharmonic notation. "It's Ab not G#" is something that holier-than-thou scolders such as myself say to harrass nice people who just want to post music! Same notes (MIDI as well as equal-tempered piano). What's the advantage of using flats? Isn't sticking to sharps simpler? Fewer concepts, fewer signs, fewer notes to be learned! Stick to sharps! (End strawperson/sarcasm example).

In reply to by yonah_ag

Until the introduction of "equal temperament" (look it up in Wikipedia), G# and Ab were not in any way the same note. Ab was quite a bit lower than G#. For singers and violinists, that was not a problem, but for keyboard instruments there were real problems, and not all music could be played on all instruments. For older music (say, before Bach) to sound really right, these "non-equal temperaments" must be used, and, in fact, are today, in authentic "early music" performances. Music in these temperaments sounds quite different. The equality of Ab and G# (etc) is not a feature of Western Music, but a feature of the "equal temperament" system, which was not always used, and is still not always used when working with earlier music. And conceptually they are not the same. An F minor chord, like every major and minor chord, consists of two superposed thirds, in this case F-Ab and Ab-C. This makes a great deal of difference if one is to have any hope of understanding, playing, or explaining, ... or hearing .... chords and scales.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

So I'm back to one of my original questions. If I understand the process, to notate a 4/4 measure correctly, it needs to be mentally be split in two if there are eighth notes involved. So the location of beat 1 and beat 3 are the most important to be shown using ties if notes are not on the beat. Typically, beat 1 and 3 are strong beats and 2 and 4 are not. Though not in all music.
Also not following the above rules could result in music not being played correctly. Performance is always up to the player. Sure, it has to start with the basics. But the player determines final note values, dynamics and tempos. We all have our favorite recordings of our favorite music. But there are very different versions of those pieces out there. We may feel that some are "wrong", but are they?
So the question is this: In the OP's example the the measure is broken down to find beat three. Not clear why, or why is beat two not important? My comment about two 2/4 measures only was meant to point out that the rhythm of course would have been written differently.
Plus, so much has been said about sight reading. As I said earlier, I acknowledge the importance of clear writing for sight reading, but as I am not a professional, never has anything I've done hinged on whether I could sight read or not.

Re. spelling. To me, spelling in English makes little sense precisely because it is made up of so many words from other languages. I can't spell for beans.

In reply to by bobjp

Your summary is correct - other than the special exception cases, when subdivisions (eighth notes) are involved, 4/4 is notated as if there were an imaginary barline splitting the measure in to. Notes straddling that line get broken up with ties, and beams also get broken there.

If you fail to follow these rules, peepull Whil evenshoouli figyur owt wut ewe mene, shir. But most likely they'll mess up reading the first few times, because you are breaking their ability to recognize patterns, and now they will have to count out the duration each note one at a time, an extremely error-prone process that realistically cannot be performed in real-time in tempo, because people don't ever practice that skill, because they don't need to. People practice reading music that has been written correctly.

The reason beat 2 is not as important as three is the one I have repeated over and over: it's about pattern recognition, and in particular, the eight patterns that define every piece of music ever written in standard notation. When eighth notes are involved, it's grouping os two beats at a time that define those patterns. So in 2/4, there is no need to break it up further - you already have two-beat groupings enforced by the barline. So the eight fundamental patterns are all that is possible to write in 2/4 (just as they are all that is possible( to write in half a measure of 4/4).

So again, if you are only writing for own amusement, invent your own rules all you want. but if you want others to read, it behooves you to write correctly. It's just plain common sense.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

OK. Well, I'm going to bow out of this thread for a couple of reasons. I don't imagine reading music as seeing patterns. If most people do, that's fine. I have to take your word for it. This is the first I've heard of it in almost 60 years of being a musician, playing all kinds of music in a variety of situations. I probably follow the rules out of habit. I'm not at all interested in my own notation standard.
And to put another nail in my coffin, for the most part, I don't associate music with math. I know that just because I don't make that association, doesn't mean it isn't there. I just don't approach it from a mathematical standpoint. That is very limiting to me. Music is more fluid and emotional to me.
So thanks for putting up with me. I value your input.

In reply to by bobjp

For the record, no has suggested music is math. I mean, there is no getting around that there are five lines on a standard staff, seven notes in a scale, eight rhythmic patterns, etc. but that doesn’t mean the music itself is particularly mathematical - just that there happen to be rules governing how we notate it if we want to be understood.

I’m also no suggesting most people are aware of the extent to which they rely on patterns when reading music. But it’s indisputable that virtually everyone does. If we see a key signature with four flats, we don’t have to laboriously examine each to see which it is, and then carefully apply that knowledge while playing to make sure we play the right accidentals. No, we know that is the pattern for Ab major, and we know the pattern of that scale, so we can read effectively in that key without having to think too hard about each every accidental. If we see a sequence of notes going line - space - line - space - line - space - line - space, we can recognize that as a scale even if it’s more ledger lines above the staff than we can otherwise read comfortably. And so on.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Math is a language for describing structure. Music, like any art, is replete with structure. The Cathedral at Chartres is not "math", but without "math" it couldn't have been built. As with canonic technique, if it's done right, you don't know it's there.

In reply to by yonah_ag

Not sure what you're referring to specifically, but the handout I posted entitled "Rhythmic Patterns" lists them. It's not just that they are "common". It's that this is all there is the only possible ways of filling a measure with notes (well, other than tuplets), once you break it down appropriate;y (eg, into half measures if eighth notes are involVed, into individual beats for sixteenths).

In reply to by yonah_ag

Don't know what you mean by "as they play in MS". MS will play that note values and pitches you supply, whether the time-signature or notation you choose for your notes are reasonable or unreasonable; no matter what time-signature or value-subdivision pattern you apply, it will play all the representations identically if the note-lengths and pitches are identical. MS does not playback differently with different time signatures.

Technically, the first bar is considered "correct." In 4/4, there's said to be an imaginary barline between beats 3 and 4 to make it easier to read. For a simple sequence like this, both bars are easy to understand, but when you get to having more notes on the page, it may be better to use the imaginary barline. I've even seen scores that look like the attached picture, where the bar is divided by beat to make it easier to count them. This is also how MuseScore will do it if you click Tools > Regroup rhythms. NOT FOUND: Imaginary Barlines.png

OTOH, if there where another voice in the same measure with different rhythm, that might require the first method. As it is, I too would prefer the second.

This has been an issue for many years.

MS automatically does NOT follow this convention. It places a single note rather than automatically placing a tied note in the appropriate spot.

It would be a great help if there was a facility to set a "tied note over center of the bar" feature. I will make a request.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

It does indeed show the same.

My untutored brain would not see a need to know where beat 3 is. You might as well ask me, "where is beat 2?" Same answer: I don't know and it doesn't matter. Now, though, my brain has received some notation tutoring so I can at least understand what you're getting at.

In reply to by yonah_ag

I get that you might not currently see any benefit to knowing where beat 3 is, But currently, even though the first version looks easier to play, the reality is you would almost certainly not be able to play either correctly when sight-reading. You might imagine that because it looks simple, you are playing it correctly, but unless you possess super-human reading skills, you're not going to do any better reading that first version than anyone else. Everyone will do two terribly on the incorrectly-notated examples. But the point is, it is possible with practice to get better at reading, and as that happens you will find the first version continues to be an absolutely disaster but the second becomes simple.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Unfortunately I find the "virtually unreadable" to be straight forward but the "better" version to be almost undecipherable. I do accept that the "better" version is indeed better for notation sight readers and according to the rules of notation.

Music is so much easier to play than to read.

In reply to by yonah_ag

The "virtually unreadable" ones may be straightforward to just look at, but go to actually play them and you will find them to be a disaster. That is, they might not look hard, but like anyone else, you would almost certainly play them incorrectly until you spend time working them out.

Music may be hard to read when you are first learning how, but like any other skill, it improves with practice.
It is no different from learning to play the guitar in that respect. Anyone who wants to learn that skill will need to work on that as well.

In reply to by yonah_ag

Like I said, if you take enough time, sure, it's possible. But it's also quite possible you played it incorrectly the first time, as the vast majority of people would have, and didn't realize it.

For instance, the fact that you wrote in different words for the group of three eighths compared to the group of two suggests to me you probably played them too fast, as if they were triplets, which they are not. It's also very likely you held the second "tea" too long, unconsciously placing the final grouping on the beat, because beamed groups - whether triplets or not - usually do fall on the beat.

In particular, if you've practiced using these phrases before by using real printed music, you have never only have ever practiced them on the beat, and thus that is what you likely did naturally done here as well without realizing it. Let's put it this way, if you didn't accent the second "co" in "coconut" a little, you almost certainly placed it incorrectly. Similarly, if you didn't accent the "ee" of "coffee", that would indicate you probably placed it incorrectly as well. These are the natural mistakes virtually anyone would make, and I find it hard to believe your rhythmic reading abilities are so much better than most that you would have avoided these mistakes that most do make.

Anyhow, unless you recorded your first attempt, we have no way of knowing how well you actually did, but I've worked with thousands of students over the years, and I know the types of errors that are commonly made and why they are made. But even if you got those two right the first time, I guarantee you couldn't do this consistently, in context, up to tempo. And if you think your rhythmic reading abilities are that superhumanly great that you would succeed where 99% of musicians would fail, then I'm surprised you would say that reading is hard :-)

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I have no doubt that I made all the mistakes you refer to, and probably more. I can confirm that I missed any emphasis on the "co" and "ee" and I will do so again as I don't know why these should have emphasis. I did emphasise the first beat of the bars.

The version of "co - co - nut" for triplets is "coconut" so I may have done ok with that part. Bar 3 stumped me and even after several playbacks I'm struggling with it.

The first 2 bars are relatively simple in the first phrasing as they fit well with my keywords so I can see the rhythm, (if not the beats). The second phrasing had me struggling from bar 1 because of the ties.

So I'm not claiming any better than average ability here. In fact my reading of notation is probably below average and handicapped by my keywording system but I am just explaining why I find the first version easier. I have used this keywording precisely because I struggle with notation and maybe I will have to do some unlearning before I can make progress.

It would be nice to be able to read notation as it can take some time converting music to TAB, (and I have done this with exercises in 2 guitar method books so I know how just how long it can take.)

The comments posted in this thread by music literates have given me the incentive to have another go with notation.

In reply to by yonah_ag

@yonah_ag... This thread is a very enjoyable read.

Though I was introduced to music first by learning notation (took music lessons), as a fretted string instrumentalist (guitar, banjo, bass guitar) I am also familiar with TAB. What MuseScore calls 'common' is the first TAB style I was exposed to. It was easy to type on paper since there were no note durations to worry about. For playing songs, though, one needed to have heard the tune before (e.g., be able to hum it), as the TAB merely showed finger placement on the fretboard. Of course if one never heard the tune, the 'common' TAB was not useful. Nowadays, note durations can be displayed in the other styles of TAB -- necessary for those who have never heard the song. I'm not familiar with the newer TAB styles to know if they honor the 'basic 8' patterns discussed in this thread.

OK, now regarding standard notation I cobbled together an interesting experiment. Since you are a TAB person interested in expanding your musical ability, check this out:

Samba.png

All you need above is to recognize 1 note and play, observing the written note durations. This frees your mind from having to identify different pitches. This excerpt is from an actual song, and it's a real hoot if you ever try to play it along with others at tempo. ;-)

I have attached a MuseScore mscz excerpt of the tune. (The 1 note does change to another one.) See if you can play along with your guitar. :-)

Attachment Size
Tricky_Samba.mscz 28.75 KB

In reply to by Jm6stringer

Thanks, that was pretty tricky to read as I kept tripping up with the ties, except for a quaver tied to a quaver since this is just "tea" instead of "coffee". It's also an unfamiliar rhythm. Downloading and listening made it easy, (and fun! it's a nice rhythm), to play along but the moving blue cursor in MS also helped, as did having drums and a bass line. Is the drum notation a music standard or is this a MS special?

Like you say, knowing what a piece already sounds like, (i.e. able to hum it), makes a huge difference. Now I can play that excerpt without hearing it as it's fresh in my mind. I would normally have re-phrased it into keywords to have a go at it.

In reply to by yonah_ag

I would just say again that while the first version may look simpler, it won't lead you to actually it correctly, so it's a false simplicity. The second version looks more complex, and of course it won't give you any better results today, but once you do learn the skills of reading, you'll discover it does indeed lead to more accuracy in reading.

As for unlearning, it's certainly good to know the durations of notes, so you don't really need to "unlearn" that.
But the real progress will come when you start thinking in terms of when each note happens. So writing in 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & above the measure and seeing which notes are versus off the beat and thinking out that as you play is a step in the right direction. As I said to begin with, ultimate you won't even need to do that, you'll just recognize the rhythms instantly, like we do with words in our native tongue.

In reply to by yonah_ag

Excellent question. No, I wrote that "claves" line explicitly. The point here is that the genre/dance of the Sarabande has its own rhythm, which is not a simple 1-2-3. The metronome feature does not put anything in the score, it just plays out loud while you play back. I was just trying to show how hearing a rhythm background can help clarify the learning or understanding of a piece.

In reply to by BSG

It really does help as you can "feel" the music "sitting on" the rhythm. Perhaps MS could have a list of rhythm styles and use them to generate such "clave" lines. Is "clave" line the name for these type of rhythm staves which are not actually part of the music?

In reply to by yonah_ag

Counting beats is better, yes, but really doing that in real time is not that practical either unless the tempo is extremely slow. Most musicians tap their feet to keep track of the tempo. But that alone tells you only where the bears are, not which beat is which. Using both feet so you can alternate L R L R for 1 2 3 4 can help, or just tapping 1 & 3.

This is where the ability to recognize the patterns comes in. Again, whether people are conscious of this or not, it is what happens internally for just about anyone who is successful at it. Just as the barlines help us out by making sure we never have to deal with more than four beats at time (in 4/4), the division of the measure into halves means we don’t have to deal with more than half a measure at a time if eighth notes are involved. And now it’s just a series of easily recognized two-beat patterns. Again we don’t often think of this consciously, but that’s because the people writing music are setting it all up for us so we don’t have to.

In reply to by yonah_ag

@BSG, you may recognize these scores of mines as among those I was inspired to create after seeing your own work in the area of online educational materials using MuseScore.

To provide some context around these:

I too am developing online theory courses, and I have chosen to create the handouts for them completely within MuseScore rather than following my past method of creating educational materials in a word processor with musical examples pasted in from MuseScore as graphics. For this project, I decided to do everything within MuseScore in part because I was impressed by how @BSG's scores can be played within MuseScore or indeed right on musescore.com. But another reason: accessibility. As some of you know, I have done a lot of work on accessibility in MuseScore, and I am currently working with a blind student (Elizabeth) in the theory class I teach at Regis University. The textbook we normally use would not have been accessible to her at all. So I decided to jump-start my online theory course by developing handouts that she would be able to read. I also created worksheets and exams, all within MuseScore, all accessible to blind students.

Here is Elizabeth taking the final exam (which she aced!) using MuseScore, alongside other students taking the exact same exam with pencil and paper:

Elizabeth - final.JPG

What a world!

In reply to by yonah_ag

Check out the handouts, they are already there (follow the link for more). Yes, very basic to start, starting from showing what notes are what on the staff and what each note duration is. The handouts are made available for free; you can see them all at https://musescore.com/user/2975/sets/5099981

Here is the full info on the full course, again, still under development: https://school.masteringmusescore.com/p/basic-theory

What I am thinking about (as a non-professional): In classical pieces I am not sure that I have seen a notation as in measure one, it reminds me more of the transcription of scores/rhythms of current scores.

In reply to by yonah_ag

What I meant: When I fly over my scores with great works by Bach, Mozart and so on, I'm not aware about any notation as in the first measure, but rather in jazz scores, in order to easily overlook the rhythm pattern. So perhaps it depends on where the musician is more familiar.

In reply to by kuwitt

A few general thoughts occur to me as I monitor this thread.
Of course, we need to be clear and concise with our notation. I probably write “correctly” out of instinct as the result of some long dormant brain cell that fires and reminds me what to do. I asked a few questions until that cell fired. But some concerns remain. They are not practical in nature, but more artistic. I once asked about a place to post sound files created by MuseScore. “After all,” I asked,” isn’t music meant to be heard?” The response was that music was meant to be played. Mine was a simple question aimed at showing what MuseScore might be capable of because playback is getting so much better. Posting a score is not as good because we all have different setups and fonts. Someone could load my score, but not get the same effect. And there is some confusion posted about the .com side of things. Of course, music is meant to be played. But musicians make up a very small group. And yes, this is a notation website. OK that part has nothing to do with this thread.
The implication that something written “wrong” might slow the musician down, while true, is not the point for me. The next statement that always follows is that as a result, the music won’t be performed correctly. This seems unlikely, to say the least, to me. The implication is that musicians are too stupid to figure out how to play something. I agree that there are situations where speed and time are of the essence. Ease of reading is always important. But the fact of the matter is (though I am trying to not speak in the type absolutes that have been presented in this thread), most situations have time.
Music so much more than “correct” notes on a page. Notes are meaningless without a musician to bring them to life. And not just any musician. How often have we heard a performance that was technically perfect? Everything played just as the (correct) score dictated. Yet the performance was devoid of feeling. Then there is the renowned concert pianist who hasn’t looked at the score for the Chopin etude he’s performing tonight in 30 years. He might miss a few notes (or rhythms), but nobody cares because the performance is beautiful.
Again, I’m not saying that “correct” notation isn’t important. There must be a solid starting point. But it is not the god of music.
Then there was the implication that my music education only taught me how write in various formats. An interesting conclusion based on almost no facts except that apparently the importance of beat three in 4/4 when 8th notes are present outweighs everything.
And finally, there was the invitation to form my own notation rules using ridiculous symbols. This was cute the first time. I did see the smiley. But it was condescending the second time.

In reply to by bobjp

the real thing is the performed music and wrong or bad written music (like wrong notated rhythms take the concentration of every playing musician away from the music and all the ways of performing it musical to simply play the right notes at the right time.

In reply to by bobjp

I would just say that again, if you only write for yourself to read, or only for the sake of the computer playback, you are welcome to invent your own rules. It's not condescending at all to suggest this - many writers do this, in fact. But if you wish others to read your music, it behooves you to write correctly so you can be easily understood. That's the choice, plain and simple.

The points about performance with or without have absolutely no bearing on this. You can play with or without feeling from correctly notated music, you can play with or without feeling from incorrectly notated music, you can play with or without feeling with no written music at all. The question of feeling has absolutely zero relevance to a discussion of the correct way of notating music.

I have no idea what you mean about an implication that your music education only taught you how to write in various formats. No one said any such thing. I'm sure you learn very many things in music school. I did point out that most of the "rules" taught in music are indeed never meant to be taken as absolutes, they are rules for creating music in a specific genre. There is nothing personal about you in that statement, it is simply a true fact about music education. Eg, the rule about avoiding parallel fifths that every single music student learns, it's not an absolute but simply a guidelines about how to write music in the same style as, well, those musicians who choose to avoid parallel fifths. I don't need to know anything about your or your education to know this, it's again, not a personal statement about you at all. I brought it up only to clarify that those kind of "rules" - guidelines about how to achieve certain musical effects - have nothing to do with the actual rules of music notation. Because it seemed you were likely confusing the two types of rules - correctly realizing that the type of rule that is really just a stylistic guideline meant to be broken when you want, but incorrectly assuming the same flexibilty should apply to the more fundamental rules of notation.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I'm not at all assuming flexibility should apply to notation. Never said that.
Only the idea that a slip of notation protocol in a measure or two would result in the phrase never being played correctly. I never talked about whole-sale junking of "correct" notation. Despite your third invitation to do so.
Remember, this whole time we've been talking about single, or half measures.

In reply to by bobjp

Of course; I never said incorrect notation would never be played correctly - Just that it will lead to more reading errors, which is factually correct and easily demonstrated via controlled experiments I have performed or seen performed hundreds of times. So when someone posts two examples and asks which is correct and wonders if it matters, I am going to answer to the best of my ability on both questions: which is correct, and why it matters.

I have been checking my posted scores and I can see phrasing mistakes to correct but I'm not sure on one of them. It's a ductia in 6/8 time. Should these measures be re-phrased?
Ductia.jpg

In reply to by yonah_ag

Those are correct patterns for 6/8. 6/8 is not 3/4. If it were 3/4, it would be wrong. I wouldn't call this "phrasing", either (that term relates to emphasis and grouping notes into phrases by separation and smoothness). I'm not sure what you call "correct notation of beats in the context of a rhythm/time signature"/

In reply to by BSG

Thanks. I used 6/8 after googling time signature for a ductia. The piece itself was based on a CD track so I didn't know the time signature but could tell that it didn't fit with 4/4.

Maybe instead of "phrasing" it should simply be "syntax". What would the syntax for these measures be in 3/4 and would the playback differ?

In reply to by yonah_ag

6/8 means two "big" (aka "foreground") beats, each of which is divided into thirds made up eighth notes. 3/4 is a measure that is divided into thirds made of quarter notes. So the conversion is, take each big/foreground beat in 6/8, and make it a whole measure. Each note value thus doubles. So a dotted quarter that was one big beat of 6/8 is not a dotted half that is a full measure of 3/4. A quarter-eighth pattern that was one big beat of 6/8 is not a half-quarter patter than is one full measure of 3/4. And so on.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Beginners and people lacking knowledge (posting on ms.com) sometimes do not know the difference between 6/8 and 3/4 (which Marc just explained) and count six eighths in each of their measures and write 3/4, the error immediately obvious to anyone who understands the difference. A time signature is not merely a statement about the length of a measure, but about what the beat unit is and how many of them occur, and that's not always the "denominator" (e.g., in conventional triplet compound meters such as 6/8 and 9/8).

In reply to by yonah_ag

No, it cannot be expressed in 3/4. You can give it an incorrect 3/4 time signature. 3/4 is 3 beats per bar -- it is not a compound meter, and doesn't have "big beats" and "little beats" as 6/8, 12/8, 6/4, etc. do. The pattern you indicated in the image is very typical 6/8. Real music is not a stream of undifferentiated equal notes in all voices; it has patterns and beats and recurrences, which is why measures and time signatures exist. Although there is free-rhythm and ametric music, 99% of music, including folk, jazz etc., has clearly defined "measures", whether the composer or songsmith ever wrote the song down or not. It is not a matter of notation, but a matter of the patterns of the music itself.

In reply to by yonah_ag

Well, yes, but we wouldn't put it that way: 3/4 doesn't have "big" and "little" beats (that's why I also use the terms foreground/background, they are less "loaded". We would just say 3/4 is three beats, period, corresponding to a single big beat in 6/8. And each beat in 3.4 would correspond to one of the "little" beats in 6.8.

So really, anything notated in 67/8 could be notated in 3/4 and still be perfectly well understood - it just takes twice as many measures. And would need to be played at twice the tempo, which might indeed feel unnatural.

In reply to by yonah_ag

@yonah_ag...
The MuseScore metronome recognizes compound meter and distinguishes the 'big' beats from the underlying triples. Use moderately slow tempos to easily discern.

Have a listen to this, use the metronome, and notice the different time signatures (which makes the 'overall timing' of the examples sound 'similar'):
Meter.mscz

In reply to by BSG

This prompts me to air one of my pet MuseScore peeves. MuseScore play panel and inspector are among
those "beginners and people lacking in musical knowledge" in the way they insist on quantifying tempi in quarter note (crotchet) beats per minute, even when the time signature is 6/8 or even more bizzarely 5/8 or 3/16 for which quarter note beats don't even line up with bar lines. With luck this discussion will bump #291727: Improve tempo indication in Play Panel to reflect time signature into a developer's eye line.

In reply to by Jm6stringer

This is "not fair". This doesn't show the difference between 3/4 and 6/8 for the same note values, but renotates the eighth notes as quarter notes and simply makes a measure of each "big beat". This is grossly misleading for those seeking to understand the difference between different subdivisions of the same notes.

In reply to by BSG

True, but it's very helpful in understanding how compound meter can be seen in terms of triple simple meter. In fact it's quite common to see the song piece of music notated either way depending on the editor, and that's an important thing to realize - that at some level, 3/4 and 6/8 are equivalent, but not in the naive way one might assume where you think there are literally six eighth notes per measure either way.

In reply to by BSG

This doesn't show the difference between 3/4 and 6/8 for the same note values, but renotates the eighth notes as quarter notes and simply makes a measure of each "big beat".

It does show how compound meter can be decompounded.

Yes I was illustrating rhythm patterns and not trying to explain meter at all - not simple, compound, triple, duple, or any other flavors.

Proportional_rhythms.png

Earlier in this thread were examples of breaking measures into the '8 common patterns'. This is along those lines. It shows proportional relationships in note durations.

Attachment Size
Proportional_rhythms.mscz 10.38 KB

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