Alla Breve

• Dec 30, 2019 - 18:16

Hey Guys,

I am trying to understand alla breve.
The shot shows a piece written in Common Time.
How would the notation be if the piece were written in Cut Time?

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Alla Breve = 2/2, which is the same than 4/4, or 8/8, or 16/16, or... Whatever

It is a "Simple Tempo Meter". Binary divition. Two half notes per bar, of Four quarter notes per bar, or One whole note per bar.

There is not any audible difference, except... The accented bit.

In reply to by jotape1960

I can't read music.
You said..........."there is not any audible difference."
I am told that it quickens the tempo.
" except the accented bit"
I am told that the 1st note gets the most accent followed by the 3rd note.
So how does the cut time change that?

In reply to by cedy

About the tempo (the piece speed), it is not defined by the time signature.
We can have a very fast tempo with a time signature of 2/2, or... A very slow tempo with the same time signature.
Tempo is indicated with a number which tells us how many bit per minutes we have.
Example: A tempo of 120, in a 4/4 time signature, means that we have 120 quarter notes per minute, or 30 complete 4/4 bars per minutes.
About the "accented bit"... Normally, a 2/2 bar has only one accented bit, the first (because it is intended to be seen as 2 half notes per bar).
A 4/4 bar has two accented bits: the first and the third (because it is intended to be seen as a 4 quarter notes per bar).

2/2 differs from from 4/4 in its measure of the harmonic rhythm, how many logical subdivisions there are of the measure, 2 "beats" per measure or four, how many logical "scenes" there are in each measure. Occasionally skilled, or, more often, unskilled, composers choose the wrong one. Unskilled players don't care about or understand the difference, but, I assure you, the distinction is non-trivial and a matter of musical content, not tempo.

Perhaps a rough measure is "do you feel more comfortable clapping one -- two, or one-two-three-four during each measure?"

In reply to by cedy

The subject matter is not one foreign to classical music (countless madrigals) (might be better in Italian, though). I dunno -- i can hear it in 2 as well as in 4. 2 (cut time as you have it) sounds more right. it's certainly "acceptable", and I suspect by "slow ballad" you mean maybe half-note = 60 (quarter = 120) (in which case it's definitely right). I'll vote for "cut" time. If you look closely / listen to your melody, the harmonies change every half-note.

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