Notating Debussy's "let it ring"....

• Sep 18, 2021 - 10:21

The last paragraph of page 356 [430.png] describes how Debussy wanted his invented notation to sound. How do I transcribe it? The book has errors in the notation. I'm transcribing using a section from IMSLP. The HTML will include a transcriber's note of the corrections.

Thanks, everyone. <3

Attachment Size
p357_score1.jpg 419.51 KB
p357_score1correct.jpg 94.37 KB
430.png 116.39 KB


In reply to by underquark

This is the revised score, after several trials and errors. :)

Clicking ties doesn't make multiples; they only click on and off. Slurs can be clicked several times to make multiples, but they won't drag into the bass clef.

Treble clef solution was a combination of ties and rearranged slurs.

Base clef solution was hidden notes and ties. The ties between bars two and three were either on or off. To achieve the visible slurs between bars two and three, the slurs between the first and second notes of bar three were dragged to the left of the first note.

Even with slurs and ties and a slur trying to pull the whole sequence together, the sound fades at the end of bar two. Is there a way to extend the sound through bar three and into the first beat of bar four without playing the note again? Increasing the tempo doesn't change how long the sound carries. Even at 500 BPM, the sound ends with bar two.

Thanks for puzzling this out with me. <3

Has anyone tried to reconcile the irregular measures with the time signature? (or is it a Debussy praxis to play loosely with meter :-)

The jpg images of the score show differences, but they unequivocally agree here...
Clearly both images show a chord comprised of dotted half notes.

Your .mscz score:
Yet the time signature shows 3/4.
Seems rather odd.

In reply to by underquark

I kept revising it and finally uploaded a wrong transcription. Both the book and IMSPL show the first note of both staves as a dotted half. I uploaded it with just a half note. We were talking about sustaining the bass. I'm sure you didn't proof my upload against the originals. jm6stringer looks deep at everything. If I've messed up someplace, he's sure to find it. :)

Thanks, again, underquark. You made you day! <3

In reply to by judeeylander

I did the measures up to the bass note change. Made everything 3/4. Had to add a dot (sorry). In this case, where you found different versions, it's hard to say who is correct and what the composer actually wrote. I know the practice is to try to stick to the original. But who knows what that really is? And why continue. mistakes. Sorry my ties are messy.

Attachment Size
p357 test.mscz 10.81 KB

In reply to by bobjp

Wow, bobjp! You truly understand and clarified the ringing tones for me! Master Wizard, sir. I compared several versions of the score and chose the most consistent one as correct. The book jpg is part of the Art of Music series, Book 7 of 14, printed in 1915. Lots of typesetting errors in old books. :)

After plenty of ugly mistakes, I found the easiest ways to adjust the ties is to highlight them and use the arrow key on the end I'm adjusting. Pretty slick. Even allows for micro adjustments I could never do with drag and drop.

Again, sincere thanks. I finally truly understand this part of Debussy. <3

Looking at your two images: 'p357_score1.jpg' and 'p357_score1correct.jpg' I see...

2.75 beats show in the 'p357_score1.jpg' image
3.00 beats show in the 'p357_score1correct.jpg' image (last note is dotted)

Since the time signature is 3/4, I would choose the 'correct' one.

There are too many .mscz files flying around here, so whichever one you are using, check the measure properties, change actual duration to 3/4 if necessary, and then add the dot.

In reply to by Jm6stringer

Wizard Eyes, jm6stringer. Wizard Eyes, sir. <3

I caught the dotted 1/8 note when comparing versions. The three beats and 3/4 time is correct. Sometimes beats are eliminated here and there in these things. Originally, I deleted the 1/8th note to make the score work. But it wasn't correct. Thanks again. You're always spot on. <3

More minutia...
If the "look" of the transcription is important, notice the direction of the 16th note 'flags' (under the beams). They are all pointing uniformly left:
This uniformity shows in both your jpg images (book and IMSLP).

However, your MuseScore (mscz) file shows:
beam direction.png

To fix...
Ctrl click each 8th note which follows any misdirected 16th note (turns blue), then use Beam Properties:
(There are a some more in other measures not shown here.)

In reply to by Jm6stringer

[jaw drop]! Wow. I didn't even know that was possible. A completely new skill level for me. I thought Musescore default was the modern way to reproduce beams. So many old scores simply won't play the way they are written. Lots of things get covered in transcriber notes.

I've changed all the beams to face left. Is there a reason for doing this, other than consistency?
Thanks, jm6stringer. You are always an enlightening teacher. <3

All copies of my score have been eliminated now. This one is the final, unless you can find something else I need to fix, of course. ;)

Attachment Size
p357_score1.mscz 19.28 KB

In reply to by Jm6stringer

jm6stringer, this page says a broken secondary beams are always placed inside the beamed groups, and must always point towards the note of which it is a fraction.…

Changing the beam directions brought the score into compliance when Musescore didn't score them that way. Something to think about in the future, and maybe something for the developer team to look at.

Thanks for the inspiration. <3

In reply to by judeeylander

There are a bunch of different versions of the score posted here, can someone post a simple example that shows a problem?

In general our defaults should be correct for most time signatures. One thing I see is that a screenshot in one place shows 34 as the time signature, but the beaming in other screen shots appears to be implying 6/8. That mismatch might be the issue? If you are going to beam one time signature to resemble another, you may indeed need to override some things.

In reply to by Jm6stringer

The original looks incorrect, or at least non-standard here. If this is 3/4, that beaming is just wrong - it's should show three distinct beats, not "big two". if it's 6/8, the sixteenth beams should point the way MuseScore has it. Beat "little 2" starts with a sixteenth, and thus its fractional beam needs to point to the eighth on the "&" of that beat. Not saying this rule has been followed universally by all editors across all centuries, but in modern usage, what MuseScore does by default is correct as far as I can tell from the context shown here.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Hi, Marc. Thanks for stopping by. I've enclosed a copy of the original time signature from IMSLP.

I understand 12/16 and I understand 2/4. What does a combined time signature mean? I'm assuming it was simplified to 3/4 for beginning readers.

EDITED TO ADD: I found this explanation of Debussy time signatures. Obviously a genius mind at work. Something not meant for mere mortals to understand. Beginning at Page 238.…

I've attached three versions of the melody line of the correct score. Both versions have a hidden 1/16 rest necessary to make it play correctly. I hid it in these samples also.

The first sample is the notes entered one at a time.
The second sample is with the note groups rearranged.
The third sample is with the broken staves rearranged.

MuseScore wouldn't know this was a simpler version of the original time signature with the original notes. I'm sure that's why MuseScore notated everything the way it did. Big learning curve for me. Thanks for being available. You're the BEST! <3

Attachment Size
Debussy 1.mscz 13.01 KB
Debussy 2.mscz 13.06 KB
Debussy 3.mscz 13.08 KB
Debussy time signature.jpg 103.62 KB
p357_score1correct.jpg 94.37 KB

In reply to by judeeylander

The time signature indication seems to be saying, some measures will be in one meter, other in the other. So indeed, MuseScore may need help overriding the beaming.

Still, to be clear: the beaming shown is wrong by modern standards, which call for fractional beams to point in the direction of the beat them belong to. If a measure is to be interpreted as 12/16 as the passage in question seems to suggest, then the fractional beam on the second note of the pair should point right according to the standard rule quotes earlier. But 19th and early 2-th century publishers did indeed use different rules, especially in France. So if its more important for the project to reproduce the style of the original, this is how to do it. If it's more important to be readable to modern musicians, better to use the modern standards, both can be valid goals.

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