Grace notes no longer before the beat

• Mar 12, 2015 - 19:59

Grace notes created with the slashed eighth-note tool (acciaccatura) play as expected (before the beat) in v 1.3 but not as expected (on the beat) in v 2.0 (both the beta and the nightly build)

Here is a test case that plays differently in v 1.3 and v 2.0

BlazGraceNotes.mscz

blazGrace3.JPG


Comments

It's not really necessarily more correct to play before versus after the beat. It's style and instrument-specific, so whats a bug to someone expecitng one style is a feature to someone expecitng another. But yes, in 2.0, they play on the beat.

But FWIW, with a single grace note, the most correct interpretation for most 19th century classical piano music is arguably to play both notes simultaneously, then release the grace note immediately.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Regarding acciaccatura: "... the most correct interpretation for most 19th century classical piano music is arguably to play both notes simultaneously, then release the grace note immediately."".

This is my understanding also although when I search the word, it also comes up as a grace note in some dictionaries.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Marc wrote:
"But FWIW, with a single grace note, the most correct interpretation for most 19th century classical piano music is arguably to play both notes simultaneously, then release the grace note immediately."

Hmmm..I have NEVER heard that. Can you quote a source? Everything I've heard from (and studied in) 19th century music is that grace notes end before the next note is played (or very quickly after starting the main note), and depending on whether or not the grace note is before or after beat (revealed by its alignment in the measure), are relatively short, but much more liberal in interpretation than acacciaturas.

In reply to by harbinger

Well, the technique of playing the notes together is specific to piano & other polyphonic instruments, of course, but it's not an uncommon interpretation at all. It's really hard to find a source that does *not* mention this at least being one valid interpretation, and many mention it as the preferred. See, for example:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/acciaccatura
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/30724/appoggiatura

But perhaps the most authoritative source in general for such matters is:

https://books.google.com/books?id=02rFSecPhEsC&pg=PA4&lpg=PA4&dq=acciac…

In reply to by harbinger

The engraved alignment of an acciaccatura in a measure means little except in the case where it is positioned before a bar line. In that instance, it is safe to assume it's intended to be played before the downbeat of the following measure. Otherwise, it's true that 'correct' interpretation is generally style-specific and instrument-specific. However, it must be acknowledged that many professionals do not follow what are (or should be) known to be historically accurate performance practices - and thus there is also inevitably an element of personal taste, among other variables, that governs a performer's choice.

Personally, I don't really like the term 'grace note' except as a convenient catch-all term because it fails to distinguish distinguish among acciaccaturas, short appoggiaturas, long appoggiaturas, and other similar ornaments.

As to Marc's statement that 'the most correct interpretation for most 19th century classical piano music is arguably to play both notes simultaneously, then release the grace note immediately', I concur where we're speaking of an acciaccatura - and authoritative sources are abundant, ranging from Chopin's own notations on scores of his pupils to Howard Ferguson's excellent 'Keyboard Interpretation from the 14th to the 19th Century'. I highly recommend musicians with a particular interest in Chopin buy a slender book called 'Ornamentation in the Works of Frederick Chopin' by John Petrie Dunn; it's long out of print, but very well worth seeking out and having.

Finally, support for execution of an acciaccatura by playing both notes simultaneously is found in the literal meaning of the word acciaccare in Italian: 'to crush'. An acciaccatura is an act of crushing.

Of course, as with many matters consigned to history and viewed through modern eyes, everyone doesn't agree! Dolmetsch Music Theory Online - http://www.dolmetsch.com/musictheory23.htm#grace - captures the ambiguities and alternatives in this subject without truly clear prescriptive guidelines, though links are offered to external sources that can be consulted. In a way, this topic makes me think of historical temperaments ... and what we know, don't know and guess about tuning systems in general use on keyboard instruments between the then-revolutionary well-temperament of J.S. Bach and the equal temperament we take for granted today.

Anyway ... sorry this is so wordy, but I hope it helps. :-)

In reply to by stevebob

I used the term "acciaccatura" because that is what that tool is labeled in V 1.3 and v 2.0

If someone feels that term is misapplied I am not the one to be lectured at over it. I have no attachment to the term beyond that.

I am aware that there is some difference in how those are played in some periods but the overwhelming practice for music written now and most in the 19th century is to play such grace notes before the beat.

In v 1.3, that tool that is labeled "acciaccatura" created grace notes that performed according to that very widespread and normal convention.

In v 2.0 those notes are broken and no longer perform as expected.

It is not naive of me to expect that the same notes, created with the same tool, labeled with the same name would produce the same result.

The problem is that clear. It is not a matter of some lofty difference of opinion on performance practice.

In reply to by robert.holmen.7

I'm sorry that you felt 'lectured' to or that you would use some description like 'lofty' for what you don't understand or doesn't meet your preconceived confirmation bias about how things are in your personal reality.

YES, it is a difference of opinion on performance practice.

NO, those notes are not 'broken and no longer perform as expected'.

That's the last thing I will have to say on the topic. It's already wasted more of my time and effort than was warranted.

In reply to by robert.holmen.7

I agree it is senseless to argue over the term grace note and acciaccatura. The sources I point to make it clear the terms (particular "grace note", but also "appoggiatura") are not actually particualrly well-defined.

And yes, I agree, having graces notes or acciaccaturas played before the beat is widespread and common. But hopefully after reading the source I cited, you will agree that playing them *on* the beat is equally widespread and common. So it *is* just difference of opinion on performance practice. Nothing is "broken", it is just changed slightly.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Does it have to be one way or the other? How about an option to allow the user to choose whether to play grace notes before or on the beat? The 19th-century orchestral score I'm currently working on has this:

NOT FOUND: 1

and it seems clear to me that the composer intended the small notes to be taken before the beat. Playing them on the beat really muddies the rhythm.

Attachment Size
grace3.png 190.56 KB

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