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28

Your notation may work for a free form melody, but that's it. How will you notate several notes played at once? How will you notate exact rhythms if you don't split up a bar into beats and subbeats and give each note an exact duration? Which octaves are those notes? I agree that standard notation (common music notation) is complicated, but there are pretty ...


24

Time signatures and bars are not there arbitrarily, nor just to help count your way through a piece. They are there to provide guidance on the rhythm of the piece. Where it is accented, where it breathes. Some composers do write pieces with no time signature or bars, as an indication that there should be no consistent rhythm. Eric Satie did this for several ...


24

Yep, the second one is far better for precisely the reason you say. A general rule is that you shouldn't have dotted-notes that start on an off beat and carry through the next beat. There are exceptions even to this rule, but showing the underlying beat structure of the meter is paramount in the vast majority of situations. Elliott Carter is an example of ...


23

We most commonly use staff notation because it is a good compromise between expressiveness and readability for a wide range of music. There are alternatives, however these alternatives are specialized in one dimension or another, and thus, in a sense, less expressive than standard staff notation. The overall problems relate to the fundamental issues in ...


22

To express the fact that 2 notes are sounding, you should use beam direction. It's as if one instrument is playing two parts simultaneously. See the picture, and note how each part gets its own "swimming lane" on the staff. Please also note that each bar on the staff that uses multiple parts should, in principle, make sure all timing for each part is ...


20

Everyone, when they first begin to learn to play an instrument with music notation, is puzzled by all the complexities and nuances. Music notation is the way that it is because it works well. You know so little about playing music at this point that you cannot fully appreciate all that is involved. The more you learn, the more sense it will make to you.


20

Your understanding of the math, as it were, is correct. And I would say yes, a multiple of 4 bars of music in 3/4 can be expressed as music in 4/4 (in a multiple of 3 bars), but I would dispute that the same can necessarily be represented as such. The bar line placement of a piece of music has tremendous impact upon live musicians' interpretation of, not to ...


19

Fm/Ab stands for F minor with note Ab on bass. Generically, X/Y is Chord X with note Y as lowest note. This second chord could be read as Gb major with major seventh and added 9th. The slash after a chord alteration serves only as a separator to indicate every simultaneous alteration you should apply to the chord.


18

What a great question! From an early historical standpoint, I can think of several cases where this has happened. I'd be interested in more answers, and especially later historical examples. In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, accidentals were often not notated, with the composer relying on the performer's knowledge of musica ficta to provide the correct ...


17

Let's look at what going in the bass clef. You are playing a B for beats 1 and 2 and then playing another B on beat 3, but you also play a D for beats 2 and 3 in the bass. Because you play the D on beats 2 and 3 and the B is also being played on beats 1 and 2, the rest is used to show you what beat to start playing the D. Without the rest in, the notation ...


17

It's effectively written as three parts. The treble clef is one line. The bass notes with tails going down is the bass part, comprising B minim and another B crotchet. Then there's the 'middle line', played with the left hand.Obviously it's a D minim, tail up, but that leaves the first beat of this bar with nothing to play. Thus a crotchet rest. You can't ...


17

So, I was wondering why there are only even numbered notes? Like half, quarter, and eighth and so on. Because, O my child, we are a weak, degenerate people. Because we live in an Iron Age, not like those who came before. Not like before, in days long past, when musicians strode the earth like giants of artistry. They divided notes into thirds. This ...


17

There is no absolute limit. The highest C on the piano, written 3 octaves above the staff, is perfectly legitimate. However, practically speaking, notes that far from the staff will almost always be written in a musical phrase containing other nearby notes, so the 8Va notation is used. Music that high is nearly impossible to sightread if not written using ...


16

The notation you suggest is too simple for real scores, or on the contrary hand it would be nearly impossible to read. Try to translate this into your notation:


16

I believe the symbol is an Italian notation, referred to as 'Mordente' - although not always the mordent as we know it! It was commonly used 1710-1760, which fits the time period you specified. How to play it seems to vary according to who wrote it, but one of the most 'defined' examples was from Germiniani's 1748/51 ornament tables, where it was specified ...


15

This is one of the best questions I've seen for ages. I've looked for a while, but can't find a definitive answer, but hopefully I can give some useful information. Two things: the up bow mark doesn't really describe an upward direction, but instead that the bow is pushed, rather than pulled as in a down bow. So, this helps to explain why this doesn't use ...


15

Is this handwritten or printed? Is the notation of German origin? In German, the notes E flat and A flat are called Es and As.


14

It's a tremolo. The performer should rapidly alternate between the first two notes and the second two notes for two beats. The notation can be a bit confusing because it looks like it might last twice as long, but both notes of a tremolo are supposed to be written as the full length of the tremolo. Not to be confused with tremolo on orchestral string ...


14

No, it is still a B♭. The flat is just reminding you that the B is flat. This is typically done if the previous measure uses a B that was different then the one in the key signature or if there was a different quality of B used in the measure it is used to cancel out the other quality. In the key D minor, if you were ascending from A to D, a typical melody ...


13

First off 2 octaves above or below is a 15th because an octave is 7 letter named notes above a unison (P1) so to get the first octave you have 1 + 7 = 8. 7 more notes above that is the next octave so 8 + 7 = 15. However it is very rare because as you inferred, it is rare that a pianist will play that high up and also it is much easier to understand just the ...


13

No, not directly. The beaming may affect how you think about the time subdivisions (four groups of two eighth notes vs. two groups of four eighth notes) which might subtly affect your accenting of the overall piece, but it's not really an explicit thing, no. For comparison, in choral music, you often see all the eighth notes unbeamed, unless they belong to ...


13

They refer to divisions (manuals) of the organ: Grt. for Great (French 'Grand Choeur', German 'Hauptwerk') and Sw. for Swell (French 'Grand Orgue', German 'Schwellwerk'). For English, American and German organs, in a two-manual configuration, the lower manual is the Great, and the top manual is the Swell. French organs usually have the Swell at the bottom. ...


13

This will just be an embellishment of @user15077’s answer. This is the beginning of your piece as you’ve notated it: Here is what it would look like with a more standard approach: As you can see, many of the notes are expressed as tied notes now. For example, the quarter-note D-sharp in the first measure is written as a sixteenth tied to a dotted ...


13

They indicate open-string notes (E,A,D,G,B,E); note that they are in the same position of the numbers that indicate which fingers to use to fret the notes.


12

The short answer to this question is that musical notation evolved over centuries in a relatively haphazard way. Many aspects of it are optimized for situations that no longer exist, or assume limitations on musical conduct that we no longer respect. A lot of it is arbitrary (why five lines on a staff?). To take a most obvious example: the clefs that we ...


12

Different notations have traditions of being used in different contexts. All of those are correct. I suspect the reason for such variety comes from use by non-academically trained musicians. Without formal, standardized training, musicians tend to come up with a shorthand that expresses what they want while being generally agreeable. Correlations may be ...


12

I found a motivic analysis of this piece, along with score, on youtube (the piece starts at 1:11, but watch the analysis before that as well): For the question about beaming: This ...


12

At first sight, i would suppose the symbols are inspired by the different shapes of the bow's frog and tip respectively. But that's a mere guess, without corroboration by sources. EDIT: Here's an illustration showing a bow's frog (above - notice the orthogonal shape) and tip (below - showing the characteristic "pointy" shape): Image: By Henry ...


12

It would be a G9sus4. It could technically also be F6/9/G but that would look very confusing on a lead sheet. When naming a chord you have to look at what you have and what you are missing. You have the notes G F A C D. While there is an F major triad, having a G as the bass doesn't make it feel like a chord based off F major because it is rare to put a ...


12

These are frequency ratios. The first digit is the common denominator (10). In a deminished seventh the following ratios are present: 12/10 = 6/5 = minor third 14/10 = 7/5 ~ sqrt(2) ~ diminished fifth 17/10 : this is trickier In a diminished seventh chord the fourth note is a diminished seventh, which is enharmonic to the major sixth (whose frequency is ...



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