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Jun
25
comment Why is the double bass the only instrument in the violin family tuned in fourths?
+1 because this is the likely root cause. The fact that the double bass comes from a long line of instruments that were already tuned in fourths is true but misleading; if that family had never existed and the violin family had included a native bass instrument, it would have had exactly the same fingering problems, and I believe that it would have had to implement the same solution, i.e. different tuning.
Jun
25
comment What conventions are used with accidentals and tied notes?
If the second note is not augmented, then you can't have a tie at all, since it doesn't connect equal pitches. (However, if you use a slur for phrasing or legato, which looks similar and can be confused with a tie, then you should definitely include a complementary cancellation sign.)
Jun
12
comment Are whole notes/rests really used to signify variable lengths of time?
Well, yes. Absolutely. Look at any relevant music score - for instance. the beginning of Beethoven's 8th. The first page is crawling with whole rests that are actually 3/4 rests.
Jun
12
comment Are whole notes/rests really used to signify variable lengths of time?
The note, no. The rest, yes. (If I were allowed to speculate why, it's probably to do with the fact that people are more willing to spend a bit of effort getting the detailed notation right for something that sounds than for something that doesn't.)
Jun
11
comment Is there a rest symbol that means “rest until the end of this measure”?
Leaving bars entirely blank to signify "all rests" is becoming more accepted even in printed scores nowadays.
Jun
9
comment How should I notate repeated dotted eighth notes?
If I had to play that rhythm in any kind of band or orchestra, I'd curse under my breath (and perhaps out loud) at anyone who notated it any other way than the second line (you might perhaps lose the beams altogether). In practice, quick readability trumps faithfulness to the nominal meter every time.
Jun
4
comment In Piano, what cases do you really need to press 1th, 3rd, 5th, and 8th keys together at once?
This is like asking, "I've seen so many double consonants used, but writing only one is much easier - which one is correct?"
Jun
2
comment How to play Haydn Variation trills
The 6 means the same it always does: "These notes must be shortened so that there are 6 of them to one beat rather than 4."
Jun
1
comment Penciling in piano fingering
Gerald Moore tells in his autobiography how Elisabeth Schwarzkopf's scores would be totally crammed with notes, remarks etc., often more then one to a note, and usually about nuances he couldn't possibly have distinguished.
May
22
comment Singing the words to one song along with the music for another - what is this called?
When done intentionally, this is a parody, and is a very well-established practice. A lot of J.S. Bach's church cantatas are parodies of secular works or vice versa. Sometimes he would even order a new different text specifically so that it could be exchanged for that of a successful work whose music he wanted to re-use.
Apr
25
comment Why do so many symphonic works that are named “minor” end “major”?
By the way: one of Brahms's intermezzi is the only work I know offhand that ends in (e flat) minor after having begun out in e flat major.
Apr
18
comment Ritardando, Rallentando, and Allargando
"Ritardare" is like reining in a horse. The animal wants to go stampeding off, and you actively prevent it. "Rallentare" is simply any slowing down - even a rolling ball will slow down over time, but there is no willpower and no conflict involved. That may or may not be helpful in deciding how you interpret one of these "slow down" indications.
Feb
20
comment Piano Accidentals and Key Signatures
Usually the chords suggested for accompanists contain exactly the same notes sounding in that bar, but even if they didn't, that would not influence the music on the staff at all. These "guitar chords" are supposed to be read by instrumentalists other than the one playing the music on the staves (e.g. rhythm guitar, harmonica etc.)
Feb
17
comment Lilypond staffs extend past end of music
The usual advice for this is \layout { \context { \Staff \RemoveEmptyStaves }}. Is that not what you want? And for breaks at non-bar-line point the usual trick is to insert an invisible bar line via \bar"".
Feb
17
comment How to play these overly extended intervals on piano?
In general, whenever the range of a chord exceeds your hand span, you're expected to play it via arpeggio even if there isn't a waved mark. Pianists have very different body measurements, and this convention makes it easier to notate things without worrying whether or not you are demanding the impossible. Towards the end of the romantic era, a lot of composers omitted the arpeggio mark even when writing monster chords that were obviously too wide for anybody to play, even Rachmaninow himself.
Feb
10
comment Why is the lowest note on the piano an A?
Because it's extremely useful to have instrument ranges standardized, so you don't have to specify "for German-keyboard piano" / "for French-keyboard piano" etc, but simply "for piano".
Jan
29
comment Do we find music arranged according to Western Music Theory pleasing because of “biological instinct” or because of what we learn?
@RockinCowboy "wrongly convincing". Asking whether something is "due to instinct" or "due to learning" implies that either one or the other is the case, but in fact almost certainly both mechanisms are operating. People are quite bad at understanding mixed-causality situations, which is why there are so many "false dichotomies". Arguments based on these are usually specious :)
Jan
28
comment Do we find music arranged according to Western Music Theory pleasing because of “biological instinct” or because of what we learn?
The alternative is specious. A huge part of what we transmit to our children culturally is also biologically constrained (but not determined). There are many different scales that peoples consider "natural", but only a tiny fraction of those that would be mathematically possible actually occur. Most of them would be hard-pressed to be accepted by any culture.
Jan
21
comment What's the term for speaking fast in a verse
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patter_song
Jan
21
comment Where to upload (keyboard) transcriptions?
The standard resource is imslp.org. Do you have a particular reason why you think they would not want your scores? There is no particular notability requirement - I've even uploaded myself and nobody objects.