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  • 0 posts edited
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  • 33 votes cast
Mar
30
comment Does 3/4 time signature differ from 6/8?
"America" is a nice example: if it were all in 3/4, it would be "I like to be in A-mer-i-ca. O-kay by me in A-mer-i-ca." If all in 6/8, "I like to be in A-mer-i-i-ca. O-kay by me in A-mer-i-i-ca." Instead, the piece (at least in the theatrical score) is marked "6/8 3/4", and the time signature alternates every measure.
Mar
30
comment Time signature change.
I would interpret a 6/8 bar subdivided into three quarter notes, or a 3/4 bar subdivided into two dotted quarters, differently from a single 3/4 bar in a 6/8 section or a 6/8 bar in a 3/4 section. The hemiola, to my ear, implies real or implied pulses on the third, fourth, and fifth eighth-note subdivisions, while a hard time change would not. For pieces which change a lot [e.g. "America"], it may be helpful to mark "6/8 3/4" once before a sequence of alternating-time-signature measures, rather than marking the time signature on every measure.
Mar
28
comment What guitar tunings allow many chords without fretting between “live” strings
...with many accompaniment patterns the guitar sounds like two instruments. On electric guitars, I've achieved a somewhat similar effect by sticking metal bars to the top four "strings" on the bridge pickup (so the bridge pickup adds a lot of treble to the bass strings, but not the upper ones). I've gotten myself a domain and started to set up a blog, but got stalled for lack of inspiration. Would you like to work with me on that? Chat me if so.
Mar
28
comment What guitar tunings allow many chords without fretting between “live” strings
Thanks much for writing. I've read various descriptions of regular tunings, but minor-thirds tuning always seemed to get a brush-off. What do you think about my tuning the fifth string tuned an octave down from the fourth, and the sixth string a fourth up from that? Since I asked the original question, I've decided to try stringing an Ovation guitar (hollowbody electric) with ball-end nylon strings, using a G string (the heaviest unwound one) on the fourth-string spot. Non-uniform string tensions are slightly annoying to play with, but I've gotten used to them, and...
Mar
27
comment Small clefs on score
It may be worth noting that the two-treble-clef or two-bass-clef notation is best when left-hand notes remain consistently significantly below right-hand notes. If parts overlap or cross, it's often clearer to have both on the same staff, generally using stem direction--but occasionally using annotations--to distinguish them. In bar 5 beat 4, I think the latter style might have made it clearer that on a single-manual instrument the left hand will need to get off the "g" quickly, though on a two-manual instrument it could (and should) hold it for the full beat.
Mar
12
comment Tonality and Modality together
I would think a piece in mixolydian with its tone center on G would normally be written as G major, with accidentals applied to cancel all the F-sharps. Likewise pieces in lydian centered on F, or dorian centered on D would be written as F major and D minor, respectively, with accidentals cancelling all the B-flats. None of those pieces would have any sharps or flats in their mode, but would all nonetheless typically be written with sharps or flats in the key signature.
Mar
4
answered Why do harmonics played on guitar sound lower as you move to higher frets while fretted notes sound higher?
Mar
3
comment Why do harmonics played on guitar sound lower as you move to higher frets while fretted notes sound higher?
It may be worth noting that plucking an undamped string causes it to vibrate at all of its harmonics, but only the lowest is generally audible. Grazing a string will nullify all harmonics which would require the string to move at that spot. If one grazes the string at the midpoint and then at the 1/3 point, that will nullify all odd harmonics, and then all that aren't multiples of three, leaving only those which are multiples of six (which may be quite faint).
Mar
3
comment Why do harmonics played on guitar sound lower as you move to higher frets while fretted notes sound higher?
@NReilingh: Plucking with a finger lightly on the 12th fret will produce both the 2x (octave) and 4x (two-octave) harmonics; because lower harmonics are generally louder, the 4x harmonic will not be noticeable, but that won't mean it's not present. Indeed, plucking an open string will produce many harmonics, but they won't be as noticeable as the fundamental; one may demonstrate their presence, however, by lightly brushing the harmonic after the string is plucked. If a harmonic is audible after one touches a fractional subdivision of a string, that means it was present beforehand.
Mar
2
comment When does audio latency matter and not matter?
I suspect another critical factor with the latency tolerance on keyboard and drums is that all of the actions to initiate a note must be completed before anything is audible, whereas singing or playing a saxophone requires that one adjust one's facial/vocal muscles in response to what the voice or instrument is doing.
Feb
24
comment Chord naming conventions: add2 versus add9
I think Cm7(b5) may be used notationally for consistency with C7(b5) which would be C-E-Gb-Bb--a chord which doesn't fit any "normal" pattern.
Feb
19
answered Why does plucked and bowed string of violin produces slightly different pitches?
Feb
18
comment Small note above a normal-sized note
...lyric substitution is a common reason for printing small notes in addition to full-sized ones, and often doesn't have any special explanation beyond the placement of the lyrics themselves.
Feb
18
comment Small note above a normal-sized note
In the picture above, there's insufficient context to judge what the small note is for--whether it's a note that singers aren't expected to be able to hit but should if possible, or if it's the last note of a cue-note phrase continued from the previous line, etc.? If the small note had been e.g. a bottom-line E, it might have been plausible that the top-space E was preferred, but that the lower E was suggested as an alternate for anyone who couldn't sing the upper one. That the note is the same duration as the full-size one makes lyric-based substitution unlikely, but...
Feb
18
comment Small note above a normal-sized note
@Chris: Consider the situation where a measure starts with a full-sized half note C, and small quarter notes D C, and some verses have a syllable on the second beat, but the first verse doesn't. Versus with a syllable on the second beat would use the quarter notes, and those without would use the half note. Such notation would be considered sufficiently commonplace as to not merit a special explanation.
Feb
18
comment Music Notation - Little notes
@PLL: Small notes are sometimes also used to show passages which performers may or may not play, based upon various criteria [e.g. "for rehearsal only" or "play cue notes only when flute is unavailable"]
Feb
17
comment In piano music notation how are notes distributed between the staves?
Connecting beams between two staffs can sometimes be useful, but any staff containing both left- and right-hand notes should use stem direction to indicate which hand plays what, and both left- and right-hand parts should be rhythmically complete. For the above snippet, I would have first two bass-cleff notes should be down-stem, folowed by a dotted-quarter rest and dotted-half rest placed low on the lower staff. The upper staff would then start with a dotted-quarter rest and include the remaining notes. I would also use the bass-clef "g" rather than the two-ledger-line one.
Feb
14
comment Do accidentals apply to other staffs of the same type?
@Tim: My philosophy is that notation should be generally chosen to maximize the likelihood of accurate interpretation, even while sight-reading, and an editor should use judgment as to what things might be misinterpreted. I would consider cautionary accidentals appropriate in many situations where there would be no particular "rule" calling for them, but a lot depends on judgment. For vocal music, or for instruments where performers play "relative" pitches, I favor parentheses around cautionary accidentals to help performers judge whether a note is higher or lower than what they'd "expect".
Feb
13
answered Do accidentals apply to other staffs of the same type?
Feb
10
comment Melodic Minor - Uses
I like your point about going toward the tonic. A lot of the time melodies aren't simple ascending or descending lines, but can jump and change direction. A jump to the raised seventh will tend to pull toward the tonic; a jump to the natural seventh won't. Both tonic-raised7-tonic and tonic-nat7-tonic are useful melodic figures, the former suggesting an inability to escape the tonic, and the latter suggesting a full escape and return.