How do you notate a score that doesn't have a continuous tempo, but ebbs and flows? How can you communicate the rhythmic intentions of the composer to future players? What I was lectured that you need to feel the beat. I feel that there's a change in the beat structure mathematically it's still stays on the tempo but the feeling is different.

  • How do you know it "ebbs and flows"? – Johannes Dec 14 '15 at 9:33
  • I have the recording. But if I write the music and somebody else picks it up how would he know to play as intended? – Nachmen Dec 14 '15 at 9:35
  • Hmmm... I guess you don't. Perhaps clever use of fermatas? On the other hand, how do you know the recording is the "correct" interpretation of the piece? Your question is kind of unclear. – Johannes Dec 14 '15 at 9:39
  • The recording is a demo from the composer. I'm asking it now in general since I transcribed the piece, how would someone else know how to play it exactly as the composer intended? – Nachmen Dec 14 '15 at 12:14
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    Tempo fluctuation has nothing whatsoever to do with being "a capella". That simply means "without accompaniment". – Kilian Foth Dec 14 '15 at 12:41

Without more information, I would guess that at least four things could be going on:

  • Rubato: An intentional fluctuation of tempo, with an expressive goal, used in music since Romanticism. This would feel most as 'ebbs and flows' to me. Because rubato is supposed to be only a temporary deviation of the original tempo.
  • Changing meter: The number of beats in a measure can temporarily change. For example, a piece or a song can go from a 3/4 meter to a 2/4 meter for just one measure and then return to 3/4. It can also be more structural: every 4/4 measure is followed by a 3/4 measure, for example.
  • Syncopation: There are many kinds of syncopation, see the Wikipedia article for that, but often it feels like a missed beat or a note that is suspended over the bar line. Most popular, jazz and rock music is syncopated which can make it difficult to transcribe rhytmically for an untrained ear, especially if there isn't a clear beat played underneath it.
  • Triplets or tuplets: three or more notes are played or sung in the space of one beat. Sometimes this can give a feeling of a temporary temposwitch.

It's difficult to know what you are dealing with but I would read up on those three and see if one of them qualifies.

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  • With luck I got it right the youtube link is youtu.be/rkkouhdO1a8 – Nachmen Dec 16 '15 at 10:07
  • The audio clip is a new production with accompaniment, it's also much clearer then the audio I had from 1948. It is around measures 15 that were my question was. – Nachmen Dec 16 '15 at 10:25
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    Possible cause #5: ritardando/tempo primo or accelerando/tempo primo. – guidot Dec 16 '15 at 14:16
  • @guido This how I wrote it down. I have also by measure 24 the six eights that repeat four times in the next part. between the beats the sentence with the six eights, the feel changes I left it in 3/4 because mathematically it fits. Put in a rubato sign then piú mosso, then back rubato and back piú mosso. For me it could be 6/8 only for a measure than back this the hard part for me. – Nachmen Dec 16 '15 at 18:01

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