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When describing a range of bars (measures) should this be inclusive, semi-inclusive or exclusive to be clearest?

For example: if I cut bars 10,11,12,13 in a piece of music, with players starting again at bar 14, I would describe this as "mm. 10-13 CUT", however a colleague of mine describes it as "cut bars 10-14".

Which seems clearer...?

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In the context of describing musical passages, I tend to assume measure ranges are inclusive. Two examples of this are "Bars 1-2 consist of a 2-bar riff that is repeated throughout the piece" and "Measures 45-78 are in G sharp minor".

In the context of "cutting", though, I have no idea what the convention is...

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I would say "cut mm. 10--13," not "10--14."

I understand where your colleague is coming from, and one way to remove ambiguity would be to say "cut m. 10 to m. 14," compared to "cut m. 10 through m. 13." But I've still always heard "cut mm. 10--13."

Replace "cutting" with "resting." Who would ever say "rest bars 10--14" in this scenario?


What has always bothered me more is when, in an ensemble rehearsal, the conductor says "Count back with me from the end, four bars." By "end" does the conductor mean the very end (i.e., the double bar), or the beginning of the last measure? I've never been clear on this.

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  • The end has to be the double bar - 'fine' is a good clue! But seriously, I'd take it as counting 4 bars as then being able to play the final 4 bars. Conductor needs questioning! I'm having fun with a French conductor at the moment, as 'G' is pronounced 'J', and 'J' pronounced 'G'. It's fun when he says 'lets go from section G/J...' – Tim Apr 13 '17 at 16:55

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