I am working on an exercise where I am given a few empty bars along with a time signature; and I am to fill it in with rests following the standard rules.

In 5/2 time, I am given 4 measures, each with a single note. they are, in order,

half note, whole note, dottedwhole note, and quarter note.

Since I do not know any way to group the beats, I was left with no choice but to write the first measure as:

half note, half rest, half rest, half rest, half rest,

the second measure as:

whole note, half rest, half rest, half rest,

the third measure as:

dotted whole note, half rest, half rest,

and the fourth measure as:

quarter note, quarter rest, half rest, half rest, half rest, half rest.

But this looks odd to me; and I have never seen anything like it. Is this the correct way to fill the measures in with rests?

  • This sounds like a homework exercise! But anyway, when in doubt assume 3+2 groupings. Also bars 1 & 4 are short one beat each in your solution. Nov 29 '17 at 1:42
  • @DeanRansevycz It's an exercise out of a book I'm working through, called Complete Elementary Music Rudiments by Mark Sarnecki -- 2nd Edition. I suppose it is a homework exercise, assigned to me by myself. Also, that was a typo in the first two measures (now fixed). But other than that is this the best I can do? Nov 29 '17 at 1:54
  • @DeanRansevycz Also, forgive my bad wording, but by "I do not know any way to group the beats" I meant I do not know of any way to group the two half-rests together into one rest, like how I would group three eighth-rests into a dotted quarter rest in 6/8 time. Nov 29 '17 at 1:55
  • 3
    @Sarkreth the risk of using a whole rest is that it's also used to indicate a rest for an entire measure. Of course the real answer is that nobody writes 5/2 anyway :-). Nov 29 '17 at 12:43
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    This book, Complete Elementary Music Rudiments by Mark Sarnecki -- 2nd Edition, does seem to take exercises to extremes! Maybe you could find a better book that draws its examples from real music? Nov 30 '17 at 2:35

The convention in 5-time is to group the beats either in a 3-2 or 2-3 pattern, depending on where the musical emphasis goes. When filling out a measure, it is desirable to use the largest notations that express the division. However, in this case, it's a bit visually confusing for a measure to have both half and whole rests. Thus, for the exercises in question:

X: 1
K: none
M: 5/2
L: 1/2
[K: clef=perc stafflines=1] B z2 z2 || B2 z3 || B3 z2 || B/2 z/2 z2 z2 ||
  • Personally, I would prioritize clear subdivisions of the measure over avoiding half & whole rests in the same measure. So I would be disinclined to use your second measure in a measure that was grouped as 3+2, since the dotted whole rest crosses the subdivision between the "3" and the "2". Similarly, I would be disinclined to use any of the others in a measure that was grouped as 2+3. Aug 2 at 16:09

I have seen examples of dotted measures, but this is often hard to read, as it is not easy to see the dot combined with a measure. The most common is to fill out with rests separately. Since the whole rest is usually used to notate rest for the entire measure, no matter what the time signature is, you are right to fill out with half rests, as these are the largest rest value you have for using in part of a measure where it is not rest for the whole measure.

Since rest is just meaning "do not play", you do not need to combine them in any way, as you would need for notes. If you do the same for notes, you need to tie them together, because otherwise it would be separate notes played each with a new stroke. For rests, this is not necessary because two separate rests sound the same as one combined rest with same total duration (i.e., two separate quarter rests is exactly the same as one half rest). Because of this, there is no concept of tying rests together.

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