Reinforcing meter when dealing with alternating 1/8 and 1/16 notes and rests

Below is an excerpt from a not very well known piece (in 4/4 time) that prominently features abuses ornament notes:

In an attempt to simplify the piece (which is full of similar ornamentation) while preserving the original rhythm of the melody I tried removing all the ornament notes, and I am left with this strange arrangement of successive quaver notes and semiquaver rests:

Ironically, attempting to simplify it seems to have made it harder to read (or no improvement) because I (together with my teacher and a few of my pianist friends I asked) can't see where the beats are. Now, I do know that as a general style guide in music notation one should "reinforce meter" by using beams and ties where needed. I read this music.SE answer about beaming 1/8 and 1/16 notes together and the last example given in that answer seems similar to this situation, but.... you can't beam rests, can you?

Is there better notation for the second excerpt, that is without the ornaments?

In fact, you can beam rests! I would go with:

This is a clear modification of the "correct" beaming of your original example, which would be:

Some of the comments below correctly state that beat 3 of my first example is not standard notation. Perhaps I went a bit crazy beaming all the rests, in which case you may prefer the following, more conservative option:

• I'm not sure that I've ever seen beaming of rests done the way you've done it in the third full beat. I'd be more inclined to just write that eighth note with a flag rather than attached to an "empty" beam. Commented Mar 1, 2018 at 21:03
• @MichaelSeifert (Typographer's hat on) That's a difficult decision between the two solutions. What you suggest (16th rests and 8th note with a flag) would be very classical notation, what Richard did is unseen (AFAIK) in classical setting, but not unreasonable (I actually believe that LIlyPond is the first software to easily allow for this). It's one of the things I consider as "advancement" rather than "experiment doomed to fail".
– yo'
Commented Mar 1, 2018 at 21:46
• I would also suggest that you could remove all of the rests except the one right on beat 3, by extending the durations of the preceding notes. Especially the 16ths starting on beats 2 and 4. If separation is deemed important, this can be indicated with staccato dots. Commented Mar 1, 2018 at 22:50
• @MattPutnam The problem is that this (IMHO) wouldn't be played staccato, but rather non-legato.
– yo'
Commented Mar 2, 2018 at 7:35

You don't really need the beams to reinforce the metre, just making it explicit whenever a note is syncopated over a strong beat goes a long way:

``````X: 1
L: 1/16
K: Cmaj
M: C
%% score (T1)
V:T1 clef=treble
% 1
[V:T1] b2 z (e e) z d2 z e2 z b z c'2
``````

If you allow slight adjustments to the note length, this can be made substantially clearer yet:

``````X: 1
L: 1/16
K: Cmaj
M: C
%% score (T1)
V:T1 clef=treble
% 1
[V:T1] b2 z (e e2)d2 z e3 .b2c'2
``````
• Is there some plug-in or software that I need in order to make sense of this code? Commented Mar 2, 2018 at 1:49
• @TheChaz2.0 Music.SE uses ABCjs plugin. I think it's only supported in desktop/full view. Commented Mar 2, 2018 at 2:37
• This does not make sense. You either make all the `8` notes `8.`, or none of them. And if none of them, this still is pretty confusing between beats 2 and 3... :-/
– yo'
Commented Mar 2, 2018 at 7:32
• @yo' depends what you want. If the rests should be “emphasized” (i.e. kind of silently playing the A pedal note that was there originally), then you can of course not make any of the notes longer. But if this more of a Latin groove thing, I would anyways not play all those notes the same duration and instead use also the phrasing to emphasize the metre. The version I wrote is one possibility how to do that. In particular the strong syncope on 2+e is a natural candidate for a dotted quaver, whereas it would be quite strange to sustain the next note onto the 3. Commented Mar 2, 2018 at 10:45