I'm just wondering what the R=2N means. I guess it's something like "real bar = 2 notated bars," but does anyone know?

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1 Answer 1


Yes, this nomenclature indicates that "one real bar is equivalent to two notated bars."

This is based off of the work of William Caplin, who basically views 8-measure units as the standard lengths in the Classical style. In order to account for lengths that differ from this 8-measure viewpoint, he introduces the distinction between "real" and "notated measures."

Thus a 4-measure phrase is R = 1/2N, because the real measure is only half of the notated measure (and thus the 4-measure phrase is understood as actually being an 8-measure one). This is really common in slower movements.

In contrast, a 16-measure phrase is R = 2N to match the standard 8-measure length; this is common in faster movements.

  • Wow, thanks for all the answers you gave me on this forum, you're such a big help :)
    – user45165
    Commented Jun 26, 2018 at 19:40
  • "...views 8-measure units as the standard..." Oh, great, he just dissed all 12-bar blues! Commented Jun 27, 2018 at 13:41
  • "...lengths in the Classical style" :-)
    – Richard
    Commented Jun 27, 2018 at 13:43

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