Hey everyone, I'm a bit stuck here. Apparently one of these options is better than the other but I can't figure out which. I thought perhaps I needed more context but that's all the context that's provided. Anybody know why one is more correct?
Beats are grouped in metric units of two or three beats. The general rule for notation is that it should communicate those metric units: with very limited exceptions, primary beams are broken at metric units, and notes or rests that span metric units should be written to make the metric units easy to see (with ties or multiple rests).
A septuple meter can be 2+2+3, 2+3+2, or 3+2+2. Since the primary beam connects the first three eighths we know it must be 3+2+2. And that means the rests should be written to clearly indicate the 2+2 grouping of the remaining 4 beats.
Either of the choices shown do that - but it's a terrible test question, because either one could be right - it depends on whether the remaining eighth is placed on count 5 or count 6.
But the spacing is a clue. Most copyists will try to give beats about the same amount of space in a measure - that makes it easier on the eyes. The first line shows a purple box that's about an eighth note long and another that's about a quarter note long. Based on that, I'd assume the written eighth note falls on count 5... and that would make the second choice correct (because it preserves the roughly proportional spacing of the beats within the measure).
The two examples are musically different. In the first case the single eighth note is on beat 6, in the second example it is on beat 5.
The question here is not about subdivision: both examples imply 3+2+2 (the second one could theoretically also be 4+3). The problem here is the spacing of the rests in example one. The quarter note rest has too little spacing and the eighth has too much. The player would be tempted to play the note an eighth too early. Example two is correct.
The alternative way of looking at this is that the question implies how much space each rest needs to take. Obviously the quarter note rest takes the larger space. Either way example two is correct.