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enter image description here 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?

  • Your two examples produce a different output. As answers suggest, this is a BS question posed by someone with spatial OCD – Carl Witthoft Jul 10 '19 at 14:24
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    @ian Where does this question comes from. It appears to be a subjective survey, not an objective quiz. – Peter Jul 10 '19 at 16:18
  • @CarlWitthoft What if it's from a course where one of the subjects is note spacing according to durations. The first option has a confusing note spacing. It doesn't take an OCD to demand that a student understand this simple thing : longer note, longer space. – piiperi Reinstate Monica Jul 11 '19 at 7:02
  • @piiperi I've seen an incredible number of different publishers, not to mention manually written scores over the years. Anyone who thinks teaching perfect note spacing is important is wasting everyone' s time. Not to mention that modern typesetting software automatically sets the spacings "correctly." – Carl Witthoft Jul 11 '19 at 13:14
  • @CarlWitthoft What "perfect", where did you get that from? If any sort of note spacing at all has been taught, and particularly if it's been taught by displaying colored bars like the ones in the picture, then the students should have some kind of a clue about it. The picture doesn't look like it was meant to be understood by random people on the internet without context. – piiperi Reinstate Monica Jul 11 '19 at 18:26
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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).

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    This seems to be the expected answer, and reasoning behind it. But, as you say, a terrible (I came up with a better word) question. And with 50:50, what does either answer do to help student/teacher? – Tim Jul 10 '19 at 4:47
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    @Tim - I came up with other words too, but they were less family-friendly. If I had to write a question for what's probably the learning objective I would have put the eighth on count 7, and given the choice between a dotted quarter rest or a quarter+eighth rest pair. – Tom Serb Jul 10 '19 at 11:07
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I think the expected answer is the second option. I derive this only from the note spacing.

As mentioned, these are not real options - they aren't two ways of writing the SAME rhythm, but two different rhythms. Both would be 'correct' if that's what the composer wanted.

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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.

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Your options are musically different. The first one seems to divide the measure as 3+4 eighth notes; the second as 4+3 eighths. The choice cannot be made without context. Either is correct depending on the accentuation of the music.

  • Thanks, I think there must supposed to be more context. – Ian Jul 10 '19 at 2:09
  • Either could be correct, although splitting down to 2 and 3 makes life easier - see Tom's more feasible answer. – Tim Jul 10 '19 at 4:49

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