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68

Instruments don't just produce one frequency at a time. When you play a single note on a melodic instruments (like piano, wind instruments, string instruments, etc.), you produce many different frequencies at a single time--a whole spectrum is produced. But this spectrum isn't random. It pretty closely follows the harmonic series, which can be thought of as ...


51

The drums CAN play melodies, but the number of pitches and notes you have available are limited by the number of drums you have (not counting creative applications of "bending" the drum head to produce higher pitches). Terry Bozzio is an example of a drummer who uses a massive drumset so that he can play more complex melodies on the drums. In a video of his ...


47

The notes with stems up are for singing in Italian, while the notes with the stems down are for singing in German. Thus, in the first picture of the original posting, in Italian it would be ... while in German you should sing In the second picture of the original posting, the Italian lyrics have only one syllable (“voi”) while the German lyrics have two ...


38

Using only your ears, it's impossible to determine the exact time signature the composer would have used when writing the score. This is because there are many ways to write the same thing, all of which sound the same when played. For example, a piece written in 3/4 time can easily be re-written in 3/8 time by halving all the note values and playing it half ...


31

The dot above the quarter note is a staccato articulation which doesn't affect its rhythmic value. It's still a quarter note. If the dot was to the right of the note it would change its rhythmic value. The sample has two voices. The top voice (sticks upwards) has a half note rest followed by a half note. The lower voice (sticks downwards) has a staccato ...


30

They aren't necessarily supposed to be played with metronomical precision of the 13:8 ratio, but they are supposed to make up a homogeneous run with no unequal subdivision. In particular, there should be no note in the run that clearly hits the 2 beat, as the B and A do in your proposed subdivision, so that approach is no good. I would at least not train to ...


28

Start by finding the beat. Tap your finger for every beat, like a human metronome. Resist any urge to tap uneven rhythms; just the underlying constant pulse. Once you've got that, listen for the start of bars. There are various indicators that a bar is starting; an emphasis, a chord change, etc. Now count. "One" for the first beat, then counting upward, ...


27

Yep, the second one is far better for precisely the reason you say. A general rule is that you shouldn't have dotted-notes that start on an off beat and carry through the next beat. There are exceptions even to this rule, but showing the underlying beat structure of the meter is paramount in the vast majority of situations. Elliott Carter is an example of ...


27

There was a trick for these that I used all the time based on what the rests look like. The whole rest looks like a hole. The words sound the same so it's a good way to equate them. The half rest looks like a hat and since hat and half both start with the letter 'h' they go together. I like this trick a lot because it associates the rests more with ...


26

I think @Ulf is on the right track--I'll elaborate here. It sounds like your student is at the point where you'll need to work on the absolute basics of rhythm. Before you get anywhere near subdivisions, time signatures, even the concept of a quarter note, your student needs to become proficient with steady beat. This is, in many ways, the concept that ...


25

This free-thinking question has already provoked at least one thoughtful answer. The sample score happens to have time signatures, however, beginning with 4 bars of 4⁄4 and going into a bar of 2⁄4 before returning to 4⁄4 . They're just stretched beyond recognition. Squashed (unstretched): Close-in to unstretched 2⁄4 and 4&...


24

Those are simply triplets. Think of it as : But with the first two triplets tied: Which results in your notation: (since two eighths equal one quarter). If you wanted a more specific name for it, you could say 'a quarter and an eighth triplet' These two notes are to be played on the count of one quarter (one beat if your time signature is 4/4)


23

They are actually eighth note triplets instead of eighth notes. The alternative notation to this would be to group the eighth notes and rests in threes and put a 3 over them like a standard triplet, but it's easy enough to see that you are fitting 12 equally spaced notes in a measure which end up being eighth note triplets which would kind of screw up the ...


22

A semibreve rest CAN be used in 6/8 time - or ANY time (apart from 4/2 - quite unusual)) to represent one bar's rest. At that point, it isn't actually a 'semibreve', but represents just one bar of that music. It's become a shorthand way of saying "one whole bar rest".


22

No-one's mentioned pans - aka steel drums They certainly are used to play melodies. The main problem is that melodies usually contain long and short duration notes, and drums generally can only produce short, so rolls have to be performed to 'sustain' longer notes. For those who haven't had the pleasure, 40 gallon steel oil drums are cut in half, or less, ...


21

In elementary school, I was taught to think of the rest like a raft in water. Since a half rest gets two beats, it's like a raft carrying two people - light enough to float on top of the water: The whole rest, on the other hand, gets four beats (in common time, anyway) and so it's like a raft carrying four people - enough weight such that it sinks down ...


20

Sounds like you are trying to intellectually and analytically "understand" music. In my opinion, this can be done to some extent. Just like you can intellectually understand language and grammar, and use that understanding to write poems, novels and short stories. However useful it might be, it isn't really necessary to write great stories. What makes a ...


20

Technically speaking, you can't ever say for certain until you see the composer's original score (if there even is one); a piece could literally be written in an infinite number of time signatures. As such, we have to make these decisions based on a knowledge of prior practice and on what makes the most practical sense. So, let's look at this excerpt notated ...


20

I'd go with grace notes, they are not counted in the rhythm, so you don't need to fiddle with the unreadable rest durations. Also, they are supposed to be played very fast. I provide several options with different meanings. The middle one is mostly understood and meant to be played as arpeggios where the g in the second arpeggio is not kept. LilyPond ...


19

I'm pretty sure LilyPond can do what you want. It's not the easiest thing to use but since you've already used a text-based system it might not be too bad. Here are some examples and this is also relevant in this case. MuseScore is another free option, which is easier to use and might also be able to do this. EDIT: Here's a lilypond version: And code: ...


19

The eighth notes in the left hand are all triplets. The ones in the right hand are normal. Note how the note heads line up vertically in measure 4. On a purely technical level, this is incorrect notation. But it's something that can be figured out pretty easily, so I guess Liszt either didn't care or wrote it like that for artistic reasons.


18

I would first try to focus on your timing and nothing else. If you can play in time that way, it's probably just a matter of practice to nail down your time and get away from the loose rhythm. If you still have trouble, cut out everything except you and the metronome. You don't want extra beats or notes to interfere with that you're doing. If you can't ...


18

There are note values not notateable without ties. For example: A note the length of a crotchet (quarter note) + a semiquaver (sixteenth note) would need to be written with a tie, as there's no notation which says "add a quarter of the length of the note to its duration". We've got "add half" (dotted notes) and "add three quarters" (double dotted notes), ...


18

Is this subjective or is there [a] method to this? This question gives me another occasion to link to the Jacobs School Music Notation Style Guide,, which is a great resource for beginning composers. In particular, here's what they say about notating rhythms: While there are often multiple ways to beam and group given rhythms, some solutions are easier ...


18

The note on the second space up is a quaver (1/8th note) and a demi-semiquaver (1/32 note). It's actually written in two parts - sort of top half of SATB, if you will. The stems' or tails' direction is important, as the note in question has stems up and down. It's like the stems up are one voice, stems down another. And it's tidier to write it out like this. ...


18

It's not hopeless, but may take more time than others would. A couple of ideas. While listening to music, start tapping, singing, nodding, whatever, and turn down the sound, initially so it's still just audible, for several seconds. Turn back up, see if you're still in time. Gradually leave the silence longer until you can manage several bars. I used to do ...


17

Normally, we're told that 5/4 is really 3/4 + 2/4 or 2/4 + 3/4. Well, I have to ask "told by who?" It is not the case that 5/4 has to be interpreted as either 3/4 + 2/4 or 2/4 + 3/4. It is perfectly valid to use groups of 5 crotchet beats as the overall rhythmic template of a piece of music, without having to have the same sub-groupings in different parts. ...


17

Several things. First and foremost -- I cannot stress this enough -- we express ourselves in the idioms of the music we listen to. If you want to start having more rhythmically interesting inspirations of your own, you need to be filling your ears with rhythmically interesting music. If you're not already doing this, start compiling collections of music ...


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