Notation Conventions

Questions and discussion on technical, teaching and performance matters
Timtin
Pianomasochist
Posts: 1944
Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2009 12:36 pm
Instruments played, if any: Pianoforte
Music Scores: Yes
Contact:

Re: Notation Conventions

Post by Timtin »

Hi Brian,

Thank you for amplifying on Fred's answer.

Having shown my ignorance on accidentals, I may as well go the
whole hog and show it regarding wind instrument key signatures.

As I understand it, if for example a clarinet is in B flat, then the key
signature subtracts the first 2 flats from the normal key signature.
So a piece in A flat major would show its last two 2 flats (A flat
and D flat) and a piece in C major would show 2 sharps (F sharp
and C sharp).

If the clarinet is in A, the key signature subtracts its first 3 sharps
from the normal key signature. So a piece in E major would show
its last sharp (D sharp) and a piece in C major would show 3 flats
(B flat, E flat and A flat).

Having got these sharps and flats pinned down, all the other notes
become more easily identifiable. For years, I got confused by the
sight of seeing, for example, one flat on the clarinet stave and it
not being B flat!
bingo
Member
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2020 11:57 pm
Instruments played, if any: piano
Music Scores: Yes

Re: Note values in cadenzas and similar passages

Post by bingo »

I've noticed in a lot of scores (particularly from Russian sources), that there is a casual disregard for note values in passages such as the attached where a 2/4 bar is actually 18/4. It makes me wonder why the time signature or note values weren't formally adjusted, especially given that it's ostensibly a slow MM 40
czardas.jpg


This example, is at least fairly straightforward, and unlike some other examples the left and right hand line up timing-wise. I've been re-notating some of these digitally so that I can get a more readable score and hear what it is supposed to sound like where recordings do not exist. That process shows up many errors in some editions where even in regular measures, some note values are either half/double what they should be, or dot values are lost in the general detritus of a poor scan.

Comments or insights?
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
WalterNiemann
Pianophiliac
Posts: 152
Joined: Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:17 am
Instruments played, if any: Piano
Music Scores: Yes
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: Notation Conventions

Post by WalterNiemann »

Hello bingo,

This is a common issue especially in scores from the 1820s (e.g. Alkan's variations on a theme by Steibelt, Variation in C major, where the note values do not fit at all the time signature...)

These errors however should had been a thing of the past since digital notation has become common. In your example it seems to be (a) a cadenza or (b) a notation error. I could imagine that the editor did a time signature change and hid it (possible in Sibelius). The 8th-note-triplets do have to be 16th-note-triplets.


Best regards

Robin
bingo
Member
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2020 11:57 pm
Instruments played, if any: piano
Music Scores: Yes

Re: Notation Conventions

Post by bingo »

Yes, computer-rendered versions should make these problems go away, as well as affording more time-proportionate layouts within each measure. This score is only 20 years old and almost certainly a digital product.

It seems that the notation gets even more confusing in subsequent pages with few rests or consistent note values to match up hands. Throw in a proliferation of grace-notes, arpeggios and implied additional voices. The right hand triplet (which is likely to have a real value of 1/8 or less rather than 1/4) is possibly commencing on the third beat, or maybe it actually falls at 5/8. It's infuriating when these are alternated with measures that are very precisely notated with irregular time signatures, metronome markings and additional voices. Ironically a passage marked as a cadenza is unambiguous in its layout!
Czardas2.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
HullandHellandHalifax
Site Admin
Posts: 801
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 10:19 pm
Instruments played, if any: piano organ harmonium
Music Scores: Yes
Location: Zeist, The Netherlands

Re: Notation Conventions

Post by HullandHellandHalifax »

I think you are both missing the point here, this piece is labelled as a Czardas and by it's very nature is improvised by Gypsy musicians who in the past would not know anything about notation and other rules. What I see here is an attempt to write the notes in such a way to convey the improvisatorial nature of the music. No-one can write out what happens in a passage marked rubato, it is impossible as every time it is played it becomes something else, here it looks like an attempt to convey that spirit of improvisation.
So I would say where the music setter doesn't obey the rules to the letter look behind the notes and try to understand what the composer was trying to do to help you perform what his intentions were. We are not computers and shouldn't try to play like one (other than note accuracy or as near as you can) look behind the "notes of deception" and see the message hidden there, and then perform it!
regards
Brian
bingo
Member
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2020 11:57 pm
Instruments played, if any: piano
Music Scores: Yes

Re: Notation Conventions

Post by bingo »

Hi Brian. In this case it is a piano arrangement of the famous Monti Czardas. So it is a case of the arranger presenting their interpretation of an existing work. My view is that they need to have a consistent approach to their notation in order to present their interpretation.

I don't have a recording of a performance, so if I follow a combination of explicit instructions and -in their absence - note lengths from previous measures then it sounds quite terrible! In order to provide some recognisable continuity of motion I've had to adjust the tempo of some measures to 200 to be consistent with the MM 40 in adjacent measures.

If I can't tell what the relative note lengths are within a measure (like the triplet set above ) I'm a little bit lost between error and arranger intent. The arrangement intermingles fussy specification of 1/32 notes at a particular M.M. with note-lengths of indeterminate value.

b
bingo
Member
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2020 11:57 pm
Instruments played, if any: piano
Music Scores: Yes

Re: Notation Conventions

Post by bingo »

Any idea as to the intent of this double-C on a chord? It's repeated later in the score, so less likely to be an engraving error.
yuferov op7-1.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
User avatar
fredbucket
Site Admin
Posts: 1973
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2009 8:51 am
Instruments played, if any: Piano, Harpsichord, Organ, Piano Accordian, Button Accordian, Anglo and Duet Concertinas, Oboe, Cor Anglais, 6 & 12 string guitars, 5-string banjo.
Music Scores: Yes
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Notation Conventions

Post by fredbucket »

It’s an engraving error. One of the C’s should be a D - to fit a Dm7 chord. If it’s repeated further on, then that makes two errors...

Regards
Fred
bingo
Member
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2020 11:57 pm
Instruments played, if any: piano
Music Scores: Yes

Re: Notation Conventions

Post by bingo »

Thanks Fred.
Post Reply