Author Topic: When to dot and when not  (Read 5621 times)

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suspenlute

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When to dot and when not
« on: March 18, 2012, 12:47:17 PM »
Still working on my first movement. Right now I'm trying to notate this (isolated strings):
http://www.suspenlute.com/stuff/tremolo.mp3

And my first idea is this:


So my obvious question is:
1) Should those dotted half notes actually be tied half/quarter notes? (Other feedback I've seen implies this)

And the underlying question (which web searches aren't helping with):
2) What are the basic rules regarding the use of dotted notes vs. tied notes?

Michel.R.E

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Re: When to dot and when not
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2012, 01:04:52 PM »
Flint is our local expert on this particular topic.

I don't see anything wrong with the dotted half starting on the 1st beat.
Part of the rule is that the "large" part of any value (ie: the "half" in dotted-half) should encompass a normal beat division.
So in other words, you would not write 1/4 rest, then dotted half, in a 4/4 measure (the half note would be considered as taking up beats 2 and 3, then the dot filling out beat 4).
In your example, however, the "half" takes up beats 1 and 2, then the dot covers beat 3, which is part of the next beat subdivision.

Now, a quick question: the last 8th note in your example (tied from the dotted half). Is it also tremolo? is it a sudden shift from tremolo to non-tremolo for the duration of that 8th note? is it just a sudden accent on that 8th note?

the answer to the question will determine whether you've notated it correctly or not.
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suspenlute

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Re: When to dot and when not
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2012, 01:26:04 PM »
Now, a quick question: the last 8th note in your example (tied from the dotted half). Is it also tremolo? is it a sudden shift from tremolo to non-tremolo for the duration of that 8th note? is it just a sudden accent on that 8th note?

the answer to the question will determine whether you've notated it correctly or not.

I just wanted to indicate that the three beats of tremolo should end with a single stroke coordinated across the section (in which case I suppose I should have marked the 8th notes all staccato.)

Thanks for clearing up the "rules" as well.

Michel.R.E

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Re: When to dot and when not
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2012, 01:30:32 PM »
don't tie the tremolo to the final 8th note.
it COULD be mistaken for an 8th note that is also tremolo (some editions write it that way).
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suspenlute

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Re: When to dot and when not
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2012, 01:58:37 PM »
don't tie the tremolo to the final 8th note.

Done. :D

flint

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Re: When to dot and when not
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2012, 09:21:56 AM »
don't tie the tremolo to the final 8th note.
it COULD be mistaken for an 8th note that is also tremolo (some editions write it that way).
For the second measure of the example, some ways you could express a rearticulation of the final note:
  • remove the tie
  • leave the tie, but add an articulation to the note, such as a staccato mark (short, articulated release) or an accent or accent/staccato mark (hard, accented release or hard, accented short release, respectively)
  • remove the tie AND add an articulation
  • add a downbow/upbow symbol to the final note (I do not recommend this one, as it is possibly unclear)

I do not recommend the way you currently have it marked; it will cause questions from the musicians, and questions are bad!  ;) (questions stop the rehearsal, not just once, but multiple times, as musicians who don't write down the direction or don't pay attention to the question will inevitably stop the rehearsal again, with the same question!)

I like the way you notated the first measure, by the way. Very clear what your intent is, and where the dynamic changes should appear. Excellent!

Your larger question of dots is not easy to answer. In notation, Clarity should be your guiding principle. When choosing to write a dotted figure, ask yourself how clear the notation is. Does it occur within a metrical subdivision, or across one? Dotting across a metrical subdivision should generally be avoided. In fact, in 4/4, the dotted half note is the *only* dot across a metrical subdivision that I would consider acceptable.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2012, 09:29:34 AM by flint »
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Jamie Kowalski

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Re: When to dot and when not
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2012, 06:47:31 AM »
Part of the rule is that the "large" part of any value (ie: the "half" in dotted-half) should encompass a normal beat division.
So in other words, you would not write 1/4 rest, then dotted half, in a 4/4 measure (the half note would be considered as taking up beats 2 and 3, then the dot filling out beat 4).

I agree with the rule, but your example is the exception. Not only would I allow quarter-rest + dotted half in 4/4, I would greatly prefer it to seeing a tied quarter/half. Measure one here looks strange to me, except that it seems necessary here if it is important to indicate that the mf occurs exactly on beat 3.

Michel.R.E

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Re: When to dot and when not
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2012, 07:46:18 AM »
totally agree Jamie... 4/4 is sort of an exception in regard to  syncopation. It allows for various "regular patterns" that would otherwise not be permitted in other time signatures.

let's say my example of "quarter rest - dotted half" is more of a general guideline for OTHER time signatures... in other words, try not to let syncopations cross beat boundaries if the larger part of the value is on the "wrong" side of the beat boundary.
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Jamie Kowalski

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Re: When to dot and when not
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2012, 08:51:44 AM »
I just took a look to see what Behind Bars says on this subject.

Quote from: Gould: Metre - Sustaining notes across beats
Note-values sustained across a beat or half-bar must expose the beat structure of the bar.
...
Only very straightforward rhythms may be written across the beat or half-bar.
(examples in both 2/4 {8th+Q+8th} and 4/4 {Q+dotted half})

That sounds like a good way to express the rule, and matches my expectation.

Later there is this:
Quote from: Gould: Metre - Syncopation
Note-values written across the metre, contradicting normal bar division, express accents superimposed on the basic metre. Note-grouping that contradicts the metre will be read as syncopation. (several examples follow)

So it's good to break the rule if it helps to emphasize how syncopation is intended.

The syncopation section closes with examples of common patterns that are exceptions to the sustained-across-beats rule with or without syncopation.

Full list:

2/4 or 4/4:
8th+Q+8th
8th+dotted Q

3/4:
8th+Q+8th+Q

4/4:
Q+H+Q

Within beats (simple metre):
16th+8th+16th (beamed)

Within beats (compound metre):
16th+8th+8th+16th (beamed)

Michel.R.E

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Re: When to dot and when not
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2012, 09:04:26 AM »
which is, I think, pretty much what I was saying, no?  :angel:
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

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Jamie Kowalski

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Re: When to dot and when not
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2012, 09:33:22 AM »
which is, I think, pretty much what I was saying, no?  :angel:

Yup. Not contradicting, just giving more to go on for anyone wanting more detail.

Michel.R.E

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Re: When to dot and when not
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2012, 09:58:20 AM »
lol

there are some rules of engraving that are SO damned arcane and difficult to assimilate.

right now, I'm trying to get an answer on a horn part I'm notating. it's VERY frustrating. the rules sometimes seem so arbitrary.
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

Jamie Kowalski

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Re: When to dot and when not
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2012, 10:09:01 AM »
right now, I'm trying to get an answer on a horn part I'm notating. it's VERY frustrating. the rules sometimes seem so arbitrary.

What's the horn question? I played horn in orchestra for a number of years.

Michel.R.E

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Re: When to dot and when not
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2012, 10:13:31 AM »
it's not for a single horn part, but rather the grand staff that has all four horn parts in a score.

I remember reading somewhere, except now I cannot find the reference,  that one could consolidate dynamics to a single expression, placed equidistant between the two horn staves, if those dynamics are shared by all four parts.

My issue is that I have double stems in the horn parts (both up and down, in other words), which means that according to the norm in engraving, it requires all dynamics to be duplicated for each set of stems - so both stem up and stem down get a copy of the dynamics.

It makes for incredibly cramped writing.

especially that there are a couple of "fp" markings, and the way it's written, it pushes the two staves of the horns much further apart than I'd like (I mean really FAR apart).


"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

Jamie Kowalski

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Re: When to dot and when not
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2012, 10:19:49 AM »
I can't think of any valid reason to have more than a single line of expression between the staves, assuming they are supposed to apply to all four parts in the same way. I'm pretty sure I can find examples of what you are describing in my score library when I get a chance to look through it.

I hope we haven't totally hijacked the thread, but I do think the OP question was answered.