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Thread: Unfamiliar Notation Questions

  1. #1
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Colorado Springs CO

    Unfamiliar Notation Questions

    I found the following notation in my fake book (see the 1st bar below). I'm puzzled by the selection of two tied 8ths, rather than selecting a single 4th, as I've shown in the 2nd bar. Is there a solid reason for this?

    Second question with regard to bars 3 and 4. The composer has shown two bars, each with a whole and a half, but those two notes indicated as a triplet.

    The intent, I think, is to play a single triplet that has total count of 8 (that is, three notes each with a duration of 8/3 of a beat). Is that correct?

    If so, why can't you write a single triplet bracket across the two bars--instead of this notation? I mean, it almost suggests two triplets (two brackets)--in fact, since you're already abusing the meaning of the note anyway (you're using wholes and 1/2s, but their actual value is overridden by the bracket), why not just use 'x' notation?
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  2. #2
    Registered User jesus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Hi Bongo,

    Concerning the first question, I think that 1st bar is right and second is wrong written. If I remember right, there are some rules for writing music staff. The time signature is a 4/4, that is there are four beats or times, so you must mentally divide the bar in two or four parts.The 1st bar is correctly written because you can divide it into two parts, each one contains a 4th dotted and a 8th, thus the reader can follow the notes without loosing the time parts of a bar.
    Maybe, I'm poorly explained myself, so excuse me for that. The conclusion is that the notes must be
    writen in such way that they fit within the time parts of the bar, and it often requires to use tied notes (especially, when syncopation is used). So, I think that the second bar, despite it has the same information, it is bad written, since it seem to indicate a three part bar, while the time is a four part.

    Maybe anyone else can explain this rules better than me. For the second question I have to think about it, so I have no answer by the moment.

    Hope have help you a bit. Greetings

  3. #3
    i Breathe ... Admin Guni's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Austria & UK
    Hi jesus,

    You are correct with all that you say. It is important to make the beats visible. This is referred to as the 'imaginary barline'. Here's bar 1 with the imaginary barline:

    You couln't do this with bar 2. Thus bar one is correct and a hell lot easier to read.

    Exceptions of this rule are whole note and dotted half note (see notation below).

    Now the triplet thing is really very unpractical. If I come accross this while sightreading I probably would leave out those 2 bars. There is no way to visualize the beats. So lemme try and renotate this into something more practical / playable.

    Please don't email or send me private messages with music related questions as they will be ignored. Rather use the forums for this and I will try my best to take part as much as I can.

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