How many slashes for unmeasured tremolos (including beamed)?

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David Ward
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Re: How many slashes for unmeasured tremolos (including beamed)?

Post by David Ward » 23 Mar 2016, 22:33

OCTO wrote:David, we need here strings reference. Vibraphone can only do cresc-decresc with tremolo.
But maybe it is also just Boulez-style (everything about tying is ..."special"), certainly can be found in bowed strings.
Here it is in Tippet (Triple Concerto, publisher Schott). Note also that the triple slash is on both flagged and non-flagged stems. There seems a lot of uncertainty with this whole subject.
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Re: How many slashes for unmeasured tremolos (including beamed)?

Post by OCTO » 23 Mar 2016, 22:48

As I said, it is a newer technique.
However I strongly suggest not to write ties. I have been contemplating about this with myself for for a longer period, and I wrote in my music tied-tremolos; but finally I abandoned it since I don't feel well seeing it in the score. It is not wrong neither-nor, but the classical trained string players don't see this in the non-modern literature.
Also, John's Ravel-example is also an exception for Ravel, sometimes he uses ties sometimes not.

The only reason I find why the tying should be used is because the 1900+ and contemporary music is getting more complex and more unambiguous, therefore ties as clarification.
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Re: How many slashes for unmeasured tremolos (including beamed)?

Post by John Ruggero » 23 Mar 2016, 23:33

David, tied measured tremolos also occur in La Valse in the upper strings at Rehearsal 58 and in
Daphnis Suite 2:
Rehearsal 180 and 181 unmeasured tremolo tied because of syncopation and also Rehearsal 186 Bass
Rehearsal 210 tied measured tremolos in the cellos and violas, 211 and 212 violins

And there are numerous examples in the percussion in both pieces, as one would expect; sometimes with a tr symbol and sometimes with slashes.

I think that OCTO is reporting what we have both discovered, that there is a tradition in string writing of omitting the tie that a keyboard-oriented player would expect. Perhaps emphasizing a downbeat is not a natural thing for the bow to do in a tremolo and so the tie is usually redundant. However, there appear to be some composers who want to make sure there is no downbeat emphasis and do use ties. So I don't think that Gould's concern is spurious. Or maybe they just don't like the look of those untied notes, which seems to be going on with Bartok.

But the percussion section has a long history of tied tremolo notes. On page 294 Gould actually forbids omitting the ties: "The older style of omitting ties for unbroken rolls should not be used". So I will now reveal that that my previous tremolo examples have been for the marimba. :)
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Re: How many slashes for unmeasured tremolos (including beamed)?

Post by OCTO » 24 Mar 2016, 08:47

I motivate the non-tie approach with dashed notes (whatever-call-it: tremolo) with inability to sustain the sound, since the bow is moving: equally we respect that no slurs are present in phrases with dashed notes (tremolos)!
It is unlikely appropriate that one would write "molto legato" within a tremolo phrase.
John Ruggero wrote:Perhaps emphasizing a downbeat is not a natural thing for the bow to do in a tremolo and so the tie is usually redundant. However, there appear to be some composers who want to make sure there is no downbeat emphasis and do use ties.
I am bit unsure what you want to say.
If you say that up/down bow ( V ) in the tremolo playing is something that musicians prefer, it is very, very unlikely. When we perform tremolo, and particularly when dynamics is soft, we don't have any idea if the bow is going down or up on the beat. I just want to stress that every first tremolo is started down-beat (П).
However, in fortissimo playing, and within change of note pitches and with some kind of tenuto force, it is common to use down-bow to make "marcato" of that pitch. How to do it? The speed of the bow is not equal: you have to adjust it by acceleration or deceleration so that you come down-beat-bow and to play with the "wider" bowing surface..
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Re: How many slashes for unmeasured tremolos (including beamed)?

Post by David Ward » 24 Mar 2016, 09:54

I think, but John will need to confirm, that by ‘down-beat’ he was meaning the accenting of the first beat of the bar (cf the down-beat of a conductor's baton), rather than to the ‘down-bow’ of a string player. It is a distinction for which many other languages have musical terminology rather clearer than is apparent in English.
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Re: How many slashes for unmeasured tremolos (including beamed)?

Post by OCTO » 24 Mar 2016, 10:19

I see, I understand now, thanks for the clarification, David!
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Re: How many slashes for unmeasured tremolos (including beamed)?

Post by John Ruggero » 24 Mar 2016, 13:17

Yes, the "down-beat" = the first beat of any measure, as opposed to the "up-beats", I think that it has the connotation of emphasis as opposed to "first beat" which describes a position only. From your description, OCTO, it does sound like emphasizing the beginning of each measure within a tremolo is done with some effort.

In her Idiomatic Notation section on Strings, Gould makes no reference that I could find to this important string tradition pointed out by OCTO, which is an omission that she should correct in her next edition.
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Re: How many slashes for unmeasured tremolos (including beamed)?

Post by MJCube » 24 Mar 2016, 18:54

I gently but firmly disagree with Gould about tying tremolos. I copied music for a composer who insisted on Bartók-style dashed ties (which of course I had to fake using dashed slurs), and IMO it makes no difference. If you want an accent on the next note, write one, otherwise we won’t play one. As a copyist/editor I continue to use the 19th-century slash notation without ties and no one has ever complained.

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Re: How many slashes for unmeasured tremolos (including beamed)?

Post by Knut » 25 Mar 2016, 22:31

I agree with a lot of what's been said already, and all arguments I hadn't heard before seem logical to me. Nevertheless I've always written ties on unmeasured tremolos in writing my own music, simply because of the debate over accents. Since a tie eliminates the risk of misinterpretation, I've included them, even though I personally don't agree with their presence.

OCTO, based on your argument about the change in bow direction, what do you sat about notes that are sustained (tied) for longer than a single stroke? Shouldn't the sound be the only relevant factor in deciding this?

If unmeasured tremolo is indeed simply an effect separate from measured tremolo, it would seem more appropriate to include the ties, wouldn't it?

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Re: How many slashes for unmeasured tremolos (including beamed)?

Post by OCTO » 26 Mar 2016, 00:28

Knut, if your argument is valid than you have to accept the legato (slur) within the tremolo, do you?
Also, the need to change the bow within very long tied notes doesn't argue anything contrary. Good musicians can change the bow inaudible.

Avoiding accents by tying, when accents are not present, is tautology. In tremolo playing no musician will play accent on every single note, in the case when the accent is not present.
Not writing ties within tremolo is a very long tradition and is clearly understood and prefered by professional musicians. I only see a need to write ties (dashed!) in the case music is extraordinarily complex (ferneyhough like).

The final argument against the tied tremolos is that two non-tied and two tied notes are technically performed exactly the same and the audible result is exactly the same; and their result completely equals with the technical execution and audible result of two tremolo notes of different pitch. (Simple explained using tremolo and two notes:
- same pitch tied OR
- same pitch non-tied OR
- different pitch
= same execution and same audible result*)
*here I don't refer to pitch, but to force, power, accenting, acoustical differentiation.

And if the acoustical result between two tied and two nontied notes of the same pitch is the same and the bow maneuver is the same, than the tie is redundant.
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