Horizontal alignment of chords with offset notes

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Knut
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Re: Horizontal alignment of chords with offset notes

Post by Knut » 09 May 2017, 19:07

John Ruggero wrote:
09 May 2017, 14:06
And I guess I am now lost, because in the Bach example I posted originally from the BGA, it seems clear to me that the "main axis" is intended to be the soprano, tenor and bass and the alto is offset to the right. (I am assuming that the "main axis" is where the greater number of layers fall together and the "offset" would be where the fewer fall. If there are equal numbers of each, then the left column might be the "main axis". I hope that is right.)
I think you are right that in cases where there is an equal number of notes in each column, the offset can be interpreted both ways, as long as the overall music spacing is disregarded. As I understand it, what will determine the axis in these cases is whether or not there is any compensation for the horizontal space lost by the vertical shift of the fastest moving voice. If not, then this must be interpreted as a shift of the column containing the fastest moving voice and vice versa.
John Ruggero wrote:
09 May 2017, 14:06
Here are three other editions' takes on this measure. To me, the first two offset the alto. The Henle, which is something like OCTO.'s, offsets both alto and bass. (Incidentally, the various MS don't offset at all!)
Following the principle I've advocated above, I prefer the Henle, because it keeps all similar note values aligned in both measures. Truth be told, I think aligning the quarter notes in the second measure is not exactly a must, because of the tie-in in the bass. Then again, it does give a more even spacing, which is a plus.

It's kind of hard to tell, but it looks like the Bischoff lacks sufficient space compensation, which makes the quarter and eight notes take up almost the same amount of space. This is wrong in my estimation, even if it retains a more even spacing in the bass.

The uneven whole notes in OCTO's version makes that one unacceptable to me.

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Re: Horizontal alignment of chords with offset notes

Post by John Ruggero » 09 May 2017, 22:42

OCTO wrote:
09 May 2017, 18:56
I am taking a screenshot from your file, therefore it is a bit unclear.
I find that none of the voices are aligned vertically.
That is what I meant by the "fudge factor". I think that the BGA engraver was trying to incorporate the best of all of these possibilities and smoothing things out by eye. If anything, with your lines drawn it looks the most like the Henle style that Knut likes (and which is along the lines of yours) with the moving voices aligned. However, I think the engraver didn't like the big, apparently unmotivated offset for the bass note, which I dislike intensely, and "fudged" by moving the bass over to the left a little so it gives the illusion, at least to me, that only the alto is offset. I am totally in favor of this kind of fudging to smooth over what is disruptive to the eye in keyboard music where the distance between the staves make this practical.

In any case, judging only the offset decisions and not the music spacing, which I think could be improved all around, for me Bischoff is best, followed by BGA and Peters.

What I have learned from this exercise is that this is one of those areas in which there are so many possibilities and in which personal taste plays such a strong role that only the most general rules are of any guidance.
Last edited by John Ruggero on 09 May 2017, 22:57, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Horizontal alignment of chords with offset notes

Post by John Ruggero » 09 May 2017, 22:52

Knut wrote:
09 May 2017, 19:07
I think you are right that in cases where there is an equal number of notes in each column, the offset can be interpreted both ways, as long as the overall music spacing is disregarded. As I understand it, what will determine the axis in these cases is whether or not there is any compensation for the horizontal space lost by the vertical shift of the fastest moving voice. If not, then this must be interpreted as a shift of the column containing the fastest moving voice and vice versa.
I purposely used the term "layers" rather than "voices" or "notes" because I was thinking that it is more the number of stemmed groups rather than the number of actual notes. But then again…

Sorry, Knut, I don't understand what the "vertical shift of the fastest moving voice" is so I am still lost. This was probably explained in the thread you referred to that I missed, so maybe you could just point me in that direction.
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Knut
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Re: Horizontal alignment of chords with offset notes

Post by Knut » 09 May 2017, 23:06

John Ruggero wrote:
09 May 2017, 22:42
I think the engraver didn't like the big, apparently unmotivated offset for the bass note, which I dislike intensely, and "fudged" by moving the bass over to the left a little so it gives the illusion, at least to me, that only the alto is offset. I am totally in favor of this kind of fudging to smooth over what is disruptive to the eye in keyboard music where the distance between the staves make this practical
Given the generous amount of space left between the barline and the left column, I highly doubt this theory. I do agree, however, that the space left before the bass note in the Henle is a bit too much, but that is as much a problem with the music font as anything else. It goes to show what's to gain from slimmer noteheads à la Durand, as I have no problem with equivalent solutions in the Debussy Preludes.
John Ruggero wrote:
09 May 2017, 22:42

What I have learned from this exercise is that this is one of those areas in which there are so many possibilities and in which personal taste plays such a strong role that only the most general rules are of any guidance.
I'm afraid you're right. Even within the personal preferences expressed in this thread in mind, it's hard to see any consistent pattern that could translate into a small set of options. At least something like that would be useful. But it doesn't seem possible, at least not without a lot more people chiming in.

Knut
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Re: Horizontal alignment of chords with offset notes

Post by Knut » 09 May 2017, 23:11

John Ruggero wrote:
09 May 2017, 22:52
Knut wrote:
09 May 2017, 19:07
I think you are right that in cases where there is an equal number of notes in each column, the offset can be interpreted both ways, as long as the overall music spacing is disregarded. As I understand it, what will determine the axis in these cases is whether or not there is any compensation for the horizontal space lost by the vertical shift of the fastest moving voice. If not, then this must be interpreted as a shift of the column containing the fastest moving voice and vice versa.
I purposely used the term "layers" rather than "voices" or "notes" because I was thinking that it is more the number of stemmed groups rather than the number of actual notes. But then again…

Sorry, Knut, I don't understand what the "vertical shift of the fastest moving voice" is so I am still lost. This was probably explained in the thread you referred to that I missed, so maybe you could just point me in that direction.
Oops, sorry, I meant 'horizontal shift of the fastest moving voice'. Does that help? I don't remember if this has been discussed on this forum, actually, or if it was the old Finale forum. In any case OCTO sums up the main point quite nicely above with his examples on sixteenth note spacing.

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Re: Horizontal alignment of chords with offset notes

Post by OCTO » 10 May 2017, 10:49

For about a year ago I was in contact with Elaine Gould concerning some issues in polyphonic music (vertical alignments, offset and note spacing). That is true, this issue is not discussed in her book, and she told me she will be back (....). As we can see in John's post (Bach), various publishers have various opinions on this.
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Re: Horizontal alignment of chords with offset notes

Post by John Ruggero » 10 May 2017, 12:00

Thanks, Knut. Now your point is clear.

I am more than happy to let Elaine Gould sort this one out, OCTO. Meanwhile, I will apply the "rule" that I think I have always used: place the offset notes as unobtrusively as possible, which might mean some "fudging."
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