Horizontal alignment of chords with offset notes

Discuss the rules of notation, standard notation practices, efficient notation practices and graphic design.
Knut
Posts: 864
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 18:07
Location: Oslo, Norway

Re: Horizontal alignment of chords with offset notes

Post by Knut » 08 May 2017, 20:12

Looking at OCTOs second example, I'm even more convinced about my distaste for that kind of offset.

His first is much better, and one I've used on occasion myself, but I'm not sure it bares any real practical difference to the Oxford version.

User avatar
John Ruggero
Posts: 1188
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 14:25
Location: Raleigh, NC USA

Re: Horizontal alignment of chords with offset notes

Post by John Ruggero » 08 May 2017, 21:49

Yes, OCTO's first is very nice. OCTO's second ist ungehört, as is the Bach.

For fun here are the first editions of this spot. It drove the engravers nuts (literally)!
Chopin op 25 no 5 1st Fr.jpeg
Chopin op 25 no 5 1st Fr.jpeg (195.61 KiB) Viewed 1080 times
Chopin op 25 no 5 1st Ger .jpeg
Chopin op 25 no 5 1st Ger .jpeg (141.78 KiB) Viewed 1080 times
Chopin op 25 no 5 Eng ed.jpeg
Chopin op 25 no 5 Eng ed.jpeg (109.77 KiB) Viewed 1080 times
Last edited by John Ruggero on 08 May 2017, 22:37, edited 1 time in total.
Mac mini (OS 10.8.5) with dual monitors, Kurzweil Mark 5 with M-Audio Midisport 2 x 2,
Finale 2014d with GPO 4, JW Plug-ins, SmartScore X Pro, Adobe InDesign CS4,
Inkscape .48.5 and .91, FontForge 20150526
http://www.cantilenapress.com

User avatar
John Ruggero
Posts: 1188
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 14:25
Location: Raleigh, NC USA

Re: Horizontal alignment of chords with offset notes

Post by John Ruggero » 08 May 2017, 22:28

Knut wrote:
08 May 2017, 19:43
I'm confused. A single voice may need to be offset from the others for the sole purpose of clarification, regardless of it's importance in the overall context. Anyway, I wouldn't call the middle voice in the Bach example above subordinate, but maybe I'm misunderstanding you.
In the Bach example the offset voice is a subordinate voice and is yet the fastest one at the moment. This was in response to OCTO's second rule

"2. That voices that consist of shorter rhythmical values should have note-spacing priority."

which I have taken to mean that he would not offset notes of the fastest moving voices as a general rule.

You are right in your objection, Knut. It is hard to frame rules without a lot of thought since the possibilities are endless. It is clear why Gould et al have not spelled all of this out. So I guess my rule is like OCTO's, a rule-of-thumb: when there is a choice, offset a secondary voice(s). But maybe I am wrong and it is not a general principal.

I haven't commented on the remaining examples in your first post.
No. 2 looks fine to me, the principal voices are over each other and it also conforms to OCTO's second rule.
No. 3 this looks like a mess to me. I would have offset the second half of the RH measure like the first, and the first half of the LH like the RH.
No. 4 I agree. The situation is dire because the inner voices in the RH will not nest well inside the octaves. I would experiment placing the middle voices on the downbeat RH chord on the other side of the octave like the others to see if it would work.
No. 5 This looks normal to me, so I don't agree that the RH notes should line up with the C in the LH. I have always seen it as they have it, and it is the Finale default. But I probably misunderstand you.
Mac mini (OS 10.8.5) with dual monitors, Kurzweil Mark 5 with M-Audio Midisport 2 x 2,
Finale 2014d with GPO 4, JW Plug-ins, SmartScore X Pro, Adobe InDesign CS4,
Inkscape .48.5 and .91, FontForge 20150526
http://www.cantilenapress.com

User avatar
John Ruggero
Posts: 1188
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 14:25
Location: Raleigh, NC USA

Re: Horizontal alignment of chords with offset notes

Post by John Ruggero » 08 May 2017, 23:13

A solution to the text problem for my edition just occurred to me: a f in parenthesis over the E. And I will insert a footnote about Chopin's notation. THis should be enough to alert the player to bring out the E against the other parts.
Chopin Etude op 25 no 5 Ruggero.jpg
Chopin Etude op 25 no 5 Ruggero.jpg (56.82 KiB) Viewed 1070 times
This (f) corresponds to the f by Chopin in the bass which can be seen in the autograph and the first editions. This strange f cancels the p four measures earlier in the bass part! Chopin failed to insert a f for the upper parts earlier so it justifies an editorial f both there and here.
Mac mini (OS 10.8.5) with dual monitors, Kurzweil Mark 5 with M-Audio Midisport 2 x 2,
Finale 2014d with GPO 4, JW Plug-ins, SmartScore X Pro, Adobe InDesign CS4,
Inkscape .48.5 and .91, FontForge 20150526
http://www.cantilenapress.com

Knut
Posts: 864
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 18:07
Location: Oslo, Norway

Re: Horizontal alignment of chords with offset notes

Post by Knut » 09 May 2017, 10:59

John Ruggero wrote:
08 May 2017, 22:28
In the Bach example the offset voice is a subordinate voice and is yet the fastest one at the moment. This was in response to OCTO's second rule

"2. That voices that consist of shorter rhythmical values should have note-spacing priority."

which I have taken to mean that he would not offset notes of the fastest moving voices as a general rule.
Sorry, John. I took the movement as an indication that the middle voice was carrying the theme. This, of course, was wrong.

I took OCTO's rule to be concerned with space compensation for any offset notes, not the offset itself, which explains the confusion. If you are right, I would disagree with OCTO's rule. If I'm right, I'd say that his rule touches upon an important point which we have yet to consider in this thread (although it's been discussed in other threads previously).
John Ruggero wrote:
08 May 2017, 22:28
You are right in your objection, Knut. It is hard to frame rules without a lot of thought since the possibilities are endless. It is clear why Gould et al have not spelled all of this out. So I guess my rule is like OCTO's, a rule-of-thumb: when there is a choice, offset a secondary voice(s). But maybe I am wrong and it is not a general principal.
Our disagreements in this thread would certainly indicate that. I am still determined, however, to formulate some personal guidelines for this, even though it seems that they are bound to be controversial.
John Ruggero wrote:
08 May 2017, 22:28
No. 2 looks fine to me, the principal voices are over each other and it also conforms to OCTO's second rule.
As a standalone example, I agree that it's at least in line with standard practice, but it's inconsistent with the practice in the first example. I would have moved the l.h. eight note to align with the ones in the r.h., especially since this would reflect the MS.
John Ruggero wrote:
08 May 2017, 22:28
No. 4 I agree. The situation is dire because the inner voices in the RH will not nest well inside the octaves. I would experiment placing the middle voices on the downbeat RH chord on the other side of the octave like the others to see if it would work.
I tried it, and it didn't work for me.
John Ruggero wrote:
08 May 2017, 22:28
No. 5 This looks normal to me, so I don't agree that the RH notes should line up with the C in the LH. I have always seen it as they have it, and it is the Finale default. But I probably misunderstand you.
I'm not entirely sure what I was thinking here. Probably it was a momentary laps of reason. It is nevertheless relevant with regard to example 3:
John Ruggero wrote:
08 May 2017, 22:28
No. 3 this looks like a mess to me. I would have offset the second half of the RH measure like the first, and the first half of the LH like the RH.
Again, your analysis would be more in line with current practice as well as default software behavior, but I'm not entirely sure I agree.
Your second alteration would be fine by itself, but your first would require you to extend the stems of the r.h. downstem voice and increase the visual distortion.

This touches upon my (misplaced) quarrels with the last example in that, as you can see from the last chord, the r.h. upstem voice is aligned with the F rather than the default G. As I've pointed out previously, I think it makes sense to make use of this horizontal 'wiggle room' created by the second in the l.h. to even out the distortion.

The MS reflects the engraving, except that Debussy offsets the first r.h. downstem note to the right, which makes the whole thing more consistent and retains the whitespace between the notehead and the dot as a bonus. This last thing, however less important it may be in piano music than in other contexts, is nevertheless desirable.
.

User avatar
OCTO
Posts: 984
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 06:52
Location: Sweden

Re: Horizontal alignment of chords with offset notes

Post by OCTO » 09 May 2017, 11:47

Knut wrote:
09 May 2017, 10:59
I took OCTO's rule to be concerned with space compensation for any offset notes, not the offset itself, which explains the confusion. If you are right, I would disagree with OCTO's rule. If I'm right, I'd say that his rule touches upon an important point which we have yet to consider in this thread (although it's been discussed in other threads previously).
Exactly.
John Ruggero wrote:
08 May 2017, 22:28
In the Bach example the offset voice is a subordinate voice and is yet the fastest one at the moment.
Continuing from the Knut's statement above (as far as I understand it, which I agree with), here I want to add a further clarification:

1. In the Bach's example, none of the voices are the main axis, so it is very difficult to determinate if the middle fast voice in RH is shifted to the right OR the other voices are shifted to the left in accordance to the fast-middle-voice (which I assume it is true!);
2. therefore I would rather enforce my statement: if the spacing is compensated with the offset, than the axis is offset as well.
Example 1: offset is not compensated, axis is fixed.
shot 5.jpg
shot 5.jpg (20.16 KiB) Viewed 1054 times
Example 2: offset is compensated, axis is offset.
shot 6.jpg
shot 6.jpg (20.18 KiB) Viewed 1054 times
Freelance Composer. Self-Publisher.
Finale 25 • Sibelius 8 • MuseScore 2 • Logic Pro X • Ableton Live 9 • Digital Performer 9 /// OS X El Capitan, (side system: Debian 9, Windows 7)

Knut
Posts: 864
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 18:07
Location: Oslo, Norway

Re: Horizontal alignment of chords with offset notes

Post by Knut » 09 May 2017, 11:56

Thanks for the clarification, OCTO! We are in complete agreement.

User avatar
John Ruggero
Posts: 1188
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 14:25
Location: Raleigh, NC USA

Re: Horizontal alignment of chords with offset notes

Post by John Ruggero » 09 May 2017, 14:06

Thanks, OCTO. I think I understand now. I should have asked for a clarification of that second rule! I was confused because I thought we were discussing how to position the voices generally when there were offsets, not about the details of note-spacing.

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.)

If there is doubt about where the bass falls in the Bach, I have noticed that the engravers sometimes introduce a "fudge factor" and position isolated single voices in one hand mid-way between two offset voices in the other, relying on the distance between the staves to create the illusion that everything is simultaneous.

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!)
Peters.jpg
Peters.jpg (16.74 KiB) Viewed 1044 times
Bischoff.jpeg
Bischoff.jpeg (17.68 KiB) Viewed 1044 times
Henle.jpeg
Henle.jpeg (19.54 KiB) Viewed 1044 times
Mac mini (OS 10.8.5) with dual monitors, Kurzweil Mark 5 with M-Audio Midisport 2 x 2,
Finale 2014d with GPO 4, JW Plug-ins, SmartScore X Pro, Adobe InDesign CS4,
Inkscape .48.5 and .91, FontForge 20150526
http://www.cantilenapress.com

User avatar
OCTO
Posts: 984
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 06:52
Location: Sweden

Re: Horizontal alignment of chords with offset notes

Post by OCTO » 09 May 2017, 18:56

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 taking a screenshot from your file, therefore it is a bit unclear.
I find that none of the voices are aligned vertically.
shot 9.png
shot 9.png (34.58 KiB) Viewed 1033 times
Freelance Composer. Self-Publisher.
Finale 25 • Sibelius 8 • MuseScore 2 • Logic Pro X • Ableton Live 9 • Digital Performer 9 /// OS X El Capitan, (side system: Debian 9, Windows 7)

User avatar
OCTO
Posts: 984
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 06:52
Location: Sweden

Re: Horizontal alignment of chords with offset notes

Post by OCTO » 09 May 2017, 19:00

Thanks John for a good comparison. If you look quickly between Henle and Peters edition there is definitely a huge disagreement on how that should be handled.
Freelance Composer. Self-Publisher.
Finale 25 • Sibelius 8 • MuseScore 2 • Logic Pro X • Ableton Live 9 • Digital Performer 9 /// OS X El Capitan, (side system: Debian 9, Windows 7)

Post Reply