Slurs again

Discuss the rules of notation, standard notation practices, efficient notation practices and graphic design.
Knut
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Re: Slurs again

Post by Knut » 18 Aug 2017, 15:10

benwiggy wrote:
18 Aug 2017, 14:51
So, more like the first example in my original post, but going even further beneath the first note?
Yes. It would pretty much look like the exact opposite of my example above, with the slur going from beneath the first note towards the centre of the stem of the second note.

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John Ruggero
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Re: Slurs again

Post by John Ruggero » 18 Aug 2017, 16:48

erelievonen wrote:
18 Aug 2017, 11:54
I've been following the ongoing discussion... and wondering why everyone is so determined to keep the slurs above the left hand notes.

When there are two voices with different stem directions on one staff, it is standard practice to draw all slurs of the lower voice under the staff, and never in the middle of the staff inbetween the two voices.

In this situation, nothing prevents drawing the slurs below (all of the) left hand notes. Why should that not be the preferred placement?
(That would also eliminate any problems with accidentals.)
While all the versions are certainly correct. I prefer version B in the following example for the following reasons:
Slurs.jpg
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1. If the example had been written as at C, on one staff, I would put the slur above, never below. Since B is essentially the same as C, I would do the same at B.

2. As a pianist, B looks more natural because it mimics the arm motion that I would make in playing it. The elbow would make the upper half of an oval shape in playing the pattern, not a lower half oval.

3. Related to 2 is the aggressive nature of the LH rhythm with an implied emphasis on the second beat. To me the upper slur gives the pattern such an appearance.

But A certainly avoids problems with accidentals, and were the pattern intended to be graceful rather than aggressive, I might use A.
Last edited by John Ruggero on 19 Aug 2017, 01:18, edited 1 time in total.
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Knut
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Re: Slurs again

Post by Knut » 18 Aug 2017, 22:32

John Ruggero wrote:
18 Aug 2017, 16:48
erelievonen wrote:
18 Aug 2017, 11:54
I've been following the ongoing discussion... and wondering why everyone is so determined to keep the slurs above the left hand notes.

When there are two voices with different stem directions on one staff, it is standard practice to draw all slurs of the lower voice under the staff, and never in the middle of the staff inbetween the two voices.

In this situation, nothing prevents drawing the slurs below (all of the) left hand notes. Why should that not be the preferred placement?
(That would also eliminate any problems with accidentals.)
While all the versions are certainly correct. I prefer version B in the following example for the following reasons:

Slurs.jpg

1. If the example had been written as at C, on one staff, I would put the slur above, never below. Since B is essentially the same as C, I would do the same at B.

2. As a pianist, B looks more natural because it mimics the arm motion that I would make in playing it. The elbow would make the upper half of an oval shape in playing the pattern, not a lower half oval.

3. Related to 2 is the aggressive nature of the LH rhythm with an implied emphasis on the second beat. To me the upper slur gives the pattern such an appearance.

But A certainly avoids problems with accidentals, and were the pattern intended to be graceful rather than aggressive, I might use A.
Those are very interesting, musical and creative thoughts, John. I'm not used to thinking about engraving from a gestural point of view, and I'd imagine that it is very difficult to make good decisions on this basis without being a good pianist. Nor do I know if there is much precedence for this in the history of engraving. Nevertheless, I think this can be as good a basis as any for decisions where there aren't anything more pressing to take into account.

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John Ruggero
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Re: Slurs again

Post by John Ruggero » 19 Aug 2017, 01:14

Thank you very much, Knut. This is sort of thing that one sees in autographs that I think should be preserved in engraving, and it often was in earlier times. With the greater flexibility now possible with the computer, it is now possible to combine the precision of modern engraving with the creativity of hand copying.
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John Ruggero
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Re: Slurs again

Post by John Ruggero » 19 Aug 2017, 10:08

Another reason for my preference just occurred to me. In a texture like this, the upper note of the chord is usually a more important middle voice than the notes below it, which are often just filler. For this reason it is nice when the slur leads the eye visually to this important middle voice.
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Florian
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Re: Slurs again

Post by Florian » 19 Aug 2017, 11:55

John, I strongly agree with your reasoning. A, B and C each imply a different musical (technical) gesture. At first sight I would probably play them differently without being fully aware of it.
At this point music notation is more than an abstract representation of sounds in time. It speaks directly through the visual impression of forms and shapes. As this more basic layer of communication is always and inevitably present, I think that engravers should seek to be aware of it as much as possible. Many composers are!

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David Ward
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Re: Slurs again

Post by David Ward » 19 Aug 2017, 13:26

Florian wrote:
19 Aug 2017, 11:55
… … …As this more basic layer of communication is always and inevitably present, I think that engravers should seek to be aware of it as much as possible. Many composers are!
I was usually conscious of this sort of thing when writing in manuscript, but I continue to struggle (and sometimes give up) when trying to use computer notation for such sensitive details (fair copies: I still write my drafts in pencil).

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Re: Slurs again

Post by Knut » 19 Aug 2017, 16:37

David Ward wrote:
19 Aug 2017, 13:26
Florian wrote:
19 Aug 2017, 11:55
… … …As this more basic layer of communication is always and inevitably present, I think that engravers should seek to be aware of it as much as possible. Many composers are!
I was usually conscious of this sort of thing when writing in manuscript, but I continue to struggle (and sometimes give up) when trying to use computer notation for such sensitive details (fair copies: I still write my drafts in pencil).
Are you able to upload some examples of this from your own manuscripts, David? It could be quite educational to see some more examples of this in a modern context.

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David Ward
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Re: Slurs again

Post by David Ward » 20 Aug 2017, 10:06

Knut wrote:
19 Aug 2017, 16:37
Are you able to upload some examples of this from your own manuscripts, David? It could be quite educational to see some more examples of this in a modern context.
I've checked a couple of my old manuscripts, but haven't yet found what I was looking for. I believe that there ARE relevant examples, but I've yet to find ones that clearly illustrate the point. I've maybe been looking at the wrong pieces, or the wrong stages in their preparation: my piles of manuscripts and photocopies are not very well organized. (And some are in an archive half a country away.)

In manuscript one was sometimes constrained by things quite different from the constraints of computer notation, such as the spacing of the pre-printed staves &c. There were always ways of getting round that, but…

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David Ward
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Re: Slurs again

Post by David Ward » 20 Aug 2017, 10:39

I don't think this page from a vocal score I prepared for a piece of mine in 1982 illustrates the point; but it certainly does contain some wayward slurs! (Crotchet [quarter] = 72)
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