swing eighths question

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Rebecca
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Joined: 06 Oct 2015, 15:03

swing eighths question

Post by Rebecca » 15 Mar 2017, 06:54

Greetings, colleagues,

I'm transcribing a piano song that uses swung eighths throughout. As it is a jazz-reminiscent arrangement, it wants to be notated in 4/4, not 12/8. But in 4/4 meter, I occasionally run into this problem:

Sometimes the right hand plays all three eighth notes of a swing-implied triplet, while the left hand plays just the swung eighths, in other words, the 1st and 3rd eighths of the implied triplet. Whenever this occurs, the LH and RH final eighth notes don't align vertically, though they should be played at the same time. (I'm using Finale 2014d.)

I hope to hear from forum members who are familiar with jazz notation. Should the indicated notes align vertically? Or is it standard notation practice in swing/jazz for them not to? And if they should align vertically, is there an easy way in F2014 to make them do so? I definitely don't want to have to align each one by hand.

Kind thanks in advance,

Rebecca

Christof Schardt
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Re: swing eighths question

Post by Christof Schardt » 15 Mar 2017, 09:01

Rebecca wrote:
15 Mar 2017, 06:54
Should the indicated notes align vertically? Or is it standard notation practice in swing/jazz for them not to?
I think as a jazz-transcriber you never reflect the ternary timing of eights-pairs by the position of the notes or the amount of space. This would result in an unequal look of sequences of eights. So as matter of consequence the vertical alignment of synchornous notes cannot be guaranteed. However, Jazz pianists won't be irritated by this unalignment.
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John Ruggero
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Re: swing eighths question

Post by John Ruggero » 15 Mar 2017, 14:13

If your piece is aimed at at a wide range of players, I, as a non-jazz player, would be put off by the non-alignment.

I am more accustomed to seeing written-out jazz-style piano pieces notated with dotted eighth-sixteenth rhythms instead of swung eighths if complete triplets are also involved, maybe for the reason that you have encountered: alignment. The tradition of using dotted eighth-sixteenths as a substitutes for quarter-eighth triplets goes back centuries, so pianists are not confused when they see the sixteenth note and eighth note aligned.

Or, maybe better, the piece could be written entirely in triplets.

There should be a way aligning "fake" dotted eighth-sixteenths with triplets automatically in Finale. If not, it would make a great feature request at MM.
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Rebecca
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Joined: 06 Oct 2015, 15:03

Re: swing eighths question

Post by Rebecca » 15 Mar 2017, 17:23

Thank you, Christof and John, for these helpful responses! Your feedback helped.

The score is aimed at non-jazz pianists, so I think vertical alignment of the swung notes would be desirable in this case. As I'm not concerned with playback, I found an alignment solution: I entered a rest as the middle character of a triplet, hid the rest, and also hid the "3" of the triplet. The rhythmic alignment now works. Assuming there's no plugin for this function (yet) I can copy and paste that beat where needed and adjust the pitches accordingly, which will save me some time. Also I will ask about and/or suggest it as a plugin on the MM forum.

Cheers,

Rebecca

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John Ruggero
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Re: swing eighths question

Post by John Ruggero » 15 Mar 2017, 21:54

That is a clever work-around, but I've never seen this style used in published music and I am concerned that there will be confusion even if the notes are aligned. And if you add an explanatory note, it still might not be sufficient because it is visually confusing, at least to me.

As I mentioned, I've seen:
Example.jpg
Example.jpg (22.78 KiB) Viewed 1445 times
A is your best bet.
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Rebecca
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Re: swing eighths question

Post by Rebecca » 16 Mar 2017, 07:09

I agree both A and B are clear, but in context I think they would look odd. My concern is that the triplet-RH with swing eighths-LH rhythm occurs in several measures where the other beats in the measure are swing eighths. In such a measure, for example, the LH would show normal swing eighths on beats 1,2, and 4, and your A or B pattern on beat 3 just to accommodate/align with the RH notes. I would almost prefer to see the two swing eighths in vertical misalignment with the triplet's 3rd note. John, can you recommend a jazz-oriented notation guide (a book or a website)?

Rebecca

Christof Schardt
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Re: swing eighths question

Post by Christof Schardt » 16 Mar 2017, 07:44

Rebecca wrote:
15 Mar 2017, 17:23
playback, I found an alignment solution: I entered a rest as the middle character of a triplet, hid the rest, and also hid the "3" of the triplet. The
I would not recommend it at all, since not common practice and like John I have never seen it before.

Look the huge Kapustin opus, which has been recently published by Schott and can be previewed on notafina.de.
There is a mixture of different writings. Mostly you find explicitly written triplets (mid-rest or 4+8th). But also unaligned 8ths.
In this piece see measures 8,22,37,38... to watch unaligned 8ths:
https://notafina.de/shop/pdfviewer/inde ... &idy=30881

Guldas "play piano play" published at papageno (wien) shows lots of unaligned eights. And this surely not because of a missing plugin, since it is hand-written.
Last edited by Christof Schardt on 16 Mar 2017, 08:51, edited 1 time in total.
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Rebecca
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Re: swing eighths question

Post by Rebecca » 16 Mar 2017, 08:40

Excellent resources, Christof. Thank you!

Rebecca

Schonbergian
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Re: swing eighths question

Post by Schonbergian » 17 Mar 2017, 01:28

I second John's B solution in this case. An example off the top of my head where his notation is used is the famous last chorus from Bach's Cantata 147 which has exactly the same rhythm you describe (triplet melody against dotted eighth-sixteenth harmony)

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