Simple syncopation notation

Discuss the rules of notation, standard notation practices, efficient notation practices and graphic design.
brooks
Posts: 1
Joined: 19 Jul 2018, 02:58

Simple syncopation notation

Post by brooks » 19 Jul 2018, 04:05

Hi everyone,

I've been reading this forum for a while now, but this is my first post. Thanks for all of your engraving advice; this group understands and loves a very esoteric art form. Until now, I haven't felt an occasion to comment on — let alone join — the forum, but I'm the directing vice president of a US-based performing arts center, and I'm in a position to premier a (very small) composition of my own soon, and I'm curious for your input.

In January 2019, I'm presenting a new miniature setting of the traditional "O Antiphons" in a jazz/Broadway/cabaret-style musical setting. I'm not pretending it's High Art by any means — but I want to be sure the notation is as naturalistic as possible, and represents the general intention at a glance.

If you're so moved, please provide your input based on the screenshot. In particular, I'm asking about mm. 212 — the second in the top system. Does this method of indicating alternating sixteenth-notes between the pianist's left and right hands make the most sense? This motif occurs a few times, and I'd ideally notate it the same for each.

I'm working in Dorico — I have Finale 2014.5, Sibelius 7.5, Dorico 2, and, of course MuseScore — but I've committed fully to Dorico, with no plans to look back! That said, do feel free to sway my mind.

Can't overstate how happy I am that a forum like this exists. I hope you'll be happy to welcome a new poster!

—Brooks
brooks.hoste@gmail.com
www.brookshoste.com
www.warmemorial.org
Attachments
OAntiphons.png
OAntiphons.png (939.54 KiB) Viewed 831 times

User avatar
OCTO
Posts: 1084
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 06:52
Location: Sweden

Re: Simple syncopation notation

Post by OCTO » 19 Jul 2018, 08:04

Dear Brooks,
Welcome to the forum.
Your scoring in Dorico is very nice.
About your question: while it is nothing theoretically wrong with it (and that notation definitely could be applied for two different instruments), I assume that a better way to notate it for pianist would be to have cross-staff notes. It means that you use all 16th notes that cross the staff. It is visually somehow different, and if you feel that the cross-staff notation doesn't correspond to "musicality" of your score, than you can keep it as it is.

Some pianists on the forum can give you perhaps the most accurate advice.
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
John Ruggero
Posts: 1282
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 14:25
Location: Raleigh, NC USA

Re: Simple syncopation notation

Post by John Ruggero » 19 Jul 2018, 14:00

To supply the advice from a keyboard player requested by OCTO: if the composer intended legato notes alternating between the hands, he has notated the passage correctly. Showing this as cross-staffed 16ths would give a non-legato impression.

This is a good opportunity to mention that there are two systems for notating what occurs in the first and third measures of the example:

1. The OP is using the "Debussy" system which notates the notes as they hold in sound, leaving it to the player to supply the pedaling needed to accomplish it.

2. I prefer the "Chopin" system which notates the notes as they are held by the fingers, so that the whole notes in the bass in measures 1 and 3 would be omitted and a pedal indication supplied. Using this system, the whole notes in measure 4 might be written as eighths without the l. v. if a pedal indication is supplied.

Welcome to the forum! I hope you and others who have hitherto "lurked" will continue to join the discussions. Your engraving is excellent!
Last edited by John Ruggero on 20 Jul 2018, 14:08, edited 2 times 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
OCTO
Posts: 1084
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 06:52
Location: Sweden

Re: Simple syncopation notation

Post by OCTO » 19 Jul 2018, 16:56

John Ruggero wrote:
19 Jul 2018, 14:00
Showing this as cross-staffed 16ths would give a non-legato impression.
The only thing I see here interesting is M214. That measure is a copy of M212 except that there are additional whole notes :6 .
As it is impossible to play without pedal, I believe that the pedal info is somehow missing in M212.
John Ruggero wrote:
19 Jul 2018, 14:00
This is a good opportunity to mention that there are two systems for notating what occurs in the first and third measures of the example:
...
Beautiful, thank you for that worthful info.
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)

Schonbergian
Posts: 163
Joined: 03 Feb 2017, 02:25
Location: Toronto

Re: Simple syncopation notation

Post by Schonbergian » 19 Jul 2018, 17:04

m. 216: flip the vocal slur or otherwise move it. The bar looks messy as it is.
m. 218: no extender needed. It just clutters the page.

I agree with John on the "Chopin style" of notation.

m. 211: sa - vio(u)r, not sav - io(u)r. I know the dictionary says differently, but the dictionary does not divide words the same way a singer needs to.

User avatar
David Ward
Posts: 240
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 19:50
Location: Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Contact:

Re: Simple syncopation notation

Post by David Ward » 19 Jul 2018, 19:44

Schonbergian wrote:
19 Jul 2018, 17:04
… … m. 211: sa - vio(u)r, not sav - io(u)r. I know the dictionary says differently, but the dictionary does not divide words the same way a singer needs to.
I'm not sure that you're necessarily quite right. I believe that in English it is clearest to hyphenate according to word structure and meaning. This is partly because of the complexity and irregularity of English spelling. A dramatic libretto (eg) can become near enough incomprehensible if hyphenated other than by the recognized syllables. In my experience, this is what singers are used to reading.

Other languages seem to have different conventions.

Schonbergian
Posts: 163
Joined: 03 Feb 2017, 02:25
Location: Toronto

Re: Simple syncopation notation

Post by Schonbergian » 20 Jul 2018, 01:38

David, the dictionary does not always make that clear for singers, in my opinion. Res - ur - rec - tion, as just one example, which doesn't even divide according to word structure.

Here, in my view, is a clear-cut case of starting the second syllable with a consonant.

User avatar
John Ruggero
Posts: 1282
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 14:25
Location: Raleigh, NC USA

Re: Simple syncopation notation

Post by John Ruggero » 20 Jul 2018, 01:45

You are very welcome, OCTO.

Regarding the comments by Schonbergian and David Ward: E. Gould has an extensive section on the division of words set to music on pages 441-446. There are apparently different schools of thought on the subject. For what it is worth, I believe that A. Arnstein used the approach suggested by Schonbergian, starting sung syllables with consonants whenever possible. Gould mentions this approach on page 444.
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
David Ward
Posts: 240
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 19:50
Location: Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Contact:

Re: Simple syncopation notation

Post by David Ward » 20 Jul 2018, 07:38

FWIW on this occasion I don't agree with Arnstein and I will continue to hyphenate as I do now.

The hyphenation that seems most likely to convey the meaning of the text is the one I choose. I feel that when setting English the conventional divisions of syllables most often achieve this.

An important thing that Gould says is that it's desirable to be consistent in one's choice. If one then breaks one's self-imposed rule, there needs to be a good enough reason for it.

Schonbergian
Posts: 163
Joined: 03 Feb 2017, 02:25
Location: Toronto

Re: Simple syncopation notation

Post by Schonbergian » 20 Jul 2018, 15:05

David, I don't think we'll convince the other of our points of view at this point; but I do agree with you in regards to consistency. I have Gould's book on order so I'll take a look when it arrives.

Post Reply