The shape of the crotchet rest

Discuss the rules of notation, standard notation practices, efficient notation practices and graphic design.
Post Reply
benwiggy
Posts: 198
Joined: 11 Apr 2016, 19:42

The shape of the crotchet rest

Post by benwiggy » 28 Sep 2018, 09:10

My 7-year-old daughter is learning music notation at school. (Thankfully.) She told me today that they are taught to draw the crotchet rest as "a Z with a C below", which was a novel idea to me, though pleasing enough.

As a result of which, I'm now having to research the origins of that form of rest....

User avatar
David Ward
Posts: 252
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 19:50
Location: Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Contact:

Re: The shape of the crotchet rest

Post by David Ward » 28 Sep 2018, 14:00

A good image. Checking my own very quickly-without-thinking hand-written crotchet rests, they seem to be a Z drawn from the top at 20º from vertical continuing into a C at 0º below. A “Z with a C below” seems pretty close and a very clever way for a young child to remember how to draw the rest.

User avatar
John Ruggero
Posts: 1310
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 14:25
Location: Raleigh, NC USA

Re: The shape of the crotchet rest

Post by John Ruggero » 28 Sep 2018, 22:56

benwiggy wrote:
28 Sep 2018, 09:10
As a result of which, I'm now having to research the origins of that form of rest....
You may find that the quarter rest has as many variations as the treble clef, maybe even more. I have always found it to be the most difficult musical symbol to draw by hand so that it looks like an engraved symbol. Perhaps for that reason and because they are used so frequently, many composers have done a simple v- or z-shaped affair that lies somewhat horizontally along a staff line rather than more vertical one that we see in engraved music. Almost anything seems to be acceptable, as long as it is easily distinguishable from an eighth rest. The reverse eighth rest as a quarter rest was thus doomed from the start.
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

Anders Hedelin
Posts: 19
Joined: 16 Aug 2017, 16:36
Location: Sweden

Re: The shape of the crotchet rest

Post by Anders Hedelin » 29 Sep 2018, 10:41

John Ruggero wrote:
28 Sep 2018, 22:56
Almost anything seems to be acceptable, as long as it is easily distinguishable from an eighth rest. The reverse eighth rest as a quarter rest was thus doomed from the start.
Just out of curiosity, how come that this strange reverse rest was ever used?
Finale 25 on Windows 7 and Mac OS 11.6.

MalteM
Posts: 15
Joined: 07 Aug 2018, 18:26

Re: The shape of the crotchet rest

Post by MalteM » 29 Sep 2018, 13:35

John Ruggero wrote:
28 Sep 2018, 22:56
Almost anything seems to be acceptable, as long as it is easily distinguishable from an eighth rest. The reverse eighth rest as a quarter rest was thus doomed from the start.
The quarter (semiminima) rest started as a reversed eighth (fusa) rest in white mensural notation, didn’t it? So it would be interesting to know when the form :4r was first used.

User avatar
John Ruggero
Posts: 1310
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 14:25
Location: Raleigh, NC USA

Re: The shape of the crotchet rest

Post by John Ruggero » 29 Sep 2018, 14:30

MalteM wrote:
29 Sep 2018, 13:35
The quarter (semiminima) rest started as a reversed eighth (fusa) rest in white mensural notation, didn’t it? So it would be interesting to know when the form was first used.
...which illustrates once again why someone needs to write a book showing the evolution of every aspect of the notational system used in Western music. It would truly illustrate the "survival of the fittest" and why productive innovation is somewhat rare.
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

benwiggy
Posts: 198
Joined: 11 Apr 2016, 19:42

Re: The shape of the crotchet rest

Post by benwiggy » 29 Sep 2018, 19:47

Yes, there's the 'backwards quaver' rest, the 'mirror z', as well as the modern squiggle. I've yet to find how/why the modern squiggle came about, let alone gained ascendency.

I can only suppose that other rest forms are easily confused with other durations, and as the crotchet became the dominant beat, a unique shape would be more helpful.

Post Reply