Beam subdivision

Discuss the rules of notation, standard notation practices, efficient notation practices and graphic design.
User avatar
Schneider
Posts: 91
Joined: 09 Oct 2015, 06:50
Location: Paris

Beam subdivision

Post by Schneider » 13 Nov 2019, 15:02

What are the rules for subdividing beams?
E. Gould wrote: [...] the number of beams separating the groups [should be] equal to the duration of
the groups they separate [...]
Fine.
But, when do beams should be divided?
See Bärenreiter edition of the BWV 1042:

Image

Some groups are subdivided (e.g. mes.3), some are not (e.g. mes.1).
So are there any rules?

User avatar
John Ruggero
Posts: 1503
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 14:25
Location: Raleigh, NC USA

Re: Beam subdivision

Post by John Ruggero » 13 Nov 2019, 15:28

Ah, for the days when Bärenreiter was Bärenereiter.

As the Bach example largely illustrates--to my knowledge, composers of the 18th and early 19th centuries did not regularly subdivide secondary beams because there was an apparently high level of musical literacy. But as the 19th century wore on, secondary beams begin to be subdivided to make the rhythms clearer, even in solo music. I leave it to the reader to conclude why.

As I have mentioned (probably too many times) A. Arnstein demanded that his copyists subdivide secondary beams for all groups of fast notes into 4's, 3's and 2's to show every beat of a measure. Even 6 16ths in 3/8 were subdivided into 2's. While my instincts rebelled against a procedure that I felt was inherently unmusical, I understood his reasoning. Orchestral and session musicians must often sightread under great pressure without making errors and need all the help they can get. His system got excellent results.

While most publishers do not carry out secondary beam subdivision to the extent of Arnstein, it is still imposed on music in which it is needless. I see a little in the Bärenreiter example. I am even seeing it in Schenker's Beethoven Piano Sonatas. It is not a practice I follow in my editions because I adhere to the composer's notation as much as possible.
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
odod
Posts: 148
Joined: 25 Nov 2015, 15:10

Re: Beam subdivision

Post by odod » 14 Nov 2019, 06:58

i changed the key .. with some minor mistakes here .. dang, this piece is so crowded ..
however the beaming is quite exceptional ... i wonder what is the original handwritten score wrote by Bach himself look like

Bach 1001_0001.png
Bach 1001_0001.png (2.91 MiB) Viewed 688 times
LogicX, Cubase 5, MacMini i7, Macbook Pro 2015, PowerMac G5, Sibelius 8, Finale, Musescore, Reaper, Apogee Duet, Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII, FontLab, tons of Faith and Prayers

Serenade Music Engraving Service

User avatar
Schneider
Posts: 91
Joined: 09 Oct 2015, 06:50
Location: Paris

Re: Beam subdivision

Post by Schneider » 14 Nov 2019, 11:23

@ odod: Thank you, nice, but this does not help to understand the beaming rule... :(

@ John: Thank you very much for your detailed answer.
However, there are still some things I don't understand; If I follow you, I should write:

BWV1001.png
BWV1001.png (99.58 KiB) Viewed 674 times

Which is not what Bärenreiter edited. Or? Did I miss something?

User avatar
John Ruggero
Posts: 1503
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 14:25
Location: Raleigh, NC USA

Re: Beam subdivision

Post by John Ruggero » 14 Nov 2019, 13:24

Sorry i wasn't clear, Schneider. In my opinion, you should NOT do ANY secondary beam subdivisions period. Even the first Baerenreiter is not quite correct in that way, although it is better than most. Look at Bach's manuscript and follow what he has. And the arrangement for keyboard should also follow the beaming in the violin original manuscript.

My reasoning: secondary beam subdivision is unnecessary in music that is going to be carefully studied before it is performed because the composer's intentions should take precedence over the slight inconvenience of reading complex rhythms. Secondary beam division should only be imposed on orchestral parts and such when the musicians will not have a lot of preparation time.
Last edited by John Ruggero on 14 Nov 2019, 17:18, 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
odod
Posts: 148
Joined: 25 Nov 2015, 15:10

Re: Beam subdivision

Post by odod » 14 Nov 2019, 15:31

Schneider wrote:@ odod: Thank you, nice, but this does not help to understand the beaming rule... :(

@ John: Thank you very much for your detailed answer.
However, there are still some things I don't understand; If I follow you, I should write:

BWV1001.png

Which is not what Bärenreiter edited. Or? Did I miss something?
Indeed i was just trying to find the answer as well ..

@john .. thanks for the explanation as always you have a wider knowledge than us ..

Sent from my Redmi Note 5 using Tapatalk

LogicX, Cubase 5, MacMini i7, Macbook Pro 2015, PowerMac G5, Sibelius 8, Finale, Musescore, Reaper, Apogee Duet, Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII, FontLab, tons of Faith and Prayers

Serenade Music Engraving Service

User avatar
Schneider
Posts: 91
Joined: 09 Oct 2015, 06:50
Location: Paris

Re: Beam subdivision

Post by Schneider » 17 Nov 2019, 11:02

odod wrote:
14 Nov 2019, 15:31
[...] @john .. thanks for the explanation as always you have a wider knowledge than us ..
+1, Thank you John.

OCTO
Posts: 1273
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 06:52
Location: Sweden

Re: Beam subdivision

Post by OCTO » 20 Nov 2019, 08:19

John Ruggero wrote:
14 Nov 2019, 13:24
Look at Bach's manuscript and follow what he has. And the arrangement for keyboard should also follow the beaming in the violin original manuscript.
Attachments
BWV1001_adagio_autograph_manuscript_1720.jpeg
BWV1001_adagio_autograph_manuscript_1720.jpeg (1.25 MiB) Viewed 432 times
Freelance Composer. Self-Publisher.
Finale 25.5 • Sibelius 2019 • MuseScore 2+3 • Logic Pro X • Ableton Live 9+10 • Digital Performer 9 /// OS X El Capitan, (side system: Debian 9, Windows 10)

User avatar
David Ward
Posts: 292
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 19:50
Location: Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Contact:

Re: Beam subdivision

Post by David Ward » 20 Nov 2019, 08:31

There's something rather wonderful about those curved beams. I wonder why it was never (as far as I know) done in printed music?
Finale 25.5 & F 26.1
Mac OS 10.13.6 & 10.14.6
http://www.composers-uk.com/davidward/news.htm

OCTO
Posts: 1273
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 06:52
Location: Sweden

Re: Beam subdivision

Post by OCTO » 20 Nov 2019, 08:32

David Ward wrote:
20 Nov 2019, 08:31
There's something rather wonderful about those curved beams. I wonder why it was never (as far as I know) done in printed music?
I think I have seen them, but I can't remember where. G. Crumb - maybe?
Freelance Composer. Self-Publisher.
Finale 25.5 • Sibelius 2019 • MuseScore 2+3 • Logic Pro X • Ableton Live 9+10 • Digital Performer 9 /// OS X El Capitan, (side system: Debian 9, Windows 10)

Post Reply