Partial measures: bar numbering and volta repeats

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MalteM
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Partial measures: bar numbering and volta repeats

Post by MalteM » 16 Jan 2020, 08:21

Hi everybody,

I’m setting some piano variations and have some questions about partial measures:
  • If a variation ends with a full measure and the next starts with an anacrusis, how should the anacrusis be numbered? In my case, the last measure of var. VII (numbered 131) is full, so I’m not sure whether the anacrusis should be 131 or 132.
  • If I have a repeat with different endings, is it correct to have partial measures as endings? How would these be numbered? 135 and 136? Or 135 and 135 because the first 135 is not full? I could repeat only full measures and write the ancrusis two times (at the very beginning and as part of the first volta bracket), but I think that that looks complicated too.
Cheers,
Malte

Edit: off-topic question: Do I need a start repeat bar 𝄆 at the beginning of var. VIII?
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Anders Hedelin
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Re: Partial measures: bar numbering and volta repeats

Post by Anders Hedelin » 16 Jan 2020, 16:38

To your first question: An anacrusis never counts. I would dispense with the (131) over the first bar of the system but put 132 over the second one.

To your second question: Traditionally both prima volta and seconda volta obtain the same bar number, in this case 135.

No need to write the simple anacrusis twice.

I also would dispense with the double barline in the middle of second bar 135 (the seconda volta bar). It's just confusing.
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John Ruggero
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Re: Partial measures: bar numbering and volta repeats

Post by John Ruggero » 16 Jan 2020, 19:55

I agree with Anders' first three points.

I do think your double bar in 135 shows the end of a section and should remain. It is somewhat traditional in themes and variations (see Beethoven op. 14 no. 2 second movement.)

If I were writing the piece, I would make measure 131 a split measure by reducing the number of beats in the first part to three. The whole notes would become dotted halves, and the half notes quarter notes, all with fermatas. Then the 6/8 upbeat would count as the last beat of 131. This would help continuity between the variations, and I think most performers would feel it that way no matter how you write it.

As for the repeat mark, it is a question of taste. It looks better without it, but if there is an ambiguity possible (which is hard to judge without seeing more of the piece) I would include it.
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OCTO
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Re: Partial measures: bar numbering and volta repeats

Post by OCTO » 20 Jan 2020, 05:31

MalteM wrote:
16 Jan 2020, 08:21

Edit: off-topic question: Do I need a start repeat bar 𝄆 at the beginning of var. VIII?
Yes, I believe. The repeat symbol is of the ending or final bar line-style (thin+bold line) and it affects the form.
The back-repeat bar line looks for another final bar line or forward-repeat barline. If none is found its effect is back until the start of the piece.
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John Ruggero
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Re: Partial measures: bar numbering and volta repeats

Post by John Ruggero » 20 Jan 2020, 15:39

I agree with OCTO: if you want to avoid a repeat mark at the beginning of Var. VIII without risk of confusion, put a final bar line at the end of the previous variation.
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Anders Hedelin
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Re: Partial measures: bar numbering and volta repeats

Post by Anders Hedelin » 20 Jan 2020, 18:11

I've noticed that I had the wrong explanation in my earlier post about prima volta and seconda volta bars obtaining the same number. The numbers aren't there to count what is played, but to enable orientation, in rehearsal and study. To have two bars with the same number wouldn't serve any purpose really.

But this applies only, I think, if the bars are full. In the OP's example the "voltas" are half-bars, so in this case I think it proper to give them the same bar number. I can't really see any other option - not just now at least. Repeats are tricky.
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Re: Partial measures: bar numbering and volta repeats

Post by John Ruggero » 21 Jan 2020, 03:47

Anders, I didn't understand your revised comment. In my experience, first and second endings share bar numbers. Sometimes they are called. for example. "155a" and "155b" but sometimes not: just plain "155" and then again "155". I just checked some Wiener Urtext and Henle scores and they bear this out.

I think I may have run across a few cases in which the bar numbers run on continuously through first and second endings, but I think this is somewhat rare in spite of the fact that, as you point out, it is easier to identify bars if a different number is applied to every measure.
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Re: Partial measures: bar numbering and volta repeats

Post by OCTO » 21 Jan 2020, 06:58

John Ruggero wrote:
20 Jan 2020, 15:39
I agree with OCTO: if you want to avoid a repeat mark at the beginning of Var. VIII without risk of confusion, put a final bar line at the end of the previous variation.
Yes, or put more distance from the previous system, so that it looks as a separate "movement". Indeed I am bit confused as it is now.
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Anders Hedelin
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Re: Partial measures: bar numbering and volta repeats

Post by Anders Hedelin » 21 Jan 2020, 10:39

Thanks for the enlightenment, John.
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John Ruggero
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Re: Partial measures: bar numbering and volta repeats

Post by John Ruggero » 21 Jan 2020, 15:18

Anders, thank you, but I am not sure how enlightening my comment actually was.

I just checked Gould's Behind Bars on the subject. She recommends two different systems for numbering endings (p. 237): the 155a and 155b system and the straight-through, the latter particularly for ensemble music to avoid rehearsal confusion.

Yet this is not what I am seeing in chamber music scores from Henle. They use the 155 and then again 155 system.

Perhaps Gould is pushing newer systems that have a lot in their favor.
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