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Mixing time signatures

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Mixing time signatures

Postby hannseisler » Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:44 pm

Hello there,

I thought to get acquainted with this charming piece of software we call Notion (3 in my case), I might as well transcribe a piece of music I like, and so I started with the overture to Tannhäuser.

Here's where my trouble starts:

Bars 37-39
tannhaeuser.jpg (317.41 KiB) Viewed 6325 times

The violins change their time signature to 9/8, while everything else stays in 3/4. Now, if I do that in Notion, the two time signatures don't add up:

Bars 36-38, my take
notion-tannhaeuser.jpg (140.65 KiB) Viewed 6325 times

I guess Notion starts viewing 3/4 as "4,5/4"... Does anyone know how to circumvent that?
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Re: Mixing time signatures

Postby Surfwhammy » Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:36 am

I am not familiar with this particular bit of Wagner, but I listened to some of the YouTube versions, and as best as I can determine the problem is that the Brass measures have the correct number of notes but start on the wrong beats after the Violins change to 9/8, hence you have the three Brass notes but instead of having three more immediately, nothing happens for a few beats . . .

This is how I input the music notation in NOTION 4, and the first measure sounds a bit like some of the YouTube music videos . . .

Overture for Tannhaeuser (Wagner) ~ NOTION 4

Measures and time signatures are a bit strange generally, and there are different perspectives on how everything should be handled, but I like the perspective of Joseph Schillinger's System of Musical Composition (SoMC), where the correct location of vertical bars or measure ending and beginning points occurs when the various rhythm pattern components all play a note at the same time, which depending on the rhythm pattern can map to a measure having several hundred or thousand beats, with this being the reason that I tend to do everything in the key of C and 4/4 time, because 4/4 is just as wrong as all the other time signatures . . .

Toward the goal of understanding the rhythm patterns in the SoMC, consider the rhythm pattern with three beats, one on 1; one on 3; and one on 5 . . .

Three people can do this on a table, and it is quite amusing at first, since everybody (formally trained or self-taught) gets confused at first and loses track of when they are supposed to tap . . .

The first person taps on every beat, and this is the person who is playing the "1" beat . . .

The second person taps on every third beat, which is the "3" beat . . .

And the third person taps on every fifth beat, which is the "5" beat . . .

The rule in the SoMC is that measures end when the three people all tap on the table at the same time, which as a greatest common divisor or whatever type of arithmetic computation puts the number of beats in a measure at 15, since the first person taps on every beat, but the second and third persons will tap on the same beat only every 15 beats, so if a quarter note gets one beat, the time signature is 4/15 . . .

If you are focused primarily on how the music sounds, then you might try using a time signature like 4/1000 so that there essentially are no measures . . .

This is all that comes to mind at the moment . . .

Lots of FUN! :)

P. S. My focus is solely on the way the music plays and sounds, and NOTION rules on this, but if I had to prepare sheet music with elaborate music notation requirements, I would use Sibelius 7, since its primary focus is engraving and so forth . . .
The Surf Whammys

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Re: Mixing time signatures

Postby thorrild » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:45 am

Hi hannseisler,

If he could, your East German namesake would probably tell you that music notation is not an exact science. Had he lived long enough to see computer programs for making scores, he might have eaten his words:

The Fürstner edition you are looking at is not up to snuff in terms of modern notation, in my opinion. It works on the page, it just doesn't add up mathematically.

The solution to your problem is not to try to mix meters. Instead figure out what the note values would be without a meter change, as in the picture attached.

Best wishes,
Tannhäuser.tiff (97.18 KiB) Viewed 6297 times
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Re: Mixing time signatures

Postby hannseisler » Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:56 pm

Thank you for your replies!

As I'm new to Notion, I was unsure whether I'd just overlooked some hidden button to press, or lever to crank... In the absence of that, thorrild's notation is perfect for my purposes.

Thanks again!
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Re: Mixing time signatures

Postby Migot » Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:39 pm

«INDEPENDENT TIME SIGNATURE» is missing in Notion ... in ALL other software except FINALE.... !!!!

This is an import, essential feature that professional musician needs !

The worse is «Notion 2» had this useful tool... ???
...Yes notion «2»

I'm asking for this for at least a year and a half...

The answer I have got is that some user were confused by
the fact that it was possible to put a 3/4 on one stave and a 9/8 on the other...
So, JS Bach was doing this every day....

The only Music software who is managing
«πndependent Time Signature» perfectly is FINALE and this since 1990 !!!
...for both engraving an play back....

I really hope that Notion will make that possible soon...

Sincerely N4

Alain leBlond
Alain LeBlond
Composer born in 1957

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Re: Mixing time signatures

Postby DrH » Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:31 pm

The irony to this issue is that Notion 2 used to properly notate and playback mixed time signatures (polymeters), and this feature was taken away (!) in Notion 3. In fact, the option of assigning a different time to a single stave is still there in the Time Signature dialogue for both Notion 3 and 4, but the manual instructs you *not* to use it "for now".

So the questions are:
1. Why take away a feature in a major update (2 to 3)?
2. Why not put it back in the next major update (3 to 4)?
3. Will we ever get polymeter capability back?
4. What are we supposed to do with polymeter compotitions created in 2 that will not notate/playback properly in 3 or 4?

Just wondering,

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Re: Mixing time signatures

Postby thorrild » Sat Jan 12, 2013 5:33 pm

In my opinion, the main thing missing from Notions feature set is the ability to hide a tuplet's number. More on that later.

First, let me just say that I know nothing about Notion 2; I joined this club when Notion 3 was released. But I seriously doubt that N2’s polymetric abilities extended to having bars of different lengths, as seen for example in the music of Hugo Distler. I know of no music notation software that allows this, if it has any degree of playback in its feature set. They all seem to be based on the "measure stack" paradigm, meaning that no matter what the meter is on any staff in the "stack" it must always have the same downbeat as the other staves.

Under these constraints, I am able to use Notion 4 (and 3) with different meters in stacked measures, with only one hitch: since I have to add a tuplet to the "different-metered" staff in order to fit the beats evenly it would be nice to be able to hide tuplets. I don't know if I am describing this clearly:

Consider one staff in 4/4 and another staff in 5/4, enetered as "this staff only." In the 5/4 staff everything must be entered as a quintuplet, in order to play back properly. All that's needed is to be able to hide the tuplet number, and it will print out fine as well.

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Re: Mixing time signatures

Postby DrH » Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:36 pm


I'm not sure if N2 could do 4/4 against 5/4, but it certainly could properly notate and playback 3/4 or 2/4 against 6/8, and similar metrical configurations, which are not all that uncommon.

So, again, I would ask why this functionalaity (which Finale could and still does properly) was taken away from users of N2 and thereby rendering any polymeter scores they did in that version now useless in N3 and N4.

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