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Tenuto line vs. semi-staccato?

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Tenuto line vs. semi-staccato?

Postby aclements » Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:53 pm

I'm wondering why, in the lower tier of the palette's articulation pane, the short, horizontal line (traditionally known as a tenuto line) is listed as "semi-staccato". I know that, when combined with a staccato dot, it indicates "mezzo-staccato" but, it's my understanding that the line, when used alone (i.e., without the dot) symbolizes "tenuto" and indicates that the note is to be held it's full length (or slightly longer). Am I missing something?

I appreciate any assistance you can provide.
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Re: Tenuto line vs. semi-staccato?

Postby Surfwhammy » Mon Jun 09, 2014 3:29 pm

aclements wrote:I'm wondering why, in the lower tier of the palette's articulation pane, the short, horizontal line (traditionally known as a tenuto line) is listed as "semi-staccato". I know that, when combined with a staccato dot, it indicates "mezzo-staccato" but, it's my understanding that the line, when used alone (i.e., without the dot) symbolizes "tenuto" and indicates that the note is to be held it's full length (or slightly longer). Am I missing something?

I appreciate any assistance you can provide.


Considering that I am unencumbered by any actual knowledge of music notation, I was inclined initially to let other folks have the opportunity to be the first to answer this outstanding question, but then after reading the various information regarding Tenuto in Wikipedia and soon thereafter realizing that "Tenuto" is not the name of a Brazilian boy band in the style of Puerto Rican boy band "Menudo", I decided that I am qualified uniquely to answer the question . . .

Tenuto (Wikipedia)

(1) There are several definitions of "tenuto"; there are at least three ways to indicate "tenuto" in music notation; and there are degree, level, or intensity characteristics for some of the ways "tenuto" is used . . .

(2) As you noted, one of the classic uses of the combination of a short horizontal line with a dot is to indicate "mezzo-staccato" . . .

(3) Another definition for "tenuto" can be represented by text and can be enhanced with a numeric value indicator . . .

(4) Software engineers tend to enjoy mathematics and puzzles . . .

(5) Musicians tend to be excellent software engineers . . .

THOUGHTS

Consider the following sequence of numbers:

Code: Select all
{0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, . . .}


Then consider this sequence puzzle, where the solution involves determining the best symbol to use for the red question mark:

Image

Solve the puzzle, and the correct answer appears, which is fabulous . . .

Fabulous! :D
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Re: Tenuto line vs. semi-staccato?

Postby wilhoit » Mon Jun 09, 2014 4:17 pm

The short horizontal line (or "stomp") has (at least) two different contextual interpretations.

On isolated single notes, it means full value or maybe even a linger, as you say; but the word is better.

On successions of notes, not under a slur, for any kind of instrument, it means the notes are to be *detached*, but only minimally *separated*. But does it also imply that the attack is *partly* suppressed? Opinions differ.

On successions of notes under a slur, for strings, it means as above, but with the additional specification that the notes are to be taken on the same bow (usually an up-bow and typically only two notes; this is a good way to reverse the bowing in a passage where it has gotten out of phase). For winds, the slur is nearly meaningless -- except perhaps for the trombone, where it could be used to indicate legato tonguing, if that were not the default technique for notes under a slur. The slur is visually evocative, however, and appears to further imply partial suppression of the attack.

Pace Stravinsky, who would have been lost without it, the dot-stomp ("semi-staccato") is entirely meaningless. I used it in exactly one work, provoking my then-teacher to a scarring outburst, in which he pointed out (in the interstices of a flood of obscenities and threats of physical violence) that 18th-Century composers indicated the same effect by means of -- nothing at all.
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Re: Tenuto line vs. semi-staccato?

Postby idiotSavant » Tue Jun 10, 2014 11:25 pm

Interesting discussion here.

I've found that regardless of the traditional or modern meaning or the zen of the dot-stomp (an indication of a step in clog-dancing?), I have found it useful in several pieces I've recorded where I've placed it even when not written in the score I was recording. I've done this because in the particular piece a staccato was not sounding correctly (even though that may have been written) and I found that when I used a mezzo-staccato then the note sounded slightly longer and allowed the sound to be played properly by the VSL instrument.

So in my case, I was really using it truly as a mezzo-staccato, telling my virtual instrumentalists to play a note that was a little longer than a staccato. So from a Notion - VSL standpoint, it's very useful for me.
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Re: Tenuto line vs. semi-staccato?

Postby Surfwhammy » Wed Jun 11, 2014 12:41 am

idiotSavant wrote:Interesting discussion here.


Absolutely!


In fact, I printed this bit of sublime wisdom and put it on the wall . . .

wilhoit wrote:Pace Stravinsky, who would have been lost without it, the dot-stomp ("semi-staccato") is entirely meaningless. I used it in exactly one work, provoking my then-teacher to a scarring outburst, in which he pointed out (in the interstices of a flood of obscenities and threats of physical violence) that 18th-Century composers indicated the same effect by means of -- nothing at all.


I had heard of Stravinsky, of course, but I thought his first name was "Igor"; so after pondering this for a while I decided to do a search on "pace", where I discovered that when it is used as a preposition it maps to "with all due respect to" or "contrary to the opinion of", which was stellar since I enjoy learning new and somewhat abstruse uses and definitions of words . . .

All things considered, it was a very good day, which is fabulous . . .

Fabulous!
:D

P. S. If using the NOTION 4 "semi-staccato" articulation makes VSL happy, then great! Everything is different in the digital music production universe . . .
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Re: Tenuto line vs. semi-staccato?

Postby Johnny » Wed Jun 11, 2014 1:43 pm

Mezzo Staccato example.JPG
Mezzo Staccato example.JPG (10.08 KiB) Viewed 7651 times
Mezzo Staccato "a combined accent" is very useful. I use it quite often in all styles of music.
It is a important degree in the accent range. It's a note or chord "accent" that is stressed and moderately short, separated from the next note or chord. Using custom rules I adjust an instruments response bridging the gap between Tenuto(pressure accent) and Staccato quite effectively.

, Johnny

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Re: Tenuto line vs. semi-staccato?

Postby tubatimberinger » Sun Jun 29, 2014 11:49 pm

the semi-staccato is a very handy articulation in Notion, however, if you use it in printed music, you will confuse many players.

-t
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Re: Tenuto line vs. semi-staccato?

Postby Johnny » Mon Jun 30, 2014 4:53 am

I use the mezzo-staccato accent mostly for my Notion (playback) projects.
Your right "tubatimberinger" these accents may look confusing to a lot of people at first and most would ignore them.

One of the many great composers and a personal favorite Frank Martin used mezzo-staccato quite effectively. Mezzo-staccato and other combined accents add more specific instructions as to what the composers intent is and reduces misinterpreted articulations.

The Notion Sounds don't seem to respond noticeably (just slightly) to the mezzo-staccato accent.
Custom/Group Rules (prules) and 3rd party vst's can produce very desirable results though.

In jazz parts mezzo-staccato can breakup a static sounding phrase into a naturally breathing voice. It's an important agogic and! dynamic accent which adds subtle emphasis to a note/notes in a phrase.

As Tubatim mentioned most players/performers wouldn't benefit from these accents printed on there scores and may just complicate reading.
A waste of ink? Maybe.

Like I mentioned, I generally use these accents to give my Notion files more humanized playback.
I'll put together a couple of examples to share and discuss.

,Johnny

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Re: Tenuto line vs. semi-staccato?

Postby ghess1000 » Mon Jun 30, 2014 8:40 pm

I've found in a lot of cases I'll include articulations for playback purposes and hide them as they aren't needed by live players. A great example is back accenting jazz lines. Any decent jazz play knows to accent the upbeats slightly, but no one expects accents to be shown on all upbeats. Using accents and hiding them is much faster than adjusting the velocities and durations in the sequencer overlay
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