[MEI-L] graceful beams

TW zupftom at googlemail.com
Sun Apr 14 12:52:15 CEST 2013

So, to what conclusion do we come?  I think MEI doesn't lack any features
here, it should just be made clear at a more prominent place in the
specification/documented that grace notes will graphically not be part of a
beam, even if they occur within the <beam> element.  If you *really* want
grace notes to be part of the regular beam, you can still achieve this
using existing means.

Is this a valid summary of the discussion?

2013/4/14 Roland, Perry (pdr4h) <pdr4h at eservices.virginia.edu>

>  Hi Don,
> Thanks for joining the discussion.
> I should've been wary of using the word "never".  That's a dangerous word
> when it comes to music notation. (Note to self:  Always avoid the words
> "always" and "never".  Never use them.)  Chopin's notation is usually
> pretty "slippery", so I'm not surprised you found evidence there to trip up
> the unsuspecting.
> However, in both the Mozart and Chopin examples, the notes in question are
> clearly not part of the beamed group of "principal" notes.  Stem direction
> is the best evidence.  The different stem directions leading to the beams
> attached to the A# in the penultimate measure of the Chopin clearly
> indicate that there are two "layers/parts/streams/voices" here.  There
> isn't just one A#, but two which occupy the same visual space. The big A#
> just obscures the little one.  The grace note A# belongs to the upper layer
> while the regular note A# goes with the lower one.  The same thing occurs
> on the B natural in the last measure.
> Now that the part writing has been disentangled, what is most interesting
> is the *meaning* of this particular vertical alignment, the collision
> really, of a "principal" note and a "grace" note.  What is Frederic trying
> to say?  I believe he's indicating that the grace note arpeggio begins
> *with* the A#, not *after* it (this comports with Gould) and that the
> performer shouldn't rush getting to the A# at the top of the arpeggio.  (By
> the way, I believe the sonic effect would've been the same if he'd simply
> written a wavy line in front of A#-C#-F#-A# in the right hand, just like
> what's in the left hand. But he made his choice and we have to live with
> it.)
> There's an instance in the 3rd measure of the Chopin example that's more
> closely analogous to the situation in the Mozart that started the
> discussion: the grace notes between beat 2 and its second half (assuming
> this notation is counted in 2/4) lie under the beam connecting the G#-A-G#
> sequence, but they're not touching it.  In addition, they're part of their
> own little beamed group.  They are *logically excluded* from
> participating in the "big beam group" in spite of occurring between its
> participating notes, just like the grace notes in the Mozart example.
> So, I stand by my assertion that grace notes are never (um, "extremely
> rarely") beamed with "regular" notes, where "beamed with" means "part of
> the same horizontal sequence as" normal-sized notes.  Granted, I haven't
> seen the entire universe of music notation, but mixed grace- and
> normal-note beams are like unicorns -- I've heard talk of them, but as yet
> I haven't seen one. :-)
> --
> p.
> __________________________
> Perry Roland
> Music Library
> University of Virginia
> P. O. Box 400175
> Charlottesville, VA 22904
> 434-982-2702 (w)
> pdr4h (at) virginia (dot) edu
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