[MEI-L] graceful beams

litterscheid at notensatz.biz litterscheid at notensatz.biz
Sun Apr 14 14:31:05 CEST 2013

Because I have no idea how the size of a note is coded in MEI, I want t ask
a question.

In the attached file there is a small note (in this edition editorial
addings are engraved as small notes) which HAS to be connected the the
*normal* beam. I would no call that small note a grace note, but if the term
*grace note* is the only way of encoding small notes, it would be good to be
able to connect them to *normal* beams.


Only a thought of an unknowing engraver J





Frank Litterscheid

Am Kuhkamp 7

37619 Hehlen

Tel 05533 - 979733

Fax 05533 - 979732

litterscheid at notensatz.biz


Von: mei-l-bounces at lists.uni-paderborn.de
[mailto:mei-l-bounces at lists.uni-paderborn.de] Im Auftrag von TW
Gesendet: Sonntag, 14. April 2013 12:52
An: Music Encoding Initiative
Betreff: Re: [MEI-L] graceful beams


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

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. :-)


Perry Roland
Music Library
University of Virginia
P. O. Box 400175
Charlottesville, VA 22904
434-982-2702 (w)
pdr4h (at) virginia (dot) edu

mei-l mailing list
mei-l at lists.uni-paderborn.de


-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.uni-paderborn.de/pipermail/mei-l/attachments/20130414/2904ebde/attachment.html>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: Only_small_or_grace.jpg
Type: image/jpeg
Size: 12249 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://lists.uni-paderborn.de/pipermail/mei-l/attachments/20130414/2904ebde/attachment.jpg>

More information about the mei-l mailing list