[MEI-L] graceful beams

TW zupftom at googlemail.com
Sun Apr 14 15:56:47 CEST 2013

You can find the original post in the archives:


2013/4/14 Byrd, Donald A. <donbyrd at indiana.edu>

> Whew; I'll try to catch up this flurry of activity before it's too late
> :-) .
> First, I agree almost 100% with Perry's analysis of the Chopin example,
> that it's really a (separate) grace note superimposed on the normal note;
> in fact, I was thinking of saying that, but I'm glad I didn't so it's clear
> arrived at the same conclusion independently. I seem to have deleted Maja's
> original message plus the Mozart example she attached; Johannes or Perry,
> would you mind resending it? -- but I'm sure Perry is correct about it too.
> This notational unicorn might exist; I'll keep my eyes peeled for it, but
> it's clearly SO rare, I don't think it's worth worry about.
> And Frank Litterscheid's example is an interesting one! But small notes
> that clearlyt aren't grace notes in the normal sense aren't that unusual,
> especially in Chopin :-) . Attached is the latest version of my "More
> Counterexamples in Conventional Music Notation"; section 3a lists about ten
> examples.
> --DAB
> On Sun, 14 Apr 2013 14:45:54 +0200, Johannes Kepper <kepper at edirom.de>
> wrote:
>> Hi Frank,
>> there is an attribute @size on <note/>, which can be used
>> independently from the @grace attribute. In other words, you don't
>> have to call a note a grace if all you want is to change the size...
>> Interesting example, though ;-)
>> Schönen Sonntag,
>> Johannes
>> Am 14.04.2013 um 14:31 schrieb <litterscheid at notensatz.biz>:
>>  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
>>> ---
>>> 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<mei-l-bounces at lists.uni-paderborn.de>
>>> [mailto:mei-l-bounces at lists.**uni-paderborn.de<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?
>>> Thomas
>>> 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. :-)
> --
> Donald Byrd
> Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellow
> Adjunct Associate Professor of Informatics
> Visiting Scientist, Research Technologies
> Indiana University Bloomington
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