[MEI-L] Beat in 6/8
lxpugin at gmail.com
Thu Aug 27 16:42:08 CEST 2015
What seems fortunate to me is that "beat" is not used as attribute in MEI
Maybe we could use it when we need to specify a musical beat that is not
the meter.unit. As I suggested with <beatRpt>, it would be assumed to be 1
in most cases, but could be "3" in 6/8 (or similar) when the desired
musical beat is 4. . In 5/8, we could imagine having an attribute value
such as "2+3" if the beat is expected to be 4 - 4. . Along the same lines,
it could be useful to allow the attribute directly in <measure> (or even
<staff>?) when the beat structure is changing.
On Thu, Aug 27, 2015 at 4:06 PM, Benjamin Wolff Bohl <bohl at edirom.de> wrote:
> Dear Craig,
> many thanks for your always helpful advice!
> Am 27.08.2015 um 11:08 schrieb Craig Sapp:
> The problem is the ambiguous/conflicting terminology in this sentence:
> On 27 August 2015 at 01:19, Benjamin Wolff Bohl <bohl at edirom.de> wrote:
>> meter.unit contains the number indicating the beat unit, that is, the
>> bottom number of the meter signature.
> This is only ambiguous/conflicting if you are to smart and know too much
> about music! Regarding the term "beat" in the closed system of MEI
> everything is obvious an unambiguous.
> The problem is that in compound meters such as 6/8
> The "musical beat" is a dotted quarter note, while the MEI "beat unit" is
> an eighth note. Using the word "beat" in such a way is unfortunate as it
> can conflict with the musical definition of a beat, and this will continue
> to cause mis-interpretation of what a beat is.
> This then would promote using another term in MEI in order to avoid
> confusion, let's say "meter-unit-n".
> The duration of a beat is necessary for music analysis, since the
> treatment of dissonance and consonance is tied to the location of a note on
> or off of the beat.
> This could be a beating argument, if it is the purpose and intention of
> MEI to do musical analysis.
> Is it? I'd rather say it provides a basis for doing analysis, the logic of
> the analysis is not part of MEI, although the result of the analysis might
> be encoded in MEI.
> The musical beat is also needed to automatically beam notes. Implicit
> interpretation of the musical beat can be done with 6/8 by assigning it to
> be a dotted quarter note, but there are exceptions to this definition which
> would require a way of assigning an explicit duration to the musical beat.
> "Automatically" beaming notes is not part of the encoding but of the
> rendering logic an thus will not be reflected in (pure-logical-domain-)MEI.
> For example, the middle slow movements in a piano sonata may be labeled as
> 6/8, with the beat actually assigned to the eighth note, in which case the
> "musical beat" and the MEI "beat unit" are the same.
> Another more common corner case would be time signatures such as 3/8. Is
> that a compound meter with one beat in a measure, or a simple meter with
> three beats in the measure (a variant on a 3/4 meter also possible in slow
> And of course in modern music with irregular meters such as 5/8, the
> musical beats in the measure may may have two beats as 3+2 eighth notes, or
> 2+3 or a mixture of both in different measures.
> The two above are only a problem if we consider "beat" as being the
> "musical beat". If we consider it to be "meter-unit-n" instead, everything
> would work out fine.
> Compound meters resulted in a degeneration of mensural notation. Since
> modern rhythms are always "imperfect", to emulate a perfect mensuration
> dots are added to the notes (which would usually be implicit the mensural
> metric equivalent). These are represented as compound meters in modern
> notation (who knows why they did not invent "2/4." time signatures instead
> of "6/8" for such cases). The problem is that modern time signatures are
> ambiguous, since 6/8 could be considered like C-dot, or it could be
> considered as a non-compound meter with 6 beat at the eighth-note level.
> Ok, air is getting thin for me...
> I've had a problem with modern transcription of mensural notation ever
> since I first encountered it, or more precisely I was whinig about modern
> notation being so restrictive due to having abandoned mensuration signs. I
> would prefer modern transcription sticking to mensuration signs and logic
> instead of adding dots, but I might not be able to change the world about
> But to bang the drum for "meter-unit-n": Couldn't this problem also be
> solved by <mensur> or some additional attribute on <scoreDef> or
> Considering the case of a modern transcription of "perfect" mensural
> notation using <beatRpt> in terms of "meter-unit-n" would result in
> completely different applicable cases compared to using it in the sense of
> "musical beat". An there it is the again,
> ** ambiguous and conflicting**
> Just for the sake ofplaying advocatus diavoli 3;-)
> I whine to Perry every once in a while about this, so we can wait for his
> reply on how to disambiguate such cases...
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