Is there such a thing as 1 time?

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
The point I'm making is that by using 5/4, 1/1, 10/8, 4/4 or any of the WSN time signatures, you are inherently flexible. Often, it's just a case of selecting the right time signature for the feel - 6/4 and 12/8 are largely interchangeable but have a different conventional feel.

You might be counting it as an unclassified '5', that's fine but it's quite simple to re-write the patterns as 5/4 using different note values. Crotchets for everything on the beat, Quavers for the 2X variant, Semiquavers for the 4X variant and so on. That's the beauty of WSN - it's actually very simple to re-write.

It also means that if you write or read things like this:



And other musicians will understand the relative values of the notes. Without the related note value, you're absolutely *$%&^@! stuffed, especially when you bear in mind that there might be another eighty people relying on you to get it right.

With the above example, you sure can write the first two bars (say) as 8/16 but that throws the phrasing completely out of whack. If you know the piece, you'll know why it's written that way.
 

con struct

Platinum Member
That's fine. The only thing I can say is that I didn't conceive it that way. It's just a basic pattern of 1, 2 - 1, 2, 3 (R l r r l) played with the feet in "single" time. The hands play the same pattern 1X speed, 2X speed and 3X speed. Due to my limitations with double bass pedals, it never really goes anywhere. Ideally, the pattern should be played by two or more players who can improvise within the subdivisions of the pattern and jump to discrete tempos (1X, 2X, 3X, 4X, etc.).

Again, I don't look at those note values as quarter notes, eighth notes or eighth note triplets. I can write it that way if it will make people happy. But I'm still not convinced.

-John
Convinced of what?
 

JohnW

Silver Member
Con struct: "Convinced of what?"

Convinced that it's a robust system that works for all manner of time keeping.

The point I'm making is that by using 5/4, 1/1, 10/8, 4/4 or any of the WSN time signatures, you are inherently flexible. Often, it's just a case of selecting the right time signature for the feel - 6/4 and 12/8 are largely interchangeable but have a different conventional feel.

You might be counting it as an unclassified '5', that's fine but it's quite simple to re-write the patterns as 5/4 using different note values. Crotchets for everything on the beat, Quavers for the 2X variant, Semiquavers for the 4X variant and so on. That's the beauty of WSN - it's actually very simple to re-write.

It also means that if you write or read things like this:



And other musicians will understand the relative values of the notes. Without the related note value, you're absolutely *$%&^@! stuffed, especially when you bear in mind that there might be another eighty people relying on you to get it right.

With the above example, you sure can write the first two bars (say) as 8/16 but that throws the phrasing completely out of whack. If you know the piece, you'll know why it's written that way.
For something like The Rite of Spring it makes sense. You've got all of these syncopated rhythms, some of them jarring- and it's not like it just settles into a groove in one time signature, although there seem to be a lot of repeating motifs in the whole piece. Interpreting 20th century classical music is a bit out of my wheel house. Though I can imagine musicians running for the hills if you just called them beat notes, especially when it debuted close to 100 years ago.

But to me, the example you show, still just seems like a workable compromise calling them 16th notes. I agree that it's a flexible system. And I agree that a multiple time based system would be a nightmare to implement. But I don't believe that a single system based on 1/4, 1/8 and 16th notes is ideal. Each line in your example is 20 beats long, broken into various length groups. I'm sure everyone in that orchestra is locked in to know when to play each of those notes. But at the risk of sounding like a broken record, is there any value added by calling these beat notes "1/16th"? In the same way a well tempered piano has notes that are 'acceptably' out of tune so you can play in different keys without sounding too harsh. Having a different piano for each key would probably not be a workable solution.

Anyway, it's just my musings and the orchestral world should not worry about an upheaval in their notation system anytime soon.


-John
 

topgun2021

Gold Member
Con struct: "Convinced of what?"

Convinced that it's a robust system that works for all manner of time keeping.



For something like The Rite of Spring it makes sense. You've got all of these syncopated rhythms, some of them jarring- and it's not like it just settles into a groove in one time signature, although there seem to be a lot of repeating motifs in the whole piece. Interpreting 20th century classical music is a bit out of my wheel house. Though I can imagine musicians running for the hills if you just called them beat notes, especially when it debuted close to 100 years ago.

But to me, the example you show, still just seems like a workable compromise calling them 16th notes. I agree that it's a flexible system. And I agree that a multiple time based system would be a nightmare to implement. But I don't believe that a single system based on 1/4, 1/8 and 16th notes is ideal. Each line in your example is 20 beats long, broken into various length groups. I'm sure everyone in that orchestra is locked in to know when to play each of those notes. But at the risk of sounding like a broken record, is there any value added by calling these beat notes "1/16th"? In the same way a well tempered piano has notes that are 'acceptably' out of tune so you can play in different keys without sounding too harsh. Having a different piano for each key would probably not be a workable solution.

Anyway, it's just my musings and the orchestral world should not worry about an upheaval in their notation system anytime soon.


-John
You can call note values whatever you want, but their mathematical value remains the same. It just so happens that it's called 1/8 or 1/4 because 4/4 is standard time.

I don't know, to me it seems highly intuitive to be able to think, "Oh, this measure is just in 4/4 with an added 1/16 note." or "This measure has 7 eighth notes, okay." and not get hung up on what the note is called.
 
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