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#1148623 - 11/08/07 09:01 AM Notating rhythms in piece you composed.
vanityx3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/17/06
Posts: 269
I think my biggest problem when composing something is notating my rhythms correctly. I'm the type of person who will sit at the piano and just imporvise something and how ever long the improvisation lasts, then thats how long the piece will be.

So I record my improvisation and I can write down all the notes I played, but notating the rhythms is super tricky for me. I know I'm supposed to hear the underlying pulse or beat but it is hard when both hands are playing fast passages or there is syncopation. It throws me off. How do you notate rhythms? DO you know the methods the great composers of the past used? I just want to be able to notate the rhythm so someone can play what I wrote and it sound like I played it.
_________________________
well I'm 20 years old, and I'm teaching myself piano.

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#1148624 - 11/08/07 09:57 AM Re: Notating rhythms in piece you composed.
Steve Chandler Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 3110
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
Join a community choir. Yeah I know that sounds goofy, but try it. There's nothing better for ear training because it connects the ears with the voice and what the eyes see on a page of music. I joined a choir this year at the behest of a friend (he needed voices) and we've done a fair amount of drilling solfegge and rhythms. I thought I knew this stuff, but my skills have been honed from the experience.

If that doesn't do it for you start working with sequencing software that has good notation capability. Then all you have to do is learn to play with a click track (sounds easy doesn't it). This will allow you to quantize your efforts and export midi files to import into real notation software like Finale or Sibelius.

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#1148625 - 11/08/07 12:47 PM Re: Notating rhythms in piece you composed.
jasperkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/22/05
Posts: 413
Loc: Safford, AZ
Well, VanityX3; here's a response I had for a question much like yours in 2006.

well, I'll tell you what works for me when I'm transcribing. It's important to determine what the pulse tempo is, so to speak. When you hear a music piece (at least as far as 4/4 or 3/4 time), tap your foot along with it. What you're tapping are most likely the quarter notes.

For me in the case of 4/4 time signature, I use my left hand fingers starting with my pinkie to determine the eighth notes by counting 'one and two and three and four and' as I tap from the pinkie up to the thumb and back to the pinkie as I hear the music. If a note happens to fall between the finger taps I know I'm hearing a sixteenth rhythm point. I hope I'm making sense to you as I'm not sure I could. Anyway, I hope this helps.
_________________________
"I wish there was a way to know you're in the good old days before you've actually left them." Andy Bernard

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#1148626 - 11/08/07 10:14 PM Re: Notating rhythms in piece you composed.
Zom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 73
Loc: United States
I compose much as you do, vanityx3, via improvisation. Many of my improvisations come out sounding like they were composed. I have, at times, transcribed bits and pieces of the improvisation.

Like yourself, I've found notating the rhythms of pure improvisation difficult. One solution to this is to simply record yourself, often (and thus not use notation). I have over three hundred recordings of improvisation dating back to when I had perhaps a few months experience at it. It is fun to see how I've grown over that time. Sometimes I will pick out some passage or other I played years ago and try to make it better. In this way I have engaged in the act of composition, over time, without notation. Almost like "evolving myself." through natural selection of listening to my own recordings.

I actually think there is a lot of merit in improvisation which makes no attempt to imitate easily notatable music. I've often thought the music of Rachmaninoff and Scriabin is particularly cool because of how many polyrhythms and tuplets are squished in everywhere. This is no doubt because they were obsessive improvisers and didn't let a simple time signature stop them from squishing more interesting rhythms and phrases into their music.


Did you know---renaissance and baroque keyboard composers would often write music without any thought to time signature? They'd actually write compositions without bar lines! The note values were merely suggestive as to length---the performer was supposed to embellish and improvise the rhythms to go along with the notes. Perhaps you could try transcribing your improvisation without bar lines---and use note values merely for vague suggestion of note length. I have done this , myself. It'd give pianists something interesting to do, don't you think? They wouldn't have to count, they could just feel the music! Perhaps we could call it "non-tyrannical sheet music!"

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#1148627 - 11/09/07 12:21 PM Re: Notating rhythms in piece you composed.
ZeroZero Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/31/07
Posts: 269
Loc: UK
I have the same problem, particularly when palying with feel. I seem to be inbetween a rock and a hard place as far as this is concerned: either:

a] write in in score and get wooden performance

b] play in and get unredable score

any solutions?

Zero

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#1148628 - 11/09/07 12:48 PM Re: Notating rhythms in piece you composed.
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1916
Loc: Netherlands
A score is by definition an approximation of the actual tune. Only a MIDI recording is a precise capture of what you played. Reduce the MIDI recording to a readable score and you'll lose information.
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#1148629 - 11/09/07 03:31 PM Re: Notating rhythms in piece you composed.
Stephen Hazel Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 758
Loc: Seattle-ish, WA
I'm just a total beginner, but to me, it's all in the fingering. Durations you can tweak like crazy and it'll still be the same song.

That's why I like piano roll format.
It's got the fingering you need RIGHT THERE.
But the durations are messy.

But, well, durations are just PLAIN MESSY in real music.

So what I do (remember, I'm a total newb) is just record a midi file.
If I need duration detail, I just listen to the bars where I need it. Ears are much better at picking up durations than eyes.
Eyes are much better at picking up fingering than ears.

...steve http://shazware.com
_________________________
http://PianoCheetah.com - my weird piano practice program

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#1148630 - 11/09/07 08:18 PM Re: Notating rhythms in piece you composed.
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
Try and figure out what are the "main" notes and what are just ornaments. Sometimes, people ornament a lot when they improvise -- I do -- sometimes without even knowing it. See if you can write down sort of the main notes, and then afterwards go back and add in the ornaments.
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Sam

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#1148631 - 11/10/07 04:47 PM Re: Notating rhythms in piece you composed.
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 777
Loc: Manassas,Va
Pat your foot and go with each main melody of your composition, one at a time. This way you will know the time value of each main melody note. Go very slowly at first. This takes practice but will come to you in time. Notate on manuscript paper. Go from there to build the composition. Note pianojerome above is saying the same. Cheers, Sandy B
_________________________
Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06

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#1148632 - 11/10/07 06:43 PM Re: Notating rhythms in piece you composed.
vanityx3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/17/06
Posts: 269
Thanks for the advice everyone. I think I really found out my biggest problems, it's not the note values usually, it's the rest values (esp. when the rests on on down beats, syncopation) Also I have problems with tied rhythms. Sometimes I'll think my rhythm ties over across bar lines, but i'm not positive. My main problems are definitlly involved with syncopations

I think most time I wish I had a good pianist friend, to play what I've written it down. And if it's not correct, I can make appropriate corrections. I'm sure this would be a good way to learn.
_________________________
well I'm 20 years old, and I'm teaching myself piano.

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#1148633 - 11/11/07 06:21 AM Re: Notating rhythms in piece you composed.
ZeroZero Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/31/07
Posts: 269
Loc: UK
Surely a note sequener which plays midi back can play back what you have written down - exactly, which is a curse I know

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#1148634 - 11/11/07 06:31 AM Re: Notating rhythms in piece you composed.
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1916
Loc: Netherlands
 Quote:
Originally posted by vanityx3:
I think most time I wish I had a good pianist friend, to play what I've written it down. And if it's not correct, I can make appropriate corrections. I'm sure this would be a good way to learn. [/b]
Any computer notation program can do that for you. Play it back, I mean. You still have to make the corrections yourself. ;\)
_________________________
No idea what chords you are playing? Reverse Chord Finder Pro will tell you!

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#1148635 - 11/11/07 11:48 AM Re: Notating rhythms in piece you composed.
Zom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 73
Loc: United States

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