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#2034536 - 02/17/13 12:27 AM Notational Preferences
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5300
Loc: Europe
Hello,

I need your collective input please...

I'm working on editing a score by our very own Ben Crosland. His next work series will be published by Editions Musica Ferrum.

And we've been discussing a few notational things lately... So I'd like to grab your opinion on a few things:

Here's a couple of examples:




Questions

1. Is every slur really needed? At the first image, bars 72-73 there's two slurs on the upper staff. This clutters things a little. And while it phrases fine, there does one draw the line to reduce cluttering against (obvious) instructions?

2. Pedalling. So far I've NEVER included pedal signs, but the works I publish are fairly advanced which means that the pianist should know where to use the pedal. But recently I've been re-evaluating this idea. So should I include detailed pedal instructions with the ped and * sign? The lines? None?

3. Bars 73 and 12. In both cases there's a rest in one of the voices which is not exactly needed, as it's obvious what's going on because of the other voice. Having tons of rests in confuses everyone, and especially in the case of bar 12 one could just leave the half note rest out and be fine...

Comments everyone?
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#2034538 - 02/17/13 12:31 AM Re: Notational Preferences [Re: Nikolas]
Minniemay Offline
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Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
I would make the lower slur with much less arc to it, if putting it in at all.

I would simply write the instruction "con pedale".

Ditch the rests.
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#2034539 - 02/17/13 12:32 AM Re: Notational Preferences [Re: Nikolas]
Nikolas Offline
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Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5300
Loc: Europe
Excellent first reply! Thanks Minniemay! smile Much appreciate it! smile And a very fast reply indeed! smile
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#2034547 - 02/17/13 01:11 AM Re: Notational Preferences [Re: Nikolas]
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5510
Loc: Orange County, CA
I'll take question no. 2:

I prefer the l__________/\_________/\___________l style of pedaling indication, if you are going to include any. "Con pedale" works as well.
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#2034557 - 02/17/13 02:09 AM Re: Notational Preferences [Re: Nikolas]
keystring Online   content
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Rests: I have a question specifically about the quarter rest in the "alto" of m. 74, which seems to take the same place as the quarter note that is also there.

M. 12 shows that the "alto" line has a rest before coming in later. Before and after there is no alto line (no rests) so this voice seems to be cutting in and out. It's hard to tell without seeing the context from a larger chunk of music. But maybe that does make the rests confusing which is what you asked.

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#2034561 - 02/17/13 02:16 AM Re: Notational Preferences [Re: Nikolas]
Nikolas Offline
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Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5300
Loc: Europe
Thank AZN. This seems to be the most preferred choice for pedals... The lines... It's MUCH more work in the score, but I think it's worth it...

keystring: I'm not too sure what you mean about m. 74... The rest in the second bet in m. 74 is there because there's nothing else...

On m. 12 I see what you mean, and this is what's happening all over the place. Each voice comes and goes... It's not polyphonic like Bach, so there's no need to have the rests everywhere, but as far as the same bar/measure is concerned I think it's valid for the rest to be there... :-/
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#2034567 - 02/17/13 02:38 AM Re: Notational Preferences [Re: Nikolas]
keystring Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Nikolas

keystring: I'm not too sure what you mean about m. 74... The rest in the second bet in m. 74 is there because there's nothing else...

Oh right, I should be awake before looking. How do you make the decision on whether to bar 2 or 4 notes? That's part of what threw me visually. I'm very space-oriented.

Quote:

On m. 12 I see what you mean, and this is what's happening all over the place. Each voice comes and goes... It's not polyphonic like Bach, so there's no need to have the rests everywhere, but as far as the same bar/measure is concerned I think it's valid for the rest to be there...


Yes, I realize it's not polyphonic. But you were asking whether the rests would be best left out because of possible confusion, so I threw that in there as a possibility. It didn't confuse me but I was considering that question.

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#2034570 - 02/17/13 02:46 AM Re: Notational Preferences [Re: keystring]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5300
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: Nikolas

keystring: I'm not too sure what you mean about m. 74... The rest in the second bet in m. 74 is there because there's nothing else...

Oh right, I should be awake before looking. How do you make the decision on whether to bar 2 or 4 notes? That's part of what threw me visually. I'm very space-oriented.
Me too actually! wink

In bar 74 there's a 3 note beam and a 4 beat beam. Since it's 4/4 (time signature not shown in the examples), if there's just 8th notes, then it's fine to beam them in every 2 beats, otherwise (if there's 16th notes involved), then the beam lasts 1 beat (like what's happening in b. 72)

Quote:
Quote:

On m. 12 I see what you mean, and this is what's happening all over the place. Each voice comes and goes... It's not polyphonic like Bach, so there's no need to have the rests everywhere, but as far as the same bar/measure is concerned I think it's valid for the rest to be there...


Yes, I realize it's not polyphonic. But you were asking whether the rests would be best left out because of possible confusion, so I threw that in there as a possibility. It didn't confuse me but I was considering that question.
[/quote]Yes, I got that. I think this is why I'm not sure on what to do. Part of me wants to do the 'right thing' by having the rest there, part of me knows that having rests all over the place is definitely not the right idea and part of me wants to ditch the rests as minniemay says... So I thought of asking to get more ideas in. smile

Thanks once again!
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#2034571 - 02/17/13 02:54 AM Re: Notational Preferences [Re: Nikolas]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11724
Loc: Canada
Could you theoretically have a flagged eighth note followed by two-note beaming in m. 74? Do you have that kind of choice? (Out of curiosity)

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#2034581 - 02/17/13 03:48 AM Re: Notational Preferences [Re: Nikolas]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5300
Loc: Europe
Yes you could, but I think it'd be more confusing than not. I actually have every choice there is in notating (meaning that I can do pretty much anything), but it's not advised I think.
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#2034586 - 02/17/13 04:07 AM Re: Notational Preferences [Re: Nikolas]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11724
Loc: Canada
Yes, I think you're right. It is interesting to see these choices, and why one is better than another. Thank you.

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#2034648 - 02/17/13 09:13 AM Re: Notational Preferences [Re: Nikolas]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1365
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Nikolas, interesting post. Most of us seldom confront notational decisions like this, yet as players or teachers we are deciphering the printed page all the time. Or helping newcomers to decipher the printed page.

I think keystring might be on to something. I, too, would vote to separately flag that first eighth note in the RH in measure 74. To my eye it would then look more symmetrical musically to m. 72, and less in danger of being misread by a beginner as a triplet.

These are obviously not right-and-wrong issues, and whatever you choose will provide further interpretive employment to piano teachers everywhere!

(On the pedalling question, what does our composer friend Ben C suggest?)

P.S. Bravo to both of you!

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#2034674 - 02/17/13 10:12 AM Re: Notational Preferences [Re: Nikolas]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12043
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
To answer your original question, I would say never assume that something is obvious. I do not think it looks too cluttered. In fact, without this a lot of misconceptions could happen on the part of the performer. I think what you did was clear.
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#2034678 - 02/17/13 10:24 AM Re: Notational Preferences [Re: Nikolas]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
I think it can be helpful to have the pedal marks (lines). Since it's a lot more work, though, it may not be worth it. And in that case "con pedale" or "with pedal" is better than no indication about pedaling.

Another possibility is to check with Ben to see if there is a pedaling pattern that could be written in for a few measures and then write "simile". And see if there are any places that he intends a particular pedaling that might not be intuitive to the performer...just writing those in.

Thanks for this interesting thread which lets us see what considerations go into editorial decisions.

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#2034695 - 02/17/13 10:55 AM Re: Notational Preferences [Re: Nikolas]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5300
Loc: Europe
Peter: Thanks. It didn't occur to me that it might look like a triplet. Once I get in the studio (some 15 hours from now) I will change that and post again the resulting image...

On the pedal issue, things are rather simple I think, but in any case, personally I use too much pedalling most of the time, so it'd be unwise to start notating my own pedalling: I think I'd just go legato pedalling all the time! laugh So this leaves the 'with pedal' or 'without pedal', which almost seems redundant by me: I mean "everybody" knows that piano sounds better with pedal, no? :P (honestly that was my mantra as a piano student... Probably because up until the age of 16, my sustain pedal didn't work... :D).

Ann: You won't believe what goes into our head when we work on music, especially educational works... :-/

another challenge I have is to put fingering or not and how much... In Sketch Music I asked someone else to do it for me, since it was my own work, and I think I'll do the same for this work...
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#2034759 - 02/17/13 01:12 PM Re: Notational Preferences [Re: Nikolas]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1365
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Originally Posted By: Nikolas

personally I use too much pedalling most of the time


Join the club, Nikolas; I'm a charter member.

But students at any stage beyond the absolute beginner enjoy the subjectivity of pedalling. Where to depress it? For how long? These are artistic questions that are fun for each player to grapple with.

So my vote would be to *not* notate pedalling. Unless composer Ben insists otherwise.

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#2034761 - 02/17/13 01:16 PM Re: Notational Preferences [Re: Nikolas]
Ben Crosland Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/10
Posts: 420
Loc: Worcester, UK
Thanks for all the great feedback, folks! smile

Personally, I err on the side of "less", except where a misconception could occur. With regards to pedalling, I like to indicate the non-obvious; but if it gets too fiddly, I'd rather have "con pedale" or even "with pedal". I certainly think that it is helpful to at least give some indication that pedalling is appropriate, though - having seen one teacher interpret one of my elementary compositions as completely non-legato, just because I had decided not to use slurs, I can see that some would tell their students not to use any pedal where none was marked.

Some of the comments have come back suggesting that, as it's educational music, then everything should be in there, but then there is the other side of that, which says that the student would really benefit from less clutter, and the teacher can always step in and pencil additional markings if they feel it is necessary.

Peter: regarding the 3 quavers, I think it would be very unlikely in this case that someone would read it as a triplet - they are spaced neatly over a grid of crotchets, and are preceded by only a quaver rest. Also, the feel of the piece up to that point would definitely not lead anyone toward a triplet there!
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#2034794 - 02/17/13 02:24 PM Re: Notational Preferences [Re: Ben Crosland]
TimR Online   content
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Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3214
Loc: Virginia, USA
I think it might depend on the expected performer's skill level a bit.

I personally would prefer to not see all the rests.

But I direct a handbell choir, and by convention the rests are never used. The ringers are musically inexperienced, and I never get through a new piece without stopping and marking somebody's music or explaining how to count their part. I'd really prefer they put the rests in, but that's not the way it's done.
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#2034799 - 02/17/13 02:31 PM Re: Notational Preferences [Re: Nikolas]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5300
Loc: Europe
I should note that Ben's scores were already with great detail and attention. So all these are tiny details (I mean I'm discussing whether to put in a 'con pedale' or not... :P). Same goes for the rest.

My main "issue", if we are to call it that, is that one can either follow the rest of the crowd (other scores) that follow the same pattern, right or wrong: ABSRM is an example of that I think (in regards to rests and stuff), or prepare the student to what they will come up later in their life as pianist.
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#2034928 - 02/17/13 07:00 PM Re: Notational Preferences [Re: Nikolas]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13797
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Regarding slurs - instead of marking all the slurs, consider a word instead. If the intent is for everything to be legato, then simply include a "legato" instruction. Or "flowing" or whatever word captures the feel in whatever language you'd like.

In my opinion, indications should be used when it's not obvious from the style. These may be at a level where pedal indications might be overly fussy. In that case, use pedaling indications where they aren't obvious, but otherwise leave them out.

This all assumes that the style of the piece is clear. From the excerpts you've put, they seem in a lyric, pop style. Evocative titles would help also.

In other words, being clear regarding notation can mean two things - micromanaging the technical details and giving a general "big picture" sense of the style. The clearer you are with the big picture, the fewer fussy details you need. Also, the clearer you are about the style, the more you can trust the teacher to help make the student make good choices.
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#2035624 - 02/19/13 01:37 AM Re: Notational Preferences [Re: Nikolas]
Ben Crosland Offline
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Registered: 03/11/10
Posts: 420
Loc: Worcester, UK
That's really great advice, Jason! Thank you smile
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#2035635 - 02/19/13 02:12 AM Re: Notational Preferences [Re: Nikolas]
Nikolas Offline
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Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5300
Loc: Europe
Thanks Jason.

The titles are already quite clear, and we do hope to add illustrations which should augment the sense of that... So the big picture is there.

From the small picture details I do see what you mean and I think that I, personally, agree. But I should note that legato slurs also indicate phrases, which are clearer this way. In piano music that is.

I think that I'll make a few test pages to see what works best...

Again thanks Jason and thanks everyone!
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