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Topic: Oblique lines between two staves (Read 439 times) previous topic - next topic

Oblique lines between two staves

Good morning,
in my ignorance of music theory I am not able to interpret the meaning of the oblique lines that I have highlighted in the attached image.
I see a line going from a Bb/Db chord on the top staff to an Ab on the bottom staff. In the next bar the line goes, always from top to bottom, from a Cb to an Ab.
What do these lines mean? In NWC can they only be written as text (x)?
Thank you.
Lorenzo

 

Re: Oblique lines between two staves

Reply #1
I also suffer from music theory ignorance, so I can't answer your question about the meaning of these lines.

But I know in nwc they can be produced by the markup.rg user plugin.
This user plugin was created by the late NWC virtuoso Rick G.
It's very powerful but also very obscure.

So 6 months ago I wrote a dialog based user tool to compose a markup object:
https://forum.noteworthycomposer.com/?topic=10207.msg73592#msg73592

Maybe this can be helpful.

Hope your 1st question will be answered soon by 1 of the music theory experts in the forum.

Gust
Always look on the bright side of life!

Re: Oblique lines between two staves

Reply #2
Those are "melody indicator lines" (my name, don't know whether there is some official name).
This piece, if you listen to it, has four melodic lines - I list them here in logical order, not in the order of pitch:

a) the top or main melody ("soprano"), which consists only of d-flats (with grace notes).
b) a bass line, going g-flat, a-flat, f | g-flat, f, e-flat, g-flat | ... (but see remarks 1) and 2) below!)
c) counter-strikes below the bass line = all the d-flat eighths in the left hand;
d) and finally a "bass parallel line", which almost completely runs a third above the bass line: b-flat, c-flat, a-flat | b-flat, a-flat, g-flat etc. This line is - for whatever reason; it's not actually necessary for playing - split between the right and left hand: from the a-flat in the second measure onwards, it is played by the left hand; starting at the c-flat in the third measure, the right hand plays it. Now, these oblique lines indicate this, to show the pianist that this is to be played as one continuous "inner melody".

If you, and anyone, is a little surprised that a piano piece can contain 4 "voices" or "melody lines", even if there are only two hands: The only thing I can say is that's how music works - it consists of many more interwoven elements that one might expect on the surface (there are quite a number of other interconnected patterns even in this small segment ... but I'm not going to blabber along about them ;D ).

A pianist should, if playing well, play all these lines differently, mainly with different volumes and different articulation, so that they are (even if subconsciously) communicated to the listener - therefore, it is customary to indicate "more unexpected" ones of these lines.

There are, in my opinion, two or maybe three errors in this score:
1) In the first measure, one can see that the bass line (b) above) is accentuated by having it played as quarters - the additional upward stems in the left hand. As this line continues in the second and third measures, the upward stems must go down to the bass line notes - see attached image. In NWC, this can only be achieved with a layered staff, AFAIK.
2) In the third measure, there is no note for the bass line on the fourth beat. The c-flat, as indicated by the line, is part of the "bass parallel line"; but there is no quarter note that would continue the bass line.
3) The low g-flat in the left hand below that c-flat seems out of place harmonically; it introduces a pedal tone, which was not present before ... but as I dont know the rest of the piece, this might be intentional; still, I, as a composer, would include this strange note in the bass line and stress it, again (at least) by making it a quarter note.

H.M.

Re: Oblique lines between two staves

Reply #3
Hmm,
I have read your learned explanation several times, with mine and your image in view.
I understood all the references to the melodic lines and now, thanks to you, I know the function of the lines that connect notes placed on different staves.
Instead, I only partially understood your observations on what concerns the correctness of the composition and harmony but I don't pretend nor would I be able to understand it: we are on two different floors, I in the cellar, you on the roof of a skyscraper!  :D
Thank you very much!
Lorenzo

Re: Oblique lines between two staves

Reply #4
I also suffer from music theory ignorance, so I can't answer your question about the meaning of these lines...
I have no knowledge of codes and the like. However by trying and trying something again I got what I was looking for.
Thanks for the suggestion.
Lorenzo

Re: Oblique lines between two staves

Reply #5
I just wanted to mention that Glissando.ms can also be used to notate this sort of line, by applying a large end Y offset and removing the default "gliss." text. Of course, playback should be set at None.

Re: Oblique lines between two staves

Reply #6
If you, and anyone, is a little surprised that a piano piece can contain 4 "voices" or "melody lines", even if there are only two hands
... has never played Bach!  :)

Re: Oblique lines between two staves

Reply #7
...I only partially understood your observations on what concerns the correctness of the composition and harmony ...
Here is an NWC file that shows the buildup of the segment from its four voices; and tries, colorfully, to show my three concerns - 1) that the bass line consists of quarters; 2) and 3) whether the gb is part of the bass, and whether it is correct. But this is just for amusement for those of you who, like me, like to nitpick around a little about this and that musical segment  :D

H.M.