NoteWorthy Composer Forum

Forums => General Discussion => Topic started by: djprince on 2011-09-18 04:44 pm

Title: Placement of two chord members of the same (overlapping) note pitch
Post by: djprince on 2011-09-18 04:44 pm
I have searched the forum as best I can, sorry if this is already answered but:

I have some old files that I want to open and print.  NWC2.1 displays differently a chord composed of two notes with the same pitch but different time values.  In pre-NWC2 the noteheads overlap so effectively there is one notehead with two stems, one upwards and one downwards.  The different stems depict the two different time values.  In NWC2 the noteheads are shown next to eachother, they are not overlayed.  If one of the notes is dotted, there may be a gap wide enough for the dot between the notes.  This placement is confusing for the musician to read, and is not standard practice.

Is this a 'feature' of NWC2 or have I missed something?!

Cheers
Dave
Title: Re: Placement of two chord members of the same (overlapping) note pitch
Post by: William Ashworth on 2011-09-18 09:04 pm
Two notes with the same pitch but different time values shouldn't share a note head. They need to be kept separate to tell the musician which voice goes where in the chord immediately following. This IS standard practice. I'm not sure what you've been seeing.
Title: Re: Placement of two chord members of the same (overlapping) note pitch
Post by: djprince on 2011-09-18 09:13 pm
It may be standard practice with choral music but it is not standard practice with piano music.
It worked fine in earlier nwc versions.
I am copying out a piano accompaniment for a Faure flute exam piece, so that's about as authoritative a source as I could be looking at.

Cheers
Dave
Title: Re: Placement of two chord members of the same (overlapping) note pitch
Post by: Richard Woodroffe on 2011-09-18 09:23 pm
I think that I understand what Dave is saying.  In nwc 1.75 if you had a chord composed of 2 notes with the stems in different directions, then the system always overlayed the notehead. This meant that if, stem up, you had a quarter note and stem down you had a dotted quarter note, you couldn't actually tell that there was a difference. Both would appear to be dotted unless you analysed the rest of the measure and counted to see if the the time was correct for stem up and stem down.

With NWC 2.1, the notes at the same pitch onle share the head if they are both of the same time value. So a quarter note and a dotted quarter note would never share the same notehead.  This, surely is clearer.  I understand the the impression may be that instead of a chord, you have two quarter notes, but even so, I think this is clearer. When it comes to say, a quarter note and an eighth note, I don't really see a problem since the note stems are virtually back to back.

Title: Re: Placement of two chord members of the same (overlapping) note pitch
Post by: Rick G. on 2011-09-19 12:09 am
In NWC 2.1+ noteheads can be merged by using layers.
Title: Re: Placement of two chord members of the same (overlapping) note pitch
Post by: William Ashworth on 2011-09-19 02:30 am
Sorry, Dave, but standard practice is as I've described it. Rich explained the reason: if one note in a pair of overlapping noteheads has a dot and the other doesn't, you have no way from the notation of being able to tell which is which. This is as true of piano music as it is of choral music (or any other). Music notation standards are designed to maintain clarity, so they call for separate noteheads if the notes are to be held for different amounts of time.

You don't have to take my word for this. Check the Music Publisher's Association's booklet Standard Music Notation Practice, which can be found online (in .pdf form) at http://www.mpa.org/music_notation/standard_practice.pdf (http://www.mpa.org/music_notation/standard_practice.pdf). The rules for opposite-stemmed notes - including notes of the same pitch but different durations - are illustrated on p. 7.

Ultimately, of course, how you notate is up to you. As Rick G. explains, you can force NWC to overlap noteheads via layers. But the software's native practice for showing noteheads of the same pitch but different lengths is correct.

Cheers,

Bill
Title: Re: Placement of two chord members of the same (overlapping) note pitch
Post by: PhilHolmes on 2011-09-19 02:40 pm
The rules concerning merging the noteheads of different notes are more complex than this.  It's covered in Elaine Gould's book on page 52.  Generally, black noteheads can be merged, since the presence/absence of flags makes the length obvious.  Noteheads where the notes have the same value can be merged.  Open notes (minims, etc.) should be kept separate from other open notes of different duration and from black headed notes.
Title: Re: Placement of two chord members of the same (overlapping) note pitch
Post by: Richard Woodroffe on 2011-09-19 03:12 pm
The rules concerning merging the noteheads of different notes are more complex than this.  It's covered in Elaine Gould's book on page 52.  Generally, black noteheads can be merged, since the presence/absence of flags makes the length obvious.  Noteheads where the notes have the same value can be merged.  Open notes (minims, etc.) should be kept separate from other open notes of different duration and from black headed notes.

Except on page 59 she says :

Quote
It is acceptable for the dotted note to share a notehead with a note without a dot as long as the rhythm of both parts is absolutely clear.
Should the rhythms appear ambiguous , use separate noteheads as this will always be the clearest arrangement.

So I would say that at the moment, NoteWorthy has got it right and that if you really want the same notehead for two notes with different timings, then use layering.  Far better that NoteWorthy used the clearest and most acceptable option as default and that any other option can be achieved by layering.
Title: Re: Placement of two chord members of the same (overlapping) note pitch
Post by: William Ashworth on 2011-09-19 03:19 pm
Thanks, Phil. I kept it simple for Dave's benefit. Elaine Gould's book is a great resource, but it isn't on line.

BTW, notation standards aren't set in stone. If there's a good reason to break them, go ahead. I regularly break the current rule about stem direction on the middle line of the staff, because it's pretty arbitrary, and I think the old standard looks better. The important thing is to make sure your intentions are clear to the performer. (Rich, thanks for posting the additional Gould quote, which appeared while I was writing this. I think she's making the same point I just did.)

Cheers -

Bill
Title: Re: Placement of two chord members of the same (overlapping) note pitch
Post by: djprince on 2011-09-27 07:24 pm
On returning after a few days, I find that I must thank you all for your answers.  Such musical erudition displayed!  The answer I needed was the confirmation that nwc2 is treating these notes differently from nwc1, it's not just some setting that I have missed.

The Faure piece I mentioned falls into the category of unambiguous (or of acceptable ambiguity) when determining note length.  I find that most of the piano music in my poor library does.  When so many aspects of written music are ambiguous (how exactly did Mozart intend that sonata to be played?), it seems fastidious to balk at a dot being overwritten.  I read your quotations from Ms Gould as implying that it is by exception that one should clarify.  That's when to use layering!

The suggestion that I re-work hundreds of hours of effort in my old files to add layering so that I can print them is a little prosaic.  Keeping a copy of nwc1.75 is a more realistic option.  Best to keep it simple, for my benefit.
Title: Re: Placement of two chord members of the same (overlapping) note pitch
Post by: tony smedley on 2011-09-27 08:17 pm
Not quite the subject but close to it, I have a problem with a Widor score.

A note is preceded by two accidental markings, side by side, a natural and a sharp.
They apply to a "G" note head that has a downward stem, part of a two part beamed pair, and  immediately above is a "B" with an upward stem, also part of a beamed pair. 

 Does this mean that the single note head is actually a chord of "G" snd"G sharp" ?


Tony
Title: Re: Placement of two chord members of the same (overlapping) note pitch
Post by: Rick G. on 2011-09-27 10:15 pm
Does this mean that the single note head is actually a chord of "G" and "G sharp" ?
It is a chord unless there is a "G dblsharp" in the vicinity.
Title: Re: Placement of two chord members of the same (overlapping) note pitch
Post by: djprince on 2011-10-19 03:30 pm
Tony

From your description, the notehead represents a G sharp (a single note).  It is not two notes in a chord, because if it was, then two noteheads, side by side, would have been written.  It is unlikely that a piece would have a natural and a sharp apply to the same note, an F double-sharp would do the job in place of the G natural, and preserve the integrity of the key.  Mind you, every rule has its exceptions.

As Rick suggests, it is not uncommon, where a note has had an accidental applied to it (eg G double-sharp) in the previous one or two bars, to indicate that it is being 'reset' with a natural sign, before being given a new accidental value (or given back its key signature value).  If the natural precedes the sharp sign on the same ledger line, as you describe, then this seems the most likely explanation.

Dave