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swinging notes

how do i get my score to swing?

Re: swinging notes

Reply #1
While there is another common method, I think this is the best one:
https://forum.noteworthycomposer.com/?topic=2335.msg12893#msg12893

Thanks KAT for this method.

It expects you to be using a "conductor staff" - this is simply another staff that only has tempo (or metronome marks) and other tempo related controls.  It is usually filled with rests.

I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - 'n I'm lernin' tubies now too

Re: swinging notes

Reply #2
Wow...I've got to say that's pretty impressive!  And it's easy to add/remove as well!

Re: swinging notes

Reply #3
Thanks for the endorsements, guys!
Glad you like!

Re: swinging notes

Reply #4
this method is easy and does work well. thanks guys. but is there a way to make sixteenths play evenly? if the tempo is changed to make the sixteenths play evenly then the whole score stops swinging. is there a way to make it so that the soloist or melody plays even sixteenths while the rhythm section still swings? can two staves play different tempos?

Re: swinging notes

Reply #5
I think you'd need a workaround.  Use separate playback staffs from the visible notation, mute the visible swing music and emulate the swing in the playback staffs with triplet groups of quarters and eighths.  The swinging playback staffs would not be displayed, of course.  Then your straight sixteenths would play "legit."

The first problem with my idea that you may run into is that the group who plays your chart may not know what you're trying to achieve, and play all the parts straight or all the parts with a swing.

The second problem you'll get is a three sixteenth note "stutter" at the end of each group of sixteenth notes because the last eighth note of the swung triplet will be played between the third and fourth note in each group of sixteenths:

[shadow=red,left]o  o  o  o     o  o  o  o      o  o  o  o      o  o  o  o

O       o       O       o        O       o       O       o[/shadow]

Or perhaps better illustrated like this:

Top staff
!NoteWorthyComposerClip(2.0,Single)
|Note|Dur:16th,Accent|Pos:-1|Opts:Stem=Up,Beam=First
|Note|Dur:16th|Pos:-1|Opts:Stem=Up,Beam
|Note|Dur:16th|Pos:-1|Opts:Stem=Up,Beam
|Note|Dur:16th|Pos:-1|Opts:Stem=Up,Beam=End
|Note|Dur:16th,Accent|Pos:-1|Opts:Stem=Up,Beam=First
|Note|Dur:16th|Pos:-1|Opts:Stem=Up,Beam
|Note|Dur:16th|Pos:-1|Opts:Stem=Up,Beam
|Note|Dur:16th|Pos:-1|Opts:Stem=Up,Beam=End
|Note|Dur:16th,Accent|Pos:-1|Opts:Stem=Up,Beam=First
|Note|Dur:16th|Pos:-1|Opts:Stem=Up,Beam
|Note|Dur:16th|Pos:-1|Opts:Stem=Up,Beam
|Note|Dur:16th|Pos:-1|Opts:Stem=Up,Beam=End
|Note|Dur:16th,Accent|Pos:-1|Opts:Stem=Up,Beam=First
|Note|Dur:16th|Pos:-1|Opts:Stem=Up,Beam
|Note|Dur:16th|Pos:-1|Opts:Stem=Up,Beam
|Note|Dur:16th|Pos:-1|Opts:Stem=Up,Beam=End
|Bar
!NoteWorthyComposerClip-End

Bottom staff

!NoteWorthyComposerClip(2.0,Single)
|Tempo|Tempo:30|Pos:14
|Note|Dur:4th,Triplet=First|Pos:-3|Opts:Stem=Down
|Note|Dur:8th,Triplet=End|Pos:-3|Opts:Stem=Down
|Note|Dur:4th,Triplet=First|Pos:-3|Opts:Stem=Down
|Note|Dur:8th,Triplet=End|Pos:-3|Opts:Stem=Down
|Note|Dur:4th,Triplet=First|Pos:-3|Opts:Stem=Down
|Note|Dur:8th,Triplet=End|Pos:-3|Opts:Stem=Down
|Note|Dur:4th,Triplet=First|Pos:-3|Opts:Stem=Down
|Note|Dur:8th,Triplet=End|Pos:-3|Opts:Stem=Down
|Bar
!NoteWorthyComposerClip-End


Re: swinging notes

Reply #6
Hmm, edjamakashun time for Lawrie methinks.

David, whenever I've seen semiquavers (16th's if you prefer) in the charts we play, they're always played pretty much straight.

In fact, as the tempo rises, even quavers (8th's) end up getting 'straighter'.

Now I reckon getting semiquavers to swing in time with quavers would be quite a challenge...  Not sure I could actually do it.  I mean, I could swing semiquavers a la quaver-semiquaver triplet, but not as crotchet-quaver triplets (2 semi's as the crotchet followed by 2 semi's as the quaver)...

As I'm relatively new to actually playing swing can you enlighten me?

BTW, I rather like the effect your example provides...
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - 'n I'm lernin' tubies now too

Re: swinging notes

Reply #7
Quote
this method is easy and does work well. thanks guys.
You're welcome!
Quote
is there a way to make sixteenths play evenly? if the tempo is changed to make the sixteenths play evenly then the whole score stops swinging. is there a way to make it so that the soloist or melody plays even sixteenths while the rhythm section still swings?

Normally, I straighten whatever beat(s) require it and change the rhythm section to triplets (as per David Palmquist's reply), but I had one chart with the Tenor playing 4 choruses so I couldn't effectively change tempo and all the accompanying tracks.  I really wanted to have evenly-played sixteenths, so here is what I came up with (mind you, this is only an approximation, but it sounds pretty close [LOOKS HORRIBLE!  FOR HIDDEN STAFF ONLY!]):

Re: swinging notes

Reply #8
Quote
As I'm relatively new to actually playing swing can you enlighten me?

Lawrie, I'm a newbie at this swing stuff too.  There is an interesting study here
http://www.alisdair.com/pdf/articles/It%20Dont%20Mean%20A%20Things.pdf that confirms what you say about the meter becoming straighter as the tempo increases.

Glad you liked my example.  I did too (blush).


Quote
so here is what I came up with
KAT, what a lot of work you did with that.  I wouldn't have the patience to work it all out like that.  Well done.


 

Re: swinging notes

Reply #9
G'day David,
thankd for that link - as you say, quite interesting...  Shame he doesn't get into semiquavers but ya can't have everything...  :)
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - 'n I'm lernin' tubies now too

Re: swinging notes

Reply #10
Quote
I wouldn't have the patience to work it all out like that. 
Patience is my middle name ["A" stands for "Patience?"] 
Quote
Well done.
Thank you.

Re: swinging notes

Reply #11
This sounds difficult.  Maybe a little rubato wouldn't hurt...  :P  (I wish I could make a tongue smiley with X eyes)

Re: swinging notes

Reply #12
A good thing to do is to write your score out using eigth notes and place eigth rests on between the 1st and second on each beat and then highlight the rest go to visibility and set it no never.  Then, at the start of your score give your quarter = 120 bpm tempo followed by an invisible dotted-quarter = 120 bpm tempo. 


Re: swinging notes

Reply #14
These tricks and hacks are all very well, but they do make mistakes. Also, the exact rythm is often slightly off, and as I create these files as choral practice accompaniment, this is fatal to my purpose.

I have two ways to do it.  One is just bite the bullet and put in all the triplets and ties.  In the Chatanooga Choo Choo example, note how straight and swing beats between the piano and singer create an interesting texture, which would be lost by hacking the tempo track.

The other is to go ahead and use duple time, 12/8 in the case of Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight.  I did this after my conductor didn't notice the swing tempo indication in the score and tried to conduct it straight.  Here too, there are places where swing and straight eighths beat against each other, which is a situation which just can't be handled automatically with less than a monster AI program.

A lot of work?  Sure, but as they say, there ain't no such thing as a free lunch.  Also, I don't understand the motivation for having the played and visible scores be different.  In this case it's actually distructive, as singers in the 50's knew how to make the translation in theri heads in a way which seems awkward to the singers I encounter these days.

See the attached graphic and nwc scores, if they really got attached.  I am new in this forum.
They didn't get attached.  Look below to see them.

Re: swinging notes

Reply #15
Welcome to what Lawrie calls the friendliest forum on the web, bidderxyzzy.

Quote
I don't understand the motivation for having the played and visible scores be different.

Swing music was (and is) traditionally written with straight 8th notes, not triplets, 12/8 or dotted 8th/16ths. The use of other notation represent attempts by composers or arrangers to convey the idea of swing to musicians who may not be familiar with the style.  One can speculate on why straight 8ths were used; I think everyone knew the style and composers, arrangers and copyists usually were working to a deadline.  For instance, Ellington would still be composing at the beginning of his recording sessions, and the copyists extracted the parts (transposing on the fly) as each page of the score left Duke's hands. 

NWC and other notation processors could be programmed to allow a swing performance style, but it would be generic and not right at all tempos.  The ratio between the strong and weak swing notes will change as the tempo changes.  There's a discussion here http://www.outsideshore.com/school/music/almanac/html/Elements_Of_Jazz/Fundamentals/Rhythm.htm#swing, and several other sources online as well.

Quote
In this case it's actually distructive, as singers in the 50's knew how to make the translation in theri heads in a way which seems awkward to the singers I encounter these days.

Singers in the 50s still remembered how to swing, but swing became more or less standard in jazz around 1932 (when Ellington wrote It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)).  The 50s were already past the heyday of swing music.



 

Re: swinging notes

Reply #16
Thanks for the welcome, Mr. Palmquist.  There are lots of things in music, like rubato, Adagio movements, figured bases and the Who's guitar windmills which aren't or even can't be notated precisely.  Your referenced page is a good discussion of swing and it's relatives, but though I can remember the 50's (and they are invoked in the time signature of my example piece) I can't remember the 30's.  My point was (and is) that asking for an automatic "swingifier" is chasing a mirage, and that doing it by hand isn't all that much work--maybe even less than developing a semi-functioning hack.

Now can anybody tell me how I can get to the second and third attachments the posting editor promised would be tacked on to my comment? 

Re: swinging notes

Reply #17
G'day bidderxyzzy,
the swing workarounds are just that - workarounds.  I must say that they function fairly well for my modest needs, but in the end, as has been argued to death in another part of the forum, NWC is a notation program first - not a sequencer.  The fact that it also does a pretty good job of sequencing (within it's limitations) is a bonus.

One of the techniques I've used when I needed a few straight bars, OR swing against straight accompaniment, is to have a combination of straight and swung bars in the tempo track, and notate the swung bits in a hidden staff using crotchet/quaver triplets while the rest is played straight with a straight bar or 2 in the tempo track.  Then back to swing everywhere.

It's quite a bit more work to do this way but fortunately I haven't had the need very often.

Ultimately, for all the advantages computers have, I just don't believe they will ever adequately replace "meat musicians".  This is reflected in your own comment:

<snip> There are lots of things in music, like rubato, Adagio movements, figured bases and the Who's guitar windmills which aren't or even can't be notated precisely.<snip>

As for additional attachments, I haven't had any problem the few times I've needed to do it.  You just have to attach each file separately, clicking the "more attachments" link in between each one.  If this is what you've done and it hasn't worked for you I suggest a quick note to support is in order, maybe something's broken.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - 'n I'm lernin' tubies now too

Re: swinging notes

Reply #18
Thank you Mr. Pardy.  I just repeatedly hit "browse" ignoring (more attachments).

I think these show why I think using hidden jury rigged workarounds are not only not necessary, they may not even be faster or easier than just writing out the music. 

Re: swinging notes

Reply #19
G'day bidderxyzzy,
hmm, I've just read back what I've written and apologise in advance for being so long winded!

Thank you Mr. Pardy.  I just repeatedly hit "browse" ignoring (more attachments).

You are most welcome, and please, call me Lawrie - Mr. Pardy was me grandfather, 'n he's been dead for over 60 years :)

Quote
I think these show why I think using hidden jury rigged workarounds are not only not necessary, they may not even be faster or easier than just writing out the music. 

In the case of "Goodnight Sweetheart" I see your point in the reproduction, all those triplets in the piano, but I would have taken a slightly different approach.  (BTW, your 12/8 method has good precedent...  see https://forum.noteworthycomposer.com/?topic=2437.0 )

I would have notated it with visible, muted staves for printout and hidden, sounding staves for playback.  The visible ones would have been in the usual quaver/quaver style used for traditionally notated swing, and the sounding ones using crotchet/quaver triplets - very similar to how you've done "Chattanooga Choo Choo" though there you used tied quavers instead of crotchets for the first part of the triplet.

With "Chattanooga Choo Choo" I would have probably used a full length tempo staff with the swing workaround for most of the piece, and "straightened" the few bars that needed it.  Of course, I may have needed to have some hidden staves to facilitate "straightening" the couple of parts that seem to have straight accompaniment with swung melody.

That said, I think I'd like to get out some old recordings, something didn't quite jibe with the rhythm pattern in some of those mixed sections - could easily be my memory though.

The reason I would notate in the traditional quaver/quaver style for swing is related to the big band I play in:

I've always loved to listen to jazz, but could never make the opportunity to play any.  Until about 3 years or so ago.  Then I was told about a student big band being run by the local conservatory - well, the rehearsal night slotted in nicely with my other commitments so I jumped at it - talk about a learning curve!  Over 35 years of habits to change!  The hardest one was moving from transposed treble clef to concert bass (I play trombone and was taught in a brass band in the British tradition - tenor 'bones play transposed treble)

Anyhow, we have 3 tutors, our "leader" (Alto sax in the band and "head of jazz" at the con.) and the pianist are both teachers at the con.  The pianist in particular has a strong history in jazz having played for years in his fathers jazz combo from about the age of 12.  He later went to Sydney con. to study jazz, and other stuff as well I imagine.

Our lead trumpet is hired as an additional tutor just for the big band.  He is quite vocal and opinionated about charts he doesn't like (I guess with 50 plus years of playing jazz {and other stuff} professionally he's entitled to...) and 12/8 or crotchet/quaver triplets on the printed parts to make it swing is, umm, shall we say, not appreciated unless it's a small section in an otherwise straight chart.  Thus, when I notate swing, I notate it straight and swing the tempo track!

He's a traditionalist - quite brilliant to listen to, has played with some of the greats (the recently deceased Maynard Ferguson for one) - and worth my paying attention to IMHO.

I figure that if he has something nice to say about what I played then I did a good job - he's hard to please.

I value his experience and opinion and am happy to let it colour my approach to jazz in general, and swing in particular.

I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - 'n I'm lernin' tubies now too

Re: swinging notes

Reply #20
Quote
I think these show why I think using hidden jury rigged workarounds are not only not necessary, they may not even be faster or easier than just writing out the music.

We get so tied up with computers, we forget to use pen and paper.  However, the advantage of software like this is that you can transpose in a second or two, and you can save to pdf, thus preserving your final "print" versions for a future need.

Not a perfect solution with a low cost program, because text based marks won't move with the notes but it's not that hard to find and adjust them all.

Re: swinging notes

Reply #21
I think these show why I think using hidden jury rigged workarounds are not only not necessary, they may not even be faster or easier than just writing out the music. 
I think CHO_B-5.nwc shows just the opposite. If you give out that piano part, the player is likely to give it back to you (or worse).
Registered user since 1996

Re: swinging notes

Reply #22
Lawrie,

Don't bother looking up old recordings to find discrepancies.  This is a "new" arrangement cooked up by myself and my voice teacher just four years ago.  After all, what artist would re-record a standard without making any changes at all?

David,

How could you have interpreted "write out" as being on paper, not with noteworthy?  After all, I provided the results as an attachment.

Rick G.,

My experience was otherwise.  The tied "untriplets" keep the notes flowing at a constant rate, which the piano player it was written for really liked.  This is, though, an early effort, and I admit I probably should clean it up a bit if the need should arise to use it again. "Goodnight..." is more like my current output.

Re: swinging notes

Reply #23
G'day bidderxyzzy,
Lawrie,

Don't bother looking up old recordings to find discrepancies.  This is a "new" arrangement cooked up by myself and my voice teacher just four years ago.  After all, what artist would re-record a standard without making any changes at all?

Fair enough :)

Quote
<snip the bit to David>

Rick G.,

My experience was otherwise.  The tied "untriplets" keep the notes flowing at a constant rate, which the piano player it was written for really liked.  This is, though, an early effort, and I admit I probably should clean it up a bit if the need should arise to use it again. "Goodnight..." is more like my current output.

If I may butt in here - 'cos I'm curious and I can ;)  - would I be right in guessing that the pianist in question doesn't usually play much jazz?

I ask 'cos it seems to me that the piano score as presented looks very cluttered in comparison to a traditionally notated swing score.  I think that even crotchet/quaver triplets would be easier to read than the tied quaver/quaver triplets you've used...

E.G.
Please see my attachment - it's the first 4 bars of CHO_B-5 as you've notated it, followed by 4 bars of crotchet/quaver triplets and finally followed by how I would notate those 4 bars.  I've added a hidden tempo track to enable the swing for the third set of 4 bars.

Play it back and it all sounds the same but visually it gets progressively simpler - Print Preview will help show the difference.

OK now.  The first 2 versions will get any concert pianist to swing it just right, as would notating in 12/8, but you already know that.  The final version would be preferred by any pianist who plays swing - it's just so much cleaner.

Ultimately you need to provide the printout for your musicians that they will understand.  If your piano player isn't "swing friendly" then you need either your solution, or perhaps the crotchet/quaver version I suggested - or even a 12/8 one.  If (s)he is "swing friendly" then I guarantee (s)he'll prefer the traditional notation style.

Perhaps another point well worth noting is that the 2:1 ratio between the quaver pairs is really only an approximation.  In the real world the ratio, or rather, the feel, will change from song to song and from tempo to tempo and ultimately from band to band.  E.G. in some cases the swing feel can be closer to a 3:1 ratio or dotted quaver/semiquaver (dotted 8th and 16th if you prefer), in other cases it can get very close to being straight.

As you said earlier "what artist would re-record a standard without making any changes at all?" - we all put our own stamp on the music we play.

Hopefully this is helpful for you.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - 'n I'm lernin' tubies now too


Re: swinging notes

Reply #25
G'day Rick,
better again!  So obvious when you see it...  Changing the right hand to bass clef I mean...  I guess that not being a pianist myself, and playing a limited range instrument, clef changes are something I just don't think of...

Had a look at your tempo staff and it took a while to "twig" to how it works...  Looks neater than K.A.T.'s method but is a little less intuitive for me - still - I'll think about it some 'cos it has the potential to make some alterations to the normal ratio we use a little easier - or maybe not - I definitely need to think about it...

Please find attached comparisons of all 4 examples...
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - 'n I'm lernin' tubies now too

Re: swinging notes

Reply #26
Looked at it, but I can't abide a 12pt printout. I have one piece that I use done in 14pt. The rest are 16 & 18pt,the majority in 18pt. The 14pt is Pachelbel's Canon which works since there are few accidentals and anything bigger creates lines of one measure (yuk!). I had to do Schubert's Ave Maria as 1-1/2 measures/line. Oh, well. Complaints about NWC's minimum note space belong in a different thread.
Registered user since 1996

Re: swinging notes

Reply #27
Youse guys seem to think four measures a piece makes.  Aint so.  Your printouts may take less toner to print, but they aren't simpler musically, and don't work in the more rhythmically complex sections.  Notating the right hand in bass clef is absolutely standard when called for, but again doesn't work everywhere outside of your precious four measures.  Check out the attachment, where some of the clef changes have the double purpose of emphasizing some of the syncopations at measures 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34 and 35, among others.

Let me point out that I chose this example partly because I attended a concert of the Down Town Glee Club in NYC last year and was aghast to hear them doing it all pretty straight, and even leaving out the syncopations, which my voice teacher tells me are very hard to sing.  But they are part of the heart and soul of the piece.  I learned them from this nwc file.

And yes, any good pianist can get the swing if it is notated, and a swing musician, like Gladstone Trott, music director and conductor of the DGC, can miss seeing the little note attached to the time signature, if it's there at all.  I prefer WYSIWYG, it's safer.  Besides, with our modern computer tools there is no longer a need to slavishly carry a tradition, which arose, it seems, out of a pressing need to minimize pen strokes in copying.

Re: swinging notes

Reply #28
Youse guys seem to think four measures a piece makes.
I don't know what gve you that impression. Lawrie and I have done full works that have been played by ensembles. You won't see many here because of copyright restrictions. You can find one of mine <here>

I like to make a buck or two playing music. That means that I need to be able to play in dimly lit bars and turn my own pages. Sometimes the music is 18 inches away, sometimes 3 feet. Sometimes the only chair available is too high. Too low is only problem when someone needs the phone book. If someone has a request, and I have it in my bag, I'll pull it out and play it, even if I haven't played it in a year. Music that won't let me do this is not worth carrying.

I also play outdoors. There, a song must fit on 4 pages or less since page turns are generally impossible. Lighting conditions are worse. The sun peeks in and out of clouds and I must keep playing.

WYSIWYG isn't. Seeing is not enough, one has to be able to read it.
I see your work. I doubt that you will get it from the musicians that play it.
Registered user since 1996

Re: swinging notes

Reply #29
G'day Rick,

Looked at it, but I can't abide a 12pt printout.<snip>

Sorry mate, I didn't pick the size, just used bidderxyzzy's file as a starting point - didn't even look at the point size....


G'day bidderxyzzy,

Youse guys seem to think four measures a piece makes.  Aint so. 

No, of course 4 bars doesn't make the whole piece - whaddya think, I'm gonna rewrite the whole thing just to give an example?

Quote
Your printouts may take less toner to print, but they aren't simpler musically, and don't work in the more rhythmically complex sections. 

Re the bold bit - I beg to differ.  While I haven't been playing swing/jazz for that long I have done a few gigs where I had to sight read music I've never even heard, let alone played before.  Believe me, my example is far easier to read in that context.  Especially when there is insufficient light - the norm in a (jazz) club - I can see immediately what is going on 'cos I'm accostomed to playing swing.  While your method works, it is not as intuitive for the jazz musician who would have to stop and think about what is going on and probably call you a few names before commencing to play...  ;)

RE: the rhythm bit, of course it will work - just gotta use some hidden playback staves to get the sound right, and print the straight bits with an (even 8th's) annotation - I see it quite often.  It works.

Quote
Notating the right hand in bass clef is absolutely standard when called for, but again doesn't work everywhere outside of your precious four measures. 

No one said it had to work everywhere in the piece.  Change clefs as needed - you've done this in your own example.

Quote
Check out the attachment, where some of the clef changes have the double purpose of emphasizing some of the syncopations at measures 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34 and 35, among others.

Let me point out that I chose this example partly because I attended a concert of the Down Town Glee Club in NYC last year and was aghast to hear them doing it all pretty straight, and even leaving out the syncopations, which my voice teacher tells me are very hard to sing.  But they are part of the heart and soul of the piece.  I learned them from this nwc file.

And yes, any good pianist can get the swing if it is notated, and a swing musician, like Gladstone Trott, music director and conductor of the DGC, can miss seeing the little note attached to the time signature, if it's there at all.  I prefer WYSIWYG, it's safer.  Besides, with our modern computer tools there is no longer a need to slavishly carry a tradition, which arose, it seems, out of a pressing need to minimize pen strokes in copying.


Mmm... Concert/choral/rock (un?)trained musicians need to learn how before they can swing - some never manage it - reminds me of an old joke:

How do you pick the trombonists kid at the park?

He's the one who can't swing and doesn't know how to use the slide...  :)


I don't know for sure exactly how the tradition started - David's suggestion is probably as good as any.  However, for the most part traditions that work live on, ones that don't, die.  Traditional swing notation lives 'cos it works.

Nevertheless, at the end of the day you need to notate what your musicians find easiest - if your piano player is classically trained and can't intuit swing then by all means notate it non-traditionally, but if (s)he can swing then it doesn't hurt to make it easier for him/her.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - 'n I'm lernin' tubies now too

Re: swinging notes

Reply #30
What you guys need is a SEQUENCER.
That way you can have several tracks playing straight sixteenths while all else swings.
(or a notator that can swing quantise).

Re: swinging notes

Reply #31
I've been enjoying this debate.  Going back to the example CHO - B - 5, which I think was the first one, I liked the sound of it.  I wondered why the right hand sounded familiar, and then it came to me.  This is typical western (as in cowboy movie) swing, perhaps with an extra little zip to it.  It works in this song.  I wonder how the oldtimers would have written it, if Roy Rogers or Gene Autry were going to be performing it? 


Bidderxyzzy,  you asked
Quote
David, How could you have interpreted "write out" as being on paper, not with noteworthy?


Umm, I read your words.  That's what the word normally means, although one can write on a wall, or in sand, or whatever. 

And that is precisely the point I made earlier.  Musical notation is a written language, and it must clearly communicate the composer's intention in such a way the person who must play the chart will understand. 

Your arguments make sense, but you're dealing with people who must read your music.  Logic frequently doesn't work.  Some need it to be notated in the more complicated, precise manner, and that's ok if you're doing that deliberately.  Others will just find it harder to read.  Simpler and cleaner notation that does exactly the same thing as the more complicated presentation will likely trump the more complicated score every time.

Except you do get the guys who don't know how to play the style... sigh.




 

Re: swinging notes

Reply #32
If you have followed the discussion this far, you may find <this> of interest. Especially the final paragraph.
Registered user since 1996

Re: swinging notes

Reply #33
The late Ron Simmonds (Dr. Jazz) had a great website, and it is wonderful that his heirs decided to preserve it.  I'm particularly impressed with the article Rick points to, because the second last paragraph agrees with what I wrote earlier (grin).  I first discovered Ron's site due to  http://www.jazzprofessional.com/interviews/Duke%20Ellington_1.htm.

One of the bands I play in has an arrangement of Bernstein music called "Symphonic Dances from West Side Story," written with Bernstein's accurate notation.  While we are one of the top amateur concert bands in western Canada, we only played it a couple of times, and then put it away.  I believe the trumpets thought it was too difficult, and the upper reeds didn't like the music itself.  (I loved it.)

I wonder if we would have kept it in the folder if the notation was traditional jazz notation, with less black ink on the page?


Re: swinging notes

Reply #34
Throwing my 2 cents worth in here....

Jazz isn't the only place where you have the problem of music notated one way and meant to be played another. I have played in Irish dance bands. Jigs are notated in 6/8 (9/8 for a slip jig) and are played straight. Reels are notated in 4/4 and played straight. Hornpipes are notated in 4/4 but are played with a little swing, someplace between a jig and a reel in feeling. Decorations are played as triplets in all three dance forms, no matter how they're written. And if you get a good fiddler or whistle player going, all of the notation goes out the window anyway.

The crux of the matter really is that the way a good performer in any style plays music is not capturable in notation. What we write down is an approximation which is then put through the twin filters of tradition and the performer's experience. When I write for a string quartet I notate very differently than I do when I'm preparing a chart for a folk band or a jazz band. IMO, it's unfair to expect any notation program - NWC included - to take care of this. If you're writing for musicians to play, notate in the style they're used to playing. If you want MIDI playback, of course, that's a different story, and the score you come up with will look quite different. If you want both - well, that's what hidden staves are for. I curse the extra time preparing them, but as a performer I sure wouldn't want to have to read them - even though they are the most accurate possible representation of what I am trying to get performers to do.

Re: swinging notes

Reply #35
Ain't nothin' new under the sun.  Look at "Baroque Music: Style and Performance" in Google Books, "Inequality' starting on page 42.

http://books.google.com/books?id=esNueLupa1IC&printsec=toc&dq=dotted+rhythm+baroque+notation#PPA42,M1

"Throughtout and even before the baroque period, and through all national traditions, evidence is founed for an expressive practice now commonly described as inequality: the unequal performance of notes notated equally."

So "swinging" has a long history, and if you want someone who knows all about it, try an early-music expert!

Or a fiddler: I should have remembered that hornpipes are notated as even eighth or sixteenth notes, but played as dotted eighth, sixteenth or dotted sixteenth, thirtysecond.

Re: swinging notes

Reply #36
G'day bidderxyzzy,

Youse guys seem to think four measures a piece makes.  Aint so.

OK, I got an urge...  Hope you don't mind but I did the whole piece - 'tis a rough job but I think I got all the changes from swing to even 8's and back right.  I haven't been overly concerned with appearance, just getting the tempo track and swing/even 8's annotations about right.

I must say I like the texture the swing to straight to swing alterations gives this piece.

<edit> Oops, I posted a bit quick but I won't change it - some of the annotations are a bit misleading as the left hand is still swinging while the right and the vocal is straight - I didn't annotate that difference  E.G. bar 10 and similar.  Sorry.
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - 'n I'm lernin' tubies now too

Re: swinging notes

Reply #37
Not being a pianist myself, I must rely on the opinions of my two voice coaches (one of whom actually makes more money as a club accompanist than singing or teaching) and my chorus's accompanist, who read the tied figures just fine. 

It seems we have a lively discussion going here, but I must but out.  My scores are all prepared for singers who need a way of practicing at home.  For them, any discrepancy between the notation on the screen and what they hear would be disastrous.

The stuff about swing rhythm is interesting and useful, but the stuff about hacking the tempo track, and in another thread getting the "orchestral" staff property to get closer to the way it should work in the first place by means of overlays leaves me cold.  I get the impression that here we have a bunch of old APL programmers still searching for the most obscure line of code that does something useful.

Look for me under orchestral staff property, minimum widths for measures, the enharmonic spelling generated by MIDI input (and the audit enharmonic spelling tool), the inability to force a group of notes to a single value when they start out with different durations, the need to delete and reenter notes of a chord to get accidentals corrected, and a few others.

Ta Ta

Re: swinging notes

Reply #38
G'day bidderxyzzy,
I understand most of your points.  Your reasoning seems OK to me, especially considering you have a fairly specific and (possibly) skill limited "readership".  Although I would make the suggestion that it wouldn't hurt your choristers/vocalists (and other musicians) to learn how to swing...

One thing I really don't understand is your antipathy towards using a swung tempo track...  (excluding your need to make the swing rhythm obvious for a non-jazz playing pianist).  I mean, I do understand given your stated circumstance, but your "hack" statement suggests you have no time for the technique at all and thus do not recognise any possibility of legitimate use.

Afterall, it's purpose is simply for playback.  If all you need is to produce a printed chart, then you don't even need to bother with one.  Jazz musicians can read quavers (8ths) and swing 'em just fine, the purpose of the swung tempo track is so you can playback and have the sound approximate what a jazz musician would play - and approximate fairly well too (aside from fancy articulations anyhow...).

I acknowledge that it would be nice to just click something and have NWC swing it for us, but using the tempo track we can have fairly precise control if we want to go into sufficient calculations...  Actually, it should be possible to specify a swing ratio in the dialogue that allows the swing in the first place.

I also acknowledge that it would be nice to be able to specify swing on a staff by staff basis, though there are probably more urgent things to do - like improving slurs...

Please understand, I mean no criticism, I just don't "get it".
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - 'n I'm lernin' tubies now too

Re: swinging notes

Reply #39
One minor addition.

If you select a group of notes, the "." key will cycle them through no, one, and two dots, but will also get them in sync, with repeated key strokes resulting all the notes have the same number of dots.  Then, the "+" key increases the note values until they reach whole notes (semi-breves), and repeated uses will force all the notes to semi-breves.  Finally the "-" key will reduce the note values to what ever you want.

Perhaps APLish, but very fast.  (I didn't know there were any APL programmers still around!  Ken Iverson invented the notation in order to give a formal definition of the S/360 architecture, and then he and Aidian (sp?) Falkoff coded up a interpreter for a striped down version (no sub- or superscripts, etc.) using a selectric typewriter terminal with a custom designed type ball -- I may still have one in a box somewhere.)   I think I still have listings of some of my APL code -- drawing contour maps, using a different custom type ball, for one.

Cyril

Re: swinging notes

Reply #40
Unlike Lawrie, I'm going to have to be critical here.

Quote
My scores are all prepared for singers who need a way of practicing at home.  For them, any discrepancy between the notation on the screen and what they hear would be disastrous.

From the standpoint of vocal pedagogy, this is flat wrong. If you don't teach your students to interpret in the style the music is written in, you aren't teaching them music.

From the standpoint that we should be observing in this discussion - its effect on NWC, and vice versa - it is also wrong. To make NWC jump through all the hoops necessary to render every style of music exactly as heard would make it so unwieldy as to be useless. While I agree that there are some improvements that could be made in playback, NWC is primarily a means of generating scores, not generating MIDI files. Scores are a means of transmitting music to musicians, and they depend on the musician's knowledge of style to transmit the music accurately. Back in the '60s, when I was taking composition, composers went through a spell of trying to notate everything exactly. Those scores (including the ones I did at the time) are largely unplayable, and if you do manage to play them accurately, they leave listeners cold because they sound mechanical. Better to write the jazz tune or the hornpipe in even notes and trust the musician to know how to swing.

When you write the score, you are writing the music. When you hack the tempo track (or any other hidden track) you are interpreting the music. Let's not clutter up NWC by confusing the two.

Re: swinging notes

Reply #41
G'day William,
you are, of course, quite correct.

Nevertheless, I do understand bidderxyzzy's point of view - I don't necessarily agree with it, but I do understand it.  All except the bit about hacking the tempo track...   ;)

Though you do remind me of an interesting statement he made:

<snip>
After all, what artist would re-record a standard without making any changes at all?

<snip>

Surely those changes are made "improv." style - not necessarily written???  The only time I can imagine wanting to write them is for sequencing - telling a machine what to do, not for notation which is for telling a person what to do - which they'll get wrong, err, I mean, improvise around, anyhow  :)
I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - 'n I'm lernin' tubies now too

Re: swinging notes

Reply #42
Quote
Surely those changes are made "improv." style - not necessarily written???

Well...arrangements are generally going to be written out, aren't they?

Re: swinging notes

Reply #43
G'day David,

Well...arrangements are generally going to be written out, aren't they?

Hmm, wasn't very precise was I?  What I meant to convey was that I wouldn't expect things like the exact notes that constitute a turn, trill or other embellishment - including the swing of the piece - to be written other than with the usual symbols.

I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - 'n I'm lernin' tubies now too

Re: swinging notes

Reply #44
Lawrie has it exactly right. As a beginning piano student I was handed an edition of the Bach two-part inventions that had every decoration written out. It was terrifying. It wasn't until I found an edition with the decorations written as symbols - as Bach himself certainly must have done - that I was able to play the things. In the written-out version, the notes were obscuring the music. Trying to write the swing into "Lady Be Good" has the same effect.

Re: swinging notes

Reply #45
I wonder if it would be sufficient the swing tunes as 8th note groupings, which most of us seem to agree on, but in the first two bars or so, mark the first of every pair as tenuto and the second as staccatto.  In the third bar just mark "simile."  I wonder if that would effectively get the swing idea across to the non-swinging conductors, instrumentalists or choristers.


Re: swinging notes

Reply #46
Quote
mark the first of every pair as tenuto and the second as staccatto

That gets the durations approximately right, David, but it doesn't get the attacks right. But I think you're on the right track - and here we get back into something NWC could do something about. It would be nice to be able to stick a free-floating bar at either the top or the bottom of the first page of a score, in a smaller point size, containing something like this:

!NoteWorthyComposerClip(2.0,Single)
|Clef|Type:Treble
|Note|Dur:8th|Pos:-1|Opts:Stem=Up,Beam=First
|Note|Dur:8th|Pos:-1|Opts:Stem=Up,Beam=End
|Text|Text:"  to be played as  "|Font:StaffItalic|Pos:0|Wide:Y
|Note|Dur:4th,Triplet=First|Pos:-1
|Note|Dur:8th,Triplet=End|Pos:-1
!NoteWorthyComposerClip-End

A small free-floating bar like this could also be used in a footnote anywhere in the score to show how an obscure ornament was to be played. This is a fairly common practice in printed scores, especially of early music. One of the disadvantages of NWC is that we can't do it. It would probably be fairly hard to implement in the program, but I'd sure like to see Eric try.

Re: swinging notes

Reply #47
Something like this:
Code: [Select · Download]
!NoteWorthyComposerClip(2.0,Single)
|Clef|Type:Treble
|Key|Signature:F#
|TimeSig|Signature:Common
|Text|Text:"Swing   "|Font:StaffBold|Pos:9|Justify:Right|Placement:AtNextNote
|Note|Dur:8th,Grace|Pos:7|Opts:Stem=Up,Beam=First,NoLegerLines,Muted
|Note|Dur:8th,Grace|Pos:7|Opts:Stem=Up,Beam=End,NoLegerLines,Muted
|Text|Text:"="|Font:StaffBold|Pos:9|Justify:Center|Placement:AtNextNote
|Note|Dur:Whole,Grace|Pos:7z|Opts:Stem=Up,NoLegerLines,Muted
|Note|Dur:4th,Triplet=First,Grace|Pos:7|Opts:NoLegerLines,Muted
|Note|Dur:8th,Triplet=End,Grace|Pos:7|Opts:NoLegerLines,Muted
!NoteWorthyComposerClip-End
looks good but is hard to integrate with other staves/layers.

This is now the 5th most replied to post on this board.
Registered user since 1996

Re: swinging notes

Reply #48
William, Rick,
that's why SwingDings has these 2 symbols already integrated... as characters "¡" <Alt-0161> and "µ" <Alt-0181>

<Image Link>

They're also in MusikDingsSans and MusikDingsSerif.

Not so useful for other ornaments though, eh William.  Ossia capability would be very welcome.  Then we could notate ornaments in the way you suggest easily.

I plays 'Bones, crumpets, coronets, floosgals 'n youfonymums - 'n I'm lernin' tubies now too

Re: swinging notes

Reply #49
I've been wantin' ossia capability for a loooooooooooooooooong time...