MUS 111 Study Guide C (Chapter 3)

Basics III

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  1. Note and rest values:

  1. The dot:  Placing an augmentation dot after a note or rest increases the value by one half.  A second dot adds half the value of the first dot.  If the notehead is located in a space, the dot is placed in that same space.  If the notehead is on a line, the dot is placed in the space just above the line.  Exceptions sometimes have to be made if several dotted notes share a single stem.

  1. Tied notes are performed as a single note value.  The beginning and end of the tie are on the same horizontal level, and the tie is placed between the noteheads (without touching them).  (The end of a slur is centered over/under the notehead.)

  1. Flag:  The flag is used with single notes, e.g., the eighth note.  If two or more eighth notes occur consecutively, the preference is to beam the notes, even in vocal music notation.

  1. Tempo:  The tempo of a work may be indicated by an Italian marking, such as presto, andante, etc.  A more exact indication, however, is the use of M.M. = ?, named after Maelzel's metronome.  For example:

  1. Beat--the term generally used for the pulse in music.

  1. Meter signature:  consists of two numbers--a numerator and a denominator.  The numerator (top number) indicates the quantity of note value units per measure; it does not always indicate how many performance beats there are per measure.  The denominator (bottom number) defines the basic note value.  (The term meter signature is technically more correct than "time signature.")

  1. Simple meters:  those in which the basic beat may be divided into two parts.  For example:

  1. Compound meters:  those in which the basic beat may be divided into three parts.  For example:

  1. Asymmetrical meters:  those in which the basic beat cannot be divided equally (numerators of 5, 7, etc.).

  1. Beaming for rhythmic clarity:  Notes should be beamed in such a way that each beat unit is clearly indicated.  For example, in 6/8, eighth notes should be beamed in two groups of three, not three groups of two (indicating 3/4).  

  1. Tuplet:  The term "tuplet" is a generic term encompassing triplets, duplets, quadruplets, etc.  An Arabic number must be used to indicate grouping divisions which do not fit the current meter scheme.  For example, in simple meter, a grouping of three notes does not fit the usual double division, so "3" must be indicated (forming a triplet).  Likewise, in compound meter, a grouping of two notes does not fit the usual triple division, so "2" must be indicated (forming a duplet).  Arabic numbers for tuplets should be placed on the beam side of the figure.  No bracket is used if notes are beamed.  If notes are not beamed, then a bracket must be used; it is broken in the middle to make room for the Arabic number.  A slur is a separate entity, and should be positioned on the notehead side of the figure.  The slur should not be confused for a bracket.

  1. Rhythmic transcription:  Rhythms that sound exactly the same can be notated in various ways.

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