|Instruction manual - Pizzicato 3.6.2||EN210 - Revision of 2013/05/29|
Characteristics of music notation (2)
Chords [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]
When several notes are played together, these notes form what is called a chord. The notes can be played by different instruments or by the same instrument, like the piano, the guitar or the organ. The chords enrich music and let you express various impressions and atmospheres. They amplify the melodies and accompany the rhythmic patterns by giving them new sound colours.
When the notes of a chord are played with the same rhythmic value, these notes are attached on the same stem. Here are for example two chords of 3 notes each with a quarter note duration :
The total duration of the chord is a quarter note, because the 3 notes are played at the same time. With Pizzicato, open the Ex015 file located in the Examples folder. It contains examples of chords with various rhythmic values:
Listen to the result. In this example, all notes belonging to a chord start and finish together. With regard to the whole note (second measure), as they do not have a stem by definition, they are only superimposed to form the chord (this principle is also valid for the double whole note, which is an eight beats note and does not have a stem).
When a chord has a note placed between two lines and a note placed on one of these two lines, the convention is to place one of the two notes on the other side of the stem; this improves the score readability. Without that, the two notes would be partly one above the other. Here are some examples with one or more notes placed on the other side of the stem:
When the notes of the chord are played by different instruments, the idea is rather to write the notes in the form of different voices. Let us take for example the case of the following measure :
If the 2 notes of the chords are played by 2 flutes, the measure will preferably be written as follows:
In this case, the stress is laid on the separation of the two voices by placing the stems in opposite directions. It allows the two flutists reading the same score to easily find what each is playing. Regarding the playing of the notes, the two examples are strictly identical.
Dotted notes and rests [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]
We have seen that notes are written using a rhythmic value to show how long they should be played. The usual values are multiples of two from each other, as the whole note and the half note, the quarter note and the eighth note, etc.
It is sometimes necessary to write a note duration different from these standard values. For example, how would you write a note lasting 3 beats? It is shorter than the whole note and longer than the half note and there is no value in between.
Two ways exist to write notes having nonstandard duration. The first is the dot and the second is the tie, which will be seen further.
When you add a dot next to a note, its duration is multiplied by one and a half. It lengthens a note by half its duration. Here is for example a dotted half note:
The half note equals 2 quarter notes. By multiplying 2 by 1.5 you get a duration of 3 quarter notes. The dotted half note equals 3 quarter notes. The principle is valid for all the other notes. Here are some examples :
The dotted quarter note equals 1 beat and a half. The dotted eighth note equals 3/4 of a beat. You just need to add half the basic value to the note. To fill a measure, it is of course necessary to take the dots into account so that the total duration is always equal to 4 quarter notes (for a 4/4 measure).
Open the Ex016 file. It contains 4 measures with dotted notes examples:
The beats of the higher line let you locate the beats. Listen to the computer playing and observe that the dotted notes are held longer. Check that the sum of the beats is equal to 4 quarter notes in each measure.
Notice that the dot is always drawn in the space between the lines, even if the note is placed on a line. The dot is drawn on the right side of the note head. We will further see that a dot can also be drawn above or below a note but it has another meaning.
The dot can also be used next to a rest. It lengthens the duration of the rest by half of its value. Here are examples:
To be complete, let us say that several dots can be added to the same note or rest. You will rarely find more than 2. The calculation of the duration becomes a little bit complicated. The first dot adds half of the duration. The second dot adds a quarter of the duration. The third dot adds 1/8 of the duration and so on by a division of 2. A double dotted quarter note thus equals to:
1 beat + 1/2 beat + 1/4 beat = 1.75 beat
Open the Ex017 file and listen to it; it gives you examples of dotted notes and rests as well as double dotted notes:
Ties [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]
There is another way to write notes of nonstandard duration. The idea is to assemble several rhythmic values and connect them so that they form only one note. Here is for example how you could write a note lasting 3 beats:
You write a half note (2 beats) and a quarter note (1 beat). You assemble them with a tie to show that the duration of the half note must be prolonged through the quarter note. A 3 beats note is thus obtained. This example is the same as a dotted half note, which also equals 3 beats. The two notations are equivalent.
This connection is called a tie, because it shows that the note must be held longer. It always connects two notes located at the same pitch. We will see further another type of tie, called a slur, which is drawn in the same way but which can assemble several notes of different pitches, but the meaning is not the same.
The principle of the note tie can be cumulated to build notes of any duration. You just need to place a series of notes with the same pitch and to connect them together. The total duration is the sum of each duration. Here is an example:
The total duration is 2 + 1 + 1/2 + 1/4 = 3.75 beats. If the connections had not been drawn, as in the following measure:
the instrument should have played the 4 notes, i.e. starting the half note, holding it for 2 beats then stopping it, then directly starting the quarter note, holding it for 1 beat, then stopping it, The auditor hears 4 times the same note pitch. By connecting them together, the note is started only once and is hold for the total duration. The auditor only hears one note.
A current use of the note tie consists in connecting notes belonging to different measures. If a note starts for example on the fourth beat of a 4/4 measure and must last 2 beats, it would be impossible to write it without using the tie. Here is how to write it:
The second F note is simply held through the measure barline. Open the Ex018 file now and listen to the result. It illustrates the use of the note tie inside a measure and between two measures: