The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #70342   Message #1201042
Posted By: JohnInKansas
05-Jun-04 - 03:40 PM
Thread Name: Tech: Print Music
Subject: RE: Tech: Print Music
In a normal music score the pickup bar and final bar should add up to the value of the time signature.

(A very good, and concise description – I'll probably steal it.)

What's "normal" depends on the "culture" in which one lives.

In traditional, folk, and bluegrass, it's common to write a "part" as something that stands by itself. Tunes typically have an "A" part and a "B" part, sometimes more, and it's left up to the players to decide whether to play an A A B B or A B A B sequence. The pickup notes are "tacked on" to the front of each part, and the ending measure in each part is left "incomplete" so that you can use the "leftover beats" in the last measure to insert the pickpup notes for the next phrase.

In more "formal" notation, as would be used for orchestral, choral, most country western, and much blues and jazz (i.e. for "formally published" music), the first pickup measure is the only one that's allowed to have less than the number of "beats" defined by the time signature. The last measure of the first (A?) part is labelled as the "first ending" and is "completed" by writing in the "pickup notes" for the phrase that is to follow. If you're to play an A A sequence, the pickup notes that "complete" the last measure of the "first ending" would usually be the same ones as in the "pickup measure" back at the beginning. A separate "second ending" measure includes different pickup notes for the phrase/part that is intended to follow after the repeat. In an A A B sequence, the "pickup notes" that finish the "second ending" would be the "pickup measure" for the B part.

"Normal" for most people who've been "school trained" in music would be the "formal" kind of layout, and the "folk" layout that you're used to would be considered a variation. (Some would say "deviation.")

Actually, the "folk method" has distinct advantages for the kinds of music where it's commonly used, since it leaves the choice of "part sequences" up to the players. The "formal" layout specifies one specific order that's not easily varied in a session.

Print Music "accidentally" dictates using the "formal" layout, probably not because it's written by a "bunch of academic twits" who think that's the only way to do it, but because the software "core" of the program is pulled out of a MIDI sequencing program, and the MIDI playback method that's contained in the program cannot have any gaps in the MIDI instruction sequence. The "formal" format that it uses makes all the decisions about part sequence in order to let them use a "simple" playback program.

Print Music is a fairly decent program, and relatively cheap, so it's a good choice for simple scoring; but it's not a very satisfying choice for more complex scores – or if you need that one simple variation it doesn't offer. I haven't used it much simply because it seems to keep "coming up just a little short" for things I've wanted to do; but I have to confess that I haven't read the whole manual to see whether it can do some of the less obvious ones. I've used it just enough to see that the people who wrote the program have "a different mind-set" than I prefer in a scoring program, but SWMBO (LiK) uses it quite a lot – and it seems to suit her.