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Author Topic: Quavers - 3 groups of 2, or 2 groups of 3  (Read 730 times)

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Hugh Taylor

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Quavers - 3 groups of 2, or 2 groups of 3
« on: February 27, 2019, 11:03:17 AM »

A help please from any music experts. In the Origin of the World tune, there are many bars with 3 pairs of quavers such as - fg fe cd. In bar B10 however, the notes are arranged in two groups of three as afd AFD. What is the difference between the two, and how does that inform their playing?
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Re: Quavers - 3 groups of 2, or 2 groups of 3
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2019, 11:40:42 AM »

Hi Hugh. I'm not familiar with the tune but listening to the clip of Dave Shepherd posted in the TotM poll thread, I hear no rhythmic difference between the way he plays bar B9 (3 groups of 2 on the transcription in the same thread) and bar B10 (2 groups of 3) at least in the first time through.

I would say that one's playing of the tune should inform the way it is transcribed rather than the other way around... Now I have a habit of writing fast-moving waltzes in which most of the bars are full of quavers - a friend assures me they are in "valse java" rhythm - and I have never been quite sure how to beam them. Two groups of three generally seems the least satisfactory method and in some tunes I beam all six quavers together.

However I have used two groups of three in a transcription in an attempt to indicate a different rhythm. A number of us in Montreal have a particular way of playing certain bars in the well-known tune "Far Away" by Pete Jung as a "hemiola" - with a definite two-beat emphasis instead of the usual three. My transcription shows this, but whether anybody reading it would pick up the rhythm change, I don't know.

Code: [Select]
R:Waltz (for waltz cotillion)
C:Peter Jung
N:Version in Waltz Book 1 has no first and second time
N:repeats in the B part (the [2 shown here is given only). This
N:accords with the way it is played in sessions. But
N:this version is more interesting. Groups of 3 quavers
N:to be played as hemiolas.
Z:Steve Jones
|:"Bm" B2 BA (3Bcd|"F#m" cAF2FA|"Bm" B3A Be|"A"c4dc|"Bm"B3A (3Bcd|"F#m"cAF2 de|
"D" fed "A" cBA|1 "Bm" B4 FA:|2B3c de|:"D"f3d fa|"A"ecA2de|"D"f3d fa|"A"e4de|
[1 "D" f3d fa|"A" ecA2 Bc|"G(D)" dcB "A" cBA|"Bm" B3c de:|[2 "Bm" fdB "A" ecA|"G" dBG "A"cAG|"F#m  Bm"F2 B2 BA|B3A FA|]

This rather frantic clip attempts to demonstrate the hemiolas:

Edited to make the correction in red
« Last Edit: February 27, 2019, 11:49:23 AM by Stiamh »
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Re: Quavers - 3 groups of 2, or 2 groups of 3
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2019, 12:52:00 PM »

There's no hard and fast rule - conventionally afd AFD is what you'd normally write in a 6/8 tune, whereas af dA FD is what you'd write in a 3/4 tune, but I expect you knew that...

It might be just to make the music easier to read (by highlighting that the second trio is exactly the same as the first, but an octave lower), but it could be a hint for interpretation, or as Stiamh suggests, an indication of how somebody played it.
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Re: Quavers - 3 groups of 2, or 2 groups of 3
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2019, 01:50:57 PM »

My understanding is that the start of the beams should equate to the start of a beat, so 3/4 is 3 groups of 2 and 6/8 is 2 groups of 3.  See:
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Julian S

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Re: Quavers - 3 groups of 2, or 2 groups of 3
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2019, 01:58:21 PM »

According to the notation in the latest Blowza book 'More Scores', (tune in Gm) bar 9 is three pairs of quavers ( g eflat c eflat g eflat) bar 10 crotchet and two pairs of quavers ( f f d bflat d). Of course, how it is played in practice is another matter...
I'm playing it in Bm.

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Gena Crisman

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Re: Quavers - 3 groups of 2, or 2 groups of 3
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2019, 02:28:55 PM »

Well, another thing to consider is that, I think all the shared ABCs are transcriptions from playing, rather than from a tune book. Worse still, they may all be derived from one another, and may be a transcription from an entirely different recording, or someone else playing it. So, it could also just be a 'mistake'.

When we write music down, one use case for that written music is to effectively relate that music to someone sight reading. My understanding is that, it's helpful to not accidentally conceal the rhythm. This is often while you'll see D2 DD-D2 D2 rather than D2 DD3 D2, or things like D3 DDDDD - at a glance they can confuse. However, there are a variety of cross rhythms involved in this tune, which you can most likely hear. You can prove to yourself that there are indeed at least two ways of emphasising this long arpeggio by tapping your foot at 3/4 and humming, clicking or otherwise sounding out the rhythm with your voice over the top. As a result, someone might choose to relate these to a player by writing the arpeggio as af dA FD or afd AFD. Try:
Daa-da Daa-da Daa-da
compared with
da-da - Daaa-da - da da.

Actually maybe I should just record that.

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Re: Quavers - 3 groups of 2, or 2 groups of 3
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2019, 03:19:29 PM »

I am with Gina on this. If the possibility that it was a simple error is discounted (I haven't checked)  then it reflects a shift in phrasing and rhythm for one bar.

The best thing to do is to listen to Blowzabella and Dave playing it and see what it sounds like when they do it. I guarantee that will be right.   (:)
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