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Author Topic: Learning more about 18th century notation...  (Read 245 times)

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Roger Hare

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Learning more about 18th century notation...
« on: May 15, 2019, 04:00:12 PM »

The two screenshots below show the openings of two tunes in an 18th century
publication I'm currently looking at.

1) Both have a time signature of "2". What does this mean? I can't find any reference
    to 'single-figure' time signatures...

2) In the first one, the bar lines are printed every 8 notes (quavers) (like 2/2?), in the
    second, the bar lines are printed every 4 notes (like 2/4?). Why? It doesn't seem to
    make any difference when I 'ABC' it. Is it just an 18th century laissez faire approach
    to typesetting?

Ta.

Roger
« Last Edit: May 15, 2019, 04:06:11 PM by Roger Hare »
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Roger Hare, Urmston, Lancs., U.K. (rjhare at outlook dot com)   Manchester Morris Men   Beech Band
Music Packages (ABC/PDF/MIDI)    Thompson's Compleat Tutor for Fife (c.1765)

Steve_freereeder

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Re: Learning more about 18th century notation...
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2019, 06:17:08 PM »

Older music had a very free and easy approach to time signures. In both these examples the '2' means that you feel/beat a pulse of two in a bar. So the first example is as if it is in 2/2 time and the second example as if it is in 2/4 time. It's the pulse which matters, not the note length of the bottm half of a time signature.
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Roger Hare

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Re: Learning more about 18th century notation...
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2019, 08:27:40 PM »

Older music had a very free and easy approach to time signures. In both these examples the '2' means
that you feel/beat a pulse of two in a bar. So the first example is as if it is in 2/2 time and the second
example as if it is in 2/4 time. It's the pulse which matters, not the note length of the bottm half of a
time signature.
Thank you - that's pretty much what I thought, and it all hangs together. It always pays to check, but
I'm starting to get the hang of this stuff (:). I'm really getting into these 18th century printed and MS
tutors and tune books - some of the music is (deceptively!) simple but is mind-blowing at the same time!

Thanks again.

Roger
« Last Edit: May 15, 2019, 08:31:38 PM by Roger Hare »
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Roger Hare, Urmston, Lancs., U.K. (rjhare at outlook dot com)   Manchester Morris Men   Beech Band
Music Packages (ABC/PDF/MIDI)    Thompson's Compleat Tutor for Fife (c.1765)
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