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Re: voiceOne dynamics should go above the staff

From: Mark Polesky
Subject: Re: voiceOne dynamics should go above the staff
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 2010 01:23:24 -0700 (PDT)

Oh no, not one of these threads...

Trevor Daniels wrote:
> We have to be careful to interpret this correctly.  None
> of these writers were familiar with the use of "voice" in
> the computer engraving sense.  By "voice" these writers
> mean parts that are on one staff but are to be played or
> sung by independent musicians.  With that meaning
> separating the dynamics is sensible.

Trevor, I couldn't (respectfully) disagree more.  The
computer engraving sense of the word "voice" changes nothing
here.  A 5-voice fugue by Bach (such as BWV 849) has 5
voices on 2 staves, computer or no computer.

> But it makes no sense to separate the dynamics of
> individual voices in music that is intended to be played
> by a single musician, such as guitar or piano music[1].
> Indeed, in piano music LilyPond provides facilities for
> combining the dynamics from two staves.
> [1] Unless two overlapping sequences of notes are to be
> played with different dynamics...

Are you saying that, in a 2-voice 1-staff setting, it makes
no sense to separate the dynamics when they both voices are
at the same dynamic?  Like this:

\relative c'' {
  << { c2\p } \\ { a2\p } >>

Okay, I suppose I might be able to agree with that.  The
first note of Beethoven's 2nd symphony has 5 such instances
of a combined dynamic, though that's not what you're
referring to since those instances are not each played by
single musicians.  Besides, compile that fragment --
LilyPond prints 2 p's anyway.

And it makes *every* sense to separate the dynamics for a
single player when the dynamics are different.  And please
don't make me place all of these manually, or you might as
well ask me to manually place every articulation, slur, tie,
etc.  IIUC, \voiceOne already implies the following:

  [... also articulations, fermatas, etc. go up]

So why doesn't it also imply \dynamicUp ?

> ...but then the positioning depends on the particular
> locations of the notes on the staff and is better done
> manually.

??!!  Which notation manual states this?  This goes against
everything, I think!  A \voiceOne slur always goes up, no
matter how low the note.  Where is it stated that a dynamic
should follow a different rule?

And when would the current (ridiculous) default positioning
in the following construct *ever* be appropriate?

\relative c'' {
  << { c2\f } \\ { a2\p } >>

In my mind, this is so obviously a bug, I'm surprised by all
this resistance.  I mean, what legitimate code would
possibly break by changing this?

- Mark


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