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Re: A few remarks concerning \relative

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: A few remarks concerning \relative
Date: Sun, 11 Sep 2011 16:45:13 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Graham Percival <address@hidden> writes:

> On Sun, Sep 11, 2011 at 03:58:32PM +0200, David Kastrup wrote:
>> Graham Percival <address@hidden> writes:
>> > On Sat, Sep 10, 2011 at 07:54:11AM +0200, David Kastrup wrote:
>> >> Why c?
>> >
>> > Because C is the default "base note" in western classical music.
>> That's a non-sequitur since it means that the following note will,
>> without any octave indication, be one of
>>     g a b c' d' e' f'
>> So \relative c' leaves us with a "base note" of g.
> Hmm, good point.  I don't think it's a non-sequitur because I
> meant to claim that people find it easier to find a note relative
> to C than relative to F.  Yes, of course typesetters need to be
> able to figure out relative notes all the time in lilypond, but I
> personally find it easier to it to C.  And depending on the style
> of music, you can just write your notes without any octave
> indications, and only change the few instances when it ends up in
> the wrong octave.
> (granted, that's more common for vocal music than instrumental
> music)
> I don't think that F completely solves it.  I mean, suppose I want
> to get an A440.  Do I do
>   \relative f' { a4 }
> or
>   \relative f'' { a4 }
> ?
> I mean, I remember that c' is middle C, so c'' is C 523, so it's
> easy for me to write
>   \relative c'' { a4 }

Well, I remember that c' is middle C, and that A440 is in the octave
above it, so it is a', and so \relative f' should work fine if I
remember that \relative f' is the incantation for getting the ' octave.

In contrast, doing an arithmetic mean on the frequency is not exactly
the most natural operation for me, and since to the mind of \relative,
feses is above eisis, frequencies are not a reliable indicator for
proximity anyway.

> Coming up with f' or f'' is only easier if you have the absolute scale
> of lilypond notes memorized, and I certainly don't.  (I don't even
> remember if those ocataves start on A or C!)
> Granted, I'm biased because I've been staring at
>   \relative c{'/''//,/,,} {
> all this time.

The interesting question is whether \relative c' gives you (namely
Graham Percival) a _better_ idea of what the next note will be rather
than, say, \relative a'.

Reading \relative means getting a grasp for relative distances from one
note to the next, anyway.  The question is what to base the starting
note on.  I see two distinctive starting points for starting with x???

\relative x??? { x
Namely start with the starting pitch.

\relative f??? { x
Namely start with the starting octave.

For violin players, \relative c' covers nothing below the G-string
(short of accidentals).  But that kind of reasoning does not sound

David Kastrup

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