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Re: different rhythmic units for tuplet's numerator and denominator

From: Uri Sala
Subject: Re: different rhythmic units for tuplet's numerator and denominator
Date: Tue, 8 Jul 2008 00:04:57 +0200

Dear James,
Thanks but, again, this is misleading, since the numbers in the bracket would be 6:5 but there would be 3 notes inside the tuplet. I don't have 6 attacks but 3. This is the kind of cheating I do in Sibelius, and that I would like to avoid if possible. Sorry to be so demanding, but isn't this what lilypond should be about? To output exactly what you want?

On MondayJul 7, at MonJul 7|23:44 , James E. Bailey wrote:

Am 07.07.2008 um 22:14 schrieb Uri Sala:

It is a bit more convoluted than that. I will try to make myself clearer:
I want to write 3 against 5. In this case, since 3 is smaller than 5, it has to use a rhythmic unit twice longer than the unit associated with 5. Let's be over-explicit and call this "3 equally spaced attacks within the duration of 5 sixteenth-notes." Well, I will argue against most people and most notation manuals and most modern scores that the only correct way to notate this is 3 eight-notes against 5 sixteenth notes. Now, neither sibelius nor ENP nor finale allow me to do this, since they force upon the editor the assumed notion that nominator and denominator in a tuplet use the same rhythmic value. This axioma makes it impossible to correctly notate all possible complex tuplets (with non-binary denominators), and makes the construction of an algorithm that translates proportional notation (a la ENP) into lilypond code incredibly convoluted. I thought lilypond was different - in that I could stipulate different values for nom and denom - but I am not sure now.

Many people would argue that you can use the same value for both, since 3 is so close to 5. But that makes your run into a contradiction. The only way one can stipulate a general and infallible rule for writing tuplets is that a tuplet is the insertion of a certain number of rhythmic values into a space that is smaller. Or, to put it another way, a tuplet - a correct one - is a compression of the duration of a rhythmic value. Very easy to prove: how would you write 6 against 5 sixteenths? Well, just like that. (times 5/6 {c16 c c c c c}. So, if we write 3 against 5, the value that those three notes take should be 8th notes, because all we would have to do is aggregate each 2 sixteenths of the 6:5 into eighth notes. But remember, I want still a total duration of 5 16ths!! So writing times 5/3 {c8 c c} will result in a tuplet twice as long in duration than what I want, since lily thinks that I want the duration to be 5 eighth notes. I have to be able to tell lilypond that I want 3 eighth notes in the space of 5 sixteenth notes (and that is just one of many examples. Trying to to 3 against 7 is even more complicated since the duration is more than twice the attack. In 3 against 7, the three should be notated with quarter notes!). Hope I made myself understood now.
I hope this does not turn into a discussion of the way to notate tuplets, since there is only one that is actually inequivocal and consistent. Unfortunately no editor allows one to produce it, which is a very disturbing fact.
Could lilypond be the one?


\version "2.11.50"
\relative {
  \time 5/16
  c16 d e f g
  \times 5/6 {a8 f d}

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