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Re: \time 2

From: Heikki Johannes Junes
Subject: Re: \time 2
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2002 13:21:02 +0200 (EET)

> TimeSignature to #"1".  As far as I know, Lilypond requires a
> denominator for internal timing; hence syntax like "\time 2" would be
> inappropriate, since it does not deliver enough information.  Of course,

In this point I disagree. Time signature is a purely mathematical
concept, a fraction: "two whole notes"/"one whole note" = 2/1 = 2.
That is why 1/4 as a default denominator is simply wrong.

There has been a tendency in the last four hundred years that the same
music has been expressed with faster notes. For example: "a1 b1 c1 d1"
would nowadays be written with "a2 b2 c2 d2", or "a4 b4 c4 d4". Not even
that is enough. Until you start to put bars to the notes, you can put
the phrasing in the notes; with eighth notes you have a lot of
possibilities to group notes:

  "[a8 b8 c8 d8]", "[a8 b8] [c8 d8]", "[a8] [b8 c8 d8]",
  "[a8 b8 c8] [d8]", "[a8 b8] [c8] [d8]", "[a8] [b8 c8] [d8]",
  "[a8] [b8] [c8] [d8]"

As you can see, a lot of expressional information can be hidden to bars.
If this would not be the case, no note bars would be needed at all. You
could use different shapes for the notes. IMO, this kind of note grouping
has been the reason to start to use shorter notes.

Still nowadays, one can write a piece with "a2 b2 c2 d2" and put that
"one bar equals two whole notes". In that case, that is a reference to
a certain point in the music history. Play the piece in this or that
spirit. If you want to be modern, use "a16 b16 c16 d16" or faster.

/Heikki Junes

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