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Re: \time 2

From: Juergen Reuter
Subject: Re: \time 2
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2002 14:03:26 +0100 (CET)

On Fri, 13 Dec 2002, Heikki Johannes Junes wrote:

> > 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.

Mathematically, you are of course right.  But, unfortunately, most
musicians are no mathematicians.  For example, 3/4 does not equal 6/8: in
3/4, 8ths are typically grouped [a8 b8] [c8 d8] [e8 f8], while in 6/8, you
will typically see [a8 b8 c8] [d8 e8 f8].

> That is why 1/4 as a default denominator is simply wrong.

>From the mensural music point of view, I fully agree.  But most lily
users probably will not agree from their point of view.  Maybe you want to
have a look at my proposal for extended time signature syntax a few months
ago; see:

There, I proposed to introduce a value for transcription shift in duration
log.  If this value defaults to 2 (i.e. divide duration by 4), then the
mathmatical denominator would be 1 by default for untranscribed music,
as you propose, but 4 for transrcibed and/or contemporary music, as most
users probably will expect.  Moreover, in this system "alla breve" really
means "beat on brevis", while the transcription shift value moves from
brevis to half note, which is what most users think of when they are
referring to "alla breve".  I think this is the only correct overall view
and could satisfy all of us.

However, due to the complexity of my suggestion, we could not really agree
on it.  I am planning to come back to this issue some time later (most
probably not before lily 1.8).


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