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Re: New caesura

From: Trevor Bača
Subject: Re: New caesura
Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2007 11:25:36 -0500

On 3/8/07, Maximilian Albert <address@hidden> wrote:
Hi all,

a couple of days ago Paul Scott asked about the implementation of a new
caesura ("railroad tracks") glyph. After a few tries and corrections we
ended up with the attached example. I guess that this might be of
interest to quite a few other users, too. If this is true I can easily
send a patch.

However, I seem to infer from a whole bunch of earlier discussions on
the same subject that Han-Wen and Jan would rather prefer to stick to
the current version of the glyph until someone manages to find
hand-engraved examples of it in older German music editions on which the
design can be based. So I thought I'd just ask if they are interested in
trying out this first approximation to an improved version.

I would like to have a look in our local musicological library to see if
I can find one or two samples which meet their quality standards so that
we don't have to rely entirely on our own sense of aesthetics. But it
may take at least a week or two before I will find the time. Can anyone
who frequently uses this glyph give a hint in which type of music it
occurs most often?

Hi Max, hi everybody,

For what it's worth, the new caesura looks exactly right to me. (I
didn't understand the previous symbol for caesura; I had certainly
never seen anything even close to it in printed music. So the new
symbol is -- to my eyes -- a dramatic improvement.)

I don't know what the process is for replacing an old glyph with a new
one. Maybe Han-Wen needs to approve. Or maybe it's OK to go ahead and
submit a patch if no feedback comes back after a few more days?

I spent 15 or 20  minutes looking through score this morning for
printed caesuras (or "caesaurae"?). Surprisingly, I couldn't find a
single one in the usual position (sitting on the top staffline, as in
your example). I wasn't very careful, however, and just leafed through
the stuff that was close enough to look through without having to
bother getting up (some Debussy and Ravel piano music, Mozart arias
with pno accompaniment, Stravinsky's Rite, a couple of pieces on
Schott Japan by Takemitsu and Hosokawa, the Beethoven string quartets.
And, just for entertainment value, Stockhausen's fifth Klavierstück
:-) No standard caesaurae there.

However, I did stumble across the rather more interesting use of the
caesura attached here. These are measures 26 - 28 of "Voiles" in
Hinson's edition of the Debussy preludes. I had utterly forgotten that
Debussy used caesurae like this to mark the end of a spanner (in this
case a tempo spanner). But there are quite a few examples of this sort
of thing in his piano music. (Interestingly, Debussy frequently
resorts to just the "edge text" of the spanners, ie the indication and
the caesura, leaving out the dashed lines entirely.)

Anyway, our new caesaura looks very much like the example from "Voiles" indeed.

Trevor Bača

Attachment: voiles.jpg
Description: JPEG image

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