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Re: TimeSignature with note in denominator

From: Kieren MacMillan
Subject: Re: TimeSignature with note in denominator
Date: Sun, 14 Nov 2021 12:21:19 -0500

[David K:]
> 8/20 does not specify more than the basic
> subdivision for expressing beats (not necessarily identical with the
> number of beats as signatures like 9/8 show)

Ah, I think I now see where your confusion lies.

The time signatures 8/20 and 9/8 *do* function identically:
— the bottom number identifies the duration, *expressed as a fraction of a 
whole number*, that should be considered the functional division of the measure;
— the top number identifies how many functional divisions are required to fill 
a complete measure.

*By convention*, traditional classical music groups the 9 
one-eighth-of-a-whole-note events into three groups of three each, leading 
people to say that the duration of a “beat” is equal (in that case) to three 
eighth notes.

The time signature “9/8” does *not* (as you imply) actually convey *any* 
information about the number of “beats” — the *convention* does that.

> It does not identify how that material may be structured or expressed

Correct. That’s left up to beat-structure et al. — which is, I assume, why that 
portion of the time management code exists…?

> in opposition to your and Carl's statements about what
> meaning the parts of a time signature are supposed to inherently have

I suppose Carl and my surprise (revelation?) is that Lilypond has *never* 
handled time signatures correctly (where “correct” means “according to the 
accepted definition of 'time signature'”).


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