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Re: TimeSignature with note in denominator

From: Flaming Hakama by Elaine
Subject: Re: TimeSignature with note in denominator
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 2021 09:20:36 -0800

On Mon, Nov 15, 2021 at 3:30 AM David Kastrup <> wrote:

> Flaming Hakama by Elaine <> writes:
> > From: David Kastrup <>
> >> Kieren MacMillan <> writes:
> >> > The time signature “9/8” does *not* (as you imply) actually convey
> >> > *any* information about the number of “beats” — the *convention* does
> >> > that.
> >>
> >> I am certain you will be able to provide a definite quote where I
> >> "imply" any such thing.
> >>
> >
> > So, are you claiming that this is a misquote?
> >
> > [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)
> I have problems imagining how myself quoting an example of a signature
> with different conventions than derived from the raw fraction is proof
> that I imply that the raw fraction carries all the information.
> Seriously.

What is serious is that you seem incapable of either admitting that your
statement is incorrect, or explaining what you mean.

So, are you going to stand behind your statement and explain it, or admit
that it is wrong?

> > The feature request is to render 9/8 with an 8th note instead of the
> > numeral 8 as the denominator.
> The discussion long ago stopped being about the printed result and
> rather focused on the internals of time signature representation.

Then why are you bringing up the topic of subdivision?

> > The feature request is to render 8/20 with a 16th note quintuplet note
> > instead of the numeral 20 as the denominator.
> No, it never was that.  I quoted the 8/20 signature mention in
> LilyPond's code as an example where there _is_ no unique graphic
> representation of the composers intent possible just given the
> information of 8/20 because it could be equally well intended to express
> the basic duration to use as quintuplet or as 10-tuplet.

Again, it has been explained several times that there is a unique graphic
representation of a 16th note quintuplet.

Are you stil disagreeing with that?

Maybe we could all use some perspective:  could you show us several unique
representations of a 16th note quintuplet?

> > Why is the subdivision of the measure relevant?
> Because there are different print forms for various ways of expressing
> 1/20 and the composer might not even have wanted to be definitive in
> choosing one.

Ok, so you initially brought up the topic of subdivision as being

Then in this most recent response, you did 180 and said that it is, in
fact, not relevant.

Now we're back to subdivision being relevant?

ot everyone picking 6/8 unambigulously wants to see this interpreted as
> 2 notes of 4. duration.  So forcing a particular duration expressing a
> length not inherently specified is putting words in the composer's
> mouth.

Ok, so now you are saying that any such issues with subdivision exist with
garden variety time signatures, too.

So, if the issue exists with existing supported time signatures, why is it
relevant to this feature request?

> >> > 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'”).
> >>
> >> Nor has his ever handled durations correctly according to your
> >> definition of "duration".  Which means you should get a grip on what
> >> LilyPond calls a duration before proposing to use it.
> >
> > So, are you defending incorrect semantics?
> Tuplet _notation_ is "incorrect semantics" according to your
> classification.  In the end, LilyPond follows what printed music does.
> It may be more awkward than required when generating Midi or
> programmatically manipulating music but it's firmly tied into notation
> practice.

According to the semantics quoted several times, the denominator describes
the length/duration of the unit, the numerator describes how many units are
in the measure.

In terms of semantics, numerals and note representation operate exactly the
same.  There is  a 1-1 mapping between numbers interpreted as fractions of
a whole note, and the graphical symbols used to represent those

What makes you say that tuplet notation is incorrect semantics by
my classification?

Do you think that "my classification" differs from the standard

> > The point is that the current implementation does not support the
> > necessary semantics.
> >
> > So, you can whine about people not understanding how the
> > implementation works, but if you want to be helpful, instead, please
> > try to help us understand what the gap is so that others can work on
> > figuring out how to address it.
> I think that if you bother to read what I write while not getting
> distracted by everyone shouting me down, you'll find that I actually do
> write what the problems are, including giving examples.
> --
> David Kastrup

You are the one most responsible for making your points difficult to read.

Don't blame this on others.

When you are shown to be incorrect about something, you seem incapable of
either admitting that you were either wrong, or were unclear about what it
was you were saying in the first place.  You could have simply explained
what you mean about the subdivision "problem"  but instead you have both
contradicted yourself, and not explained it.

If you were trying to help, you would not be berating people for thinking
that the lilypond "duration" actually models what we all understand about
duration both in common language usage, as well as musical usage.

Now, if I am going to try to salvage this conversation, I will try to

* No one knows what your comment about subdivision means, so please either
retract it, or clarify how it pertains to 8/20 but not 6/8.

* If there are, as you claim, multiple ways of representing 1/20 of a whole
note graphically, then are you saying the entire concept/request is flawed
because of this, or just that the problem/feature is larger than
anticipated because some degree of control over the representation is

* What is the best place to learn about the duration/moment topic?

Elaine Alt
415 . 341 .4954                                           "*Confusion is
highly underrated*"
Producer ~ Composer ~ Instrumentalist ~ Educator

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