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Reading Music Question (Read 578 times)

Offline rogerulrich

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Reading Music Question
« on: December 29, 2020, 07:06:55 PM »
RE: JS Bach, Partita #VI, Gigue: My Peters Edition score denotes the time "C" symbol of 4/4, but also includes an upside down and backwards "C" symbol right next to it. Also, an "I" symbol is used below the score at a number of bar locations. I have never come across these 2 symbols before. Anyone come across this before and knows what they mean?

Online brogers70

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Re: Reading Music Question
«Reply #1 on: December 29, 2020, 10:20:44 PM »
Seems like the interpretation of the written rhythm here is complex. Gigues are normally in 6/8 time and it appears that when they are written in 4/4 or related time signatures, they may still be meant to be played as though they were in 6/8 or 12/8. Here's an Imslp link to your piece with the autograph version compared to a modern version and a realisation of the rhythm.

https://ks4.imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/e/e3/IMSLP414162-PMLP667919-Bach_Partita_No_6_Gigue_Comparison.pdf

I think the symbol you are seeing at the time signature is an attempt to show the old symbol which is a circle with a line through it. If I remember correctly the circle indicates that there are three eighth notes to the beat while a broken circle (which people now read as a C, but was not a C originally) means two eighths to the beat. The circle was associated with 3, because the Trinity was perfect and the broken circle was imperfect and associated with two. This is all left over from something called mensural notation from the Medieval and Renaissance periods.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mensural_notation

So the circle would suggest that the rhythm should be realized in 12/8 ie with 4 groups of triplets per measure.

If you have time and want to listen to a good explanation of mensural notation in the context of early music, here's a great video about it.




Offline j_tour

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Re: Reading Music Question
«Reply #2 on: December 30, 2020, 03:04:11 AM »
That's interesting about the triune and the duple in the "mensural time":  didn't know that.

FWIW the Bischoff edition, which I still use, has the time signature as 2/1.  Whatever that's supposed to mean (yes, I know, but it's a pretty odd way to put it, IMHO).  But it's clearly a triple meter as notated.

Excuse my language, but that's a ballbuster of a gigue, at least for me.  Haven't looked at it in months.  Kudos for playing it!  Not so much the notes, it's just so precise, strict, and relentless.

So what's the "I" symbol all about?  I just scanned through a bit of the score and, TBH, I can't rule out inversions of the subject, but my eyes are pretty bleary after work.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline neap tide

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Re: Reading Music Question
«Reply #3 on: December 30, 2020, 11:23:38 AM »
I merely, and fortuitously, read the question, I found an avenue into music that I love. Thank you for your thoughtful and professional explanation.

The music you posted was out of my ken and above my skill set, but bumbling sight reading and YouTube will keep me on track. Thanks again.    n p 

Offline rogerulrich

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Re: Reading Music Question
«Reply #4 on: December 30, 2020, 07:48:51 PM »
Interesting!

Offline mattwarren

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Re: Reading Music Question
«Reply #5 on: January 15, 2021, 02:12:15 AM »
The circle would suggest that the rhythm should be realized in 12/8 ie with 4 groups of triplets per measure.

Offline j_tour

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Re: Reading Music Question
«Reply #6 on: January 15, 2021, 04:00:27 AM »
The circle would suggest that the rhythm should be realized in 12/8 ie with 4 groups of triplets per measure.

No kidding?  I haven't really grasped the mensural notation concept yet, but is this one of the conceits of that notation?

Or, another way to say would "blues shuffle in B, watch me for the changes, and try to keep up" (you know, 12/8 and all that).
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Online brogers70

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Re: Reading Music Question
«Reply #7 on: January 15, 2021, 12:18:20 PM »
No kidding?  I haven't really grasped the mensural notation concept yet, but is this one of the conceits of that notation?

Yes. If you're interested, have a look at that video "Mensural Notation-The Basics, to which I put up a link earlier in the thread.