Music Composers Unite!
Something that has puzzled me a long time: How to notate a wind passage say, for horns, when you want to show the grouping and phrasing with slurs, but want the notes separate from each other. Mezzo Staccato, shown with a dot and a dash, supposedly means hold the note about 3/4 of its written value. that is what I typically do. But maybe detache is actually more correct? I want the notes to have just the slightest space between them, as if you were taking a quick breath before each note. But do you then use a slur also? You could also just not use any signs at all, no slurs, dots, etc., just the notes, and write in "detache."
Incidentally, mezzo-staccato is apparently the same as portato. But I think it may indicate more of a pause than I want. There is also dots inside of slurs, but I think that would definitely be too short.
Please let there be someone who can enlighten me on this.
I think the problem is that those are all string articulations that have little meaning to brass players. Not that they can't apply. Marcato implies separation but also accent. I'm trying to imagine the type of passage for brass that would have the separation you specify. Unless it's a march, or something marshal like that. In that case it's the style the piece performed with. Remember that each separated note for brass is going to be tongued, which denotes some separation by itself. Though you might not mark a passage "tongued" necessarily. Just depends. Something marked "majestic" or "march" (not very poetic) might work.
Thanks Bob. I got the feeling that they were primarily string markings. The meter I am trying to notate is basically double-dot. Like, a quarter note with double dots, so there is a sixteenth-rest before the next note. I guess I could notate it that way, but it looks clumsy. Or just no slurs, so each note is understood to be articulated. Or maybe even non-legato? I'm hoping Rodney chimes in. I do use a lot of that double-dot stuff, it really makes for clean lines (although messy scores).
It would make a difference what style the music is and tempo. If you don't notate it, probably some kind of staff text at the beginning of the section or piece will work. If you do decide to notate it, leave out the second dot. Players will get the idea. Though it's hard to say without seeing what you are trying to do.
I'd have just put "non legato" above the start of the passage, slurred or not.
Sure. Non legato, but no slurs.
No markings = something like detache from a string player, notes are close together but each one has a clearly separate attack.
Slur only = standard legato.
Dots, dashes, dots+dashes etc only = varying degrees of clearly audible separation, notes have spaces between them and each one has a clearly separate attack. Dot+dash should be understood without any trouble but you don't really need it, it's almost a notation program thing only (for when you need the exact length of notes and none other).
Dots, dashes etc plus a slur = soft tonguing, it's all on a single breath but every note is tongued along the way. Dots give more prominent tonguing, dashes less so (to the point where it sounds pretty much almost like a standard legato).
You'll notice this 5 minute breakdown differs slightly from how a string player would interpret the markings (mostly because a slur isn't just a bow direction indicator, if something's slurred then you're supposed to keep breathing, if you're breathing then there's sound... slurred dots for example can't mean very-short-notes-with-big-spaces-inbetween,-all-on-a-single-bow, it wouldn't make sense). Thinking like a violinist is a bit helpful but it can lead you astray sometimes.
For your example I would use either dashes only, or dots plus slur. Or maybe a bit of both, this gives you some control over phrasing; just don't use big phrasing slurs like in piano parts, those look like unplayable legato written by someone ignorant, they're annoying :)
Can you show the fragment? Maybe the articulation actually solves itself in context and all this pondering isn't even necessary.
Here is what it sounds like: https://app.box.com/s/cxvzemo6a04h4csw16ibiqca59zby9oc
I had to give up on the pdf file to show what it looks like, after spending an hour. Lousy computer skills.
I would use dashes until 0:10 (I assume the ending is supposed to be legato, so straight slur).
Personally for showcasing small fragments I usually just take a screenshot, far less of a hassle :)
Good idea Greg, here is the screenshot:
No problem Michael, I thought afterward I should have asked first if you minded having your work posted here, hopefully not. Thank you for sharing information here and contributing to the forum..
michael diemer said: