Tempo markings and key signature qeustions

I have two questions. I am learning to notate my music (finally) I am having 2 problems right now. 1) I'm not sure if my tempo marking works. It is listed as dotted eighth-note = 144, the other ways I figure to write it could be sixteenth-note = 432 or quarter-note = 108 2) I have a hard time with finding the proper key signature. any help here would be nice. the attached pdf is what I have thus far. thanks for your help with such noobie questions.


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  • first off, I dont really see any real justification in putting the sixteenth as the beat, the eighth note would work just as fine (7/8 5/8 9/8 ect)
    Second I would think twice about using the dotted note as the indicator of the tempo, I not quite sure what else to use but your piece doesnt use the dotted note as the main beat through out so using it would not be in your best interest. I personally would just put presto along with a sixteenth or eighth = some number.

    As far as key, I think it is fine keyless, listening to it, it is very chromatic through out most of the piece.I would just fix some enharmonic spelling issues. but If you have to maybe G minor/Bb Major, not quite sure on this one.
  • I have been putting much thought into this piece as it is along with 2 other sections going to be used in a dance performance with a string quartet playing live in the center of the dancers.

    After contemplating my tempo.. I think I understand better what I want to express with it.
    the dotted eighth note metronome mark counts a triplet feel over the 9/16 measure which translates into a jerking 3+4 and 3+2 in the 7/16 and 5/16 measures the 3's then retaining that triplet feel. I envision the song being started with 3 counts being related to the 3 dotted eighth notes the cello plays in the 9/16 then into the song.
    Is there a better way to mark that?

    I am uploading my 2nd draft of the music, perhaps being more marked up would help tell if I am in the ballpark yet.

    thank you all so much for the info it is VERY useful and I cannot express how nice it is to have this sounding board for such things.


  • I would just double all the note values... make the tempo mark dotted quarter. I actually think you made the right choice using a dotted note for the tempo indicator. groups of 3 dominate the piece and and that's what i think of as the pulse even though it isn't consistent all the way through.
  • Triplets seem to dominate, so I second keeping the dotted note for the tempo. Musicians are going to find the 16th in the time sig a little odd, since they're used to seeing 8th notes in triplet time signatures, so I also second the idea of doubling all your note values.

    A couple comments of my own:
    1) MM means Metronome Marking for a reason: someone's going to want to set a metronome at some point, and a lot of metronomes don't go up to 432! Since you are scoring your work to be performed by humans, it would be best not to designate your beats at this speed. Even though the staggered beats would prevent them from playing to the metronome at dotted or plain beats of longer length, they could still get an impression of the speed with a metronome set to 144.

    2) I don't really see the point of using measures and covering your page with time signatures. Rhythmically you're already pretty far outside Common Practice Period anyway. You might want to just place one bar per line somewhere in the middle, just as an aid to reading and to give the opportunity for practice markings, and forget about having time signatures at all. If you need your current 'downbeats' accented, just accent them.
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