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Bars and Ties

Discussion in 'Ask Michael Dimin' started by knash2112, Jan 23, 2001.

  1. knash2112


    Dec 12, 2000
    Hello Michael,

    Sorry, this post isn't about drinking establishments that require formal wear, I have a question on proper musical notation. :)
    I've just recently tried to jump in to some musical theory, as well as realized the importance of learning to read standard music notation. To that end, I have been attempting to take some of the copious amounts of TAB on the web and convert it to standard notation. By doing that, my reasoning goes, I not only have a finished sheet of standard notation music to practice/play from, but I also have the experience of 'translating' the music and notating it properly.
    Anyway, I've run into a small snag since I'm trying to learn the rules and guidelines of standard notation as I go along. A certain piece of music ("Duck and Run" by 3 Doors Down, in case your interested. I know it's relatively simple, but that's about my level of skill right now:)), is (I believe) in common 4/4 time and one measure of the bridge section has been tabbed in the following manner:

    E. E. E. E. E E
    G||--------------------| Where: E. = dotted eighth
    D||--2-----2-----2---| E = eighth note

    I understand that the vast majority of tablature on the web has been submitted by regular joes like me, so I am taking the duration markings with a grain of salt. However, the timing SOUNDS right to me, I'm just not sure that is the way it is supposed to be notated. My reasoning is something I read on a site that I think either you or someone on this forum has recommended in the past (Gary Ewer's "Easy Music Theory" @ http://www.musictheory.halifax.ns.ca/index.html#lesson) where, in Lesson 6: Measures, he seems to be saying that notes are beamed together based on whatever "unit gets the beat." So, if the quarter note "gets the beat" on the example above (and maybe this is a faulty assumption, but I'm going to go with it for now) then would the notes have to be beamed together in a way that reflected this? Because, as it stands now with the 6 notes in this measure (the 4 dotted eighths followed by 2 eighths) the down beats of "2" and "3" are kind of 'hidden' in the second and third dotted eighths.
    So, as a little exercise for myself, I tried to break the notes out so that they would be beamed together into 'quarter note groupings' and then tie together the notes as needed for the proper durations. Unfortunately, this just makes it look more complex and looks something like the following (I've realized my ASCII art isn't really coming across real well, so I'll try to explain it verbally as well as possible):

    E. S E E S E. E E Where: S = sixteenth note

    Here, I figured the first dotted eighth and sixteenth would be beamed together, the following two eighth notes beamed together, the sixteenth and dotted eighth beamed together, and the last two eighth notes beamed together. Then, the first sixteenth would be tied with the eighth on the down beat of 2 and the eighth on the up beat of 2 would be tied with the sixteenth of the 3 beat in order to get my note durations correct.
    Well, not only does this add complexity, making it harder to count and read (at least to my beginning skills) it still just doesn't seem right. But I have now confused and confounded myself long enough to realize I need some help from an expert. Am I missing something important here? Or am I misunderstanding some basic rule? Or trying to impose rules that don't exist? Maybe I just need a succint little lesson or advice on how and when notes are beamed together. I'm obviously clueless. :)

    Any and all help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time (and sorry for my long windedness).

  2. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin Banned

    Dec 11, 1999
    You are on the right track. Breaking the pattern up into quarter notes is a good start. The pattern does look difficult. But you have the sound and the feel to go by, that is also good. If you remember the feel that is associated with the rhythmic pattern you should be able to play it when you see it in another context. I wish I could put a little pic file here for you. But let me try to explain it in English. If it doesn't work for you let me know and I can email you a .gif

    Beat 1: dotted eighth beamed to a sixteenth.
    The sixteenth is tied to the first eighth note of beat 2
    Beat 2: 2 eighth notes beamed together.
    The second eighth note is tied to the first sixteenth note of beat 3
    Beat 3: a sixteenth note followed by a dotted eighth note beamed together.
    Beat 4: 2 eighth notes beamed together.

    Hope this helps

  3. knash2112


    Dec 12, 2000
    Great! Thanks a ton for your help!

    The pattern LOOKS difficult, but like you said, I have the feel and sound to help me know how it goes. And even though the notation is a little messier than I might like, it's accuracy I am going for here. I also agree that seeing this now and knowing how it is supposed to be notated will help me recognize it in the future.

    Also, thanks for putting the whole thing in English! You did a far better job explaining it than I did! :)

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