A short history of music notation - for fun

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Adrian Allan
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A short history of music notation - for fun

Post by Adrian Allan » Tue Aug 08, 2017 1:57 pm

Totally non-academic in style, but not a bad little simple introduction.

http://www.wqxr.org/story/how-was-music ... f-history/

It led me to ask - has there ever been a breve note (lasting for 8 beats), double a semibreve, in the guitar repertoire?

A breve is just as legitimate a note as a crotchet or quaver, but I can't recall seeing one.
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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: A short history of music notation - for fun

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Tue Aug 08, 2017 2:36 pm

Adrian Allan wrote:
Tue Aug 08, 2017 1:57 pm
A breve is just as legitimate a note as a crotchet or quaver, but I can't recall seeing one.
Your soon-to-be-perhaps favourite, Britten Nocturnal, there are breves in the passacaglia, but not all of them are actually for precisely 8 crotchet beats. So some of them are really just, let it ring, man.

My question is, given a semi-breve can be called a whole note, what's a breve called in that nomenclature? Or I could get a book off a shelf - 'double whole note'. OK.
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Re: A short history of music notation - for fun

Post by stevel » Tue Aug 08, 2017 7:29 pm

That's a pretty good (and fairly accurate despite it's "breve" nature) overview.

I teach this as part of my class and have some other resources.

When you say "guitar repertoire" you have to realize that music for "guitar" specifically really didn't exist until the Classical Period in standard notation.

Before that it was Lute music, and it was written in tablature (thought rhythmic elements were present in some forms of tablature). Viheuala music might be the closest thing (or possibly, Baroque guitar).

So it depends on how specific you want to be. As Stephen mentions, you might see them in interpretations (transcriptions) of early music not originally for Guitar, or for modern pieces, but outside of that they'd be pretty scarce.

And yes, here in the states we call them "double whole notes".

I've never seen any symbol for anything longer though (IOW, never a "triple whole note").

I suppose you could have a dotted double whole (or double, triple, dotted, etc.) and increase the length a bit, but most likely anything longer than that would simply be tied or and indication like "sustain" or "let ring" etc. might be included.

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Re: A short history of music notation - for fun

Post by Dirck Nagy » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:37 am

Adrian Allan wrote:
Tue Aug 08, 2017 1:57 pm

It led me to ask - has there ever been a breve note (lasting for 8 beats), double a semibreve, in the guitar repertoire?
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