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How to interpret this JW glissando? (notation)

Discussion in 'Notation' started by T.j. Prinssen, Mar 20, 2018.

  1. I thought I was getting the hang of this stuff, but this one has me confused.
    It's from a handwritten Williams score, somewhat clumsily stitched together cause there was a page break.
    Could someone help me understand this?

    - Why a half note value even though it's a 4/4 bar?
    - What are the 3 'straight' flags for? (3 up/downs?)
    - How would you notate this (digitally) so it's clear to everyone (and ideally quick/efficient)?


    Attached Files:

  2. What instrument/family is the indication for? What piece is it? Bar number? Listening to the piece would solve the predicament, I think.

    It is also better to interpret the notation in context. Can you attach the pages?

    Regardless, without any of that information.

    1- Is there a fermatta anywhere else on the page? If this is a reduced score for an orchestrator there might be.
    2- Without any more information, I would probably interpret that as a glissando whilst performing a tremolo, hence the 3 flags on top of the note. I've seen tremolos written like that (coming from the stem instead of crossing it) in some old school manuscripts. Granted, this should be a whole note instead of a half, but ignoring that discrepancy, it seems this is most the likely scenario.
    3- I don't know what you are using, I use Sibelius. There's a notation for exactly that, which is like a regular glissando but with a line that looks like a guitar vibrato. Particularly, I don't like the aesthetics of it, I think it is confusing for the player, and I would notate it exactly as he did, with a straight glissando and a tremolo over the note (provided that's what that is).
  3. Oh, right.. I totally forgot to mention it's for harp. My bad!

    The very last note has a fermata.

    Strangely enough I've now seen it a couple of times in those 80's JW scores. Whoever that handwriting belongs to seems pretty immaculate with everything else so I really think there must be a reason for it.

    How exactly would you perform a tremolo while doing a glissando (on harp), I'm trying to picture it... One hand for each?

    His other tremolos look normal though, above the note or across the staff.
    I hesitate to post the source. It's not a reduced score though, it's the full pad.

    Thanks Mauro
  4. Oh! Harp! I didn't think of that, but it makes sense now. Then it is not a half note. It is the first note of the glissando, indicating it is to be performed in 32nd notes.
    T.j. Prinssen likes this.
  5. Right, as simple as that...
    Much obliged!
    Mauro Pantin likes this.
  6. Ah, yes! got it now. That's exactly what it is..
    All you have to do is enter the first few notes of the 32nd run, and just hide all but the first and you're left with the 3 'flags' on the side of the note, like so:

    Attached Files:

    Dillon DeRosa likes this.
  7. Yep, that's it. Glad it worked out!
    T.j. Prinssen likes this.
  8. I usually see a harp pedal marking or the notated scale so they know what notes to gliss. But he might leave that for the orchestrator based on his sketch and a chord symbol.
  9. It has nothing to do with either tremolos or 32nds. It's a shorthand for harp glisses where the whole pedaling is set with 7 '32nd-notes' (which they actually aren't since there always only 7 and the last is open beam). This looks like the pedaling is set in advance. Additionally there has been a tradition to have the first of the 7 notes be open notehead - nothing to do with half note.

    How I would write it? Like this.

    The first notehead indicates the duration of the gliss, the pedaling indicates tuning (this case E-flat major). Notice the hidden rests that corresponds to the gliss duration in both staves.

    Attached Files:

  10. Doesn't look like JW's handwriting...
  11. It's Herb Spencers

    Thank you Thomas, will answer tomorrow
  12. Hi Thomas

    Yes, the pedaling is included right before the snippet I cut out. It's the timing / duration that's unclear to me.

    Serves me right for not being 'traditionally schooled'. I come from a rock/guitar background (like many guys here), but I'm learning.
    Any reasons for the open notehead? Why did you decide to leave out the triple flags (which at least gave some clue to the duration).

    That's very confusing. There's 7 but not really since there are always only 7?
    Could you maybe write it out for me like it would be performed? I'm really struggling to understand but looking at your hidden rests it's duration is actually the full 4/4 bar (+ the 1 of the next bar).

    Thanks very much for your help!
  13. Well the triple beams (that you call flags) don’t indicate any duration.

    In the handwritten example you can only get that with watching which the two notes land on - both land on 1 of each bar so the full gliss must be 4 quarter notes long.

    It covers a span of three octaves landing on the seventh note of the scale so the first bar takes 20 notes to four beats. That’s four quintuplets. But don’t think of it as such since they will not be played that way.

    Also don’t spend too much time on worrying about the beams and noteheads. It’s just a standard in harp notation. I’m from a jazz background and had to learn harp language to write for it as well.

    My example is what I use for 99% of the cases I write since it clearly shows rhythm, duration and pitches. Even to the composers I work for who might not be knowledgeable in harp notation
    T.j. Prinssen likes this.
  14. Not the duration for the entire gliss, but at least it would indicate that 32nd notes are used. If it's implicated I guess it's not really necessary.

    Meaning it won't be played that way cause the timing is hard to nail precisely thus it will always end up sounding more 'floating' / 'natural'?

    Just one of those things you gotta know I guess, now I do.
    Thanks for bringing this thread back from the depths to correct us!

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