Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Stretch Your Irregular Groups

And your knowledge of them! Sometimes an irregular group means stretch the notes over a longer period rather than the more common "play these notes in the time of a lesser number". This exceptional circumstance we are calling Stretched Irregular Groups. Here’s an example of where that makes sense in a rounded 2/4 hornpipe.
Nice flow, but the last phrase there is pretty staccato when played exactly as written. In pipe bands we’d probably swing that a bit but not by dotting and cutting the first 2 flams in the last bar, that would take away from the rounded hornpipe feel. What we probably want is something that stretches the phrase from the 2nd flam in the last bar and blends it with the run of singles, but how would we write that if not dot and cut? The cut is pushing the second flam too far away and spoiling the rounded hornpipe metre. What we should write in that circumstance is this:

Ah but Drum Score Editor is complaining there’s not enough notes in the bar now, because what we’re trying to say is stretch these 5 notes out over the space of 6 notes. That will give us a little swing but without making it too dot and cut. Musical theory says doing this for a quintuplet is actually allowed, but rare. Not so rare in our pipe band drumming world now I’d say! However Drum Score Editor doesn’t know anything about whether the author intends to make it 5 notes in the time of 4 or 5 notes in the time of 6. In fact how would a human know reading the score? Well it can actually only mean 5 in the time of 6 when written correctly otherwise the bar is short of notes if interpreted as 5 in the time of 4. 

So how do we tell Drum Score Editor when we want the quintuplet, and other irregular groups to have the more rare interpretation of being in the time of a greater number notes, ie that we want to stretch the irregular group instead of the more usual compressing more notes in? Well up until now we couldn’t, because it didn’t support the concept of stretched irregular groups. What we’re adding here is a variation in the keystroke sequences used to create irregular groups. 

When we create an irregular group today we select the group of notes and then hit the appropriate number key, i.e. hit a 5 and you get a quintuplet. But it’s the compressing quintuplet, not the stretching one. To say create a stretching quintuplet use the Ctrl key with the number 5. With Ctrl being pressed at the same time as the number, it tells Drum Score Editor that your intention is that this is a stretched irregular group.

As always you can use undo / redo around this edit, which is in fact a toggle. i.e. if the selected group of notes is already marked as a form of quintuplet it will toggle off the irregular group, otherwise will toggle on the irregular group, as a stretch or compressed depending on whether the Ctrl key is down or not.

Simple Time
Compound Time

Duplet2 in the time of 1, ie subdivision2 in the time of 32 in the time of 32 in the time of 3
Triplet3 in the time of 23 in the time of 43 in the time of 23 in the time of 4
Quadruplet4 in the time of 34 in the time of 64 in the time of 34 in the time of 6
Quintuplet5 in the time of 45 in the time of 65 in the time of 35 in the time of 6
Sextuplet6 in the time of 46 in the time of 86 in the time of 36 in the mite of 12
Septuplet7 in the time of 47 in the time of 87 in the time of 67 in the time of 12
Octuplet8 in the time of 68 in the time of 168 in the time of 68 in the time of 12
Nonuplet9 in the time of 49 in the time of 89 in the time of 69 in the time of 12

Note some of these are impractical, or more properly said so illogical to use in pipe band drumming. Take a quadruplet in a simple time signature, what does 4 in the time of 3 mean in the situation where the normal subdivision is an even number, how do you get 3 notes of equal value that you want to play 4 notes over? If anyone has any knowledge on this subject, especially for the higher numbered irregular groups please shout. 

If this were Sibeius or Finale it would allow any ratio to be expressed, e.g. 4:3 means 4 in the time of 3, so the author has complete freedom. When we need that in pipe band scores I’ll implement it - haven’t seen it once yet. There’s another challenge! has a good explanation of irregular groups.

Version 2.6.6 will be released for testing shortly with this feature added.

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