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Music Theory SNAFU #2855160 06/03/19 10:39 AM
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MacMorrighan Offline OP
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Okay, usually I am pretty good with intermediate-level music theory, but the other day I purchased "Music in Theory & Practice, vol. 1: Workbook," by Bruce Beward & Gary White (McGraw Hill, 1997) from a bookstore and it has a question that's got me stumped:

On page 4 is says, "Complete each measure with ONE note." Okay, not a problem, then I get to measure #7 in 12/8 time and it has only a fitted half-note. So, I'm assuming the answer must be a whole note with SEVERAL dots next to it? What's particularly throwing me off--and making me feel like it's a trick question of some sort--is, there are no eighth notes in this measure; and I cannot input any because the answer requires only ONE note! Also, where would one see a whole note with more than 3 dots? Yet, 3 dots alone would not = 9, if my division and subdivision is correct.

The rest of the problems give me the same headache due to the time signature because, while I might get the math to work out, I couldn't be able to use the notes that get the required beats!:

* 9/4 with only a dotted half-note
* 4/2 with no notation at all
* 5/8 with only a quarter note

I mean, I know how to count music notes, but these questions seem to be bordering on esoteric. After all, why use some time signatures and then require a single note for an answer when the required note receiving the beat cannot (so far as I know) be a part of that answer? it doesn't feel like a balanced musical equation.

Or am I just allowing the problem to get the better of me? After all, when I studied music at a vocational school I never was given such a problem to solve by anyone.

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Re: Music Theory SNAFU [Re: MacMorrighan] #2855161 06/03/19 10:42 AM
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Re: Music Theory SNAFU [Re: MacMorrighan] #2855167 06/03/19 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by MacMorrighan
On page 4 is says, "Complete each measure with ONE note." Okay, not a problem, then I get to measure #7 in 12/8 time and it has only a fitted half-note.
I'm reading this as a dotted half note.

One bar of 12/8 is four dotted quarters. A dotted half note is three dotted quarters. What's left to make up the bar is then one dotted quarter.


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Re: Music Theory SNAFU [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2855169 06/03/19 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
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That must be right. 12/8 = 1.5.
Dotted half = .75; two dotted half = 1.5.

Oops! But you wrote a dotted whole, so it should be dotted half.
I guess there's some confusion about 'fitted half note'.

Last edited by joflah; 06/03/19 11:17 AM. Reason: oops.

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Re: Music Theory SNAFU [Re: MacMorrighan] #2855171 06/03/19 11:19 AM
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A half note is a minim in UK language, so that's 4 quavers (eighth-notes) out of 12. So you need a semibreve i.e. 'whole note' to make up the 12.

Re: Music Theory SNAFU [Re: MacMorrighan] #2855177 06/03/19 11:43 AM
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If it's actually a dotted half note (6 quavers) then you need another dotted half note to make up the 12.

Re: Music Theory SNAFU [Re: MacMorrighan] #2855183 06/03/19 11:52 AM
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OH! A light just went off! Okay, so in 4/4 a whole note = 4 beats, but in 12/8 a whole note is equal to 12 beats, therefore the answer is a quarter note because a dotted half-note is worth three-fourths of the measure (i.e. 9 beats)!

Re: Music Theory SNAFU [Re: MacMorrighan] #2855186 06/03/19 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by MacMorrighan
OH! A light just went off! Okay, so in 4/4 a whole note = 4 beats, but in 12/8 a whole note is equal to 12 beats, therefore the answer is a quarter note because a dotted half-note is worth three-fourths of the measure (i.e. 9 beats)!

No, a dotted half note is three quarter notes, I.e. sixth eighth notes, I.e. half the measure. So you need to fill up another half measure.

Another way to think of it is that a dotted half note is two dotted quarter notes, and a 12/8 measure consists of four dotted quarter note beats. So again, this gives the result that a dotted half note is half of a 12/8 measure.

Whole notes representing a whole measure behave a little strangely. For working out smaller note durations outside of 4/4 time, you’ll be misled if you try to work them out as fractions of a whole note. Better to build up the smaller durations as parts of yet smaller durations.


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Re: Music Theory SNAFU [Re: MacMorrighan] #2855187 06/03/19 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMorrighan
OH! A light just went off! Okay, so in 4/4 a whole note = 4 beats, but in 12/8 a whole note is equal to 12 beats, therefore the answer is a quarter note because a dotted half-note is worth three-fourths of the measure (i.e. 9 beats)!


No, the measure totals a time of 12/8 = 1.5. A dotted half = 0.75 (3/4). Another dotted half uses up another 3/4,for a total of 1.5. So you need a dotted half to answer the quiz.

If you want to count it in eighth notes, a dotted half = 6 eighth notes, and you need another 6 to get to 12 total.

(As a side note, 12-8 is a compound time and is counted as four beats per measure, where each beat is a dotted quarter.)


Last edited by joflah; 06/03/19 12:13 PM.

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Re: Music Theory SNAFU [Re: MacMorrighan] #2855193 06/03/19 12:22 PM
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joflah, do you find arithmetic as in your first part graph to be useful to you when you’re reading music?

I find the approach of your second paragraph, building notes out of smaller note durations to be more like how I recognize note durations for reading music.

That’s not quite the whole story, as I’m anchoring notes to the landmarks of beats and their common subdivisions. But I’m definitely not doing arithmetic with decimal fractions.


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Re: Music Theory SNAFU [Re: PianoStudent88] #2855197 06/03/19 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by PianoStudent88
joflah, do you find arithmetic as in your first part graph to be useful to you when you’re reading music?


Not often, but I had to do it when I took music theory about 5 years ago and had to answer questions like the one in the OP's text. You might have to get better at it if you wanted to compose. I usually just rely on the music being notated correctly.


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Re: Music Theory SNAFU [Re: MacMorrighan] #2855213 06/03/19 01:31 PM
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Thanks, joflah.

I have also encountered these kinds of problems in music theory courses. I have always solved these types of questions similar to how I read music: by building up whole beats and portions of beats, in an almost visual way, and then adding in the extra notes I need. I feel like that’s better practice for me in understanding the structure of music.

For the composition I’ve done, working with notes the same way by building up or subdividing notes by patterns rather than by arithmetic, (and understanding proper notation practices that expose the beat structure rather than obscure it) has been sufficient for me.

To me, this is similar to how carpenters process fractional inches, and adding fractional inches, by relating them to the pattern of markings on their tape measure, not to decimal numbers.


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Re: Music Theory SNAFU [Re: MacMorrighan] #2855218 06/03/19 01:48 PM
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Are some forgetting that the solution requires one note, not two dotted half-notes as one suggested?

Regards,



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Re: Music Theory SNAFU [Re: BruceD] #2855222 06/03/19 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Are some forgetting that the solution requires one note, not two dotted half-notes as one suggested?

Regards,


+1. I had the same thoughts.



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Re: Music Theory SNAFU [Re: BruceD] #2855229 06/03/19 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Are some forgetting that the solution requires one note, not two dotted half-notes as one suggested?

“Complete each measure with ONE note,” on measures that usually already have a note printed in them. I (and joflah) interpret that to mean adding one note beyond the note that is already there, so the measure ends up with two notes the original note, and the note you added. The two notes together should fill all the beats of the measure.

In the case of the example of a measure with no note printed, then, yes, you end up with just one note.


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Re: Music Theory SNAFU [Re: zrtf90] #2855230 06/03/19 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by zrtf90
Originally Posted by MacMorrighan
On page 4 is says, "Complete each measure with ONE note." Okay, not a problem, then I get to measure #7 in 12/8 time and it has only a fitted half-note.
I'm reading this as a dotted half note.

One bar of 12/8 is four dotted quarters. A dotted half note is three dotted quarters. What's left to make up the bar is then one dotted quarter.


A dotted half note is only two dotted quarter notes. (The doubling math works exactly parallel to the fact that a plain half note is two plain quarter notes.)


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Re: Music Theory SNAFU [Re: PianoStudent88] #2855236 06/03/19 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by PianoStudent88
Originally Posted by BruceD
Are some forgetting that the solution requires one note, not two dotted half-notes as one suggested?

“Complete each measure with ONE note,” on measures that usually already have a note printed in them. I (and joflah) interpret that to mean adding one note beyond the note that is already there, so the measure ends up with two notes the original note, and the note you added. The two notes together should fill all the beats of the measure.
[...]


Good point! The OP did, indeed, say that there was already a "fitted half-note" which we are interpreting as a dotted half. So, correctly stated, another dotted half would complete the measure. I stand corrected - although I'm sitting at the moment! smile

Regards,


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Re: Music Theory SNAFU [Re: MacMorrighan] #2855248 06/03/19 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMorrighan


On page 4 is says, "Complete each measure with ONE note." Okay, not a problem, then I get to measure #7 in 12/8 time and it has only a fitted half-note. So, I'm assuming the answer must be a whole note with SEVERAL dots next to it? What's particularly throwing me off--and making me feel like it's a trick question of some sort--is, there are no eighth notes in this measure; and I cannot input any because the answer requires only ONE note! Also, where would one see a whole note with more than 3 dots? Yet, 3 dots alone would not = 9, if my division and subdivision is correct.

The rest of the problems give me the same headache due to the time signature because, while I might get the math to work out, I couldn't be able to use the notes that get the required beats!:

* 9/4 with only a dotted half-note
* 4/2 with no notation at all
* 5/8 with only a quarter note

I mean, I know how to count music notes, but these questions seem to be bordering on esoteric. After all, why use some time signatures and then require a single note for an answer when the required note receiving the beat cannot (so far as I know) be a part of that answer? it doesn't feel like a balanced musical equation.


I am not sure what seems to be the issue.

12/8: 4 beats of dotted quarter per measure, ie 2 dotted half note. If you already have a dotted half note, you need to add another dotted half note
9/4: 3 dotted half note per measure. If you already have a dotted half note, you need to add a dotted whole note.
4/2: 4 half notes per measure. A breve will fill the measure
5/8: ie 5 height note per measure (usually either 2+3 or 3+2); one quarter + one dotted quarter.

I do not quite get your comment about the note receiving the beat. It is not because you have a time signature of 12/8 that you have to have eight notes in the measure.

Re: Music Theory SNAFU [Re: MacMorrighan] #2855332 06/03/19 09:36 PM
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I haven't answered because I don't know what a "fitted" note is, or if it's a typo for something. I'm thinking it would help for us to have a scan of that part of the page.


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