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Here is the music.

I'm confused.

The melody is in 4/4 with dotted quarter notes. In the highlighted measure, the melody rhythm is 3/16 (1/8 + 1/16), 1/8, 3/16, 1/8, 1/4, 1/4.

That is, if the measure ran from 0 to 1, the attack of each melody note would occur at: 0, 0.1875, 0.25, 0.4375, 0.5, 0.75 (or, as 16th's: 0, 3, 4, 7, 8, 12)

Then there are these RH background notes (technical term?). They seem like triplets, but I'm not sure. I've seen the version published under Clara's editing and also this version. In Clara's editing the background RH notes align with the melody notes--in the highlighted part, the 2d beat of the background rhythm is vertically aligned with the 1/16th note above it.

I think there is some kind of fascinating syncopation that is going on based on feedback from when I shared a recording with a learned ear.

So are the background notes triplets or a half-rest followed by a pair of sixteenth notes? If they are sixteenth notes (as the quaver rest suggests), the rhythm is on these sixteenths: 2, 3, 6, 7, 10, 11, 14, 15.

But there is no vertical alignment at 7/16ths.

Plus, the background notes are beamed 8ths. You add up the notes in the highlighted measure, the notes add up to 8 x 1/8 and rests add up to 4 x 1/8--12/8ths. This 12/8ths problem is also in the Clara Schumann version.

So... I'm confused. Can anyone help?


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Triplets.

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"The melody is in 4/4 with dotted quarter notes. In the highlighted measure, the melody rhythm is 3/16 (1/8 + 1/16), 1/8, 3/16, 1/8, 1/4, 1/4."

This is not correct. It is 3/16, 1/16 | 3/16, 1/16 | 1/4 | 1/4

You are right that the inner voice is in triplets, whereas the outer voice is in 4/4 in the dotted rhythm. But don't go looking for things to necessarily line up. In each beat, you're essentially dealing with 4 against 3 (4 16ths against 3 triplets), so you wouldn't expect those to line up.

I would practice each musical "line" separately - do the triplets on their own, then do the dotted rhythms on their own, and then slowly put them together - it'll come...


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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Triplets.
I agree.

Generally, in a passage like that, I would assume the sixteenths are to be played as triplets lining up with the accompaniment figure, unless there was some very specific reason to think otherwise. It's a confusing old notation convention - I'm sure there must be an interesting background story of how it came into being.

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Originally Posted by 8ude
"The melody is in 4/4 with dotted quarter notes. In the highlighted measure, the melody rhythm is 3/16 (1/8 + 1/16), 1/8, 3/16, 1/8, 1/4, 1/4."

This is not correct. It is 3/16, 1/16 | 3/16, 1/16 | 1/4 | 1/4

Yes, thank you--I fumbled it in my head and edited while fumbling, the end result was a fumble. I very much appreciate the clarity.

Originally Posted by 8ude
You are right that the inner voice is in triplets, whereas the outer voice is in 4/4 in the dotted rhythm. But don't go looking for things to necessarily line up. In each beat, you're essentially dealing with 4 against 3 (4 16ths against 3 triplets), so you wouldn't expect those to line up.

I would practice each musical "line" separately - do the triplets on their own, then do the dotted rhythms on their own, and then slowly put them together - it'll come...

As a practical matter, do you play for the flams, or do you play it super slow for perfect syncopation?


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As others have indicated, the inner voice accompaniment is in triplets. I would take a different tack on performance from that suggested above.

Given that this march moves at a pretty rapid tempo (per professional performances on YouTube), I wouldn't try to play the dotted eighth-note plus sixteenth-note against the triplets. Instead, as was often a convention up until the Romantic period (and possibly beyond for some composers), this notation often simply aligns the sixteenth-note with the third triplet. Otherwise, you get a texture whose details you struggle to reproduce might just be lost in the tempo.

Other opinions may differ, of course.

Regards,


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Originally Posted by BruceD
As others have indicated, the inner voice accompaniment is in triplets. I would take a different tack on performance from that suggested above.

Given that this march moves at a pretty rapid tempo (per professional performances on YouTube), I wouldn't try to play the dotted eighth-note plus sixteenth-note against the triplets. Instead, as was often a convention up until the Romantic period (and possibly beyond for some composers), this notation often simply aligns the sixteenth-note with the third triplet. Otherwise, you get a texture whose details you struggle to reproduce might just be lost in the tempo.

Other opinions may differ, of course.

Regards,

I appreciate that you threw me a life preserver!

I may go this route, it depends on how much time it takes to get the 4/3 correct. I will notice it, and that's going to be a problem given my perfectionism.

But I am also able to let small things go, so I like your perspective on the matter.


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Originally Posted by BruceD
As others have indicated, the inner voice accompaniment is in triplets. I would take a different tack on performance from that suggested above.

Given that this march moves at a pretty rapid tempo (per professional performances on YouTube), I wouldn't try to play the dotted eighth-note plus sixteenth-note against the triplets. Instead, as was often a convention up until the Romantic period (and possibly beyond for some composers), this notation often simply aligns the sixteenth-note with the third triplet. Otherwise, you get a texture whose details you struggle to reproduce might just be lost in the tempo.

Other opinions may differ, of course.

Regards,

Bruce pointed out this to me before, as seen in Chopin Op. 61

(video time stamp 4:40)


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Oh man.

I had stricken that piece from my lifetime bucket list and was content about it. Until a few seconds ago when I listened to the first half-measure.

Someone in the 'popular pieces but you hate them' (sic) thread convinced me that it (Op. 61) was overplayed, maudlin, and porky.

But now, again, it calls to me. I'm not sure if I'm happy or discontent.


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Originally Posted by hawgdriver
I appreciate that you threw me a life preserver!

I may go this route, it depends on how much time it takes to get the 4/3 correct. I will notice it, and that's going to be a problem given my perfectionism.

But I am also able to let small things go, so I like your perspective on the matter.

Given the context where the upper voice is leading and the strong bass notes all played Sf, the inner voice is just providing support and a rythmic cadencing. What is more important is to keep these at a steady pace. I think it is not audible if you align them or not. The technical challenge is to keep the complex rythmic pace while making the melody stand out clearly.

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Four against three is not likely to be the correct way to play these figures. Music was published to be played, and making it more difficult does not accommodate playing.


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I personally would disagree on the notion of ignoring the 4/3 and playing it as straight triplets. If Schumann had wanted straight triplets he would have written it as such, or would have maybe notated it in 12/8 to get the 4-groups-of-3 thing. He was competent enough in notation that if he wrote it as triplets against a straight dotted rhythm, I would take it at his word. BUT - Bruce does bring up a very valid point that at this tempo, a lot of that might get lost in the speed and might muddy the waters. So I guess I'd say for this example, it's a bit of a judgment call, but I still feel like Schumann's intention was to have the 4/3.


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I just want to point out that, in my Schirmer / Mikuli version of Chopin Op. 61, this part of the score was also not aligned (different from the score on the video above, timestamp 4:40), and it's also why I asked Bruce's assistance before. I don't know what Chopin (or Schumann?) wrote in the manuscript.

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Originally Posted by 8ude
I personally would disagree on the notion of ignoring the 4/3 and playing it as straight triplets. If Schumann had wanted straight triplets he would have written it as such, or would have maybe notated it in 12/8 to get the 4-groups-of-3 thing. He was competent enough in notation that if he wrote it as triplets against a straight dotted rhythm, I would take it at his word. BUT - Bruce does bring up a very valid point that at this tempo, a lot of that might get lost in the speed and might muddy the waters. So I guess I'd say for this example, it's a bit of a judgment call, but I still feel like Schumann's intention was to have the 4/3.
I agree with all of the points made here.

I would like to point out three things.

1.


I slowed this recording down to .5x and could clearly hear the performer not playing those 16ths like 8th note triplets...But as a sidenote, I had to slow it down to .5x in order to hear it :P Could be a fault on my part, or it could be evidence of what other posters were saying that at the speed of this piece you won't hear a difference anyway.

2. If this is your first time being introduced to 4 against 3 then I think it's a good time as any to learn it. 4 against 3 is tricky, but you can drill it into your muscles.



This is the piece that helped me learn 4 against 3, but it is of course a LOT slower so playing those 16th notes as triplets would be very noticeable and also...there are oftentimes 4 of them in a row, so it would be impossible ;P In order to nail the polyrhythm, I looped that 1 beat phrase at about 1:41 over and over. I started with the metronome set to 3/4, and then just took my right hand and instead of playing notes I just patted 4 16th notes on my thigh, verbalizing 1e+a until I felt I had internalized the rhythm. Then I incorporated my left hand playing triplets, then eventually the actual melody itself...To this day, I still second guess myself if I'm playing *exactly* 16th notes over those triplets (it is very easy to lilt) but when I listen to recordings I like the sound of it and don't notice an issue. That motif of 4 against 3 shows up often in that piece, and there are passages that are even trickier, I think, but having that solid foundation makes it easier to tackle those bits.

3. Lastly, if the polyrhythm trips you up, keep in mind it is actually played exactly as written. So, that last 16th note happens after the last 8th note triplet. You can brute force your way into learning it like this if you'd like.

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Originally Posted by newport
I just want to point out that, in my Schirmer / Mikuli version of Chopin Op. 61, this part of the score was also not aligned (different from the score on the video above, timestamp 4:40), and it's also why I asked Bruce's assistance before. I don't know what Chopin (or Schumann?) wrote in the manuscript.

Here's what Chopin wrote in bar 106 - it looks to me that the sixteenths are mostly aligned with the triplets.

http://www.chopinonline.ac.uk/iip/iipsrv.fcgi?FIF=jp2/ocvejp2-proc/61/123/15/15.jp2&cnt=1&QLT=100&RGN=0.286848731358,0.108794632159,0.109626186326,0.171099928109&CVT=JPG

If you want to delve further, multiple sources and editions can be found here -

http://www.chopinonline.ac.uk/ocve/browse/

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Originally Posted by 8ude
I personally would disagree on the notion of ignoring the 4/3 and playing it as straight triplets. If Schumann had wanted straight triplets he would have written it as such, or would have maybe notated it in 12/8 to get the 4-groups-of-3 thing. He was competent enough in notation that if he wrote it as triplets against a straight dotted rhythm, I would take it at his word. BUT - Bruce does bring up a very valid point that at this tempo, a lot of that might get lost in the speed and might muddy the waters. So I guess I'd say for this example, it's a bit of a judgment call, but I still feel like Schumann's intention was to have the 4/3.

I don't think the question is whether Schumann knew how to notate, but whether he was following a notation convention. It seems to me quite likely that he was, but that's just my opinion. There's probably some doctoral thesis out there somewhere that goes into depth about this issue, but I don't know how to find it.

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Originally Posted by wr

Nice.

I will spend a bit of time to determine if the nuance of the slight syncopation is worth the extra effort. On the one hand, I love those kinds of details when I am able to discern them from the talented performer (perhaps subconsciously?), but on the other hand, I don't want to squander practice time. There are many options for that time.


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Originally Posted by newport
I just want to point out that, in my Schirmer / Mikuli version of Chopin Op. 61, this part of the score was also not aligned (different from the score on the video above, timestamp 4:40), and it's also why I asked Bruce's assistance before. I don't know what Chopin (or Schumann?) wrote in the manuscript.

In the manuscript as well as in the first edition they are clearly aligned without a doubt. But what Chopin did does not necessarily apply to Schumann. I do think it is clearly intended by Schumann to be played as triplet and not aligned but there are practical considerations to consider as well.


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