[Dorico 3.5.12] What does the "e" mean in a meter signpost with auftact?

There’s a Japanese word アウフタクト which romaji is aufutakuto and specifically means “incomplete weak beginning measure (弱起, jakki)” in Japanese.
I thought that this is a loan word from English, hence my deduction “auftact”.


I don’t think that’s wholly true. Whenever I’ve conducted 6/4 (admittedly rare) it’s been too slow to really place stresses and it often resolves into roughly 3/2. 3/2 itself is much more rare - beyond Britten’s “A boy was born” I’ve only ever seen it in early music and even then it’s written simply “3”. A frescobaldi guitar piece springs to mind which is in 6 crotchets/bar and which I enjoyed experimenting with a compound 6/4 but the stresses were clearly on 3/2.

Also springing to mind is one of the movements of durufle’s requiem in which there are 4/4s followed by 8/8s which are clearly just 4/4s but he treats every bar as quavers subdivided into 2 and 3 quavers as he sees fit. Either way we can’t safely assume a 6 of anything is compound, but that culturally it is most likely that a 6/8 is a compound signature, as is 9/8 and 12/8. I think it is less a cultural phenomenon at a different grid level.

(Don’t get me started on the Sanctus in Faure Requiem)

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Welp, I’m off to listen to Durufle for the 400th time. So much for the to-do list!


Hey Shiki,
this is really cool! I’m German, and I always love it when there are obscure German “Lehnwörter” popping up in other languages… :sunglasses: :+1:

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Music education in Japan is taken from the German classical school, so a lot of terminology is borrowed from German, as well as the usual Italian.

(This may be be factor in the felicitous relationship between Yamaha and Steinberg.)

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An incredible piece for sure, although both Durufle and Faure have some dubious use of stresses in word setting :slight_smile:

I agree.
And at the other end of the speed spectrum we have the finale of Saint-Saens Organ Symphony: Alternating 6/4, 9/4, then into alla breve with 3, 4 and 6 bar phrase lengths; ending in 3/1. Is any of this compound, or just masterful management of time?

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Another German here, and I would love to know some other musical Japanerman words, of which I guess (or, at the very least, hope) there must be a few.

Speaking of great words:

I think it isn’t to be found in a dictionary, but should be.

The initial 6/4 and 9/4 are compound, like multiples of 3/4 – though they certainly must be conducted in quarters at that tempo. But the ending is all in big 3s.

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So they are not compound! The ear hears every crotchet (or in this instance every quaver) equally…

Yes, indeed. The ear hears every three bars as a unit.
So, we are apparently content to have blocks of three whole bars considered the equivalent of a single bar (it is the only sensible way to conduct it) without raising the question of compound time, but when the same effect occurs within a bar, it is apparently worthy of deep semantic debate.

‘Compound’ as opposed to ‘simple’ meter means groups of 3s rather than 2s in a bar. (And ‘complex meter’ means a mixture of both.) Just because a given 6/4 is too slow to conduct in 2 beats doesn’t make it not-compound. If the quarters are grouped as 3 pairs, that’s ‘simple’ (regardless of the tempo or the conducting pattern), and the fact that people write 6/4 a lot where technically it’s 3/2 confuses this issue. That isn’t compound meter, but 6/4 in the Saint-Saëns is.

Then when his 3 bars of 2/2 roll into one bar of 3/1 with the accelerating tempo, that is still simple meter: 3 whole notes, each of which divides in half, quarters, etc. – now conducted in a big 3 instead of 3 pairs of beats because it’s faster. This is pedantic because of course we can easily hear the rhythm of music across barlines. Saint-Saëns could well have stayed in 2/2 (in one) to the end, but 3/1 meter conveys a sort of 19th century gigantism that’s perfect for the music.

So 3/4 is a compound meter (one group of three)?

Actually it is not. It is six beats as there is no differential stress at the half bar.

No, by definition. Compound meters have an upper number that is a multiple of 3, greater than 3.

I don’t know the Saint-Saëns well enough to comment. But the first movement of Brahms’s first symphony shows 6/4 as a compound meter. Even though its tempo demands beating in quarter notes, the dotted-half pulse is clearly marked. Another clear example of compound 6/4 is Chopin’s B flat minor Nocturne Op9/1, though obviously no conducting is involved.

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Eh? The Brahms is in 6/8. The introduction is conducted in 6 not only because of the slow tempo, but also the syncopations that perpetually subvert either of the two beats in your compound time.
You might find this of interest… definitions of meter - Jones-1985.pdf (1.3 MB)

Sorry. that’s a typo, too.

Prior to the surrender of IJA (in 1945), the entire Japan society prefer to use kanji-compounded words (which are ideographical, boosting up reading efficiency). The GHQ limited the usage of kanji in Japan under their government. That’s why Japan society started preferring katakana-spelt loan words instead.

P.S.: Italian musical terms were used globally.

Japanerman → Deupanese. (:slight_smile: )

Actually, Shimaoka Yuzuru (the president of the music theory committee in Japan) and his fellows went to both Deutschland and France right after the WWII, studying how classical music gets taught in these two countries. After that, Yuzuru and his team built up their own classical harmoniology (“harmonielehre” in Deutsch) system in Japan by cross-referencing classical compositions and Beethoven’s composition (note that Beethoven is a Romantic composer according to Burkholder’s text, if my memory is correct). Their harmoniology textbook (ISBN: 4276102332) is extremely friendly to self-studiers.

Yuzuru’s team already built-up their own nomenclature (terminological system) using kanji-spelt words. However, some katakana-spelt words are more acceptable among those Japanese musicians who finished their education in continental European countries like Deutschland, France, Italy, Austria (Wien), etc.