# How to insert these multi-note tremolos from Brahms with dotted tuplets?!

I’m trying to figure out how to even input this more complex figure from Brahms Symphony No.1, Piu Andante (Vn. I’s), which involves dotted note tuplets using 6 and 12(!) but along with multi-note tremolo:

Obviously the first tuplet is easy, it’s the multi-notes that are throwing me through a loop, and my math isn’t good enough to figure that one out. But also I can’t understand the correct order of events (I tried tuplet before trem stroke, and trem stroke before tuplet). Needless to say my attempt is not looking so great:

For the first tremolo, put two dotted sixteenths in 3:6y tuplets inside a 6:4x tuplet before applying a one stroke multi-note tremolo. For the second tremolo, put two dotted quarters in 3:3e tuplets inside a 12:8x tuplet before applying a two strokes multi-note tremolo. Then hide the inner tuplet numbers and the outer tuplet bracket:

In Engraving Options > Tremolos > Multi-note Tremolos, set Appearance of half note (minim) tremolos to All lines join stems.

Edit: Note that the playback of these tremolos will not be correct.

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Very strange that Dorico cannot handle these in a more straightforward manner by force-duration entering two dotted eighths within the sextuplet and then applying the tremolo to achieve the dotted eighth tremolo rather than giving…

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Hi, thank you so much for your help on this. Unfortunately my skill level with tuplets and math is not as strong as I would like, and I am a bit less familiar with the process of nesting tuplets. I looked up a few tutorials but I still am having issues with your instructions, although it’s getting me closer.

For the first one, with both dotted 16ths selected I entered 3:6y into the tuplet popover – looks good so far – after which I reselected them and entered 6:4x into the tuplet popover. Nothing happens! I tried several times with no result, this is far as I am getting and the second nest just cancels the operation:

So then I thought maybe I had the order of events backwards, so I tried creating the outer tuplet first, and then the inner one… this did create something, but definitely not right, here is what I’m getting -

I also read up on the manual and some Dorico channel videos to understand these complex tuplet operations better but they are really over my head, especially the x:y thing. Do you have any recommended reading or viewing for me to wrap my head around this also for the future?

Thank you!

When you tried creating the outer tuplet first, you got quite close to the desired result. Starting from the second image in your recent post, delete the second note, select the first note and the inner tuplet number, press R to repeat the note and inner tuplet, and repitch the repeated note. Now select both notes and apply a one stroke multi-note tremolo. Finally, hide the inner tuplet numbers and the outer tuplet bracket.

The relevant video tutorial describes Inputting Tuplets. The relevant pages in the manual describe the Tuplets popover and Inputting nested tuplets.

Success!

However it leaves me wondering - was it not supposed to work the first way? Wondering why it was refusing to continue using that method. I had read those manual articles and watched that exact youtube video. Following those instructions exactly, for some reason it would not work when doing the second popover - I am not sure if I missing some piece of the puzzle there. But also, what they describe and use as examples I don’t believe are nearly as complex as the Brahms’ piece above, with the additional complication of multi-note tremolos!

Final question, going off the old saying about feeding a man for a day vs teaching a man to fish, are there any books you might recommend to research this kind of complex musical math in depth? I have no problem with basic tuplets, but I’d love to understand for myself in the future how you arrived at the nested tuplets etc.

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The manual page which describes inputting nested tuplets says that the outer tuplet should be entered first. However, you are correct that the tuplets used as examples are not as complex as those in the Brahms’ piece. To conform with modern conventions, the first tremolo should contain two dotted quarter notes rather than two dotted eighth notes:

I don’t think a book is needed in this case. The post by @Derrek earlier in this topic shows what happens if two dotted eighth notes are entered inside a 6:4x tuplet and a two strokes multi-note tremolo is applied — the resulting tremolo contains two undotted quarter notes. If the tremolos in the Brahms’ piece conform with modern conventions, then the only reason for nested tuplets like 3:3x or 3:3e is to preserve the rhythm dots. Whether these nested tuplets should be needed is a different matter.

Thank you. Perhaps I need to rewind a bit here and say - I actually don’t even really understand nested tuplets, and how on earth this rhythm works. I could most likely play it easily if I heard someone perform it, but I am having quite a difficulty understanding the conceptual basis to begin with.

put two dotted sixteenths in 3:6y tuplets inside a 6:4x tuplet before applying a one stroke multi-note tremolo. For the second tremolo, put two dotted quarters in 3:3e tuplets inside a 12:8x tuplet before applying a two strokes multi-note tremolo

If I am understanding this correctly, that is 2x dotted 16ths within a tuplet allowing for the space of 3x 16th notes inside of the space of 6x 32nd notes. Skipping the tremolo for now, the next one is 2x dotted quarters in a tuplet allowing for the space of 3x quarters in the space of 3x 8th notes.

So even before we arrive at the issue of the multi-note tremolo math, I am having difficulty understanding that math above, and how the nests even work in the first place. Math was never my strongest subject in school, although I am capable to understand if I know what to look out for. But I never received any formal music training so as someone entirely self-taught to read and write music, I never really received any advanced rhythmic notation training to ‘get’ this! Hence why I was curious of any resources so I don’t have to pester the forum every time I encounter this

Normally, when a multi-note tremolo is applied to a pair of notes having the same duration, the resulting tremolo contains two notes with twice the duration of the notes to which the tremolo was applied.

For the first tremolo, the outer 6:4x tuplet means we want six 16th notes in the time of four 16th notes. To obtain a multi-note tremolo containing two dotted eighth notes, we must initially enter two dotted 16th notes. However, those two notes only have the duration of three 16th notes, and we must use nested tuplets to double the duration of each dotted 16th so both notes inside the outer tuplet have a total duration of six 16th notes. Each nested 3:6y tuplet means we want three 32nd notes in the time of six 32nd notes. One dotted 16th note has the duration of three 32nd notes, so the nested tuplet doubles the duration of each dotted 16th note.

For the second tremolo, the outer 12:8x tuplet means we want twelve 16th notes in the time of eight 16th notes. To obtain a multi-note tremolo containing two dotted half notes, we must initially enter two dotted quarter notes. Those two notes already have the duration of twelve 16th notes, so nested tuplets are only needed in this case to preserve the rhythm dots when the multi-note tremolo is applied. Each nested 3:3e tuplet means we want three eighth notes in the time of three eighth notes. One dotted quarter note has the duration of three eighth notes, so the nested tuplet does not change the duration of each dotted quarter note.

Hopefully, this helps explain how nested tuplets work in Brahms’ piece.

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Hi John, sorry I have been away for a few days – but I just wanted to thank you for taking your time to explain all that to me. It’s very helpful!

In the Brahms’ piece the general effect in actual recordings is somewhat of a blur of notes (which I assume is the intention) – but IMHO there are much simpler ways to orchestrate that effect. Brahms, as much as I do love his music, tends to be one of the more overly complicated composers of his time (I say this having attempted his various piano pieces as well as a handful of his rather difficult ‘51 exercises’, haha!).

Anyway fortunately it’s not everyday I encounter these kind of complex tuplets, but I will play around with the breakdown you shared and I think it will eventually start to click for me. Thank you again!

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