# Special meter(s)!

Hi to all! I really didn’t know this was possible. Just by entering by mistake I got this result:

Anyone knows what it means exactly? And why it’s possible? (btw; I always love if more is possible than really needed - but as a classically trained composer, I still wonder why…)

Just thinking out of the box

X=number of beats
Y=what division of a whole note gets a beat (well, sort of…)

4/4 = 4 beats in a bar, 1/4 of a whole note (i.e. a quarter note) gets one beat

2/3 = 2 beats in a bar, 1/3 of a whole note (equivalent to 4 triplet eighths) gets one beat.

We have discussed irrational meters at length here, if you’re curious!
(I hate the term irrational, they are by all means rational, in the matematical sense!)

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The way it works in Dorico is quite useful: The bottom number behaves like the nearest power of 2 below (so 2/3 is like 2/2 and 5/23 is like 5/16) and you can just change the tempo proportionally to simulate a “partial tuplet”.

…and here is where I discord . I’d love if partial tuplets were implemented and non 2^x denominators weren’t treated as metric modulations. But there are different schools of thought regarding that. I prefer to stick to the partial tuplets and not the metric modulation interpretation, like in this example by Adam Neely

Henry Conwell even proposed special noteheads for those special values
https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Henry-Cowells-proposed-reformed-rhythmic-notation-44_fig1_339182496

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Good luck explaining it to the Altos on a cold Thursday evening.

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Yeah, true! It’s very specific notation, and either way you’re going to have to explain it. For me, the metric modulation approach is not intuitive. (Oh, no! I’ve said the “i” word!). For others, it’s exactly the opposite. I’ve found myself arguing with my composition teacher because of this!