Which Notation is Clearest? Share your ideas!

Hi all-- I’m sorry to veer a little bit off of topic (ie- Dorico specific things) however this is such a thriving forum I thought it might be nice to have a thread specifically devoted to people who would like second opinions on notation practices. I do not mean to abuse the scope of this forum or to ignore the many other great notation-specific forums out there, but for non-scientific things, it would still be nice for anyone who might benefit from it, or is simply new to the world of notation and engraving. (Besides, lets face it… we all love Dorico because of how pretty it can make a score! :stuck_out_tongue: ) To the Steinberg moderators, if you decide to pull this thread down I won’t be offended in the slightest.

All of that out of the way, I’m working on a piano composition right now. I am an organist by trade and so I’m quite used to staring down dense counterpoint. As a result, I’m fairly certain that the notation I’m willing to put up with is a bit skewed compared to many pianists. I know that the goal of notation is always to achieve the greatest clarity. Some pianist-composers simply use pedal markings to create the sonorous effect without notating as strictly. My organist brain won’t permit that, and I want to make sure that when there is a voice, it is accounted for at least within the measure. As this part of the score has the melody wrapped up with a flowing sub-texture, I suddenly was befuddled a bit as to best practice. So here we go, time to vote!

A was my initial entry. Again, this made sense to my organist brain but it looked a little dense to me. B is with split beaming. C is when I switched the voices and D is when I split the beams again. My guess, seeing all 4 side-by-side is D, but I am torn between splitting and not splitting the beaming across the measure. A measure-length beam creates a certain continuity in my mind, but it simultaneously obscures the contour of the passage which is also very important. (And I wont even mention the permutations with cross-staff beaming for the right hand… :open_mouth: )
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I’m not a pianist, but I would vote for D. It seems the less cluttered, and makes the most sense. C is my number 2. I would do anything possible to avoid A or B.



I am a pianist.

I would also prefer D.

I would also go for D or C, just like you I cannot decide whether it is better with the splitted beam or not. Maybe it is a question of frasing? In that case I guess I would prefer C.

Another way to do it:

The first bar might not be to your liking, but to me it makes the melody line come out clearer.
However, In the second bar I think it is much better to cross the staff on the second note, because it will show the direction of the line better.

D. The melody line consistently facing upwards and the beaming clearly showing the beat pattern.

I’m a pianist with a lot of sight reading experience.

D, but why do you beam all the 16th-notes together in bar 2? Two separate groups of 4, without the apparent cross-staff beaming, and stems down for the second group of four, would be easier to read IMO.

LAE-- I didn’t consider doing that way although I might now that I see it. I had kept it as one motion and as I play it I’m simply stressing the particular melody notes to pull them out even though it is a fluid single motion of the right hand. I could practically make it all 16ths and just put accents or tenutos over those notes too. That’s how I ended up with A. I initially jotted out all the 16ths since that’s what I played and then I realized I needed to stress the melody and could account for it via a second voice.

Rob, that was just the default way that Dorico had linked them and I didn’t separate partly due to the cross-staff nature of the gesture so I wanted it to be clear that it was all LH material. I can definitely break it though and I plan on adding straight lines to indicate the line as it crosses barlines to the top staff.

D, or maybe C, but never A or B.