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Topic: Notating slurs with articulations

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  1. #1

    Notating slurs with articulations

    In looking at online scores for guidance, I've seen that usually slurs are stopped before notes that have staccato or accent marks. So maybe a measure will have all their notes encompassed with a slur, but if the last note is staccato, that note isn't included in the slur.

    BUT now I'm seeing notation references saying that notes with articulations Are supposed to be included in slurs.

    Page 10 of this notation document says "Slurs over or under the notes should contain any modifying marks such as dots, accents, etc." And has the image of four notes that are all encompassed by a slur, even though the first note has an accent and the last two are staccato.

    Notation PDF

    My new notation reference on my Kindle says that the beginning or ending of a slur is placed between accents and the notehead, while articulations between the beginning and ending notes remain inside the slur.

    SO darn it! I have been studiously avoiding having any staccato notes included in a slur. If a phrase is of two notes, the second with a staccato mark, I've been erasing any slurs I had originally used, thinking that was incorrect.

    Notation experts - I suppose you agree that the staccato and stressed notes Are supposed to be included in a slur, and I need to go back and change all those instances in my scores? - I don't understand why I was seeing all those examples of slurs stopping before stressed notes - I suppose when the composer needs those notes to be isolated and more clipped or stressed than they would be if they were in the slur?

    Randy

  2. #2

    Re: Notating slurs with articulations

    Randy, slurs stopping before notes is fine, perhaps those notes are not to be included in the phrases the composer wanted? Slurs over staccato or other articulations are fine as well, because if you want it to be part of the phrase, then you'd slur it. Particularly for strings where slurs denote bow direction.

    I pulled this from a site on a quick search- related to bowing direction on strings to save me explaining it badly in my own words:

    A curved line grouping notes together, indicating the notes included in the slur should be played in the same bow. Unless otherwise indicated, notes in the slur should be played legato. When slurs are used with dots over or under the notes, this indicates a slight separation should be used between the notes (the terms slurred staccato or dotted slurs are often used to describe this technique). When a slur is placed between two notes with the same pitch, this is called a “tie” and the two notes are played in one bow for the duration of both notes.
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  3. #3

    Re: Notating slurs with articulations

    Quote Originally Posted by Plowking View Post
    Randy, slurs stopping before notes is fine, perhaps those notes are not to be included in the phrases the composer wanted? Slurs over staccato or other articulations are fine as well, because if you want it to be part of the phrase, then you'd slur it...
    Graham, familiar with the old expression "punch drunk?" It refers to being beaten about the head until you're dizzy, sometimes permanently, like in the unfortunate case of boxers who have taken too many head blows. I think I've gotten punch drunk, reeling from seeing really for the first time that accurate, detailed notation is extremely involved. Before this time, I've been happy with my sketchy scores, all the notes in place, a few directions here and there, and that's it.

    I'm feeling almost paranoid at this point that I'll be doing something hopelessly wrong in a score, so I'm not always trusting myself to get things right. - When I saw all these scores that always stopped a slur right before a staccato note, I figured it was a rule to never include staccato or stressed notes. Good to know it's OK - That there are degrees of legato.

    All through the "Amusing Man" score, I have slurs stopping like I've described. It's probably OK to leave them like that, as per the scores I've seen. But in the score I'm fixing up now, I'm sometimes including articulated notes in slurs, whenever it seems closer to my intention.

    But I'm not dealing with strings, this is all band stuff, so I'm not working with bowing, like in the quote you gave. Still, helpful.

    Thank you much, lad.

    Randy

  4. #4
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    Re: Notating slurs with articulations

    There are definitely differences between how strings are notated compared to concert band instruments. My daughter was giving me a hard time about how I was articulating some flute notes when we were practicing together. She has this chart that the brass and woodwind techs had given them for marching band that shows how long and separated each of the different markings should be. I noticed right away that it was different for some of the articulations that what I hear when studying symphony scores with recordings.

    Let me see if I can find a link to this chart.

    Jim

  5. #5
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    Re: Notating slurs with articulations

    Haydn's right when he says there's differences between strings and winds. This is especially true in fast runs that lead to a downbeat. With strings the run is slurred, but the downbeat is usually not part of the slur. This is the physical act of a string player to change bowing on the downbeat usually.

    But on wind instruments, it's physically much harder to play a fast run and give the downbeat a separate attack, so wind instruments usually will have the slur extend to include the downbeat.

    Hope that makes sense.

  6. #6

    Re: Notating slurs with articulations

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Turner View Post
    Haydn's right when he says there's differences between strings and winds. This is especially true in fast runs that lead to a downbeat. With strings the run is slurred, but the downbeat is usually not part of the slur. This is the physical act of a string player to change bowing on the downbeat usually.

    But on wind instruments, it's physically much harder to play a fast run and give the downbeat a separate attack, so wind instruments usually will have the slur extend to include the downbeat.

    Hope that makes sense.
    Yes, that makes total sense. Of course. When I saw some scores with fast runs, but with the slur ending before the downbeat - I wasn't picturing how a player would actually handle that. Good!--As I notate, I've always been trying to imagine playing each phrase, and how it would be physically possible. I Will go back and change any truncated slurs like that in the "Amusing Man" score.

    Thank you once again for your input, Jeff!

    Randy

  7. #7

    Re: Notating slurs with articulations

    Sorry Randy that I have not responded to this or any other post lately. I have been working on my band piece also. The short answer, if I completely understand what you're asking is, "I don't know what rule book you are looking in concerning if the last note should or should not be included in the slur but it doesn't matter. All that matters is if you want the brass and wind players to play the note tongued or slurred. That is all." Here are some examples I put together right quick. I play both brass and woodwind instruments for hours every day and all of these examples are easy to execute. https://app.box.com/s/zexds25sozu315xvkivp ~Rodney

  8. #8

    Re: Notating slurs with articulations

    Quote Originally Posted by composingatnight View Post
    ...it doesn't matter...
    Super, Rodney! Thank you so much for the image. I'm relieved to see that what I've been doing is OK - It's mostly phrases I want slurred, but with the last note stressed - dadadadadadaDUM! Seeing all these examples you put together squares things away perfectly for me. Thanks!

    Randy

  9. #9
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    Re: Notating slurs with articulations

    Randy,

    Here is a link to the Style/Note Length Glossary that my daughter's high school concert and marching band uses: http://www.bcbandsolutions.net/wp-co...h-Glossary.pdf

    It's a handy reference for the different articulations.

    Jim

  10. #10

    Re: Notating slurs with articulations

    Quote Originally Posted by Haydn View Post
    Randy,

    Here is a link to the Style/Note Length Glossary that my daughter's high school concert and marching band uses: http://www.bcbandsolutions.net/wp-co...h-Glossary.pdf

    It's a handy reference for the different articulations.

    Jim
    That is such a clever chart! Thank you so much, Jim. I have it saved and at-the-ready. What's been especially unclear to me up until now is that I was thinking slurs meant only one thing - smooth, continuous legato. But now I see there are degrees of legato, and that's why it can be kosher to have staccato and stressed notes encompassed by a slur. Previously, detached articulations and slurs seemed mutually exclusive to me, especially when for awhile I wasn't finding examples of scores using combinations like in Rodney's screenshot.

    You, Rodney and a Host of other Forum members just keep coming to the rescue, and I really appreciate it.

    Randy

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