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Topic: string tremolos vs measured effects

  1. #1

    string tremolos vs measured effects

    Hi, I've come upon a perplexing question as I've been studying the Study of Orchestration. On P. 30 - 31, Adler distinguishes between unmeasured tremolos and measured effects that kind of sound like tremolos. I can hear the difference in the recorded examples, but am having trouble distinguishing the difference in notation. Both appear to have slashes through the stems of the notes. How do you tell the difference? Is it in context of the passage? Thanks.

  2. #2

    Re: string tremolos vs measured effects

    I've always wished that the notation for measured vs. unmeasured tremolos was clearer. The fact that we use the same symbol is needlessly ambiguous.

    Still, it's only likely to be an issue in slow tempos, where repeated 32nd notes have a chance of being heard distinctly.

    To keep my intentions clear, if there's any chance of being misunderstood, I'll usually write "trem." or something if I intend an unmeasured tremolo, or "non trem." for measured. I've also seen scores where a composer will write out one or two beats as actual 32nd notes, then switch to the slash-through-stem notation once the idea's been gotten across.
    Dan Powers

    "It's easier to be a composer than it is to compose."
    --Ray Luke (1928-2010)

  3. #3

    Re: string tremolos vs measured effects

    Thanks. Now I know it's not just me cracking up, that the notation really is the same. I like the idea of writing out a few beats until you convey the idea if you want a measured effect. It seems odd to me that the tremulants in theatre organs (and the Leslies in Hammonds which immitate them) actually do (I think) what is known to string players as vibrato. It is the hardest thing for me to get that through my head since I'm an organist always dealing with "tremulants" or "trems". Interesting.

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