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What You See Is Not Always What You Get

Make sure you have read dynamic relationships before this article. What information do we have here? Three things: a pitch, a duration, and a dynamic. Pitch is not important to this discussion so let's not worry about it; everything we talk about applies for any pitch that is considered to be in the standard range. If we give this information to a computer, it would give us a waveform that looks like this: A rectangle. But what does…
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The Orchestral Default

In order to notate in a clear and concise manner, one has to understand how an orchestra will interpret any particular dynamic, rhythm or articulation. For instance, what happens if you give the violins a naked whole note and a piano dynamic marking? Even with a minimum of information, the orchestra will impart some life to that note; there is an organic trajectory to all phrases. Now what if you add an articulation or hairpins? How about at shorter rhythms? What will a pattern of…
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