Swing after 16th note/rest

• Nov 27, 2022 - 10:28

Hi, in MuseScore 3.6.2, the following two scores sound different.
eighth note after eighth rest
Here, the eighth note plays with swing.
eighth note after two sixteenth rests
Here, the eighth note plays without swing.
Could anyone explain why this happens? It's unintuitive to me.


In reply to by 607MuseScore

Sixteenth notes should not be played with swing unless you have sixteenth note swing turned on. So, four sixteenths are the same duration, and similar with two sixteenth notes followed by an eighth note (the two sixteenths are the same length, the eighth is the same length as those combined). That's the usual interpretation of sixteenths in swing. So, sixteenth rests are no different. Not sure why you'd even consider using sixteenth rests here, though.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Very interesting! I don't think I learnt about swing in music theory. This is good to know. I suppose I could perhaps note on my score that I use it differently... hm!
With regards to the example: this is a minimal reproducible example, of course, as one should give when showing unexpected behaviour. It's not a case from an actual project. Here is one:
bar from score
The first two melody tones are supposed to have equal duration: I supposed each to consist of two long sixteenth notes and one short sixteenth note. I am now unsure whether they do, though, considering that it's not simply two consecutive eighth notes.

In reply to by SteveBlower

Thanks, I did. This also explains why there is an option to change the swing percentage in MuseScore, and moreover, why 66% is not the default. I was quite confused when I found that out. I've never seen swing as a feel, but rather as a way to notate music with certain types of rhythms without having to constantly use triplets. As a consequence of the way MuseScore handles this, I do sometimes have to use triplets anyway, but in these places it actually makes a lot of sense to me to use them; I do not have an issue with that.
The piece I'm writing is a piano arrangement of an earlier composition for Game Boy: there, naturally, the swing is completely mathematical and agnostic of note durations.

In reply to by 607MuseScore

Swing isn't something you'd normally learn in a theory class - it's something you learn by listening to a lot of jazz and then playing it yourself. That marking shouldn't used for any other purpose than to tell jazz musicians to do what they would likely have done anyhow if it's a jazz piece.

For music that isn't jazz, and isn't being read by jazz mjusicians, don't use "swing". A note on the score about what you mean won't really help if you are inventing your own music notation - people are accustomed to standard notation, and the note about your new innovations won't be enough to break them out of their existing reading habits.

it's not clear from your example, though, what result you are looking for. It doesn't show any rests, so it doesn't seem to directly relate to your original question.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Yeah. That is completely different than how I was approaching it. I was supposing the following three notations to be more or less equivalent, assuming the tempo was adjusted so that the first note of each would last the same time:
12/8 six eights4/4 two triplets with three eights in a quarter note4/4 swing twice two sixteenths followed by one eighth
I did find the final alternative unintuitive, and hence I decided to represent such rhythms with triplets. However, I supposed that theoretically it would be played the same as the other two examples, as for each quarter beat, the first half of it should last twice as long as the second (this is how I interpreted swing). Of course (to me), it doesn't matter what the quarter beat is actually made up of, no combination of notes or rest would change the meaning of swing, I thought.

Now, clearly this is not what swing is meant for. That is good to know, not only for writing my own scores but also for performing music that uses swing.
If you'd like to know what I'm going for, you can hear the original composition here. Listening to the first 12 seconds should be plenty (the B part, much later in the song, has some deliberately late notes that I'll probably not keep like that in my piano arrangement). I've got to say my first thought was not swing: I tried using 12/8 and 4/4 with triplets on almost every beat first. I then thought of swing, however, and liked it more. But if I 'abused' it, perhaps I should revert back to 12/8 or 4/4 triplets... :/

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks, I can believe that. I'll rewrite the arrangement.
If you wouldn't mind: what do you think's going on here? https://youtu.be/26HjtCCLbow It's a composition by someone else that I've done a piano arrangement of, but I didn't perform the rhythm very well in my cover. This might be because I didn't have the right feel for it... should swing be used to interpret this, or also not?
At this point this is not at all about MuseScore anymore, but it is very interesting to me. :D

In reply to by 607MuseScore

Shuffle and Swing work with the same logic. Only Ratio's are different.
Shuffle is mostly used in styles such as Blues and Ragtime. The feeling of this rhythm is very similar to 12/8 and/or 6/8.

The normal (a.k.a. Straight) balance of an eighth (or sixteenth) pair is 50: 50. 1/1
In the Shuffle rhythm, the length of the first note in the note pair of an eighth (or sixteenth) note is twice as much as the second. So the sense of triplet is more dominant. 66:33 2/1
In Swing, Ratio is more unstable and less equal. 60:40 (approx.) 3/2

In reply to by 607MuseScore

They are similar in that neither is a way of rewriting ordinary rhythms - both are just meant to tell experienced musicians to play the way they normally would in those styles. That is, unless you are actually writing a piece that is truly meant to be swing piece or a shuffle piece stylisticcally, don't simply put that word in there and expect people to interpret it meaningfully.

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