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Hi Beth!

I'm in the process of trying to learn a song for my Austin 2012 repertoire and I was wondering if you could help me understand how to play the following notations:


I get totally bogged down when I see notations such as these as I am not only learning to read music, but also trying to understand how to actually play the indicated composer's instructions.

Being a beginner can be so overwhelming at times. ;-o

Many thanks!

5 Responses
Posted: April 8, 2011
Last Comment: April 15, 2011

Posted: April 15, 2011
Thank you Beth!

You are simply an amazing mentor. Your explanations are so easy to understand and to follow and I love how you teach us to break things down to make it easier to understand. All of the sudden the complex or intimidating music notation to the novice is no longer a huge monster. It's as if you enable us to see things through the fog. You are truly gifted.

Thank you so very much for the lesson. I may actually be able to learn to play this piece in due time.

Beth Blackerby
Posted: April 14, 2011
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Posted: April 11, 2011
Great question! I have been wondering about that type of notation myself, and of course, worrying that I am doing something terribly wrong as I "fake it". I look forward to the tutorial and appreciate the current responses

Beth Blackerby
Posted: April 8, 2011
I'll tack that on as well. I'll demonstrate, but basically divide everything down to the smallest denominator which is the eight note and ...well, this will have to be a tutorial. Some things cannot be typed.

Anne aMaudPowellFan
Posted: April 8, 2011

Hi Jack, looking forward to your playing in Austin!

The notation means that you play everything that goes under the outermost slur within one bow, without stops or turns. The inner slurs (ties, actually, since they slur notes of identical pitch) are logically redundant. They just emphasize that the one note (G in the first example and D in the second example) is composed from different time values, but it is to be played as one note, in one bow.

Why do they have these sub-divisions? In order to relate to the underlying metrum (4/4) and so that there is a place for the bar line, as in your second example.