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Pitch and Rhythm

The two basic components of a note statement are the pitch and duration. Pitch is specified using the alphabetic note name, and duration is specified using numeric characters. Duration is indicated at the beginning of the note as a number representing the division of a whole beat. You may always find the number specifying a given duration by thinking of how many times that duration would fit in a 4/4 measure. Also, if the duration is followed by a dot (`.') it is increased by 50%, exactly as in traditional notation. Some sample durations are listed below:

     whole note               1
     half note                2
     double dotted quarter    4..
     dotted quarter note      4.
     quarter note             4
     half note triplet        6
     eighth note              8
     eighth note triplet      12
     sixteenth note           16
     thirty-second note       32

Pitch is indicated next by first (optionally) specifying the register and then the note name, followed by an accidental if desired. Normally, the "octave following" feature is in effect. This feature causes any note named to lie within the interval of an augmented fourth of the previous note, unless a new register is chosen. The first note you write will always be within a fourth of middle c unless you choose a different register.

For example, if the first note of an instrument part is notated g flat, the Scot program assigns the pitch corresponding to the g flat below middle c. On the other hand, if the first note is f sharp, the pitch assigned will be the f sharp above middle c. Changes of register are indicated by a preceding apostrophe for each octave displacement upward or a preceding comma for each octave displacement downward. Commas and apostrophes always displace the pitch by the desired number of octaves starting from that note which is within an augmented fourth of the previous pitch.

If you ever get lost, prefacing the pitch specification with an `=' returns the reference to middle c. It is usually wise to use the equals sign in your first note statement and whenever you feel uncertain as to what the current registration is. Let us now write two measures for the cello part, the first starting in the octave below middle c and the second repeating but starting in the octave above middle c:

     !ti "4/4"
     4=g 4e 4d 4c/ 4='g 4e 4d 4c 

As you can see, a slash indicates a new measure and we have chosen to use the dummy middle c to indicate the new register. A more convenient way of notating these two measures would be to type the following:

     !ti "4/4"
     4=g e d c/ ''g e d c 

You may observe in this example that the quarter note duration carries to the following notes when the following durations are left unspecified. Also, two apostrophes indicate an upward pitch displacement of two octaves from two g's below middle c, where the pitch would have fallen without any modification. It is important to remember three things, then, when specifying pitches:

1) Note pitches specified by letter name only (with or without accidental) will always fall within an interval of a fourth from the preceding pitch.

2) These pitches can be octave displaced upward or downward by preceding the note letter with the desired number of apostrophes or commas.

3) If you are unsure of the current register, you may begin the pitch component of the note with an equals sign which acts as a dummy middle c.

The pitch may be modified by an accidental after the note name:

     n                   natural
     #                   sharp
     -  (hyphen)         flat
     ##                  double sharp
     -- (double hyphen)  double flat 

Accidentals are carried throughout the measure just as in traditional music notation. However, an accidental specified within a measure will hold for that note in all registers, in contrast with traditional notation. Therefore, make sure to specify n when you no longer want an accidental applied to that pitch-class.

Pitches entered in the Scot score are translated into the appropriate octave point pitch-class value and appear as parameter p5 in the numeric score output. This means you must design your instruments to accept p5 as pitch.

Rests are notated just like notes but using the letter r instead of a pitch name. 4r therefore indicates a quarter rest and 1r a whole rest. Durations carry from rest to rest or to following pitches as mentioned above.

The tempo in beats per minute is specified in each section by choosing a single instrument part and using tempo statements (e.g. t90) at the various points in the score as needed. A quarter note is interpreted as a single beat, and tempi are interpolated between the intervening beats ( see score t statement).


A Scot encoding of this score might appear as follows:

     ; A BASIC Tune
     orchestra { guitar=1 bass=2 }
     functions  {
     f1 0 512 10 1 .5 .25 .126
     f2 0 256  7 1 120 1 8 0 128 1
     score     {  ;section 1
     !ti "4/4"
     4=c 8d e- f r 4='c/
     8.b- 16a a- g  g- f  4e- c/
     2=,,c 'a-/
     g  =,c/
     score     {  ;section 2
     !ti "4/4"
     6='c r c 4..c## 16e- /
     6f r f 4..f## 16b /
     4=,,c 'g, c 'g/
     2=a-  g /

Output file score from Scot Example I.

     f1 0 512 10 1 .5 .25 .126
     f2 0 256  7 1 120 1 8 0 128 1
     i1.01 0 1 0 8.00
     i1.01 1 0.5 0 8.02
     i1.01 1.5 0.5 0 8.03
     i1.01 2 0.5 0 8.05
     i1.01 3 1 0 9.00
     i1.01 4 0.75 0 8.10
     i1.01 4.75 0.25 0 8.09
     i1.01 5 0.25 0 8.08
     i1.01 5.25 0.25 0 8.07
     i1.01 5.5 0.25 0 8.06
     i1.01 5.75 0.25 0 8.05
     i1.01 6 1 0 8.03
     i1.01 7 1 0 8.00
     i2.01 0 2 0 6.00
     i2.01 2 2 0 6.08
     i2.01 4 2 0 6.07
     i2.01 6 2 0 7.00
     t0 60
     f0 8
     i1.01 0 0.6667 0 9.00
     i1.01 1.3333 0.6667 0 9.00
     i1.01 2 1.75 0 9.02
     i1.01 3.75 0.25 0 9.03
     i1.01 4 0.6667 0 9.05
     i1.01 5.3333 0.6667 0 9.05
     i1.01 6 1.75 0 9.07
     i1.01 7.75 0.25 0 9.09
     i2.01 0 1 0 6.00
     i2.01 1 1 0 6.07
     i2.01 2 1 0 6.00
     i2.01 3 1 0 6.07
     i2.01 4 2 0 7.08
     i2.01 6 2 0 7.07
     t0 60
     f0 8

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