Melisma notation question

RB | notation | Thursday, April 26th, 2007

When notating a melisma, there are several traditions for sustaining a syllable in the middle of a word. Think of “glo-ri-a” in “Angels we have heard on high.” There are normally dashes in between “glo” and “ri” to indicate the melisma. Some publishers put a slur over the melisma in addition to the dashes, some omit it entirely.


Anyone have a comment? preference? suggestion?


Roger Bourland

1 Comment »

  1. You know, I rather like the slur; it’s a simple, elegant solution that immediately conveys the composer’s intent, and, if drawn properly, can be visually quite impressive. Tasteful (understated) syllabication is also helpful but nowhere near as elegant or as quick to convey intent! (The reader has to look closely at the text and spend some time thinking about the way things are syallabicated before coming to a conclusion about the way the notes are grouped).

    Guess I’m still something of an old-school copyist at heart (yes! I remember what it was like BEFORE we had computers, when hand-drawn scores conveyed something of the composer’s personality, before drab compu-scores with their homogenous, might-as-well-be-anonymous look!) I appreciate those elements that make a score stand out visually.



    Comment by Jerald Thomas Hawhee — May 3, 2007 @ 11:12 am

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