Temporal Frontiers in Music


James Adrian
      Current limitations are not due to those of instrumentalists or dancers. Music that changes time signatures with each measure can be choreographed and animated by dancers. Within the limits of speed, musicians can perform any time distinctions for which there are unique notations.

      What is lacking is a more complete musical timing language. Time signatures and conductor-specified fermatas and accelerandos are not sufficient. Any good orator knows that the emotional impact of a sentence can be ruined by either pausing for too long a time or for too short a time - and that is just to mention pauses!

      The composer is always first to imagine new music. Today, a composer can specify a piece of music with a mouse and a sound-enabled computer instead of a pencil and an orchestra. I recommend Finale software for this purpose. Unusual timing remains the musical feature most difficult to specify. If a speaker's timing or any new musical timing is to be further developed, it will begin with more complete and convenient timing notation incorporated in music software. Then, it will be written.


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