A question for those of you with a good musical education:

A question for those of you with a good musical education:

I* have only recently found out that slur symbols over two notes that are the same (as in "A" and "A") are not slurs but ties. Well enough, but does the tie criteria apply as well to two notes where the second note has grace notes before it?

* I have no musical education whatsoever. Ask me about 21 megavolt linear electron accelerators and I’m halfway coherent but music notation, er… not so much.

Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Hmmmm….my understanding of a tie is that it increases the length of the first note by the duration of the second note it is tied to ( perhaps think of a length of rope..if you tie it to a second length of rope the whole rope is now longer).

I can’t remember seeing a grace not indicated to a second tied note and would assume this is more an indication of some sort of ornamentation. A grace note I think tends to come before a note and this would therefore mean playing the first note, stopping to play the grace note and then continuing on to the second note …. In which case this is now not a tied note but two separate ones.

My son is studying classical trumpet at Uni. I’ll ask him and see what he thinks.

Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Is it perhaps indicating a cut in the middle of a tied note?

Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

As Tongle says a tie indicates the the sound is sustained for the duration of the two notes. Even though written as two notes they sound as one.
Now my 21 megavolt linear electron accelerator wont start - any ideas?

Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

It will be a misprint in the publishing, more common than one would think.

John

Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

I was just curious. Thinking about it a little more closely it seems obvious that a tie can’t include grace notes. It would have be a slur in that case.

Did you check all of the interlocks on your accelerator?

Thanks guys. I think I have the cobwebs out of my brain on my question now.

Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

I’m with manxygirl. It looks like you’re describing a common notation of the cut. Incidentally, you can distinguish a tie from a slur because a tie is flatter. And, a tie is only ever between two notes (cut notation as described above is the only exception I can think of) where a slur can connect as many notes as you want. (If you want to tie three notes together you must use two ties. Or you could tie sixteen notes together with fifteen ties. LOL but not really a joke… I have seen such a thing….)

Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Carl, I’ve been posting about something similar on another thread in the last few days. In that case it’s a high A crotchet with a mid-note cut (on flute). There are different ways to indicate this in the score (with or without the tie). In any case it would be what manxygirl & tdrury are describing.

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

A tie and a slur are one and the same. If there are grace notes between the two notes of the same pitch, they are still slurred. Although rarely written that way, all rolls and variations thereof are slurred and what you describe sounds like it would fall into that category.

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

A tie is used on notes of the same pitch and typically is about the note value (or duration).
Slurs are used on notes of different pitches, played mostly legato and/or as a phrase. When playing slurred, legato phrases the articulation of the slur varies depending on the instrument.

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Sorry I’m of bad musical theory education. Where can one find a decoder to all the symbols that represent variations of notes in tunes on The Session.
I mean if I haven’t heard the tune or don’t know it the symbols throw me off as I don’t understand what they represent. thanks

Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

AB, a tie by definition is a slur because there is no articulation between notes, whether of the same pitch or not, no matter the instrument. It’s called a tie only because, being of the same pitch, the notes sound as a single note, so there is nothing to really slur. The technique, however, remains the same.

It’s splitting hairs, I know, but it clarifies the concept enough to be worth mentioning.

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Uh, well, whatever. For the reason as to why I posted the question originally, I was several hundred pages into the conversion of the hand-written Scottish Tome tunes when I learned about the difference between a tie and a slur. I was wondering at the time why the software I was using was putting a minus symbol "-" between some notes while other notes were bounded by parentheses. I had changed all of those "-" incidences to parentheses. Ouch - I need or perhaps just should, put them all back. ABC notation will join two notes of the same pitch with the "-" and play it all as one note. As a slur, with both notes being the same, there will be a definite interruption between the end of the first note and the start of the second note. Assuming for the nonce (and you know where that gets you) that Joe Buchanan, the gentleman who must have spent half a lifetime writing this stuff down, intended for the notes of same pitch to be played as one time-wise, meant that my poor understanding of what I had discerned on the page had arrived in the abc notation as the wrong method. I was in the process of writing a shell script to go through and spot all of the incidences of a left parenthesis and a right parenthesis with the appropriately positioned notes of the same pitch so I could go back and rectify all of the "transgressions" I had committed against the original score. Then I ran into that damnable grace note, opened this thread and the rest is mystery. Er, history. Gentleman, I thank you all for the feedback and here’s an (im)practical demonstration:

X:1
T:Slur Tie Smart Test
C:Alliteration for anyone that’s familiar with "The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy"
L:1/8
Q:90
M:4/4
K:D
(D2 D) z | D2- D z | (D2 {C}D) z | D2- {C}D |

As far as the abc2midi software cares, only the second measure sounds as one note. As far as the title goes, it was almost "Slartibartfast" for no good reason at all. A bad pun indeed to depict it as this.

Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Ok Thanks I’ll keep learning music by ear as its the only way to do so, just like our fore-fathers did when software was up to your ankles in a bog hole

Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

"As a slur, with both notes being the same, there will be a definite interruption between the end of the first note and the start of the second note."

That is incorrect. A slur, by definition, includes absolutely no articulation, so there is no interruption of any kind between notes.

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Alan, Carl is referring to how the abc code (using a grace note inside a slur of two notes) is interpreted by abc2midi.

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Okay, thanks. I know nothing about abc notation. Apologies for any misinterpretation of what Carl was talking about.

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Sorry but I don’t think ties and slurs are the same thing.

A slur is a deliberate and specific indication of how to play two different notes, showing how to move between them.

A slur is like the opposite of playing staccato where the notes are played in a very detached way emphasising the ‘separateness ’ of the notes.

A slur removes the separateness and indicates that the notes should slide into each other.

A tie is a way of indicating the length of a note especially when the limitations of standard notation make doing it in any other way rather cumbersome or unintelligible. This is especially the case when reading very syncopated rhythms.

One is a stylistic issue and the other a timing issue.

Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Technically, you are correct. My point is that, as a practical matter, there is no difference. When you play two notes of the same pitch with a tie, in essence, you slur them. As a marking in a written score, a slur simply signifies the absence of articulation between notes. If the notes are of varying pitch, the effect is obvious because the change of notes is perceived without benefit of any kind of attack. If the notes are of the same pitch, what is perceived is the extended duration of a single note. When doing one, you call it a slur, when doing the other, you call it a tie. However, the way you get there is exactly the same for both, as is the marking for it.

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Splitting hairs, maybe, but, as I said above, a tie is a flatter curved line with the additional limitation that only two notes can be connected with one tie. They are distinct notations.

Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Well, yes, somewhat. A tie is not a flatter line - if anything it is more arched due to being shorter. That it connects only two notes is not a limitation; if there were more notes, it would be called a slur, wouldn’t it? They are distinct, as you say, because they serve two different musical purposes, but as I’ve noted, they are performed the same way and written with the same marking, and the result is no articulation within the slur or tie, whichever.

How’s that for splitting hairs? 🙂

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Ailin, are you aware of the conventions for drawing ties, slurs and phrase marks? Not just abc generated markings, but the broader standards used in transcribing classical music.
tdrury is not making this up.

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Does it really matter in the long run?

Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Depends on whether you intend to use it or not, Chris.

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

"Ailin, are you aware of the conventions for drawing ties, slurs and phrasing marks? Not just abc generated markings, but the broader standards used in transcribing classical music.
tdrury is not making this up."

Of course. I’m not making it up, either. What is your point? If you dispute me, you’ll have to tell me where my statement goes wrong. I’m open to be corrected and welcome learning, if I have made a mistake.

EDIT: I just looked up Slur and Tie in my old music theory text book and it makes exactly the same distinction I did in my last post, meaning that there is no practical difference between the two terms, except that one is over a succession of notes and the other is over only two notes, and those of the same pitch. What more is there to say?

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Yes, the two things are exactly the same, except in the way that they’re different. Funny how that happens a lot.

Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

You guys do realize that this forum is floating on a sea of abc notation don’t you? I believe that stuff came first but we’d have to ask Jeremy about that. As I recall, abc notation literally started with scribbles on a paper napkin when the originator wanted to jot down some tunes quickly. Since then, it’s been prodded, pushed, stretched, embellished, squeezed, kicked-in-the-behind and who knows what all to expand it’s usefulness and to this date - it still does not meet the standards of transcribing classical music. That just means that when some pitiful poor uneducated soul like myself asks a question that pertains to the abc notation environment, going off on extreme tangents into proper notation and musical theory will be interesting - but not actually useful in regards to what’s "under the hood" in the software that comprises the abc notation world. It does point to attributes that might be useful and incorporated at a later date in the software since it’s open source but at the current moment, it doesn’t apply to the original problem. As to that - I do apologize for not making my question clearer but I truly did post from a point of sheer, unadulterated ignorance and I’ve learned quite a lot. I do have the proper knowledge now of what I need to be doing in regards to the abc notation requirements and if I ever transcend into true classical notation, I’ll at least have some grounding in proper tie/slur/notation etiquette.

Scottish Tome: Currently reviewing tune 840 out of 1101 and 10 months effort. To say I’m weary would be an understatement.

Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Yes, the two things are exactly the same, except in the way that they’re different. Funny how that happens a lot.

# Posted by 5stringfool

I know. Like 2% milk is not whole milk, but it’s still milk, yes?

callison - Just trying to help. Your original post said nothing about abc notation. I’d been playing music for over 30 years before I’d ever heard of it, so I could not anticipate that it entered the equation. Still, I find the perceived difference some see between slurs and ties fascinating.

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Give me a second.
First I need to point out that this is not off topic from Carl’s original post, though it may be a moot point in terms of the dilemma he is wanting to resolve.

Having said that, by convention, ties and slurs are distinct.
Both notes written with a tie are always the same pitch, the tie is drawn from the 1st notehead
to the second notehead; opposite the stem, the sound played is a single note w/a duration
equivalent to the value of each note combined. There is a bit of fussy nuance about the arc
and calligraphy of the line width, but basically a tie is relatively flat. One obvious example is a tie
of two notes (same pitch) is flatter than a slur of two notes (different pitch) which would be inclined
to emulate the up or down pitch shift.

Slurs, similar to ties, may connect only 2 notes though usually not of the same pitch (it happens!) Slurs (unlike ties) are used to join more than two notes. The simple reason for this is that the notes written with a slur (though not longer *phrase* marks) is to let the player know to play the notes smoothly from one to the other. The common assumption is that the slur is to be played legato. However legato is the articulation; and slurs may also be used with other markings to indicate if the slur is to be played other than legato. For instance ~ slurred staccato, etc.

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

I agree. How do your statements differ from mine?

Except maybe how they are drawn. That’s totally made up and I suspect you know that. Nothing in a music theory book would substantiate that. If you can find something, send me the page and I’ll eat it. Your notion that two notes of the same pitch will be tied by a flatter line because of the lack of difference in height is negated by the fact that two tied notes are usually farther apart than two slurred notes. An arc of the appropriate shape is used in each case.

Your statement about legato/staccato is perfectly valid, but I never addressed that and it is moot to the discussion. The only essential to the definition of both slur and tie is that there is no articulation between notes - that’s it. The fact that they serve two different musical purposes does not alter that.

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Now you’re just playing games, Ailin.

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Me? C’mon, AB! You and I have discussed offline how some around here won’t answer a direct question. I’m sincere when I ask you where my statement goes wrong. All you have done is re-state what others have said rather than address what I’ve said. As a result, I struggle to understand what you are getting at. Take each sentence one by one, if you wish. I have essentially granted you your points. Now tell me the issues you have with mine. No game in that, my friend.

P.S. A tie is flatter than a slur line? Now I’ve heard everything!

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

The confusion arises from the mistaken belief that a tie is two (or more) notes. A tie indicates a single note which, because of the convention of music notation has to be written as two separate symbols, either because the note starts in one measure and continues into another, or because the note lasts for a metric length which cannot be conveyed by a single symbol. A note that lasts for two-and-a half beats would be an example of the latter. So once again: a tie is a single note. Those who refer to it as " two notes of the same pitch" or other similar language don’t seem to get that. A slur, on the other hand, indicates two or more notes played legato, i.e. without separately tonguing, bowing or plucking the slurred notes.
As to the OP my thoughts are that the notation in question indicates a repeated note with a cut, as manxygirl and others have stated.

Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

I would very much appreciate a peak at the original pdf.

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

I’ve got 652 hand-written pages where slur/tie notations all look the same simply because they’ve been written by the same hand. I fear I may reading more into the handwriting then is actually there for they all could have been notated as slurs to begin with and none of us would have an inkling that that is the case since we can’t ask the author. That could be the case even if the notation is joining two notes of the same pitch. At this point - as far as the abc notation world goes, the only recourse is try the two methods and see how it actually sounds when rendered by the software. It’s a bit of a quandary to try to preserve something of this nature as an electronic rendition. Some choices have to be made that I know are simply not even good much less perfectly accurate. When it all goes up on the web, it will have the scans and abc files for each tune. If someone of far greater musical knowledge than I - and they are legion - can go back through them with a higher level software package and complete those notations that abc notation cannot, they’ll have a huge portion of the electronic format ready to import into a more advanced format. I doubt that anyone will rise to that challenge though. Let us hope that the abc notation that’s being generated on this project is sufficient to at least preserve these versions of the tunes that differ from those on thesession.org and that the other tunes in the tome that aren’t present here are at least being preserved no matter what their applicability to ITM. Joe Buchanan, the original transcriber, made a huge effort. The three of us involved are just trying to ensure that his effort isn’t lost.

Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

If you tell someone their tie looks terrible, would that be considered a slur? 😉

Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Arghhhh!!!!!! ;^)

Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Fair play, Steve.

I doubt most sight readers are thinking of a tie as two separate notes. BTW a single tie is never (legally) used to join more than two (written) notes.

Handwritten scores are an art form. At best they communicate to the musician not what to play,
that is up to the player; rather a useful map to keep them moving forward. The best transcribers know
how to provide just the right amount of information yet still allow the player to take the reins.

I learnt to read staff notation on piano, I learnt music theory on piano. One of the best examples I can think of about the usefulness of ties is w/arpeggiated chords (especially on piano) where the ties are written,
the ties are played, slurs are *not* written though inevitably they are played. The result is a full chord
& the octave, played one tied note at a time (not 2) until all the notes of chord are held for the time indicated w/out the need for maths to add up individual notes, w/out the need for slurs. And if the transcriber
isn’t sloppy the ties get you going in the right direction w/out the need for a legend.

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

"A tie indicates a single note which, because of the convention of music notation has to be written as two separate symbols, either because the note starts in one measure and continues into another, or because the note lasts for a metric length which cannot be conveyed by a single symbol."

"Those who refer to it as " two notes of the same pitch" or other similar language don’t seem to get that."

We’re only talking about how it is written. You are right, of course, but I’m not sure anyone was ever confused about tied notes being one note tied to adhere to composing conventions. Thanks for the clarification, though.

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Is it possible the poster is referring to a slash on one of a pair of grace notes and not a slur?
The one with the slash (the acciaccatura) is played as quickly as possibly - just barely perceptible.
The one without the slash, the appoggiatura, steals time from the slashed note. These are frequently
seen in the notation for airs.

Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

callison- I assume that Mr. Buchanan is not available for clarification, but would it be possible to find any recordings of him playing any of the tunes in question? That might clear things up.

Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Well, all of this comes from this thread: https://thesession.org/discussions/38035

Unfortunately, I don’t believe anyone has any direct knowledge of just who and which Joe Buchanan is referred to. In any event, I couldn’t correctly transcribe three notes in a row by ear so listening to a tune and trying to resolve the question is purely out of my league.

I believe that Tom Connelly just nailed my original query. The grace note was indeed not slashed and I truly did wonder if that meant that the borrowed time meant that for the sake of abc notation at least, I could use a "-" rather than "( )" to combine the two notes. After realizing that my original post was a bit uninformative, I added that rather horrible piece of abc notation that exercises the notes in a couple of different fashions with the result that the "-" simply doesn’t apply to combining two notes with a grace note in between. That’s the absolute response of the computer side of things. It won’t change since the program will interpret it that way virtually 100% the time. No human element here except for the uneducated slob at the keyboards (me) trying to get it right.

It is time perhaps, to let this thread wither away gracefully as I have the answer that I need in reference to the task that I’m working on. Thank you everyone, for the multitude of very interesting replies.

There over 1500 grace notes in the Scottish Tome and considering my eyesight at the lack of clarity of the scans, the error count is more than I want to think about.

Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Since these paired grace notes are just ornaments. ITM grants much artistic freedom in their expression
in deciding relative note value. The musician can decide which of the
two steals time value or indeed give each equal time without much conscious thought. In a long air like, for instance, Amrhan na Leabhar, with a total of 24 pairs of slashed/un-slashed grace notes, it would be a burden to remember which of the two grace notes (first or second) is the acciaccatura (slashed) and which is the appoggiatura (un-slashed). Then again airs like may Amran na, come down to us as written by the original composer (Tomas Rua), and it would be unfortunate not to have the composition as intended by the composer.

Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Here, for what it’s worth, is the difference between a tie and a slur in traditional engraving: imgur.com/YWb23wk

The first is a tie, the second a slur.

> does the tie criteria apply as well to two notes where the second note has grace notes before it?

I think we’ve sorted this out, but just to be clear: no. If there’s a gracenote in there, it’s not a tie. It’s a slur.

In the case of a fiddle, it is presumably fairly obvious that what is meant is a single bow with a cut in the middle of it.

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Dear Calum, I have robbed bits from the example in your traditional engraving, added my own bits, wasted most of my musical education & think I have successfully insulted good music for no good reason.
As sad as that sounds; it gets worse.

An original AB composition in Abc notation ~

X:1
T:Ties & Slurs (or: Fit to be Tied)
C:AB
M:3/4
L:1/8
K:C
C2-C (C DG|c2)-c (c dB)|(c2 A2 F>G|[G6c6C6])|]

My humble regrets for the collective nausea each & all of you are experiencing.

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Calum, thanks for the musical engraving which graphically illustrates how ties and slurs are distinguished.

Here is another image which shows two lines of music notation. In the first line
the ties are not drawn according to modern conventions. The intended ties appear as slurs.

The second line of music shows the same notes but the ties are redrawn correctly.

The final bar is the same in both the original line of notation and the line corrected for ties. It has two crotchets
of the same pitch, connected by a slur (not a tie) w/the addition of a tenuto mark above each notehead.

It’s use (slur w/tenuto) is contextual. I would interpret it to mean play each note to it’s full value
{do not cut it short} play legato in the sense that the notes are played together smoothly, but with articulation

https://www.dropbox.com/s/s2auxndp17hizop/Slurs%20%26%20Ties.jpg?dl=0.

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

I hate to tell you, AB, but no one draws ties that way. At least I have never seen it lowered so that the ends are lower than the top of the note. Never, ever, ever. Don’t get mad at me, but it just isn’t done.

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Point taken, Alan. And I probably would not have moved those tie ends as much they were in the blog images.
What I would have done, to distinguish the tie, is lower the center of the arc.

Though in other cases I might choose to move the ends of a tie relative to the notehead. For instance, tied notes of a chord in a piano score.

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Ben, the center of the arc is not lowered, either. I am looking at a book on music theory right now, and neither the description of the marking nor the printed example show or even hint at a difference between a tie and a slur line. Why are you trying to make a distinction that does not exist? The curve of the line is very circular, with not the least tendency to level out in the center.

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Does the book show tied chords?

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

No. What the heck is that? A tie is defined as a curved line joining two consecutive notes of the same pitch so they are played as a single note. It seems to me that, by definition, there can be no such thing as a tied chord, but then I play very little piano. Aren’t chords written one note directly over the other?

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

There are numerous images of tied chords available here - http://bit.ly/29ESpV9.

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

Being a hand-written score, it just looks like a mess to me. I have no idea what those markings are meant to signify, but one observation I can make is that the bass clef line is rather crowded and a straighter line seems prudent just so it can fit in between the layers of notes - note the lack of consistency in how they are drawn. Seems like a happenstance variation as opposed to a distinct convention in how the marking is drawn. Got any printed examples?

In any case, I think this is getting far outside the confines of this discussion and most certainly does not argue successfully for a flatter curve for a tie than a slur.

EDIT: Just saw Cancrán’s post, and it appears I am correct: the degree of arc seems to be consistent with the amount of space between the layers. Many thanks.

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:

I’d say the last two bars in the example prove my point, no?

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Re: A question for those of you with a good musical education:"In any case, I think this is getting far outside the confines of this discussion."

In fairness I think Chopin (and piano pieces in general) would tend to have extended slurs, or phrasing marks, rather than the strictly legato slurs common in violin scores. In other words if you look at the entire score http://tinyurl.com/gldwg98 there are mostly long slurs (i.e. phrasing marks; not legato slurs).

In which case the score is limited to demonstrating examples of tied chords {which is why I posted it} though probably of no use for comparing/contrasting ways to illustrate differences of using a tie between two written notes and using a slur.

Yulianna Avdeeva - Chopin Scherzo No. 3 in C Sharp Minor, Op. 39
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nf-W47ULWQ0

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