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komugi

Articulation Notation

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New here. Is this the right place for a technical question? About Sibelius notation.

So I tend to think of an accent (>) as shortening the note it sits over.
Sibelius playback apparently does not, it just boosts the velocity/attack on the the note. So I have written > over . on the notes to get a short and accented note.  

 

Which do you think the players would rather see?  

My take is that the accent makes SPACE around the note, so it's going to shorten it somewhat, but not the 50% you get from a staccato. so > over . is hit harder AND stopped at 50% of length.

 

Would you rather have > over . ?

 

 

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During speedy playing there is a tendency to shorten strings of accented notes in order to get the next accented note out with a good strong emphasis on it while staying up to tempo...  and then the conductor yells at you if that's not appropriate to the style of the piece.  :D  But consider that you can put accents on long held notes, and you wouldn't think about shortening those.  You just accent the start of them and then hold them out to full value.  An accent doesn't specifically mean to shorten a note, but in practice, that's often what happens.  

 

Depending on your style as a composer and the style of the piece, it may be completely obvious that you mean accented and detached without any extra staccato marking and you can skip that step to save time and keep your score cleaner.  But if you are the sort of person who marks every niggling detail of crescendo and phrasing and the slightest of tempo changes are written out, rather than assuming the players can add some rubato, then you should add the staccatos too.  If you're specific with everything else, people will assume that the lack of a staccato marking is intentional and significant, even though the style of the music would seem to indicate one.  If you don't want to clutter up the score with all those dots and you don't care that Sibelius plays it back slightly differently, you can use a general style marking instead for a long accented and staccato passage.  That looks cleaner than page after page of notes with accents and dots if you also need room for hairpins and phrase markings.  

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An accent mark never indicates if a note should be short. As Pater mentioned, sometimes performers add a tiny space between accented notes to emphasize the accent, but it should not be confused with a staccato (.) marking. If you want a note to be accented and short, I usually put the accented staccato marking on the note, or a marcato marking.  

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I'd use the accent mark with a style notation of détaché over the stave for the effect you seem to want, avoiding the use of numerous staccato marks, as pateceramics suggests, but if you're concerned about Sibelius playback only, rather than what players would prefer, do what sounds right, even if it looks bad!

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In jazz, anyways, it'll usually work like this:

  • >  = hit it hard, make it a bit fatter / full-value 
  •  = hit it hard, short and get out of the way.

I feel like the latter might be what you're looking for.

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