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Mystery triplet specification in ABC?


Roger Hare

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I just came across a rather strange specification of a triplet. It can be seen in the following code:

 

X:7961
T:Tom Kinsella's
M:4/4
L:1/8
Q:1/4=130
R:March
K:Gmaj
dc|:B>A Bc dG Bd|eG ce d2 g>f|e>f ge dB GE|A2 AB A2 dc|
B>A Bc dG Bd|eG ce d2 g>f|(3:2:1e(3:2:1f(3:2:1g d>B cA FD|1 G2 GF G2 dc:|2 G2 GF G2 ef|]
|:gd Bd eG ce|d>e dB G3 B|Ad fa ge ^ce|d>^c de/d/ =cA FD|
B>A Bc dG Bd|eG ce d2 g>f|(3:2:1e(3:2:1f(3:2:1g d>B cA FD|1 G2 GF G2 ef:|2 G2 GF G4|]

The format is (3:2:1x(3:2:1y(3:2:1z and they appear in the score as a 'triplet' with a '3' below each note in the triplet. They seem to sound as a conventional triplet on playback, and I have replaced them with (3xyz with no apparent deleterious effect.

 

I think the '3:2:1' is saying something like: 'play 3 notes in the time of 2 notes for the next 1 note' which doesn't make much sense?

 

Question: Is there something about this 'odd' way of specifying a triplet which I have completely missed?

 

Thanks.

Edited by Roger Hare
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Interesting. There appears to be just  the one transcription from thesession (which was copied to abcnotation, folktunefinder and both engines used by Michael), so there is nothing to compare it against.. Though there are many entries for Tom Kinsella, it is probably this here for whom the tune is named: Tom Kinsella (b. 1929) | Irish Life & Lore (irishlifeandlore.com) Maybe one of our Australian colleagues here can provide some info that helps trace down the originator of the abc?

 

Anyway, I agree it is odd, and I think your revision is correct. Apologies for not having a better answer - one of the blessings (and at the same time curses) of abcs is itas ability to express the same thing in many ways, frequently even unintended... 

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Here's a demo of what a variant of that does using abcjs:

 

X:7961
T:Triplet Test
M:4/4
L:1/8
Q:1/4=130
R:March
K:Gmaj
(3:2:3fga (3:4:3fga (3:8:3fga ||

 

https://michaeleskin.com/abctools/abctools.html?lzw=BoLg7AnAbAjAUAFRAgTgSwA4BsCmAXAAgRwGc84BZEAFgHpq4AZEGWgDjgEUX6BeGAMwAGOACUQFAIYoAxgAs4AaRABxALaSAVnAAUAkACYQAgGYBzSQT01j5y9ba2LBAD4ugA&format=noten&ssp=10&name=Triplet_Test&play=1

 

This appears to change the playback timing and space occupied by the triplet.

 

There's a comment about this in the abcjs source:

 

// We are expecting "(p:q:r" or "(p:q" or "(p::r"
            // That is: "put p notes into the time of q for the next r notes"
            // if r is missing, then it is equal to p.
            // if q is missing, it is determined from this table:
            // (2 notes in the time of 3
            // (3 notes in the time of 2
            // (4 notes in the time of 3
            // (5 notes in the time of n | if time sig is (6/8, 9/8, 12/8), n=3, else n=2
            // (6 notes in the time of 2
            // (7 notes in the time of n
            // (8 notes in the time of 3
            // (9 notes in the time of n

 

 

Edited by Michael Eskin
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5 hours ago, RAc said:

[1] There appears to be just  the one transcription from thesession (which was copied to abcnotation, folktunefinder and both engines used by Michael), so there is nothing to compare it against..

 

[2] Anyway, I agree it is odd, and I think your revision is correct...one of the blessings...of abc is its ability to express the same thing in many ways, frequently even unintended... 

Thanks for that!

 

[1] yes it is from The Session and I found it while 'randomly' sampling tunes using ME's program - I deliberately 'anonymised' the sample as it didn't seem particularly relevant, but I did find a few other examples of this syntax:

 

https://thesession.org/tunes/4732

https://thesession.org/tunes/6885

https://thesession.org/tunes/11494 (2nd setting)

 

Those 3 in The Session, plus one from Joe Offer's Tune Book - for a grand total of 5, so it ain't a major problem - I was just curious as I hadn't seen that particular incantation before...

 

The transcriptions are all from different folks, and ar all very old - maybe there was some software around at the time which did something wonderful with this encoding...

 

[2] Yes, there seem to be many ways of expressing triplets. I have a small collection which I've found here and there, and which I treasure. Me I'm a simple soul - I stick with the basic (3xyz...🙂

 

Michael, thanks for that test. It behaves as I would expect when I run it past EasyABC. What was puzzling me was the '1' in the 3:2:1 incantation, and (mostly) the application of that incantation to each individual note in the sequence...🙂

 

Thanks, both...

Edited by Roger Hare
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According to the abc standard v2.1, it is perfectly legal, if not unnecessarily busy:

 

Quote

More general tuplets can be specified using the syntax (p:q:r which means 'put p notes into the time of q for the next r notes'. If q is not given, it defaults as above. If r is not given, it defaults to p.

 

For example, (3 is equivalent to (3:: or (3:2 , which in turn are equivalent to (3:2:3, whereas (3::2 is equivalent to (3:2:2.

 

This can be useful to include notes of different lengths within a tuplet, for example (3:2:2 G4c2 or (3:2:4 G2A2Bc. It also describes more precisely how the simple syntax works in cases like (3 D2E2F2 or even (3 D3EF2. The number written over the tuplet is p.

 

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3 hours ago, David Barnert said:

According to the abc standard v2.1, it is perfectly legal, if not unnecessarily busy:

I dunno? I looked at the relevant part of the ABC specification at the time, and the description there didn't seem to 'fit' in the sense that in the examples in the documentation, the notes being 'tupled', and the tuplet specification were separated, whereas in the example I found, the notes were intermixed with 'individual' tuplet specifications? It just seemed weird - it still does...🙂

 

FWIW, I found another even more baroque incantation about an hour ago - I won't bore a long-suffering public with the details of that one. I shall file it away somewhere to ponder over during the long winter nights...🙂

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Why even waste mental energy wondering why someone would use a specific ABC construction?  

Keep in mind that 50% of the population are of below average intelligence. 🙂

Who knows why anyone does anything. It may deliberate, it may be that they didn't know what they were doing, or maybe they blindly copied and pasted some ABC from somewhere else without knowing exactly what they were doing.

Edited by Michael Eskin
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8 hours ago, Michael Eskin said:

Why even waste mental energy wondering why someone would use a specific ABC construction? etc...

It's me!!! I have a low 'panic threshold' I'm afraid, and just get jittery when I see peculiar stuff like this...🙂

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