Fill 5-Beat Bars Crumb-Style

One of the many innovations in musical notation in the music of George Crumb is a note value that equals 5 beats. It is a note with augmentation dots on the left and right. He always employs them without explanation, but presumably the left dot “takes away” half the value that the right dot adds. Here is an example from his work for two pianos, Zeitgeist:

Crumb never uses these for any purpose other than to fill an entire bar. This utility works the same. It looks for any 4-beat notes in a 5-beat bar and converts them to this notation. The bar must be incomplete other than the 4-beat note. If it contains a rest (to fill out the meter), this utility skips it.

For example, if you start with this:

The utility converts it to this:

Note that the placement of accidentals and tie-ends as been adjusted to account for the left-augmentation dot.

Under the covers, the utility changes the value of the 4-beat note to 7 beats (by double-dotting it). It then repositions the dots to be on the left and right of the note. Finally, it adds an invisible tuplet to the note of 7-in-the-time-of-5, which makes it a 5-beat note value for playback purposes. If you re-run the utility, it recognizes measures it has already processed and on those bars merely readjusts the position of dots and other items as needed.

If you have questions, comments, or suggestions about the operation of this utility, please feel free to contact me.

Return to Miscellaneous Utilities.