The discussion in the comments on the previous post brought about the present post. Here is a different approach to notating the first page of my Scherzo for piano.
As with the previous version, I have not fine-tuned the slurs, aligned everything properly, etc. This is just a draft, so don’t jump all over me, you connoisseurs of fine notation. The point is that I tried it with tuplets instead of dotted 32nds when there are four notes in the time of three sixteenths. Of course, this is quite reasonable, and it would work out OK. I’m not sure it is actually an improvement, but it would work fine. The spot that makes me nervous, and the kind of thing that led me to use dotted notes, can be seen in bars 5 and 6 where there are plain 16ths and tuplet 16ths against beat units of different lengths. (There is more of this type of thing later in the piece.) The dotted 32nds make a more immediate distinction between the durations in these two measures. It does help that I broke the sixteenths of m. 5 into four groups of two instead of two groups of four, but the notes still look too similar to me. The tuplets do get rid of the slightly bizarre looking dotted 32nds, I suppose that is a good thing. But it doesn’t strike me as a compelling reason to change.
I didn’t change the dotted 16ths in m. 12 – I suppose if I went with quadruplet 16ths I should write duplet eighths to be consistent, no?
One thing I did change in this version is definitely an improvement – the right hand in m. 8 now reflects the 3+3+2 beat units suggested by the left hand – before I had two eighths and a sixteenth for the high f-sharps. This is better.
I’d be interested to hear from readers with their thoughts on this, especially if any of my pianists are reading this.
Of course, if the dotted 32nds in the scherzo bug you, I imagine you won’t care for this page from a piece I wrote for the Prism Quartet:
Doing this page with dots lets me vary the length of the beat unit. Besides, it was exciting to write a measure of 27/32 time.