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Re: [AUDITORY] Note durations in music

Having pondered the question and the responses for a few days, I still am not clear on the core issue. For me this is partly tied up with the lack of definitions of the term "note". In my classes I try to avoid the word without  specific context to delimit the meaning.

There are two [or more] possible interpretations here:
  [1] onset time to onset time
  [2] duration of the sounding element
     [2a] adding the duration of any non-sounding element[s] -- rests or silences

There is not a great deal of solo monophonic music in the classical western music repertoire compared with the quantity of music that has more than one pitch sounding at one time.

Within the solo monophonic repertoire, composed music which is beyond being a very simple tune, eg God Save the Queen played on a flute, is very often working to create the illusion of more than one pitch at a time. To see this in a very simple / complex example, take the Bach Prelude in C Major from book One of the Well-Tempered Clavier. It can be played with one finger. It can also be heard as a five-voice homophonic composition.

Since the well-known repertoire is so small, it is likely a matter of going to some much more relatively obscure sources, such as Johann Quantz
or other solo études. Being technical studies, they may not contain the kind of information that you are looking for.

Another approach is to take the instrument in the context of being a soloist in an ensemble. Depending upon the degree of precision you need, determining the start of the onset can also be a problem, the sound of a flute or trumpet for example having elements in common with determining the start-time of a c-v syllable such as "too".

Can you provide a little more precision.



On 6/13/13, "Patel, Aniruddh D." <a.patel@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Dear list,


I’m trying to find papers which report measurements of two aspects of note duration in solo instrumental monophonic music (e.g., recordings of solo violin, cello, trumpet, clarinet, flute, etc. – not piano, guitar, or other instruments that can play multiple notes simultaneously).


1.       The average duration of notes in a piece

2.       A histogram of note durations in the piece


Thus for example this solo cello prelude by JS Bach last about 4 minutes and contains N notes (anybody know?), so the average note duration in this piece is about N/240 notes/sec.  




If one could measure the duration of each note in this recording, then one could plot the histogram of note durations in the piece.


Is anyone aware of such data for any solo monophonic instrument?  Musical style doesn’t matter (can be classical, folk, etc.). 



Ani Patel



Aniruddh D. Patel

Associate Professor

Dept. of Psychology
Tufts University

490 Boston Ave.

Medford, MA 02115