Note durations in the 50 songs sheet music

So I’m looking at the sheet music for Another Brick in the Wall and Bad Moon Rising in the course extras, and either they’re not entirely accurate, or I’m not getting the notation, or I’m deaf again.

In bars 7, 9, etc. in Another Brick in the Wall there’s a quarter note on 3, but in the actual song I think those are only played for the duration of an 8th note. Shouldn’t that be notated as an 8th note followed by an 8th note rest (and then the quarter note rest on 4)?
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And same thing in Bad Moon Rising: the sheet music has quarter notes all the way, but as far as I can tell the guy is playing 8th notes and 8th note rests in the song.


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I’m going to have to try to play that song (Another Brick…). From what you posted, I see a dotted quarter note for the low D followed by a middle C for an eight note. That completes the first 2 beats. Then a middle D quarter note, and then a quarter rest. What am I missing here?

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What I’m saying is that I think it’s not being played for the full duration of a quarter note in the song. It’s an 8th note and an 8th note rest, and then the quarter note rest on 4.

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Hi @PamPurrs,
It is written as you have described, 1 1/2 beat followed by 1/4 beat followed by 1 beat and finished with 1 beat rest for the bar.
Would have to listen to recording to compare against written notation
Cheers Brian

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I just played that bar a couple of times and the groove sounds okay to me, although I haven’t listened to the song in a while. I’ll check it out.

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I just played this phrase and the groove seems fine to me…

I played that low D (the dotted quarter note in the first bar) on the 3rd fret of my B string. Where would you play that low D on a 4 string? I glanced at the tab, and it shows an open E which would be a whole tone higher.

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Drop D tuning. I didn’t know that song was drop D.

E string becomes a D string in that case. That would mess up the tab though, unless the tab specifies Drop D.

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Well, the song is in D minor, and the first note is a low D, so…

You could substitute the D with an E, but it would sound weird I think.

I wonder how Roger played it :thinking:

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Yeah Drop D would make sense in that case. I mean I love it in general :slight_smile:

The tab should specify.

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Another reason why I dislike tab

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Yeah the string tuning doesn’t matter for sheet music but definitely does for tab.

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I hear what you’re saying over there @akos!
The duration of notes in pop music is not treated as brutally as in classical music.
The idea is - classical music: There is a genius composer who has complete artistic vision over how you play every note.
Sustained, staccato, tenuto, 1/8th vs 1/16 with 1/16 rest vs 1/32 with dotted 1/16th rest… it gets very precise.

Particularly with duration articulations, I have seen plenty of leeway from all non-classical music transcribers between notating staccato, rests, or - in non-crucial situations - making sure the pitches start at the right spot, and leave it up to the players for sense of articulation.
I think there is still a great presumption that people will be listening to the source material for articulation, and the notation (while it still needs to be accurate) doesn’t need to try and spell-out precisely what that articulation should be.

The best example I have in my mind is a great book called The Bass Tradition (published by Jamey Aebersold publishing).
https://www.amazon.com/Bass-Tradition-Biographies-Transcribed-Discobraphies/dp/1562241168
The transcriptions are dynamite. BUT! when you try and play these pieces from the notation and not with the notation AND listening to the source material… you sound stupid and wrong. I know this because when I did it in my lessons, my teacher made a point to tear me a new one.

So.
A long way of saying:
Pop / Contemporary music transcriptions leave a lot of articulation (ends of notes / type of attack of notes / the push-pull of stretched rhythms / dynamics / etc) up to the player to learn from the source material.

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Not to mention that with pop, especially pop rock, the musician might not actually know how to play their instrument very well.

Not saying that is the case here at all, but I’ve lost count of the number of interviews I have read where the band basically said “we didn’t know what we were doing.”

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just give him a call Pam, I’m sure he will share his secrets with us.
Cheers Brian

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Thanks @Gio, that makes sense then, and explains why the sheet music doesn’t match the songs here… My only prior experience with sheet music is a bit of classical piano, where everything was spelled out on the sheet music and I had to follow it to the letter. Good to know that these pop transcriptions should be handled differently.

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Yes it’s in drop D and it says so on the tab

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Cool! that explains the low D then :slight_smile:

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This is one of those situations in which That B string on a 5 string comes in handy.

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I just got off the phone with Roger. He says he keeps one of his basses tuned to DADG. He also told me to tell you, “Good job on those Pink Floyd covers”.

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