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Hi collective wisdom,
I have a easy question, mostly of an editorial nature, about referring to locations in the measure. I’m writing about rhythm in rap music, with a persistent 4/4 meter. Sometimes I need to refer to the last sixteenth note of the measure. Sometimes I need to refer to the final sixteenth-note position of every beat. Sometimes I need to refer to all the sixteenth note positions of the second beat. Sometimes just first sixteenth note of the beat.
I make these sorts of references several times per paragraph, so I’m looking for a consistent and intuitive way of doing so. I also want my writing to be approachable to humanists and social scientists who don't read music. I’ve been toying with using the takadimi rhythmic solfege, which enables for constructions like “4-mi” to refer to the last sixteenth of the measure, or mi to refer the last sixteenth of each beat. It also distinguishes between “beat two” for all of beat two and “2-ta” for just the downbeat. The downside is that it requires the reader to learn takadimi.
I’ve also considered using beat-class notation (e.g., bc 15 for the last position of the measure) when referring to specific positions and language like “beat two” for referring to ranges. This language has several downsides: zero-indexing isn’t intuitive, and referring to “the last sixteenth of each beat” requires something like “bc 3 mod 4,” which, while precise, is rather technical.
I’ve also considered Adam Krims’s 1-x-y-z-2-x-y-z, etc. This is essentially a rhythmic solfege, but it has no assigned symbol for the first position of each beat, and "1w" for the downbeat looks really strange.
If there was an obvious, correct answer, I’d have stumbled onto it by now. What would be your preference? Is there something I’m overlooking?
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