Dave Pitzer replies to me:
>My quibble was that you stated that there were two types of rests --
>internal and external. Perhaps I misunderstood you original statement
>(actually, I hope that I did).
I hope I didn't say that. I wanted to distinguish mainly between exact and
>I think that we are not really disagreeing here. I was under the
>impression that you (or perhaps someone else) had said that rests were
>"unimportant". This is patently untrue.
Yep. No, they're not unimportant, and, to hopelessly add to the confusion,
neither are repeats.
>>There are also notes that are held inexact durations, particularly in
>>20th-century music. You want specific examples? How about the storm and
>>prayer scene in Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, where each character in effect
>>prays at his own speed?
>Isn't this more a matter of "tempo ad libitum" not rests?
Well, rests *and* note values and "tempo ad libitum." This was carried to
a constructive principle, by the way, in Britten's first church parable,
Curlew River. Britten even invented his own notational symbol for the
score, the "curlew" (which looks like the icon of a bird in flight - sort
of a fanciful "m," since I'm confined to plain-text). The curlew marks the
point where the all the parts come together and proceed in strict time.