notes inégales

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notes inégales (Fr. ‘unequal notes’). Rhythmic convention whereby certain divisions of the beat move in alternately long and short values (or vice versa) even when written as equal to avoid monotony of rhythm. Inequality was normal feature of musical teaching in 17th and 18th cents. in France and Germany, the degree being left to the judgement of the performer. Its use in baroque performance in modern times is subject of much controversy.