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Choice of US or UK system for note lengths (e.g. quarter notes or crotchets)

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You can change this selection in Bounce Metronome in Bouncing Balls - Visuals - Controls, Text and layout (Ctrl + 233) using the check box "US notation (quarter notes etc).

When unchecked, you get the UK system. At the moment Bounce Metronome defaults to the US system for computers set up for the US or Canada - and to the UK system for everywhere else. However this is confusing for users who are used to the US system and live in other countries.

So, I plan to change this to defaults depending on your country, language, or other information about your locale available on the computer. Unfortunately, Windows doesn't have a standard setting for the user's preferences for note lengths in English (as far as I know), so it is not easy for installed software to find this information. Your help is appreciated if you have any thoughts or suggestions for suitable defaults.

The question is: "Which system is easiest for you to use in an English language user interface - the UK or the US system (or some other system)?"


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I've set it to US notation as the default, for all except UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Italian, and Portuguese.

Seems to me best to err in the direction of the US default if unsure, as it is one where you can pretty much figure out what it means from the words used if unsure, while if you don't know what crotchets, quavers and minims are then you are going to be pretty lost!

There might be other regions or languages that would be best set to the UK notation as default. Do let me know if you know of any others! You can contact me at

The two systems US and UK, plus the French and Italian systems

Here are the two systems, then I've also added the French and Italian systems as well, because some other languages use the same system as these ones. Got them from this page [1]

US system UK System French system Italian system
Quadruple whole note longa
Double whole note breve
Whole note semibreve ronde semibreve
Half note minim blanche (white) minima
Quarter note crotchet noire (black) semiminima
Eighth note quaver croche (same root as crotchet) croma (quaver)
Sixteenth note semiquaver double-croche semicroma
Thirty-second note demisemiquaver triple-croche
Sixty-fourth note hemidemisemiquaver
Hundred twenty-eighth note semihemidemisemiquaver

There the UK crotchet means "hook" and is based on the same root as the French croche - and originally the UK crotchet meant the same thing as what we now call a quaver.

The Italian system is close to the UK system. So I plan to use the UK system for these users.

The UK system seems likely to be highly confusing for French users who don't know the English translations of the names. So my question there is,

"Is it best to just default to the US system for French users?". Or do French speaking musicians know the English note names anyway, or for some other reason it's okay to use the UK system?

Also I'm interested to know: are there any other English language systems for note lengths that would be useful to support?

It is easy to add other alternative systems to Bounce Metronome, and I can change the check box to a drop list if there are more than two systems to support (or might do it anyway). I could for instance add a literal translation of the French system into English - but that seems likely to hinder more than it helps.

What about translating everything to your language?

Yes, I do want to add option to show the user interface in other languages, but because of issues of unicode support this won't be for some time, another beta / release cycle at least. Also it will depend on translations. With users of Bounce Metronome in many countries world wide, the number of languages to support is large. The total amount to translate for Bounce Metronome is also very large - hundreds of thousands of words, equivalent in length to several full length novels.

Machine translation is likely to be rather confusing for musical terminology. Also the material to be translated continues to increase as I add new help, tool tips, user interface elements, and messages to show to the user in various situations.

So I am not sure if it will ever be practical to have a translation of the user interface in other languages. The only way I can think of that just might work is to use a community translation network of some kind, let users of Bounce Metronome contribute translations and contribute new translations - though how exactly that would work I'm not sure yet. Will investigate this in the future when the time comes to look seriously at supporting other languages in the UI.

Information available to Bounce Metronome for your computer

So - the question is - what should the default be in Bounce Metronome for new users, depending on the user's language? Windows doesn't have any parameter I can look up to check which of the two systems is your preference for your computer. So I have to do it based on other information that's available to programs running on your computer.

I can get the Locale ID for your computer. So Bounce Metronome can recognize any of the languages and regions in this table: Language Identifier Constants and Strings (Windows)

Regions of the world with English as an official language

This is for regions of the world where English is the official language, or one of the official langauges - so Bounce Metronome should use the same system that is used in the country. These are the ones that Bounce Metronome can detect immediately using the Locale ID if you have your computer set to English:

Region System used
Australia UK
Canada US
Ireland UK
New Zealand UK
United Kingdom UK
United States US
India  ?
Jamaica  ?
Zimbabwe  ?
Belize  ?
South Africa  ?
Trinidad and Tobago  ?
Caribbean  ?
Philippines  ?
Singapore  ?

There are many more countries with English as an official language. For instance many of the other African countries and many of the countries in Oceania.

Presumably these all have also settled on a standard for musical note length names, and will have preferences for either the US or the UK system - or possibly some other system.

Note names for quarter notes for various languages - and suggested US / UK default for each

This is the wikipedia list of note names in various languages for quarter noes:

Language note name Literal translation to English Suggested default
Catalan negra black US?
Croatian četvrtinka quarter US
Czech čtvrťová nota quarter? note US
Danish fjerdedelsnode quarter note US
Dutch kwartnoot quarter note US
French noire black US?
German Viertelnote quarter US
Greek Tetarto (τέταρτο) quarter US
Italian semiminima half of minim UK
Norwegian fjerdedelsnote fourth note US
Polish ćwierćnuta quarter note US
Portuguese semínima half of minim UK
Russian четвертная нота quarter note US
Slovak štvrťová nota quarter? note US
Spanish negra black US?
Swedish fjärdedelsnot quarter note US
Finnish Neljäsosanuotti fourth note US
Turkish dörtlük nota verse?  ?
Chinese 四分音符 quarter note US

Do you have any suggestions to help fill these gaps?

Is any of these your region or language? Or you are from a region or speak a language not in this list? Do let me know what is the best default to use for musical note durations for your computer.

You can contact me at


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