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Topic - unusual musical notation question

pec on 15 Nov 2012

I've been attempting to play a piece of music which has note durations annotated in an unusual way I've not seen before,(its not avant garde so that doesn't explain it).
In several sections there are several bars which consist of these "odd" notes.
Its in 4/4 time but the bars contain 4 notes which have a stem and hollow noteheads like minims, which would make 8 beats. They are also grouped in pairs like 2 pairs of quavers, each pair joined by a beam, which would make 2 beats. I suppose splitting the difference sort of ends up with 4 beats in so far as a beam on a crotchet halves its value to a quaver so a beam on a minim would make it a crotchet if you follow my drift but why?

Recordings of it sound like 4 crotchets are being played but its a bit fast so not easy to be certain.
Any serious musicians able to explain this to me?
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