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I'm playing a movement (from a Quantz flute concerto) in 2/4 time. There are reasonably lengthy passages of semiquavers with no slurs marked.

I appreciate I want to vary my articulation to make it more interesting, so how would I go about deciding where to place my slurs? Are there certain beats I shouldn't slur between because it would add emphasis in the wrong place?

Of course you can't give me a definitive answer without seeing the music, but presumably there are some general rules to follow.

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2 Answers 2

Or you can always buy the book. Quantz did in fact write what many consider the definitive book on playing the baroque flute and since you are playing a piece written by him I don't see how you can go wrong following his advice.

Google 'Quantz on playing the flute.'

I quick note I do not have the quote handy but to paraphrase Quantz, "repeated passages should not be played with the same articulation each time. This is dull for the listener and shows a lack of imagination on the part of the performer."

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It really depends on the music. I don't think there are any rhythmic permutations of 2/4 time that we could definitively say should not be slurred. Emphasis could be anywhere in a measure depending on where the composer has decided to phrase. Perhaps one thing you might try doing is finding repeated material and play it differently (either with dynamics or articulation) the second time around.

However, you do want to stay true to the style of that historical music. Have you listened to professional recordings that use period instruments and performance practice? You may find that each note in that passage is meant to be articulated, but at the same time there may be a few things you can do to vary that articulation; perhaps by experimenting with different tongue positions and note lengths.

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