5

Recently, I've been seeing a weird "style" of eighth notes, where there are clearly way too many to fit within the measure as determined by the time signature.

Moonlight Sonata, third movement:

enter image description here

Chopin, Op. 28 No. 24

enter image description here

Moonlight Sonata is in common time, and the Chopin is in 6/8 time. How are these eighth notes supposed to be counted/played?

  • I would suspect that they are evenly distributed across the time left for them in the bar, but I am not familiar with this notation myself. – Matthew Read Sep 1 '16 at 3:57
7

These should be played "ad lib", which means the performer is quite free to play them as they wish.

Especially over long tones (first example), that means that you can stretch time quite a lot. Often the long tone has a fermata, and the eights notes are like a cadenza. I'd play it as if there was such a fermata even if it's not there.

In the second case, where the left hand has a specific rhythm, you may want to keep time. But even there you can play "ad lib", you're fairly free to move the beat around.

These "cadenza" mean freedom! :)

My recommendation: listen to a recording you like!

3

The notes are generally played as a set of un-measured grace notes (except that the total time should fit the measure pretty well.)

Grace notes in general can be recognized by the smaller print.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.