33

I endorse Aaron's and Richard's answers, regarding what staccato means conceptually. This answer is mostly to provide some examples and details as to how staccato will typically come out in the case of a string quartet (or, strings in general). As I already commented, I strongly disagree with the people saying a staccato note should “in theory” be the same ...


30

By convention, a square fermata has a longer duration than a rounded fermata. It's not "upside down". Traditional notation convention usually tries to put the fermata over the note head, rather than the note stem. If the note is stemmed-down, them the fermata goes over the notehead, and the fermata dot will be below the fermata line. If the note ...


21

The notes in the treble clef are not dotted eighth notes, but just plain eighth notes. The dots beneath the note heads are articulation marks which mean that the notes should be played staccato. If the stems were down instead of up the dots would be probably be above the note heads in your example, but articulation marks may in general be placed either above ...


19

The core difference is that eighth notes/rests and quarter notes/rests (etc.) are durations; whereas, staccato marks are articulations. While it's true that staccato affects the duration of the note, there is an important interpretive meaning either way. The version including notes and rests is giving a precise indication of how long each note and rest ...


14

That mark is known as a tenuto and when it's over the note it means to hold the note for the full duration and make the transition between notes more legato than normal. You can think of a tenuto as the opposite of a staccato where you play the note slightly shorter than the actual value.


14

There's a marking—borrowed from poetry I believe—that has become relatively standard to indicate a note that should be unaccented. I've seen it in Schoenberg especially, but some other composers as well, and it looks like this: It's used specifically for notes that would normally have some kind of metric emphasis (such as, in this example, the downbeat of a ...


14

The outer/larger slur is a phrase marking, letting you know that the entire passage constitutes a single musical idea. The inner slurs are similar, but indicating smaller units. One could think of the inner slurs as indicating words, and the outer slur as denoting a sentence. Part of the reason there are two sets is that there are some places in the phrase ...


13

That is a bend or a dip. You make a clear attack on the note and then do a very slight glissando around a quarter or half step down and then return to the original pitch.


11

The notes which have two dots below their heads also happen to have a half-time tremolo sign (the dash across the stem). This implies that you should play those notes as groups of two eight notes instead of one quarter, and the two dots are meant to make clear that both notes should be played staccato. In the example below, the first measure is equivalent ...


11

One of the things my first piano teacher taught me when looking at Bach was to isolate the voices and play the parts by themselves to get to know how the individual lines sounded like, not just their congregation. Because we are limited to only two hands of five fingers only, we have to make some sacrifices sometimes, as you correctly noted. In your example, ...


10

It is pretty much context-dependent, although different people have different (often-strong) opinions on this. Apparently your director falls into the latter group. The style of the music will indicate more traditionally how it might be expected to be played, but ultimately it is still up to the performer's interpretation (in this case - your conductor). "...


10

In addition to David's as-usual great answer, I thought I'd offer a clarification to a common misunderstanding among beginning musicians: Staccato does not mean short. The term comes from the Italian for "detached," thus staccato actually just means separated. Just how separated is up for interpretation, but in my experience beginning musicians often play ...


10

This is called a bend! It (normally) means exactly what it sounds and looks like: you start on the pitch, bend it down, and then return to the original pitch. More rarely, composers will notate bends to also mean you scoop up into the pitch. Bends are really reserved for brass and woodwind players, so the fact that this is in a piano score suggests that it'...


10

There is more to a tenuto marking than that. It can mean slightly different things in different contexts. For example, if there is just one note in a phrase with a tenuto marking, then it would suggest that that note is more emphasised than the others. If you had a row of the same notes, all with tenuto markings, then you would probably play each one with ...


10

Tenuto markings often show that a note has extra weight to it. Notes with these markings would not have a sharp/edgy beginning like an accented note, but they are often slightly louder than the notes without tenuto markings. They are also useful in helping to communicate the mood of a piece, as they are more often used in slower, heavier, more somber pieces ...


9

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 ...


9

A slur of that length tends to be a "phrasing slur" rather than a "legato slur", meaning to play the indicated notes as one consistent and connected unit. When you need to play the same note twice in a phrase, you want the result to be similar to playing two different notes as legato. That implies connecting the other notes not more than you can hope to ...


9

This is called the shake! It adds a short grace figure to the transition to the second note like this: Always start the shake figure by holding the first note slightly. For a descending shake you then go up a step, back down to the first note, then to the second note. Notice in your example the second note of each shake has a teepee articulation, so honor ...


9

It's a bend: an articulation mark representing a brief flattening of the note.The note is attacked in tune but is immediately flattened - by up to a semitone - before coming up to pitch again.


8

There is no default. In the absence of markings, it's up to you to figure this out, just as you would have to figure out dynamics or fingering if those are left out. For example, take a typical lead sheet for "How High the Moon": https://musescore.com/user/355131/scores/5395541, which leaves this out (ties are indicated as necessary, but no slurs)....


8

There are several ways to repeat a note legato. The easiest and probably most used is to use the sustaining pedal. Just make sure the pedal is down before the key starts going up and there you have it, basically. Without trying I would guess that the best result in this piece (without doing anything fancy) is achieved by using the pedal for each measure; ...


8

Okay, very obvious answer: you can simply use the text marking poco staccato. This means, a little bit staccato. However, I actually think the solution suggested in one of the comments, to use shorter note values separated by rests, is the most clear and practical notation.


8

That's a marcato, indicating that this note/chord needs to be played much louder than the surrounding notes, even louder than with a more common sforzando accent (the wedge pointing to the right). (left: marcato, right: sforzando) The upside down version means the same; it's not unheard of that symbols are inverted when used in the bottom half of the score....


8

The short, general answer All things (all voices) being equal, solution #1 is the correct technical approach. The shorter note should interrupt the longer one, but then continue to be held (allowing for additional interruptions) for the duration of the longest note.1,2 Solution #2 is appropriate in some situations (see below). Solution #3 is never ...


8

Legato as an articulation is needed, because it is not the default "goes without saying" articulation, at least not universally for all instruments and styles. And legato slurs are needed to show which notes should be played as a single phrase, which couldn't be done by writing a single word "legato" somewhere. If you listen to players ...


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