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25 votes
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Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D: Why do some recordings seem to be in C sharp?

Tuning forks, invented in 1711, standardised tuning. (A student of mine used to call them pitchforks...) Trouble was, there was no standardised pitch for the note,that came much later. So various ...
Tim's user avatar
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18 votes

Who was listening to Bach's compositions in his lifetime?

According to Wikipedia: From 1703 he was back in Thuringia, working as a musician for Protestant churches in Arnstadt and Mühlhausen and, for longer stretches of time, at courts in Weimar, where he ...
Brian Towers's user avatar
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15 votes

A♭ major 9th chord in Bach is unexpectedly dissonant/jazzy

It's actually a suspension, which is to say that the actual chord is F Minor (F, A-flat, C, in first inversion) but the G and B-flat are held over from the previous chord before moving to F and A-flat....
Mark Lutton's user avatar
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11 votes
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Musical "ellipsis mark" (name & usage of this symbol)

This is a custos (from latin, plural custodes), see lilypond documentation. No match in English Wikipedia, however. The German Wikipedia has it and adds the following translations (as its usage ...
guidot's user avatar
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11 votes
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What is this particular type of chord progression, common in classical music, called?

What a well-researched and well-sourced question! This is a very common pattern in tonal music that we call a circle-of-fifths (or descending-fifths) sequence. Some would call it a circle-of-fifths ...
Richard's user avatar
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11 votes
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When editing/transcribing music of the Baroque period is it considered good practice to modernize key signatures and clefs?

Typesetting baroque music from primary sources is also something I do, and I can give the decisions that I've made on these questions. However, it is ultimately up to you. As Laurence Payne says, it ...
Semiprime's user avatar
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11 votes
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Optional notes in baroque clavier score?

These are notes not present in the autograph, but suggested by the editor. The original score probably consisted only of the bass and the melody (with the melody having some chords at the end of ...
Lazy's user avatar
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10 votes
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Why is Baroque composition called "more complex" than Classical composition?

How do you define your "complex"? In your description above, I saw only sheer numbers of pieces composed. This is not a very good measure. I suggest you first make yourself sound understanding to ...
Nicole Naumann's user avatar
10 votes
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Is there a functional interpretation for VIIb in La Follia?

In a relative major key, VII - i would become V - vi which can be viewed as a deceive cadence. Because of this, you can think of certain sections of this progression dipping into the relative major ...
Dom's user avatar
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10 votes

Who was listening to Bach's compositions in his lifetime?

Bach was also director of the Leipzig Collegium Musicum which gave weekly concerts at Café Zimmermann (in Leipzig, of course.) He also had big family reunions which were described as big parties. Lots ...
ttw's user avatar
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9 votes

Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D: Why do some recordings seem to be in C sharp?

Compare the YouTube video to authentic phonorecords of the same recording, such as pressed CDs or on MP3 files purchased from Amazon. If the transposition appears on YouTube but not on the CD, you're ...
Damian Yerrick's user avatar
8 votes

Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D: Why do some recordings seem to be in C sharp?

Other responses have suggested this, but none seems to have made it explicitly clear. Based on the best historical evidence we have - historical organs, historical woodwind instruments, historical ...
Alexander Woo's user avatar
8 votes

Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D: Why do some recordings seem to be in C sharp?

There have been several standards for concert pitch over the years. I would guess that the performers chose one that they thought appropriate for the piece. https://www.piano-tuners.org/history/pitch....
ttw's user avatar
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8 votes
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Did Bach use the Partimento technique?

My understanding is partimento is figured bass used for teaching. From that understanding the answer is yes. Here is a quote... ...[JS Bach's] students had to begin with the study of figured bass.....
Michael Curtis's user avatar
8 votes
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Why does the conductor also play harpsichord when there is already a harpsichordist in the orchestra?

If you look at the scores for Corelli's concerti grossi, for example, you can see that the concertino (soloists) and the tutti (full orchestra) each have their own basso continuo parts. These continuo ...
Kim Fierens's user avatar
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8 votes

Should you play baroque pieces a semitone lower?

Musical pitch varied widely from place to place during the Baroque Era. It was generally lower than it is today, but there were exceptions and sometimes it could be even higher. Modern measurements of ...
PiedPiper's user avatar
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8 votes
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What is this symbol?

As usual, imslp.org is your friend! If you go there and view or D/L one of the early editions, you will find several pages of instructions in the preface. In particular, there are examples of how ...
Carl Witthoft's user avatar
8 votes
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What is this natural trumpet?

It's a demilune trumpet. There are lots of images on google. Item 72 from the Natural Trumpets catalogue of the Bate Musical Instrument collection. Demilune trumpet c.1840 This trumpet is made of ...
Brian THOMAS's user avatar
  • 11.6k
8 votes
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What clef is this? (Baroque, Vivaldi)

It might be drawn a bit scribbly but it certainly looks like a K-clef, (a stylistic variant of the C-clef). In particular it's an alto clef (which makes sense for viola). So those first few notes in ...
Elements In Space's user avatar
8 votes

Why did baroque music use percussion abundantly, but classical stopped?

As noted in comments, some of this is dependent on genre. As Albrecht notes in another answer, military music made use of drums and sometimes other percussion in all periods. Same thing with ...
Athanasius's user avatar
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8 votes

Why do notes not add up to the bar in this example by Couperin?

In Couperin's time, a dot after a note-head didn't always mean to extend the duration by exactly 50%. Here, each dot means to extend the duration by just the right amount so as to make the durations ...
Rosie F's user avatar
  • 5,192
8 votes

What is the name of this notation in this example by Couperin?

I've found this pdf with an analog notation 3/2 like yours with 6 beamed white notes. They say that these notes have the double value (quarter notes, not eighth) and they must be played almost ...
Albrecht Hügli's user avatar
8 votes
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Accidentals and ornaments

The general rule, given in Do accidentals earlier in the measure affect a trill?, is that preceding accidentals do affect the ornament. This case, however, is an exception. It would be very odd, ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 89.1k
8 votes

Inconsistent number of beats per measure

If it makes you happier, you could edit those bars to insert the missing bar lines, then convert the second minim/half note to two tied crotchets/quarter notes, e.g. As Andy Bonner notes in a comment,...
Simon B's user avatar
  • 1,911
7 votes

In which music should I add my own embellishments?

I once owned a little manual on ornamentation, written in the first half of the 20th century, that in the introductory remarks offered some horror stories of excessive ornamentation. Mostly singers (...
Laurence's user avatar
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7 votes

When editing/transcribing music of the Baroque period is it considered good practice to modernize key signatures and clefs?

That's exactly what I use to do even when I only read a piece: Change the clefs and also the modes. This is probably not correct in a puristic historical sense but as long as you know what you're ...
Albrecht Hügli's user avatar

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