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17

As is the case with many classical pieces of absolute music, the subtitle of this piano sonata was not attributed by the composer. (See also the Chopin preludes and etudes -- he saw his music expressly as non-programmatic, but many of these pieces have gained "nicknames" such as "Revolutionary", "Winter Wind" from performers and listeners over the years.) ...


14

This is very much a matter of taste. You emphasize different things and get different interpretations. Others may love it, others may hate it. The most important thing is that it "works", but it can work in so many different ways. Just as an example, there's a temporary change of key in the section with the repeated bass notes. Say you want to emphasize the ...


8

My music history professor stated flat out that Handel's English text setting was just plain bad because of his poor understanding of the language, and this was his Exhibit A. There is also the Golf Song: "FORE! Unto us a child is born!" I think he could have done better: "All WE, like SHEEP, like SHEEP have gone astray" but that's just my opinion. ...


8

Since I have been studying and living in Austria as a South African music student I have had several opportunities to play waltzes in orchestras. Especially New Years concerts consist of a couple of famous Viennese Waltzes and since the first time I had to play one of these, I have also been fascinated by this interesting rhythmical appearance. Being both ...


7

This depends on the piece of music (genre, style), not to mention what the composer may have wanted. Some pizzicatos are meant to be plucked simultaneously while others are basically strummed -- and in the latter case sometimes from top to bottom! There are notations such as vertical arrows which can indicate the strum direction.


7

I want to correct some misinformation contained in the top voted answer. The claim that this is a result of Handel poorly understanding English is pure nonsense; with regard to the (valid) complaint about the placement of stress in "For unto us a child is born," the music was almost directly lifted from an earlier duet of Handel: "Nò, di voi non vo' fidarmi."...


7

The written notes actually miss a lot of information. If you would write down every little tempo change, every little accent, small and large scale rubato, microdynamics, articulations, etc. etc., the score would be impossible to read, and it would probably still miss something. What the composer writes down is just a skeleton of the piece and the most ...


7

This will always be subjective, but I'd say subtle tempo changes are probably best (and yes, I'm aware that's a subjectively interpreted answer in itself!) You want to demonstrate an awareness of the tempo changes, you want to give the listener the sense of that tempo change, but without taking it to extremes. Practice until you have control over the tempo ...


7

This practice as you describe it became more popular in the Romantic period, with Beethoven essentially serving as the bridge from Classic to Romantic. During this age the image of the artistic composer-genius began to be intertwined with mysticism around inspiration and the creative process. Belief in the supernatural was also hugely popular at this time. ...


5

The other one in the same opus is also a "Sonata quasi una Fantasia" and is more obviously one. It doesn't break down cleanly into movements but appears to start a movement, suddenly go into another one, and then come back to the first one again. A "Fantasia", for instance one of Mozart's, has a kind of "anything goes" improvisatory feel, where a "movement"...


5

I cannot provide a complete answer. In fact, the answer might be that we cannot know what an ancient composer intended their music to sound like. As an example I'd cite some fairly common renaissance era Lute music arrange for guitar. There are many interpretations of how to play the music and it is common to add ornamentation that is not explicitly ...


4

I don't know if this is a particular piece, but my guess is that the first three dyads in the right hand should be one step lower. More consonant would be: This is in contrast to what's written, which would be an odd extended chord. Instead, the "corrected" version is just a clear I moving to V7. As for the "tunelessness" of birdsong, I just wanted to ...


4

Because musical notation is a language. Words in English have many meanings. You determine the meaning based on context, your experience, facial expression, etcetera. Words even change meaning over time. Literally. Musical notation is the same. Each symbol has a range of meaning, and that has changed over time. You need to understand the context in which ...


4

FWIW, the go-to Dolmetsch page says espirando (Italian) fading away, expiring, dying away, spirando, en expirant mancando (Italian) failing, diminishing in strength, dying away, lacking smorzando (Italian) extinguished, put out, gradually dying away to a whisper, calming down, subduing (Italian ) in music, similar terms include al niente (...


4

If my dictionary gets it correctly, this is called expressive mark (in German Vortragsbezeichnung). Examples of those not relating to speed or dynamics are: giocoso dolce animato grave Robert Schuman was aware of the deficiencies deriving from those terse words and frequently gave lengthy instructions as Nicht schnell, immer sehr leise (not fast, and ...


3

You unfortunately fail to mention the edition you are looking at for comparison, so I won't comment much on its authority or authenticity. Given, how hard it is to find an urtext edition of that concert and its high popularity (leading to numerous editions), some doubt is in order. So as notated is a claim asking for supporting sources. I already ...


3

I think we can assume it no longer applied by the time Schubert wrote his Variations, D.624. (Example attached) It's hard to believe he wanted the theme's rhythm modified for the triplet accompaniment in Var.I. Even in Haydn, it maybe isn't a firm rule. Roland Jackson writes: "Notated rhythms in binary meter, e.g., dotted 8th and 16th. occasionally ...


3

You just play all the notes at the right time and do what pianists call "legato pedalling". Ask one to show you. Much easier to demonstrate than describe. Any recording of Gymnopedie will show you what the result sounds like.


3

I cannot say whether there are documents that address whether Handel thought of a double meaning in his setting of this text. The accent on the word "we" does seem a bit strange. Like you, I've heard the story that Handel's grasp of the finer points of English pronunciation may have been slightly lacking (after all he was raised in Germany, and studied in ...


3

Speaking as a recovering percussionist and as a conductor, it is important to note that the methods used to talk descriptively about beat placement have two contradictory qualities: They come from a very modern and commercial worldview. I use the term commercial to refer specifically to the advent of electronic recording techniques and more specifically to ...


3

You're right, it is accented and shorter. The notes should be extremely separated and distinct.


3

Usually, there is three types of staccato's, namely a dot (staccato), a wedge (staccatissimo), and a dot under a slur (portato). The general idea is that staccatissimo is the shortest, staccato moderately short, portato still less short. Their exact meaning is up to context and interpretation, like is every musical decision. The problem complicates as some ...


3

Programm music (19th century) was in itself a program (MOLDAU, PICTURES OF AN EXHIBITION) how the music should be performed. In earlier compositions where compositions were illustrating the lyrics actually the text or the title tells as how to play it: e.g.: dances of suites madrigals (pastorales) cantatas (symbolism) operas (underlying sound track to ...


3

Very often in early music, this kind of information was encompassed by the title and/or tempo markings (or lyrics, when present). However, I can think of two examples of more explicit instructions from the Baroque; one well known, and one not-so-much. In Vivaldi's famous "The Four Seasons" concertos, there are notes in the various movements explicitly ...


3

We can make an educated guess from our knowledge of the instruments, contemporary reports etc. But styles of performance have changed even within the era of high quality recorded music. Listen to 'classical' orchestral recordings from the 1950s. Same 'dots', essentially the same instruments, sometimes a quite different style. Changes in style of vocal ...


2

One useful way of looking at it is that the orchestra is a single musical instrument, and the conductor is the player, playing the orchestra. While the notes and durations are written on the sheets, the conductor indicates to the musicians the exact timing and articulations of important melodies. Sections that have long rests may receive a cue when they ...


2

Your score should ideally contain all of the information necessary for a professional musician to sightread the piece properly on the first try. By "properly," we just mean that they understand the basic techniques they need to execute to convey the idea of what you want. If you don't care what they do, then don't include markings! And to the contrary, there ...


2

I think this depends purely on you. If you want to write a song that you want to be played the way you hear it in your head, you have to add markings; otherwise, you can let the musicians play it the way they feel. The latter would be really difficult in an orchestra; this is why the orchestra scores usually have a lot of markings, whilst the small ones can ...


2

Short answer: It doesn't have to do with moonlight at all. Long answer: The original name Beethoven gave it was Sonata Quasi una Fantasia. Moonlight Sonata was a name that somebody else gave to it. Beethoven didn't like that name but it became popular anyway. The only movement that has any real connection to moonlight is the first movement with the slow ...


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