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32 votes
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What is it called to play a music with flowing tempo in piano?

Rubato. This specifically means compensating for each slow-down with a speed-up. If there was a click track, you'd come out on the right beat at the end! 'Rubato' doesn't instruct you to play the ...
Laurence's user avatar
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29 votes

Is it true that cut time means "play twice as fast as written"?

It would be more accurate to say that cut time "will sound twice as fast as the same notes played in 4/4 at the same tempo". That's essentially what they're trying to get across. But even that ...
Tom Serb's user avatar
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22 votes

Do I have to be a virtuoso pianist to compose faster music?

The simple answer is no. Think of it this way: Does a composer write pieces only for instruments he can play? No, he does not. He might compose pieces for instruments that he has never touched in his ...
Shevliaskovic's user avatar
22 votes
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Is it good practice to speed up and slow down where not written in a song?

I think it depends very much on the genre, style, and period of the music. For some styles, heavy use of rubato is normal and suits the way the music is written, while for others it would spoil the ...
gidds's user avatar
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22 votes
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What is the meaning of "M. M." in this tempo mark?

It stands for... M.M. Metronome Marking. Formerly "Mälzel Metronome." Named after the Inventor Johann Mälzel who is the person who first manufactured a metronome for widespread use (...
Neil Meyer's user avatar
22 votes

What is the limit to which humans can precisely time notes on an instrument or perceive notes as precisely timed?

It's very subjective to 'the moment' and also dependent on the genre of music in question. What is considered emotive, exciting, phrasing in one piece may be perceived as sloppy or late execution in ...
OwenM's user avatar
  • 2,007
21 votes

What does a straight horizontal line above a few notes, after a changed tempo mean?

This line refers to the I, not to the "Allegro". As OP mentioned in the comments, the I stands for the first position, i. e. the first fret on the guitar. So the line means, that all notes under it ...
IQV's user avatar
  • 363
21 votes

Is it true that cut time means "play twice as fast as written"?

That sentence "Played twice as fast as written" indicates that someone must have a misunderstanding. Someone who probably thinks that quarter notes are supposed to be played at a certain speed. That ...
Lars Peter Schultz's user avatar
18 votes

Why are measures (aka "bars") important?

Please count 1-2-3-4,1-2-3-4, then at the same tempo (speed/ bpm) count 1-2-3-1-2-3. If you can't feel or tell the difference, then, you're right, there's no need for bars. If you can, then how will ...
Tim's user avatar
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18 votes

What's the difference between "con brio" and "con fuoco"?

There’s not much (if any) difference in the tempo they imply, but there’s a difference in character. Literally, con brio means with spirit, while con fuoco means with fire. Regarding tempo, both are ...
PLL's user avatar
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18 votes
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Strange Tempo Marking

This is a kind of shortcut for tempo primo. You probably had something like a tempo change in recent bars and are now supposed to fall back to the earlier tempo. (So the 1° actually is the ...
guidot's user avatar
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18 votes
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Is this tremolo too fast for strings?

Short answer: It's kinda sorta barely okay. First of all, the triple slashes are normally interpreted as an unmeasured tremolo; i.e., each player will simply bow as fast as seems comfortable, and the ...
Andy Bonner's user avatar
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17 votes

Is it good practice to speed up and slow down where not written in a song?

It's not bad per se, but it's dangerous. Making this a habit will impair your ability to play with others. As an expressive device, varying the tempo can be distracting. (That's why it's notated ...
Camille Goudeseune's user avatar
16 votes

Is there any way for my to become a better judge of my playing? Especially while I'm playing

This is a terrific, and very important, question! Have you ever heard a recording of yourself speaking? Did it come across as odd to you? Did you ever think "that's not how I sound!"? The same is ...
Richard's user avatar
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16 votes
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How to indicate a tempo change during a repetition?

Just use text. I would put this information with the D.C. (or D.S.) marking and with the original tempo marking. But I would put it inside a bracket. So for instance, at the beginning: "Allegro (...
Bob Broadley's user avatar
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16 votes

Should I practise a piece at a metronome tempo that is faster than required?

Actually playing faster than demanded is the standard strategy for becoming comfortable to play at the demanded (reduced compared what you exercized earlier) speed. You do not necessarily need to play ...
guidot's user avatar
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15 votes
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Playing ONE triplet (not three)

Of course, playing only one of them with no other context wouldn't sound like triplets, no matter what the note lengths were. As already mentioned, playing the 1st & 3rd triplet gives you a swing ...
Tetsujin's user avatar
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14 votes

Is it good practice to speed up and slow down where not written in a song?

Depends. Some people use 'expressive rubato' as an excuse for bad time-keeping. In particular an excuse for playing the tricky bits slower than the easy bits! Flexible time is probably a bad idea ...
Laurence's user avatar
  • 94.3k
14 votes

Should I practise a piece at a metronome tempo that is faster than required?

Sure. Practicing at a variety of speeds can't do any harm. As long as you're practicing it RIGHT! Paradoxically, practicing UNDER speed may be of more benefit. It shows up anything you're ...
Laurence's user avatar
  • 94.3k
13 votes
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Why did Shostakovich use such long note values for such fast notes?

First of all you should note that this is notated alla breve, so comparing the time to quarters per minutes serves little purpose. Could this have been notated in 2/4? Yes, absolutely! Writing it like ...
Lazy's user avatar
  • 21.7k
12 votes

Why are measures (aka "bars") important?

One bar tends to be the smallest time after which there is some repetition in multiple voices. This is quite a bit of an oversimplification, but it is often observable, in approximate form, in many ...
leftaroundabout's user avatar
12 votes

Why are measures (aka "bars") important?

To offer a different perspective from the other excellent answers here, I'll draw an analogy between a piece of music and a piece of prose. Barlines are separators, just like paragraphs and chapters. ...
kwypston's user avatar
  • 251
12 votes

Speed of playing notes in different octaves

The first thing I suggest you think about is the fact that a musical note is not a single frequency. Depending on the timbre of the instrument, there can be hundreds of frequencies present in a sound ...
Todd Wilcox's user avatar
  • 57.3k
12 votes

Is it good practice to speed up and slow down where not written in a song?

As Lawrence said, you are describing "Rubato". My professor in college recommended playing the piece first at a more "rigid" tempo and then using your own discretion. You want rubato to feel tasteful ...
William Marrin's user avatar
12 votes

What is the limit to which humans can precisely time notes on an instrument or perceive notes as precisely timed?

Answering the question as asked, a trained human (i.e. drummer or bassist) can hear variations of a few milliseconds in a steady rhythm with clear attack like metronome or hi-hat. I have seen some ...
ojs's user avatar
  • 3,277
11 votes

Notation question: Adding half a beat to a bar?

Here's some possibilities. If the note grouping is as clear as in my example, maybe the metric modulation is unnecessary in A. D is acceptable in today's music. But you will find it a challenge to ...
Laurence's user avatar
  • 94.3k
11 votes
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What does the marking "Tempo" mean in the middle of a piece of music?

Since the "tempo" marking comes each time after a ritardando and occurs at a place where one would expect an "a tempo" marking it can only be an abbreviation of "a tempo"....
PiedPiper's user avatar
  • 21.4k
10 votes

Do I have to be a virtuoso pianist to compose faster music?

I think it is a common misconception that playing fast makes you great at your instrument. Playing slow music correctly and in time, with good interpretation is to me much more of a skill tester than ...
Neil Meyer's user avatar
10 votes

Definition of Accelerando and Ritardando in mathematical terms

There is no mathematical definition, as they can depend on different composers, conductors or orchestras. So you cannot state it is linear or exponential or anything fixed or defined. Please listen ...
Doktor Mayhem's user avatar
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