Interpreting mid-classical-period musical terminology

Moderator: kcleung

Interpreting mid-classical-period musical terminology

Postby Eric » Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:05 pm

This is vaguely related to IMSLP as it's prompted by a manuscript scanned by the Danish Royal Library and reuploaded to IMSLP. I'm beginning to hope there's a (good, accurate, etc. :) ) book on this subject I can at least skim at the local university library here but in any case - I notice - for example! - that the composer (Klöffler) in his manuscript seems almost never to use "cresc." but does use "poco for." which perhaps just might mean the same thing; that I am having to guess not a few times the difference between forte and sforzando, and other things (if the latter is ever used at all- maybe that's not a fz at certain points but just an f); whether there's a difference between "for" and "f:" ... etc. Hrm. Any advice gen'ral or specific? Thanks...
-Eric S
(hrm- _almost_ never. If it were never, that would be different- though if "poco for." were a slower version of "cresc." that would be something too... eh, I have no idea.)
Eric
active poster
 
Posts: 413
Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2007 6:04 pm
Location: Ithaca, NY

Re: Interpreting mid-classical-period musical terminology

Postby jossuk » Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:27 pm

I just looked at two of the Klöffler scores posted on IMSLP. I do see "f" and "p", as well as "cresc", so it seems that the composer (or the copyist) could indicate a crescendo when he wished. Without further exploration, I would speculate that the instances of "poco for" could be considered a reference to an intermediate dynamic between "piano" and "forte".

Meanwhile, I offer the following tidbit about Brahms, who liked to use the expression "poco forte":

Brahms knew so well that forte indicates a quality, a character, rather than a sonorous quantity that—according to Diran Alexanian's report of what Brahms said to him—he defined his (frequently occurring) marks of poco forte as 'with the character of forte, but the sound of piano.'
Last edited by jossuk on Sat Jan 19, 2013 4:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
jossuk
active poster
 
Posts: 291
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 1:48 pm

Re: Interpreting mid-classical-period musical terminology

Postby Eric » Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:02 am

Thank you, will think on. (Also, it's very interesting that Diran Alexanian knew Brahms- I really need to look into the former's biography more, I know only a brief suite by him for string quartet :) )
Eric
active poster
 
Posts: 413
Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2007 6:04 pm
Location: Ithaca, NY

Re: Interpreting mid-classical-period musical terminology

Postby Eric » Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:52 pm

(Hrm. Mr. Alexanian would have been a teenager at the time at oldest- still possible, even plausible, worth my looking into...)

As to the Klöffler (flute and strings quartet in D major, Götze-Katalog 31), I see some pianissimo in the modern style but I don't see "ff" - I wonder if that's what distinguishes "f" from "for"- the latter might be "for"tissimo? Or just a sign of clumsy inconsistent notation - the violin has Andante while the other movements have Adagio in the middle movement (though there's a tenuous explanation even for that, maybe), always possible esp. but not only in manuscripts...)

(He uses "po"- which looks like it might mean pianissimo- in the slow movement of the viola part - and pp (no jokes, please, first year of music performance ought to have made them tired) in the concluding Allegro grazioso. Might mean something slightly different, or, again, inconsistency. Could still use a manual, like CPE Bach's manual on ornamentation, written, as (Arnold) Schoenberg suggested (in one of the essays reprinted and translated in the collection Style and Idea), at a time when such things had recently been something that "everyone knew" but no longer did (and what better time to write one?...)
Eric
active poster
 
Posts: 413
Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2007 6:04 pm
Location: Ithaca, NY

Re: Interpreting mid-classical-period musical terminology

Postby sbeckmesser » Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:59 am

In the 1st violin part of the piece below there is an "ffmo" for fortissimo. And the contexts in which "poco for" is used either indicate either 1. something louder than what immediately preceded it or 2. the start of what we would normally perform as a crescendo -- the next dynamic marking after a "poco for" is usually an "f."

Lets not get bogged down in a spiritless literalism when it comes to 18th century dynamic markings. Dynamics notation back then wasn't as nearly as (hyper-) refined as it became by Brahms' day. The dynamic markings earlier composers did employ were there to indicate the required general dynamic contours of a passage or phrase. The rest (such as precisely how many decibels was a fortissimo) was up to the performers, as were other things often decided in situ, such as ornamentation. The absence of an indication isn't necessarily an indication of an absence (of a particular dynamic level). Skilled musical interpretation of the context is what is required, then as now.

--Sixtus

http://javanese.imslp.info/files/imglnk ... conc_D.pdf
sbeckmesser
active poster
 
Posts: 501
Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 5:23 pm

Re: Interpreting mid-classical-period musical terminology

Postby Eric » Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:15 am

Yes, in view of such things I think I may have been right to have put that project aside (even if the project I've taken up may require other skills I lack) in retrospect as my performing days are long past :) Thank you.
Eric
active poster
 
Posts: 413
Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2007 6:04 pm
Location: Ithaca, NY


Return to Music Related

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests