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#22291 - 02/26/03 02:28 PM Beethoven: Sonatina in G
Eric Offline
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In the opening theme, and throughout the piece, there are appogiaturas, yet I've often heard these played as grace notes. Which is right?

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#22292 - 02/27/03 06:06 AM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
Bontempo Offline
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Which edition do you have, Eric? I think my partition and the partitions I saw always had the ornaments as grace notes. Should check it later this evening.

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#22293 - 02/27/03 04:01 PM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
Jalapeņa Offline
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When preparing to teach that piece to Piano Kid, I looked at several different versions (edited by Faber, Hinson, Palmer, & Magrath) & found that you can play the ornaments either way.

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#22294 - 02/27/03 04:37 PM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
Eric Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by Jalapeņa:
When preparing to teach that piece to Piano Kid, I looked at several different versions (edited by Faber, Hinson, Palmer, & Magrath) & found that you can play the ornaments either way.


But what was Beethoven's way?!?!?

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#22295 - 02/27/03 04:46 PM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
Jalapeņa Offline
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Ask Beethoven, because apparently nobody else knows for sure. ;\)

You'll have to excuse me, but I think it's high time we pianists quite sweating bullets about authentic performance practices. :rolleyes: Yes, we should study & be as "informed" as possible; but beyond that, we shouldn't worry. Let Beethoven roll over in his grave. Perform the music the way you feel it should go. Enjoy the music! \:\)

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#22296 - 03/01/03 07:08 AM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
Eric Offline
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I tend to agree with Jala that being fussy over supposedly "authentic" performance practices, especially concerning ornaments, is superfluous to the substantive musical issues in a piece. However, in this case, it's such a HUGE difference, as it affects the opening musical motif in a major way.

I personally prefer the sound of the grace note in this instance, but I think it's just because that's how I'm used to hearing it. When I first saw an edition that had realized the opening as an appogiatura, I thought it was strange. However, the ornament, not having the little line going through the note, actually is an appogiatura, so why is it in this one instance acceptable to do it incorrectly?

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#22297 - 03/01/03 03:57 PM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
Piano lady Offline
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I think you just play whatever way sounds best.

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#22298 - 03/03/03 06:27 AM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
Jalapeņa Offline
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"Neither Haydn, Mozart nor Beethoven left any systematic instructions for the performance of ornaments... Although many treatises discussed ornaments and gave instructions for their performance, there was not--and is not now--complete agreement regarding either notation or performance. Since the second half of the 18th century was a time of transition, some aspects of practice can only be deduced from the musical settings of individual ornaments. Indeed, the very function of being ornamental precludes adherence to a rigorous, unambiguous system. The aesthetic basis of ornamentation requires of the performer a degree of spontaneity and nuance whose subtleties would be at best difficult, if not impossible, to notate and whose expressiveness in performance might well be lost if the notes were frozen into a rigid rhythmization. The signs used by composers to indicate ornaments were an incomplete form of shorthand, and most written-out realizations are at best only schematic. Neither signs nor realizations necessarily indicate the number or speed of the oscillations in trills, the trill termination, the precise rhythmic placement of ornaments shown as small notes, the internal rhythmic arrangement of turns, and countless other details. For all these reasons, textbook examples of ornament realization are necessarily incomplete and abstract."

Source: Performance Practices in Classic Piano Music by Sandra Rosenblum. Indiana University Press.

[ 03-03-2003: Message edited by: Jalapeņa ]

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#22299 - 03/03/03 06:41 AM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
Jalapeņa Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by Eric:
I personally prefer the sound of the grace note in this instance, but I think it's just because that's how I'm used to hearing it. When I first saw an edition that had realized the opening as an appogiatura, I thought it was strange. However, the ornament, not having the little line going through the note, actually is an appogiatura, so why is it in this one instance acceptable to do it incorrectly?


From what I've read, some folks don't think the Sonatina in G was composed by Beethoven.

Also, Beethoven apparently left no clear guidelines regarding the execution of ornaments (see previous post, where I quote from Sandra Rosenblum's book on performance practices).

For what it's worth, I was taught to play the ornament before the beat, as a grace note; & that's the way it's performed on the Magrath Masterworks Classics CD. Since most of the editions I consulted indicated that the ornament could be performed either way, I chose to stick to the way I've always heard it played. It just sounds better that way to me, maybe because that's the way I'm used to hearing it.

Hope this helps, Eric.

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#22300 - 03/03/03 09:33 AM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
Eric Offline
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Thank you, Jala! That was very helpful!

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#22301 - 03/03/03 10:33 AM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
Jalapeņa Offline
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You're quite welcome.

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#22302 - 03/03/03 10:37 AM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
arsnova02 Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by Jalapeņa:
"Neither Haydn, Mozart nor Beethoven left any systematic instructions for the performance of ornaments..."


But they did all study Bach, who left very specific instructions for ornamentation.

Pick up a copy of Ornamentation: A Question and Answer Manual -- Valery Lloyd Watts and Carole L. Bigler. It's a very handy reference.

I'm not familiar with the piece, but unless there was a slash through the ornament, I would play it like an appogiatura, and even then, depending on the value of the note that was being ornamented, I think an acciaccatura would be questionable considering they didn't even really appear until the Romantic era. Stick with the appogiatura. It's safer. \:\)

[ 03-03-2003: Message edited by: arsnova02 ]

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#22303 - 03/03/03 11:32 AM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
Jason Offline
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I like 'em as grace notes. 'cause I think it's pretty that way.

BTW, acciaccatura is all over the place in Scarlatti. It's a 17th century term. You're right, though, it doesn't really apply to the Classical guys. \:\)
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#22304 - 03/03/03 11:51 AM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
Jalapeņa Offline
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The Rosenblum book was highly recommended to me by Dr. Lora Deahl, TTU School of Music. It's quite extensive (516 pp.), scholarly, & well referenced. I also have the Watts & Bigler Ornamentation: A Question & Answer Manual (Alfred, 64 pp.).

Most of the books I consulted regarding this particular piece, Sonatina in G (attributed to Beethoven), state that the ornaments may be performed either way. For this reason, I presented the information to Eric, so he can decide for himself. Watts & Bigler are not the ultimate authorities on the subject of ornamentation, ya know. ;\) \:D

In the Sonatina Masterworks Book 2 (Alfred), the ornament is notated with a small 16th note (instead of as a small note with a slash through it), & Magrath's footnote says, "Appogiaturas may be played either on the beat as 16th notes or very quickly before the beat."

In the Developing Artist Piano Sonatinas Book 2 (FJH), the ornament is shown as a small 8th note with a slash through it. In the "Dictionary of Musical Terms" on p. 62 of this same book, a small note that does not have a slash through it is called an appoggiatura, & is defined as "an ornament which looks like a grace note, but is played on the beat and shares the duration of the principal note. An appoggiatura resolves a dissonance to a consonance." The little note with the slash through it is called a grace note, & is defined as "a decorative note, written in small type with a slash through the stem. Grace notes are played quickly, usually before the main tone."

So...

According to Faber, if the small note doesn't have a slash through it, it is an appoggiatura & is played on the beat. If the small note does have a slash through it, it is a grace note & is played before the beat.

According to Watts & Bigler, the small note with the slash through it "is an old way of writing a 18th note (the cross stroke is used as an additional flag)... The small note is played on the beat, and is given its written value, which is subtracted from the following note, in accordance with the recommendations of C.P.E. Bach."

Need another source? Very well. Let's use Keyboard Interpretation from the 14th to the 19th Century by Howard Ferguson (215 pp., Oxford University Press): "The appoggiatura, written as a small note (the 8th note with 1 or 2 slashes through it are the 17th- & 18th-century way of writing an isolated semiquaver and demi-semiquaver, and have nothing to do with the modern acciaccatura). The appoggiatura is played on the beat, and subtracts its value (not necessarily the one shown) from that of the following normal-sized note. There are 2 main types: (a) the long, which takes the accent and is usually, but not invariably, half the value of the main note (a third or two-thirds as long when the main note is dotted); (b) the short, which is unaccented and quick. Unfortunately, the two types are seldom differentiated graphically, so the player must decide which one is intended in each instance. It will be helpful if he remembers that one of the main functions of a long appoggiatura is to supply an expressive accent; hence, if the main note is already accented in some way, the appoggiatura will tend to be short. This is most likely to occur in the following instances: (i) when the main note is more discordant than the small one; (ii) when the main note is staccato; (iii) when there is an upward leap from the small note to the main one; (iv) occasionally, but by no means invariably, when the melody ascends and returns immediately afterwards; (v) when the main note is accentuated in some other way. It should also be remembered, however, that these are somewhat rough generalizations. No hard and fast rule for the length of appoggiaturas can be given, and here as elsewhere the player must allow himself to be guided by his ear and instinct."

The New Harvard Dictionary of Music gives a long, dissertation-like definition of appoggiatura, so I'm not going to type it all! However, I feel the following segment should be posted, so I'll do it: "The chief difficulties presented by the appoggiatura are: first, the two principal signs for it, a small note or a hook preceding the main note, can also stand for ornaments that precede the beat (Nachschlag, "grace note," ...); second, the length, which is seldom specified by the notation, may vary from a small fraction of the main note to its whole value, and this length is sometimes governed by localized conventions, sometimes not; third, in recitative, where 18th- and 19th-century sources agree that appoggiaturas are obligatory in certain circumstances, they are rarely indicated by any sign, and the rules for their use are variable and sometimes conflicting; and fourth, there is vigorous disagreement in modern scholarship on all these matters. This article partially avoids these disputes by restricting the application of the term to on-beat graces..."

[ 03-03-2003: Message edited by: Jalapeņa ]

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#22305 - 03/03/03 02:21 PM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
Jalapeņa Offline
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More commentary:

"It is worth noting... the extremely limited influence of the music of Bach in Beethoven's works, in spite of the fact that his knowledge of Bach was considerable. He had been brought up on the Well-Tempered Keyboard, made his reputation as a child prodigy by playing it in its entirety, and continued to play it all his life. He copied out passages of Bach while making sketches for the last movement of the Hammerklavier as well as for the Fugue for String Quartet in D major. He had a copy of the Inventions, and two copies of the Art of Fugue, and he certainly knew of the Goldberg Variations. Yet, except for an obvious and touching reference to the Goldberg in the conception of the final variations of the Diabelli set, the use he made of all his familiarity is very small, almost negligible in comparison to the continuous reference to Bach in the music of Mendelssohn, Chopin, and Schumann. The classical style had already absorbed all that it could of Bach as seen through the eyes of Mozart in the early 1780s, and as Beethoven continued to work within these limits, his love for Bach remained always in the margin of his creative activity."

Source: Charles Rosen, The Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Expanded Edition, W.W. Norton & Company.

[ 03-03-2003: Message edited by: Jalapeņa ]

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#22306 - 03/03/03 04:29 PM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
arsnova02 Offline
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 Quote:
"It is worth noting... the extremely limited influence of the music of Bach in Beethoven's works, in spite of the fact that his knowledge of Bach was considerable. He had been brought up on the Well-Tempered Keyboard, made his reputation as a child prodigy by playing it in its entirety, and continued to play it all his life. He copied out passages of Bach while making sketches for the last movement of the Hammerklavier as well as for the Fugue for String Quartet in D major. He had a copy of the Inventions, and two copies of the Art of Fugue, and he certainly knew of the Goldberg Variations. Yet, except for an obvious and touching reference to the Goldberg in the conception of the final variations of the Diabelli set, the use he made of all his familiarity is very small, almost negligible in comparison to the continuous reference to Bach in the music of Mendelssohn, Chopin, and Schumann. The classical style had already absorbed all that it could of Bach as seen through the eyes of Mozart in the early 1780s, and as Beethoven continued to work within these limits, his love for Bach remained always in the margin of his creative activity."

Source: Charles Rosen, The Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Expanded Edition, W.W. Norton & Company.



There is a difference between compositional practice and notational practice. We're talking about the latter. This excerpt seems to be referring to the former.

I still don't see why you would use an ornament that doesn't even apply to Classical composers in a Beethoven piece.

And... (just to stir up trouble and attempt to turn this into a tangled philosophical discussion :p ) since when is "it sounds right" a justification for anything?

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#22307 - 03/03/03 04:31 PM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
arsnova02 Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by Jason:
BTW, acciaccatura is all over the place in Scarlatti. It's a 17th century term. You're right, though, it doesn't really apply to the Classical guys. \:\)


Guess I should brush up on my Scarlatti....

;\)

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#22308 - 03/03/03 05:56 PM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
Jason Offline
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Since about 1200 AD. \:D

Seriously, though. The one thread common in all the treatises on ornamentation is that the most important things to follow are your taste and your ear. This of course brings us to the old "letter of the law" vs. the "intent of the law" argument.

Chances are the treatises were meant to codify current practices of the day. The inconsistencies and/or vagueness of the treatises and primary sources are (to me) evidence that the practices of the day were anything but consistent and sensible! \:\)

I still think it should be a grace note because it sounds pretty. ;\)

 Quote:
Originally posted by arsnova02:
And... (just to stir up trouble and attempt to turn this into a tangled philosophical discussion :p ) since when is "it sounds right" a justification for anything?
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)


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#22309 - 03/03/03 08:00 PM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
arsnova02 Offline
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I'm not talking about "following the rules", per se. What I mean is, since when does "it sounds right" take precedence over the composer's intentions? It really doesn't matter what I think sounds right. What matters is what the composer intended it to sound like. That's why Beethoven is Beethoven and I'm not. And if I'm really concerned with playing what I think sounds right, I'll go write my own piece and leave Beethoven's alone.

It's only fair, ya know..... \:\)

***You'll have to forgive the philosophical meanderings. I'm just entering into the world of conducting, where this is a HUGE, GIGANTIC, MASSIVE issue. Still grappling with my own opinions on it.... ***

[ 03-03-2003: Message edited by: arsnova02 ]

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#22310 - 03/03/03 08:40 PM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
Eric Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by arsnova02:
I think an acciaccatura would be questionable considering they didn't even really appear until the Romantic era.


But there are acciaccaturas all over Haydn, right? The two famous sonatas (in D and C) come to mind.

In terms of the Beethoven Sonatina in G, since I prefer it as a grace note, I'm going to stick with the FJH edition which shows it as a grace note, with the little slash going through the note. Many editions leave the slash out and in treating it as an appoggiatura, muddle the charm of the main theme.

Still....

What did Beethoven want?

Then again, if he didn't even compose the piece, I guess it's of no concern!

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#22311 - 03/03/03 09:33 PM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
Jason Offline
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Just got off the phone with Beethoven, and he'd just assume we all shut up and go practice. \:D
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)


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#22312 - 03/03/03 09:48 PM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
arsnova02 Offline
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:p

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#22313 - 03/04/03 05:52 AM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
Jalapeņa Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by Jason:
Just got off the phone with Beethoven, and he'd just assume we all shut up and go practice. \:D


\:D I'm gonna practice the Sonatina in G (supposedly written by Beethoven) & play the ornaments as grace notes. I just think it sounds better that way. \:\)

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#22314 - 03/04/03 07:28 AM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
Bontempo Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by Jason:
Just got off the phone with Beethoven, and he'd just assume we all shut up and go practice. \:D


How's the guy doing? Send him my regards, will ya? \:D

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#22315 - 03/04/03 09:56 AM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
Jason Offline
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I'll tell him you said hi! He was a little short on the phone, apparently he's working on his 18th symphony. The premiere of the 17th didn't go so well (something about Heaven's symphony being difficult to work with), but he thinks the 18th will be his best since #14, and easily better than the 9th.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)


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#22316 - 03/04/03 10:58 AM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
Eric Offline
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Jason,

When you speak to him over the phone, be sure to speak up. A recent conversation I had with him was very frustrating:

Eric: Hi, Ludwig, it's Eric!
Beethoven: Eh?
Eric: It's me Ludwig....ERIC!
Beethoven: Eh?
Eric: Listen, I had a question for you concerning appoggiaturas..
Beethoven: What was that?
Eric: APPOGGIATURAS...
Beethoven: Hunh?
Eric APPOGGIATURAS
Beethoven: Oh....no need to apologize, Aaron. Now did you have a musical question?

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#22317 - 03/04/03 02:44 PM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
John Offline
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This afternoon I had lunch with ol' LUDE (he prefers that name).

We almost got into a conversation about why so FEW pianists today improvise ornaments (or have a sense of spontaneity in general) when suddenly a cell phone went off nearby and he heard "Fur Elise" played as a digital snippet.

He spat out his Schweinehaxe right into my face and collapsed immediately.

Beethoven is now officially dead.

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#22318 - 03/06/03 06:43 AM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
songbird Offline
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Don't shoot me here, but I've heard from many reputable sources that Beethoven, while composing toward the end of the classical period, was really the beginning of the Romantic period, since many of his practices 'stretched' the classical style and seemed to identify more with the movement toward a romantic style of playing. Any thoughts???

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#22319 - 03/06/03 06:46 AM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
songbird Offline
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By the way, I learned Sonatina in G using a grace note style of playing.

Maurice Hinson's video "Performance Practices in Baroque Keyboard Music" touches on the differences in stylistic renderings of appogiaturas vs. grace notes in Baroque keyboard music, and applies the general 'use your musical taste' rule to both the baroque and the classical eras, as long as both are 'educated' tastes and keep in mind the practices of the time. Even though it is a video on the baroque period, I do believe he plays the Sonatina in G and demonstrates that the opening note in question can be played either way.

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#22320 - 03/06/03 10:07 AM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
Jalapeņa Offline
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I have that video, so I'll pop it in my VCR & check it out today. Little Pepper is sick, so I can't run any errands today anyway.

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#22321 - 03/06/03 11:35 AM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
Jalapeņa Offline
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In the video, Maurice Hinson says that no one is sure exactly when the Sonatina in G Major was composed. He says it could have been in the late 18th century. In his opinion, the ornament may be played either as a short appoggiatura (very quickly on beat) or as an acciacciatura (what he calls a "crush" note). Hope this helps.

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#22322 - 03/27/03 10:56 AM Re: Beethoven: Sonatina in G
Piano lady Offline
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Grace notes or appogiatura? Hmmm. Interesting subject. I'm going to go to the Tempest Op 31 #2 third movement. The first presentation of the inverted mordents one would think from a "historically accurate" performance would go on the beat. Yet they sound better played before the beat, and I've got 4 recordings of this piece and all the artists (Brendel (2), Kempff, Gilels) play them before the beat. I consider Brendel the modern day expert on Beethoven.

I tried them both ways myself and eventually went before the beat with them. Yet, in the Sonata in G (Op 49 #2) I would use an appogiatura as performed in a "Mozart" manner -- on the beat.

We can argue all we want about this subject, but in the end it turns out to what makes musical sense rather than what may or may not be historically accurate.

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