dim. affects tempo

Discuss the rules of notation, standard notation practices, efficient notation practices and graphic design.
Post Reply
Posts: 467
Joined: 11 Apr 2016, 19:42

dim. affects tempo

Post by benwiggy »

In a discussion in another place, it was suggested that dim. can mean a slowing down of tempo as well as volume. Schubert and Chopin were cited. However, most people were unaware of this usage.

I'd never come across this usage either (19th-century piano not my 'forte'), so how best should such possibly misunderstood usage be conveyed to the reader?

Similarly, Pergolesi alternates between 'dolce' and 'forte' instructions, which suggests that the former is more of a dynamic than a mode of expression. (Piano is never used.)

So: where does the balance lie between faithful transcription and use of terms with modern accepted definitions? (On the assumption that the readership may not all be musicologists. :grin: ) Should the particular meaning be laid out in explanatory notes, or should they be changed, to avoid ambiguity with their modern meaning?

User avatar
David Ward
Posts: 355
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 19:50
Location: Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Re: dim. affects tempo

Post by David Ward »

FWIW (maybe not much) I think I'd probably prefer to see the original directions, if not completely incomprehensible for someone used to modern notation, plus a clear and simple note of explanation.
Finale 25.5 & F 26.2.2
Mac OS 10.13.6 & 10.14.6

User avatar
John Ruggero
Posts: 1725
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 14:25
Location: Raleigh, NC USA

Re: dim. affects tempo

Post by John Ruggero »

I agree with David.

In earlier music, performance directions are often in the nature of hints than the more exact markings were are now accustomed to and for this reason any particular marking (and this includes the symbolized ornaments) can mean different things depending on context. For this reason, explanatory notes are now often necessary. But in every case, I would want to see the original indication to be able to decide for myself.
Mac mini (OS 10.8.5) with dual monitors, Kurzweil Mark 5 with M-Audio Midisport 2 x 2,
Finale 2014d with GPO 4, JW Plug-ins, SmartScore X Pro, Adobe InDesign CS4,
Inkscape .48.5 and .91, FontForge 20150526

Post Reply