Unorthodox stem direction

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benwiggy
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Re: Unorthodox stem direction

Post by benwiggy » 18 Jan 2017, 14:55

So which notes would I emphasis in a three-note melisma with a slur, and how might I do it without? I can't imagine any singer giving equal importance to every note just because they don't have slurs on.

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David Ward
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Re: Unorthodox stem direction

Post by David Ward » 18 Jan 2017, 16:01

I'm often tempted to leave out melisma slurs when I don't want want too smooth a delivery and also to add slurs to non-melismatic vocal lines when a smoothly joined legato cantabile is wanted. This practice was normal in 19th century opera, but has largely been abandoned now that beaming to the beat (a very good idea, except in recitative) has become normal for vocal music.

Quickly checking the full score of Berg's Lulu (Berg was one of the earlier composers to beam vocal music to the beat), I see a number of slurs covering non-melismas, but I've yet to notice a melisma without a slur (which doesn't mean there aren't any).
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benwiggy
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Re: Unorthodox stem direction

Post by benwiggy » 18 Jan 2017, 17:16

I guess I'm saying that most singers are likely to sing a melisma as if it had a slur, even it doesn't, which renders it somewhat unprofitable.

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OCTO
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Re: Unorthodox stem direction

Post by OCTO » 19 Jan 2017, 09:18

AFAIK, the slurs in vocal music covering one syllable is a common way to notate it. I think it is recommended in Gould.
I guess that is because a slur means "don't take air!". Otherwise we would have tenutos, or separated phrases.

I am not sure how it would sound without slurs... A good question, benwiggy!

But recently I faced a similar problem: I have ONE syllable and very, very long phrase (several measures). If I CUT that phrase in smaller phrases by adding slurs, how will that be perforemd? I simply cannot have an extremely long slur (two reasons: it is contrary to musical phrasing, it is difficult to add a flat slur in Finale = looks ugly). How would you do it?

I am not a vocal expert, so please enlighten me..
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qanunji
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Re: Unorthodox stem direction

Post by qanunji » 19 Jan 2017, 09:33

I would repeat that syllable, according to the phrasing:
o---o-------o

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OCTO
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Re: Unorthodox stem direction

Post by OCTO » 19 Jan 2017, 10:06

I don't want a syllable to be repeated.
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benwiggy
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Re: Unorthodox stem direction

Post by benwiggy » 19 Jan 2017, 10:50

I have plenty of scores without slurs on long melismatic phrases. Admittedly, they tend to be Baroque Urtext. But no one sings them with random breaths and tenutos just because there's no slur.

Gould says that slurs confirm the syllabic underlay. So it doesn't actually add or alter the meaning, merely reinforces it.

She also advises that if slurs are used to indicate phrasing, then don't put syllabic slurs in as well.

As for flat slurs in Finale: I use 5% Inset for Very Long slurs, which helps. Some manual adjustment is necessary.

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