Beethoven Brainteaser 2

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John Ruggero
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Re: Beethoven Brainteaser 2

Post by John Ruggero »

I think that you are asking all the right questions. Yes, reading through the two pieces might very well yield a good understanding of what is going on. But you might have to think "outside the box."
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ttw
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Re: Beethoven Brainteaser 2

Post by ttw »

I didn't try to play these but I did look a bit closer. I found one dissertation and one book on performance interpretation. Neither were that helpful.

From looking at part of the score (in the first posts, and a few in the literature), it seems that the domain of these markings is shorter than I would have thought from looking at more modern pieces. Something like "cresc < dim cresc < dim" would make sense if the volume increase were followed by a "suddenish" drop in volume. It's almost like a rubato in dynamics rather than in tempo.

I didn't examine the underlying harmony to see if such an idea makes sense.

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John Ruggero
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Re: Beethoven Brainteaser 2

Post by John Ruggero »

Sorry, btw, I didn't quite understand the "cresc < dim cresc < dim". But I think you solved why there can be two cresc.'s in a row in the first and second measure of the original example. Sometimes these composers use these. markings in a "localized" way, that is pertaining only to shortish section of music, and then an immediate return to the original dynamic is assumed although not specifically indicated. So the first of the cresc, markings is an upswell that is followed by a drop to the original dynamic, followed by another upswell.

Generalized, this might lead one to realize that these composers did not always think of these indications in the linear, straight-forward way we do today. It was far more nuanced and depended on context. Understanding this could lead one to a solution of the main puzzle concerning the hairpins and cresc. and dim. indications. So there is still another piece of the puzzle that remains to be solved.

Incidentally, another example of "localized" indications occurs frequently and famously in the music of Schumann. He writes ritards that are never canceled by an a tempo and apply only to short sections. The player is supposed to read between the lines to find where the return to tempo should take place. Usually it is obvious. The reason he did this, (and he is not the only one, examples occur in other composers of the time and earlier) is because of concern that the ritards would be taken out of context and exaggerated causing the section to become detached from the music around it.
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