Beethoven's Notational Innovations

Discuss the rules of notation, standard notation practices, efficient notation practices and graphic design.
Post Reply
User avatar
John Ruggero
Posts: 1503
Joined: 05 Oct 2015, 14:25
Location: Raleigh, NC USA

Beethoven's Notational Innovations

Post by John Ruggero » 27 Jul 2019, 16:27

As well as using the notational system in very creative ways, Beethoven also made use of new notations as they were then evolving. For example, he recognized the superiority of the new Ped. * notation that had begun appearing in the music of Clementi and was soon using it in his piano sonatas. His indications are often very accurate in their placement, often showing exact releases on short notes. The O over the last sixteenth note is his original symbol for a pedal release:
op 57 pedal indication.jpeg
op 57 pedal indication.jpeg (96.78 KiB) Viewed 467 times
He had also been make extensive use of the shifting pedal (our present "soft pedal') by using the terms una corda, due corda and tre corda. I don't know if these were his own invention or just current terms. The abbreviations u. c. and t. c. are extensively used in the third movement of the Sonata op. 106.
uc ex 1.jpeg
uc ex 1.jpeg (81.03 KiB) Viewed 467 times
These are actually defined in a footnote to the movement, which may indicate that they were either very new at the time, or even Beethoven's own invention:
uc ex 2.jpeg
uc ex 2.jpeg (24.21 KiB) Viewed 467 times
An interesting new notation appears for the first time in the late sonatas. Beethoven had begun adding extension dashes to many of this cresc. and dim. indications, which may show that performers were not observing them to his satisfaction. These did not always appear in the first editions, however, perhaps because they tend to get lost in his MS. In the Sonata op 109 and later, he uses double dashes, which make them much more visible. These appear as single dashes in the first editions. The following example is from the second movement of the Sonata op. 111.
double dashes.jpeg
double dashes.jpeg (173.27 KiB) Viewed 466 times
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
http://www.cantilenapress.com

Post Reply