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  Articulation of notes  MartinY at 08:41 on 02 July 2010

As you may know one of my concerns is ornamentation, or as it may be in a modernist context, subsidiary notes. I would like to start another thread on articulation. I have just finished editing two very simple (apparantly) basse dances by the Flemish reniassance composer Susato (Antweerp 1551). An immediate notational issue was raised here about why Giesbert did what he did in his 1936 edition and this lead me to thinking just how complicated the way we should play such a simple piece which is mostly 1/4 and 1/2 notes with just a few running passages in 1/8ths. (I will not go into the notational questions from 1551 and 1936 unless someone is really interested.) Some composers in the 20th century have plastered all their notes with articulation marks and volume indications so as to give an incredibly detailed instruction of how to play it. I am thinking for example of Percy Grainger here. Of course all I did with Susato was decide where the bar lines should go and trust players will know where the stresses are from knowing the style.

This is the nub of the problem. With a new piece how do you know how to play it beyond just the notes as you do not know about its style and the provenance of the ideas behind it. If the composer does not know what style the notes should be played then do we have a problem.....

I am experimenting with using nultiple series / themes together where different series are strong, moderate and subsidiary. Nothing good has come out so far but I think it has promise after being subject to enough trial and error.