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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000095.txt from 2002/02

From: Gary Truesdail <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Brahms 4 and Op 114
Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2002 22:29:09 -0500


Tony, Robert and John are correct. The markings described are more
common for the string bowings. Conductors and copyists did not always
know what they were doing and sometimes just used the same markings for
the winds. To make things easier for you, just listen to the phrasing
when the strings play the figure and match it.


Tony Pay wrote:
> On Tue, 05 Feb 2002 23:35:59 -0500, said:
> > We're playing the first movement of Brahms 4 in orchestra. At the
> > begining, and several times later, the winds have a figure of quarter
> > note rest quarter note, quarter note , quarter note rest, quarter
> > note. The Notes are marked staccato, but there is a phrasing marking
> > OVER the rest connected the two notes. I've seen this before in the
> > first Brahms violin sonata. It suggests to string players a
> > "breathing"...what does this mean for us? Is it a literal breath? I
> > don't think so. Legato tongue, cheat the rest? help!
> If you think, as I do, that Brahms's slur notation has 'classical'
> significance, then a very natural interpretation of this sign is that
> the first crotchet under the slur is 'slightly more stressed' than the
> second. (I put the phrase in inverted commas to indicate that what is
> meant by 'slightly more stressed' can be very subtle, and involve
> tone-colour as well or instead of dynamics.) The other sense of the
> slur, namely connection, is also present, and 'breathing' is quite a
> good way of describing that for me. (Imagine pausing slightly after
> both inhalation and exhalation, to create the written quarter note
> rest.)
> For string players, a slur also almost invariably means a bowing, (each
> pair of notes is played in the same direction of bowing) and thinking of
> it in this way also generates both hierarchy and connection.
> There is a similar notation in the slow movement of the Trio, Op 114.
> You can see it in bar 10 of the clarinet part.
> Interestingly enough, in Brahms's manuscript, the dot over each first
> note is a line whenever this offbeat 'answer' to the main line occurs;
> this makes it clear that he intended a hierarchy. Perhaps he found that
> putting in the line made players overdo it, and so reverted to the
> simple dot in the first published edition, relying on the implication of
> the classical phrase to establish the hierarchy.
> Of course, nowadays most people are oblivious to the rhythmic
> implications of the written classical phrase, as I've said here many,
> many times.
> Tony
> --
> _________ Tony Pay
> |ony:-) 79 Southmoor Rd
> | |ay Oxford OX2 6RE
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