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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000476.txt from 2004/08

From: Tony Pay <>
Subj: Re: [kl] K. 581 ornamentation
Date: Mon, 16 Aug 2004 15:01:34 -0400

On 16 Aug, "emily worthington" <> wrote:

> I ran up against problems in trio I. To realise the graces in violin I as
> 'scotch snaps' (semiquaver-dotted quaver) is a rather radical suggestion
> (I've certainly never heard it done). We tried it out in rehearsal and
> discarded the idea because the violinist couldn't make it sound convincing
> (the accent always seemed to fall on the principle note, making the whole
> gesture sound like a an accaciatura excecuted rather late).

This, to players, is a well-known difficulty. The degree to which you need
to 'come away' from the 'on-the-beat' grace note in order to get it to
*sound* on the beat as you so clearly describe, gets more marked the shorter
that grace note is.

It helps also to be able to control the tone-colour so that the grace is more
'brilliant' than the resolution as well as being louder. Sometimes less able
players have trouble.

In the years that I used to argue for the grace note to be on the beat in
K361 First movement Allegro second bar, it was always tricky, though in the
end possible, to make it work. But nowadays the problem has gone away -- I
accept it as an acciaccatura previous to the main beat because of a passage
in the development where there is a contrast between grace-note/non
grace-note. This clear difference in Mozart's manuscript, which you can
actually look at, was always obscured by previous editions.

> However I'm still tempted to think that the conventional quaver-quaver
> realisation of these appogiaturas is dubious.

Yes, me too. But remember, you're not limited just to a choice between
semiquaver and quaver. 'Lazier' semiquavers are acceptable as well, moving
towards triplets. That makes the whole problem more tractable -- and indeed
gives the possibility of expressive variation of the degree to which the snap
is 'Scotch':-)

In fact, the whole relationship between long and short -- in dotted quavers
and semiquavers too -- is much more labile in this notation than in twentieth
century notation, even though as you point out, composers often told you
which direction you should be 'leaning' in by the notated length of the
grace note.

_________ Tony Pay
|ony:-) 79 Southmoor Rd
| |ay Oxford OX2 6RE
tel/fax 01865 553339

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