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Article

A (i)  

David Fallows

A preposition found particularly in 16th- and 17th-century editions of polyphonic music where works are described as being a due (a 2), a tre (a 3), a dieci (a 10), etc., meaning in two, three or ten voices respectively. Many prints had it with an accent (...

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A (v)  

Abbreviation for accelerando, used particularly by Elgar. See Largamente.

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Robert Donington

A term applied both to improvised and to notated embellishments, and both to free ornamentation and to specific Ornaments.

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Clive Brown

The normal German equivalent of the Italian verb staccare (‘to separate or detach; to play staccato’); the noun Stoss was used to mean staccato. Like its Italian counterpart it implies not only separation but also, in many cases, accent. Stoss means literally a blow or shove and the verb means to push, shove or jab. The prefix ...

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Peter Walls

In string playing Abstrich and Aufstrich denote ‘down-bow’ and ‘up-bow’, respectively. ‘Down-bow’ is indicated by the sign (a stylized representation of the frog of the bow) and ‘up-bow’ by (representing the point of the bow). These symbols were first described by Baillot (L'art du violon...

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James Tyler

A tuning indication (im Abzug) found in 16th-century German lute tablatures. It directs the player to lower the pitch of the lute’s sixth course by one whole tone from its normal tuning. (See Cordes avallées and Scordatura, §4.)

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Howard Mayer Brown

According to C.P.E. Bach, Marpurg and Quantz in the 18th century, an Abzug is a decrescendo into the principal note from a long appoggiatura. Georg Simon Löhlein (Clavier-Schule, 1765 and later) said ‘Abzug’ is synonymous with ‘Schneller’, that is, a trill with one repercussion starting and ending with the main note, the ornament called ‘inverted mordent’ by some writers. For these meanings of the term see F. Neumann: ...

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Howard Mayer Brown

A term occasionally used by organ builders to refer to a rank of pipes forming part of a mixture or other compound stop that can be detached and used as an independent stop.

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A direction to increase the speed of a musical performance, often over a fairly long passage. It is usually abbreviated to accel., and is in practice much rarer than its contrary, rallentando. Koch (Musikalisches Lexikon, 1802), translating it as eilend, drew attention to terms he considered more common at the time, ...

Article

Accent  

Matthias Thiemel

The prominence given to a note or notes in performance by a perceptible alteration (usually increase) in volume (‘dynamic accent’); a lengthening of duration or a brief preceding silence of articulation (‘agogic accent’); an added ornament or pitch inflection of a melodic note (‘pitch accent’); or by any combination of these. The term is also used for any of the notational signs used to indicate that such prominence is required. On instruments capable of immediate dynamic nuance, including the voice and most strings, wind and percussion, an increase of volume is usually the chief element in this prominence, commonly at the start (with a more assertive effect), but alternatively just after the start (with a more insinuating effect, for which one specific term is ...

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Accento  

An ornament defined by Zacconi and Bovicelli as a dotted figure filling in or expanding a written interval. See Ornaments, §1, Ornaments, §4 and Ornaments, §8 .

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Matthias Thiemel

The use of Periodicals, in musical performance, real or imagined. The term may refer to particular notes or chords, or more comprehensively to an entire performance; in the modern Western tradition, accentuation, together with phrasing, articulation, dynamics etc. contributes to ‘expression’, and in vocal settings since the 16th century at least this has often been taken to imply a responsibility of conforming expressively to the spoken accentuation of the text....

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Term used to describe a broken chord with passing note. See Ornaments, §8 .

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Robert E. Seletsky

A ‘crushed note’. C.P.E. Bach (1753) and F.W. Marpurg (1755), who provided the German translation Zusammenschlag, defined the acciaccatura as a non-harmonic note played a tone or semitone below any of the main notes in arpeggiated chords, and immediately released. In 18th-century German sources such as C.P.E. Bach's treatise, it was frequently indicated with an upward diagonal stroke through the stem between the harmonic members of the chord. In melodic usage, the same writers classed the unprepared, simultaneously struck dissonant 2nd followed by the release of the lower note as a form of mordent. The Italian theorists Francesco Gasparini (...

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David Hiley

A sign placed, in modern notational practice, before a note, which alters its previously understood pitch by one or two semitones. The sharp (♯; Fr. dièse; Ger. Kreuz; It. diesis) raises a note by one semitone; the double sharp (𝄪; Fr. double dièse; Ger. ...

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Quaver (eighth-note); Fusel is also used. See also Note values.

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David Fuller

Used in titles, particularly in the later 18th century, to indicate that one or more instruments may be left out, e.g. Tapray: Simphonie concertante pour le clavecin et le piano-forte avec orchestre ad libitum (1783), and in scores, as a direction to the player to improvise or ornament. Handel's Organ Concertos op.7 furnish several examples: embellishment of a written line (no.2, Overture), elaboration of a fermata (same movement), continuation of a solo passage (no.1, first movement), improvisation of an adagio on a harmonic skeleton (no.5), and improvisation of a whole movement ...

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David Fallows

A tempo designation suggesting something more lighthearted than Adagio as in Poulenc’s Les biches and Stravinsky's Piano Sonata (1924). But its most famous use is in Mahler's Fifth Symphony, where the fourth movement, for strings and harp, has the title Adagietto and the tempo designation ...

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Adagio  

David Fallows

A tempo designation whose meaning has changed substantially over the years. Early forms of the word in musical scores include adaggio (Monteverdi, 1610; Cavalli, L’Elena, 1659) and adasio (Frescobaldi, 1635; Erasmus Kindermann, 1639). In the 18th and 19th centuries it was often abbreviated to ...

Article

Aevia  

William S. Rockstro and Mary Berry

A technical pseudo-word formed from the vowels of ‘Alleluia’ and used in medieval service books as an abbreviation in the same manner as Evovae. Steinmeyer has shown that the abbreviation of biblical words and phrases through the use of the vowels alone was not unusual even as early as the second half of the 11th century. ...