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date: 18 October 2019

Vivace (It.: ‘flourishing’, ‘thriving’, ‘full of life’)locked

  • David Fallows


(It.: ‘flourishing’, ‘thriving’, ‘full of life’)

As a tempo designation in its own right it appears in scores from the mid-17th century on and in most of the theorists as a tempo roughly equivalent to allegro. Beethoven marked the theme of his Diabelli Variations vivace, and the second movement of his Ninth Symphony molto vivace. As a qualification, vivace was especially popular in the 19th century and often designated a mood rather than a tempo. Beethoven marked both the last two movements of his First Symphony allegro molto e vivace, but he also used andante vivace, a favourite of Piccinni. Schubert’s use of vivace as a qualification seems normally to indicate not an increase of tempo but merely a more vivacious approach to performance. The superlative forms vivacissimo (adjective) and vivacissimamente (adverb, as in the finale of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata op.81a) are also found.

In the 18th century vivace often meant something rather slower. The anonymous ...

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