Implications of compound dynamic accent markings in Beethoven's early chamber works with the fortepiano

Lely Dai Evans

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

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Abstract

This dissertation aims to explore the functions and meanings of four frequently used dynamic accent markings (fp, rf, sf and sfp) in Beethoven’s early chamber music with the fortepiano, with the consideration of acoustic qualities and playing capabilities of instruments intended for the studied works. The sources of reference here include the three Op.1 piano trios, two Op.5 cello sonatas, and three Op.12 violin sonatas, using a modern critical edition in conjunction with the first editions published during Beethoven's lifetime. The study consists of two parts. The first part surveys historical aspects including: 1) the development of relevant instruments, namely the bow and the fortepiano, and 2) existing accentuation conventions, especially those found in selected works of Haydn and Mozart, and appropriate treatises from Beethoven's time. The second part of the study entails the examination of consistency and frequency of dynamic accent markings in general, and that of individual accent markings using specific musical examples. The process of this investigation shows that these signs have distinct meanings, and consequently, require different treatments for their respective executions in performance. It also implies that the acoustic qualities of the ensembles with instruments from Beethoven's time are the most important factor contributing to variations found in his use of the accent markings among the different genres. Such acoustic qualities include the quieter volume and faster decay of the fortepiano, as well as the larger sonority from the cello especially in the lower register, when compared with instruments made for today's concert halls. These insights not only illuminate the possible ways to realize each marking, but also clarify accent markings which could seem inconsistent to modern performers, in terms of acoustic balance, especially in combinations that include the cello.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationMasters
Publication statusUnpublished - 2008

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Ludwig Van Beethoven
Fortepiano
Accent
Acoustics
Cello
Chamber music
Joseph Haydn
Bow
Ensemble
Sonority
Accentuation
Concert Hall
Decay
Violin
Trio
Treatise
Performer
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Critical Edition

Cite this

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title = "Implications of compound dynamic accent markings in Beethoven's early chamber works with the fortepiano",
abstract = "This dissertation aims to explore the functions and meanings of four frequently used dynamic accent markings (fp, rf, sf and sfp) in Beethoven’s early chamber music with the fortepiano, with the consideration of acoustic qualities and playing capabilities of instruments intended for the studied works. The sources of reference here include the three Op.1 piano trios, two Op.5 cello sonatas, and three Op.12 violin sonatas, using a modern critical edition in conjunction with the first editions published during Beethoven's lifetime. The study consists of two parts. The first part surveys historical aspects including: 1) the development of relevant instruments, namely the bow and the fortepiano, and 2) existing accentuation conventions, especially those found in selected works of Haydn and Mozart, and appropriate treatises from Beethoven's time. The second part of the study entails the examination of consistency and frequency of dynamic accent markings in general, and that of individual accent markings using specific musical examples. The process of this investigation shows that these signs have distinct meanings, and consequently, require different treatments for their respective executions in performance. It also implies that the acoustic qualities of the ensembles with instruments from Beethoven's time are the most important factor contributing to variations found in his use of the accent markings among the different genres. Such acoustic qualities include the quieter volume and faster decay of the fortepiano, as well as the larger sonority from the cello especially in the lower register, when compared with instruments made for today's concert halls. These insights not only illuminate the possible ways to realize each marking, but also clarify accent markings which could seem inconsistent to modern performers, in terms of acoustic balance, especially in combinations that include the cello.",
keywords = "Beethoven, Ludwig van,, 1770-1827, Chamber music, Music, Interpretation (Phrasing, dynamics, etc.), Musical notation, Performance practice (Music), Piano music, Beethoven, Performance practice, Dynamics",
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N2 - This dissertation aims to explore the functions and meanings of four frequently used dynamic accent markings (fp, rf, sf and sfp) in Beethoven’s early chamber music with the fortepiano, with the consideration of acoustic qualities and playing capabilities of instruments intended for the studied works. The sources of reference here include the three Op.1 piano trios, two Op.5 cello sonatas, and three Op.12 violin sonatas, using a modern critical edition in conjunction with the first editions published during Beethoven's lifetime. The study consists of two parts. The first part surveys historical aspects including: 1) the development of relevant instruments, namely the bow and the fortepiano, and 2) existing accentuation conventions, especially those found in selected works of Haydn and Mozart, and appropriate treatises from Beethoven's time. The second part of the study entails the examination of consistency and frequency of dynamic accent markings in general, and that of individual accent markings using specific musical examples. The process of this investigation shows that these signs have distinct meanings, and consequently, require different treatments for their respective executions in performance. It also implies that the acoustic qualities of the ensembles with instruments from Beethoven's time are the most important factor contributing to variations found in his use of the accent markings among the different genres. Such acoustic qualities include the quieter volume and faster decay of the fortepiano, as well as the larger sonority from the cello especially in the lower register, when compared with instruments made for today's concert halls. These insights not only illuminate the possible ways to realize each marking, but also clarify accent markings which could seem inconsistent to modern performers, in terms of acoustic balance, especially in combinations that include the cello.

AB - This dissertation aims to explore the functions and meanings of four frequently used dynamic accent markings (fp, rf, sf and sfp) in Beethoven’s early chamber music with the fortepiano, with the consideration of acoustic qualities and playing capabilities of instruments intended for the studied works. The sources of reference here include the three Op.1 piano trios, two Op.5 cello sonatas, and three Op.12 violin sonatas, using a modern critical edition in conjunction with the first editions published during Beethoven's lifetime. The study consists of two parts. The first part surveys historical aspects including: 1) the development of relevant instruments, namely the bow and the fortepiano, and 2) existing accentuation conventions, especially those found in selected works of Haydn and Mozart, and appropriate treatises from Beethoven's time. The second part of the study entails the examination of consistency and frequency of dynamic accent markings in general, and that of individual accent markings using specific musical examples. The process of this investigation shows that these signs have distinct meanings, and consequently, require different treatments for their respective executions in performance. It also implies that the acoustic qualities of the ensembles with instruments from Beethoven's time are the most important factor contributing to variations found in his use of the accent markings among the different genres. Such acoustic qualities include the quieter volume and faster decay of the fortepiano, as well as the larger sonority from the cello especially in the lower register, when compared with instruments made for today's concert halls. These insights not only illuminate the possible ways to realize each marking, but also clarify accent markings which could seem inconsistent to modern performers, in terms of acoustic balance, especially in combinations that include the cello.

KW - Beethoven, Ludwig van,

KW - 1770-1827

KW - Chamber music

KW - Music

KW - Interpretation (Phrasing, dynamics, etc.)

KW - Musical notation

KW - Performance practice (Music)

KW - Piano music

KW - Beethoven

KW - Performance practice

KW - Dynamics

M3 - Master's Thesis

ER -