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Topic: Appogiaturae (Grace Notes) (Read 4137 times) previous topic - next topic

Appogiaturae (Grace Notes)

For all you distance runners (like me) these are small (in type size) notes that appear in front of regular size notes to which they are connected by a slur mark. If a grace note looks like a miniature 1/8th note it is intended to be played for 1/2 the value of the following full size note and then to be strongly slurred into that note which is held for only half its value. If the miniature 1/8th note has a slash mark across the upper part of its stem it should be held for only 1/4 the value of the following note and strongly slurred into that note which is to be held for only 3/4 of its value. Sooo- when your sheet of music has this miniature 1/8th looking note slurred to a full sized note: 1. On your NWC staff put the cursor on the staff at the position of the grace note, push slur, push a note value half the regular sized note's value, push enter. Position the cursor to the full sized note's staff position, select a note value equal to half the full sized note's value, push enter. Won't look like a grace note but will play like one whether NWC plays it or a human plays it from a ptintout. (It's just a silly convention invented by Medieval monks, anyway, just like the rest of musical notation.) If the slash mark was present on the stem of the grace note use 1/4 and 3/4 values instead of 1/2 and 1/2. Double and triple appogiaturae, shakes, turns, and trillo are left to another day.

Re: Appogiaturae (Grace Notes)

Reply #1
From a number of references I have gotten the impression that, in general, a grace note (at least the "slashed" variaty) steals its duration from the preceeding note, not the following, while the following note retains its full value. Thus, a grace note before the first "true" note in a measure actually should be placed in the measure before.

Cyril N. Alberga

(Now is a case in which I wish I could attach GIF and NWC files, as examples.)

Re: Appogiaturae (Grace Notes)

Reply #2
To be honest, I've seen grace notes interpreted both ways (ie borrowing note length from the preceding, OR the following note). eg My Mozart music was annotated to interpret grace notes as borrowing from the following note. My Beethoven I've heard played the other way.

I think that if NWC implements grace notes (PLEASE!), it will have to consider both.

I was interested by the interpretation of slashes on the stem. I'd not heard that before, but it sounds like a good idea.


Re: Appogiaturae (Grace Notes)

Reply #3
Universal Method for Saxophone by Paul de Ville, page 9: grace placed before, plain grace is half duration, slashed grace is quarter duration. Oboe Method by A.M.R. Barrett ,page 15: grace placed more frequently before than after the principal note, notation examples show plain grace at half duration, slashed grace at quarter duration. Celebrated Method for Clarinet, by H. Klose', page 100: placed before, grace is half duration unless the principal is pointed (accented) in which case it is two thirds duration, no discussion of slashed versus plain. ** The slur related the grace and principal note in every case.** (Now all three claim a gruppetto always steals from the prior note .... Thanks for complicating my simple Saxist's answer, guys, back to distance running...

Re: Appogiaturae (Grace Notes)

Reply #4
Can I muddy the waters with my own understanding of grace notes and other decorations (and yes, please can they be implemented!).

The appoggiatura (plural '_turi' or '_turas'?) or simple grace note up to Mozart's time at least always stole from the following note. Very often what was to be played as four semiquavers would be written as appoggiatura, quaver, semiquaver, semiquaver. This usage died out early in the romantic period.

Groups of appoggiaturas were increasingly used from the classical period to replace symbols for turns (~) etc which had been used by Bach and Handel. Before the romantic period they would be played after the beat but gradually (Schubert, Chopin etc) came to be played before the beat, although there is not universal agreement even now as to any specific interpretation being correct for any particular piece.

Acciacaturas (slashed notes) are always before the beat, and are played as fast as possible. But some composers used appoggiaturas when they really meant acciacaturas! As always the way these grace notes are played must be dictated by musical considerations, and I don't believe there are truly hard and fast rules.

Re: Appogiaturae (Grace Notes)

Reply #5
Just to add a little more confusion and despair, I wanted to say that in the Grove Dictionary (THE Reference) there is 120 pages about the ornaments (grace notes, trills, and the likes) and how they should be played.

In the baroque era, the performer had a lot of liberty about how to play a piece. The ornaments were intended to be freely played, according to the performer's taste.

Since many performers had (and stil have :-)) a bad taste, it progressively disapeared.

Moral: No need to fuss, ornaments were intended to be ambiguous, and I spend a lot of time trying different combinations, looking for the one that sounds good.

Couperin's works are wonderful to listen to, but are a nightmare to transcribe.