Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Principaltrumpet, Nov 28, 2006.

  1. Principaltrumpet

    Principaltrumpet Pianissimo User

    Nov 7, 2006
    north texas
    This morning in my insturmental conducting class the professor was talking about articulation markings and what they mean. I thought to myself "this seems very elmentary" but then I realized that many ppl have many different beliefs on what the markings are indicating.

    So I would like to take a small poll on what you all believe the 4 basic markings are indicating.
    1) - (Tenuto or legato)
    2) > (Accent)
    3) ^ (Rooftop)
    4) . (Staccato)

    The one I am most interested in is the Staccato marking. Growing up I have always been taught that this was to indicate a short and light articulation. The Prof told the class he believes it has nothing to do with the begining of the note (tongue) but more the end (length). Just curious as to what everyone thinks.
  2. tpetplyr

    tpetplyr Pianissimo User

    Dec 15, 2003
    Just to give the thread an interesting start, I have always been told that staccato pertained mostly to the start of the note, requiring a light, bouncy articulation that would actually make the note feel shorter, and not a concious attention to shortening the duration of the note. In long strings of staccato notes, the attack itself creates the shortness or feeling therof, especially at faster tempos. Some consideration should be given to the length of the note, they are not ment to sound full length, but they're not clipped or choked off either. This advice is excepted (yes I spelled it right) in a few cases: Isolated staccato notes (end of phrases) should be shortened and certain composers (Stravinsky, Shostakovich etc) require very secco or dry staccato where the note is indeed very short.

    The line over the note was explained as tenuto, NOT legato, which implied full length, but with weight, and a very slight break (distinct articulation...for anyone who does math think point discontinuity), wheras legato indicates sustained, full length notes with very smooth, almost slurred transitions.

    the > accent is a weight accent with a full length note. The weight comes partially from the air and partially from a harder articulation depending on context.

    The ^ or marcato is a hard accent with an abbreviated note. Notes should be hit with the tongue and then released leaving space between neighbors.

    While I have been exposed to various, contradicting opinions from conductors, teachers and fellow musicians, the above represent my definitions as a synthesis of those ideas. They seem to work well in general. I have noticed a pattern of difference of interpretations between band and orchestra conductors, the above are more at home in an orchestra. In (my) band, all of the above mean short with varying strength of attack, and tenuto is identical to what I said above.
  3. CarnivalOfVenice

    CarnivalOfVenice New Friend

    Nov 26, 2006
    central new york--for now
    I was once told staccato means "space."

    I love the calculus reference--the hard work finally seems worth it when I can connect it to music!
  4. trumpet520

    trumpet520 Pianissimo User

    Oct 25, 2006
    My teacher says the length is the same the notes are just "Spaced".
  5. Lawler Bb

    Lawler Bb Piano User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Milwaukee, WI
    tpetplyr, you made a wonderful post. I am right in line with your thinking. Your explanations seem to state nearly 100% what I have come to understand from my humble performance and lesson experience.
  6. Mzony

    Mzony Pianissimo User

    Nov 14, 2004
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Mr. Voisin used to quiz his first year students on this. I would say that it meant short. His question was, "How short"?
    He showed me this old french music dictionary and as was his custom he would read it to me in French...when I failed to react he would tell me what it meant in English. Then he tested my comphrehnsive skills. Allow me to paraphrase:

    How long is a half note with a dot after it?
    3 beats
    A quarter note with a dot after it?
    1 1/2 beats.

    So then it seems that a dot means 1/2 value of the note?

    So the same rule applies to a dot under the note, but it takes away half the value.

    Half note with a dot under the note?
    1 beat.
    quarter note with a dot under the note?
    1/2 beat
    and so on...

    After reading this, I realize this comes off as arrogant. Believe me, this is not my intention. His words were pretty much like this, but his 78 year old French charm was contagious in that room...Pretty much got to laugh through these type of lessons...Boy, is he fun.
    Sorry if it is not proper to come in before Manny did...Sorry if that is bad form.

  7. Dave Mickley

    Dave Mickley Forte User

    Nov 11, 2005
    I understand most markings but one that really is confusing is a _ with a . over the top, how do you play a staccato note legato?? I have seen this marking several times and the director [2 different ones] had no idea either. Dave
  8. Liad Bar-EL

    Liad Bar-EL Forte User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Jerusalem, Israel
    Manny, I have two questions:

    1. In the Opening of Respighi's Pines of Rome, there are two markings which I would like clarification on over the notes as they are to be applied in the context of this work: ^ and V

    2. In Beethoven's Leonare Overtures, Overture No. 2 there is a sign above certain notes which looks like a line (-) with a dot underneath.


  9. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004

    I would say that one has to do with the quality of the attack ^. I think that's a pretty percusive attack. The other has to do with length \/. Many composers use that and if you look at the last movement of Pulcinella you'll note the the first set of high C's have this > and the end has this \/.

    The dash/dot marking is like lifting the bow between several notes. A longish note, to be sure, but with a quick lift.

  10. Dave Mickley

    Dave Mickley Forte User

    Nov 11, 2005
    Manny - thank you, that makes sense. Dave

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