Tag Archives: mozart

Dots and Strokes in Mozart

Early Music, xxi

I mentioned when tweeting this post that:

This is not to say that I have all the answers, just that often don’t care for the answers I often receive from others, even those whom I generally respect. I don’t care for the ways people tend to approach rhythmic notation, ornaments, tempo markings, bowings, and articulations, to name only a few. Let’s just remember that he’s perhaps the most composer in history. Taking just the issue of staccato notation, we have great data on this, about which Neumann concludes in 1993:

“there seems to be little doubt that Mozart distinguished dots and strokes, and… distinguished the signs with deliber-ation where it did matter. By so doing he gave us price- less clues for a richer, more colourful, and sometimes more dramatic, range of expression than the score could suggest without the eloquence of the two signs.”

Mozart Quartet in D
Mozart Quartet in D

It’s unfortunate that not even the headline of these articles seems to get remembered, let alone Neumann’s 6 categories of differentiation. In short, I hope we can all get more serious about reading up on the composers we study and love instead of letting our 21st century sensibilities do all the decision-making for us.

Read more in Early Music:

Retrieved from JSTOR: Early Music, Vol. 21, No. 3 (Aug., 1993), pp. 429-435

Original: http://www.jstor.org/stable/info/3128294
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