\"\"
Piano Forum logo

A question about appoggiatura (Read 7277 times)

Offline tac-tics

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 185
A question about appoggiatura
« on: March 23, 2006, 02:35:03 AM »
I actually have an easy question and a hard one.

First the easy one. Is there an easier word for appoggiatura? I would try calling them grace notes, but I know I'd run into people in this forum and elsewhere who would snap at me and tell me they are two entirely different things :o

My more serious question is, what makes an appoggiatura note different from the same note written out as a sixteenth/32nd/triplet or whatever? What significance does an appoggiatura have that a simple 16th note does not? Besides being easier to write out on a page, why do composers use them instead of regular notes?

I know many of them are used ornamentally, such as in Bach and friends, but I've read some composers, Chopin for example, used them in non-ornamental ways (btw, I'm currently learning Chopin's Waltz in A minor). Another usage which confuses me in Mozart's Alla Turca. I'm guessing in this case it has to do with the fact that the start of each phrase is a non-chord tone.

Someone teach me something interesting about these crazy, impossible to spell notes!

Offline alzado

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 573
Re: A question about appoggiatura
«Reply #1 on: March 25, 2006, 12:15:48 AM »
With all due respect, I do not know what this word means and I don't care.

I am taking lessons and playing material that is categorized as "late intermediate" or "early advanced."

I am probably playing some of these passages but I have little interest in the terminology.

Good question, though.

Offline tac-tics

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 185
Re: A question about appoggiatura
«Reply #2 on: March 25, 2006, 01:20:26 AM »
With all due respect, I do not know what this word means and I don't care.

If you aren't interested in the question I asked, why did you reply?  :-\

What I'm refering to is the grace-note like notes played on the beat. The terminology isn't important, but it would be useful to know how these notes are played -- what their meaning and purpose are.


Offline bnatural

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 30
Re: A question about appoggiatura
«Reply #3 on: March 25, 2006, 06:55:01 PM »
appoggiatura means the grace note which takes up the time of the main note, it can take up to half of the value of the main note that follows.

accaciatura is another kind of grace note that takes up the time value of the previous note, and is played very short... often has a slash across the note.

"To tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world"

Offline tac-tics

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 185
Re: A question about appoggiatura
«Reply #4 on: March 25, 2006, 09:43:47 PM »
appoggiatura means the grace note which takes up the time of the main note, it can take up to half of the value of the main note that follows.

accaciatura is another kind of grace note that takes up the time value of the previous note, and is played very short... often has a slash across the note.

That is helpful, but why do composers use them in their works? How are they different from the corresponding 8th,16th,32nd, etc note?

Offline ilikepie

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 283
Re: A question about appoggiatura
«Reply #5 on: March 25, 2006, 09:58:33 PM »
That is helpful, but why do composers use them in their works? How are they different from the corresponding 8th,16th,32nd, etc note?
My guess is, it doesn't mess with the timing, or the length rather of the previous note. Of course, this is just what I think... In a piece composing of mostly quarter notes, in a 4/4 time, I wouldn't want to know how long a note would be if it was before a quarter note+32nd.
Quote from: ultraviolet
That's the price you pay for being moderate in everything.  See, if I were you, my name would be Ilovepie.  But that's just me.

Offline abell88

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 623
Re: A question about appoggiatura
«Reply #6 on: March 25, 2006, 11:24:03 PM »
Often you will find the appoggiatura is a suspended note -- for example, LH plays C and G, right hand plays C and F (appoggiatura) going to E. The E is the harmony note for the chord, the F is a suspension.

Offline steve jones

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1380
Re: A question about appoggiatura
«Reply #7 on: March 26, 2006, 12:51:29 AM »

Isnt an appoggiatura a disonant auxilary note, usually reached by jump? Im pretty sure that is the technical requisite.

So abell88's example of the suspenion is quite correct to my understanding (which as a thick layer of rust on the surface, so dont quote me  ;D).


Offline tac-tics

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 185
Re: A question about appoggiatura
«Reply #8 on: March 26, 2006, 12:57:14 AM »
Thanks. Your posts have all been very helpful.

I think I have an acute case of the illness called curiosity when it comes to piano, because I totally flip out whenever I don't understand the semantics behind every little squiggle on the page.

Offline lostinidlewonder

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6247
Re: A question about appoggiatura
«Reply #9 on: March 26, 2006, 01:46:13 AM »
What I'm refering to is the grace-note like notes played on the beat....

I have always played them just before the beat.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
www.facebook.com/groups/348933611793249/

Offline quantum

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 5856
Re: A question about appoggiatura
«Reply #10 on: March 27, 2006, 03:46:00 PM »
I believe it is used to more clearly define the harmony.  Eg: The appoggiatura is a non-chord note.  Similar to abell88's example.
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline abell88

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 623
Re: A question about appoggiatura
«Reply #11 on: March 30, 2006, 03:14:05 AM »
Quote
I have always played them just before the beat.

Acciaccaturas are played before the beat. Appoggiaturas are normally played on the beat, and often take up a good deal of it (1/2 to 2/3).

Offline fencingfellow

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 23
Re: A question about appoggiatura
«Reply #12 on: March 30, 2006, 04:44:55 AM »
I might be way off the mark with this, but I'm theorizing...

Given that grace notes are dissonances (since they most frequently, if not always, are), and that grace notes are less significant than "regular" notes.
Perhaps they are used in the ways which would break the rules of counterpoint and harmony, if they were regular notes.  As evidence to this idea, I offer that grace notes were most commonly used in early romantic works, when the tonal rules were still largely in place, and see no use in works of the 20th century.

Discuss?

Offline jlh

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2352
Re: A question about appoggiatura
«Reply #13 on: April 02, 2006, 09:25:56 PM »
Also, apoggiaturas never have a slash on them, while accaciaturas generally do.  The length of time that an apoggiatura takes from the main note is the lenght of time specified by the flags of the apogiatura, so that an 8th note apoggiatura takes the time of an 8th note away from the main note.  Generally the apoggiatura is more accented than the main note.

The term "grace note" is a misnomer. ;D
. ROFL : ROFL:LOL:ROFL : ROFL '
                 ___/\___
  L   ______/             \
LOL "\         [ ] \
  L              \_________)
                 ___I___I___/

Offline mike_lang

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1496
Re: A question about appoggiatura
«Reply #14 on: April 06, 2006, 11:46:11 PM »
I believe it is used to more clearly define the harmony.  Eg: The appoggiatura is a non-chord note.  Similar to abell88's example.

This is correct.  It is a specific type of non-chord tone leapt to and resolved downward (or upward, in the case of its counterpart, the accacciatura -sp?).  It may appear as a grace note, but is not necessarily one.

Offline whynot

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 466
Re: A question about appoggiatura
«Reply #15 on: April 08, 2006, 10:52:17 PM »
I call them grace notes when they're notated as such, which works if you're talking to people who know that early-period grace notes aren't always interpreted in the modern sense of before-the-beat.  With other people, you might have to keep saying appoggiatura.

The verb "appoggiare" means to lean.  An appoggiatura leans on or presses against the main note and the prevailing harmony.  As with other aspects of music, its function went back and forth as style periods changed.  In medieval music, it had a melodic function; renaissance, somewhat more harmonic use, although suspensions were used much more than appoggiature; in early baroque it was back in melodic use, but in late baroque more as harmonic accent or embellishment; since then, it's come back to melodic use (as in the rondo alla turca) and fully written out instead of as an ornament.   

It can be represented as a grace note or be fully notated, and can come from above or below-- the dissonance is what makes it an appoggiatura, not the way in which it's notated.  When shown as a grace note, the rhythmic division can be interepreted many ways, depending on the time period, genre, composer's style, and mood of piece:  for a Bach fast movement, maybe the grace note would be half the length of the main written note, or even shorter/faster, whereas for a Sarabande with a grace note before a dotted half, you could make the grace note 2 beats long and the main note just 1, which is very poignant and expressive.  Generally, I like Bach appoggiature longer than shorter, although judging from most editions, I may be in the minority. 

There have been many attempts to standardize ornament notation, and one of the rules which evolved along the way was the slash/non-slash to differentiate before-the-beat from on-the-beat.  There are various reasons for why it was notated as a grace note.  Partly it followed rules of harmonic writing by writing consonant notes as "main" notes and strong dissonance as expressive embellishment, also to encourage the standard ornamentation of the time and region, and, I understand, sometimes to keep the performer from further ornamenting a particular spot by making the desired figure read as an ornamentation already (I think that happened somewhat in the late baroque, at least I've been told).   

Composers have been wildly inconsistent, even with themselves, about how they showed appoggiaturas and other ornaments, so you can't completely trust the slashes or their absence.  Editors use the slashes, and with a good edition, it's worth giving the markings a try and see how it sounds.  But a very reliable source of information and taste is the composition itself, because usually there's something in the writing that gives clues about the ornaments.  For example, many composers will fully notate a figure in the very beginning that will come up again a hundred times in the piece, but later on uses ornament symbols as shorthand to imply the same figure, and you have to look carefully to realize that he's asking for the same thing with a different spelling-- Haydn does this.  Also, if the composer has written choral works with accompaniment, the voice parts tend to have appoggiaturas fully notated so the choir can stay together, so you can compare that against the instrumental parts which use more ornament symbols, and learn about the composer's thoughts that way.

Ultimately the performer needs to experience how various ornaments sound and feel when done different ways in different kinds of music, and see how great composers wrote them out, when they did so, and then make artistic decisions from there.     

(sorry, this got long)

Offline persona

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 174
Re: A question about appoggiatura
«Reply #16 on: April 14, 2006, 10:50:05 PM »
I'm sorry to bring this topic up again, but I just saw it.

I'm learning on my own, so, with no teacher to say "right" or "wrong", very often I skip appogiaturas simply beacuse I don't like them (not every single one of them, of course). Now, my question is, am I doing it wrong or is it ok to choose? Are all appogiaturas or grace notes mandatory? And also, just for curiosity, I'd like to know wether they were originally written by the composers or added later on, because I found different versions of a same piece with different grace notes and trills (for example, Bach's Notebook for Anna Magdalena)

Offline persona

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 174
Re: A question about appoggiatura
«Reply #17 on: April 16, 2006, 12:48:12 AM »
anybody there?

Offline abell88

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 623
Re: A question about appoggiatura
«Reply #18 on: April 17, 2006, 01:46:47 AM »
You will often see different markings in different editions of the same piece. Sometimes the editor disagrees with the composer's original markings and changes them to what they would prefer -- or they think that the composer's markings will be misunderstood and change them to something they think is more comprehensible (perhaps because the meaning of a particular mark has changed over time). Sometimes there is more than one early-and-perhaps original score by the composer with differing markings (remember, for many years music was all copied by hand). Sometimes the composer did not notate any ornaments but we believe it would have been ornamented by players at that time (in the Baroque era, at least, players were expected to  know when and how to ornament)...

My advice is, if you are working from a good edition (you can search or ask around about that), it's probably a good idea to play the ornaments to the best of your ability...if you don't like a particular ornament, you can change it, but first try to understand its purpose as originally notated.