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question on agogic accents (Read 1142 times)

Offline linlin123

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question on agogic accents
« on: May 26, 2017, 08:56:47 AM »
I understand there are 2 kinds of agogic accents : the delayed note and the prolonged note. In the former case I do not compensate for the delay , however in the latter I tend to make up for the time lost by accelerating back to tempo. Is this correct?

Offline jimroof

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Re: question on agogic accents
«Reply #1 on: May 31, 2017, 03:02:10 PM »
There can be no hard and fast rule for this.  You just need to use your ears.  My first instinct tells me that there is no need to 'make up for lost time'  when in actual performance. 

The agogic accent is just to call attention to a particular note.  In Chopin's Gm Ballade there is a place where a REAL accent is marked on three successive notes that are shared between the hands in the first introduction of the main lyrical theme.  The first two notes work well with just a little extra weight, but the third is played by the left hand and is buried in an accompaniment figure.  I bring this one out with a very slight pause - an agogic accent - and the result is very satisfying, at least to me.

I think there are times when we want to make an attempt to stratify things to try to make sense, retroactively, of what someone does or has done in performance.  Sort of like a course in 18th century counterpoint, where we extract rules and theory from Bach.  My best guess is that Bach himself was probably unaware of many of the rules that we now attribute to him.  Same with performance. 

If it feels right and sounds good to make up a little time for what was lost - do it.  If it sounds rushed or contrived - stop doing it.  At the end of the day the only thing that matters is the beauty of the sound.
Chopin Ballades
Chopin Scherzos 2 and 3
Mephisto Waltz 1
Beethoven Piano Concerto 3
Schumann Concerto Am
Ginastera Piano Sonata
L'isle Joyeuse
Feux d'Artifice
Prokofiev Sonata Dm