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What is the use of appoggiaturas... (Read 1837 times)

Offline perfect_pitch

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What is the use of appoggiaturas...
« on: June 09, 2018, 07:10:54 AM »
I know you probably think this is a bit of a silly question, but hear me out. Take for instance, the very well known 'Rondo Alla Turca' by Mozart. Why did Mozart bother to write out his theme like so:



When we all know that they are to be played simply as 4 semiquaver notes. Wouldn't it have been easier to just write 4 actual semiquavers instead of what's written???

I had a theory on 'possibly' why Appoggiaturas may have existed early on. I suspect that maybe composers would have written a melody down, and after further thought realised that some suspensions would sound nice, and maybe wrote in the appoggiaturas to squeeze in the extra note(s), instead of re-writing their manuscript???

Could this be true, or am I just crazy... Thoughts? (Not on the 'am I crazy part', but the appoggiaturas')

Offline dw4rn

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Re: What is the use of appoggiaturas...
«Reply #1 on: June 19, 2018, 12:35:24 PM »
Very good question, and one I think many of us have been pondering.
I think your theory is mostly wrong, but I think you are right in assuming that it has to do with suspensions, i.e. the relation between consonance and dissonance, and with a lot of old, strong traditions that was part of Mozart's world and that we in our time can only ever get to know very superficially.

I found an older thread discussing at least partly the same things:
https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=16764.0

From that discussion, I quote the user 'whynot':
"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)."

Another point I want to make is to question your statement:


 we all know that they are to be played simply as 4 semiquaver notes.


How do we know that? I think we interpret it the way we do because we hear everyone playing it like 4 semiquavers. This is not the same thing as knowing that it should be played like that. In fact there are people who play it differently, like Andreas Staier. 

Offline perfect_pitch

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Re: What is the use of appoggiaturas...
«Reply #2 on: June 19, 2018, 02:09:49 PM »
Some interesting information, so thank you for responding. It had been over a week, so I figured I might not get to the bottom of the question.

I am currently listening to the Staier performance of Rondo Alla Turca... and I'll admit, it seems very heavily improvised, however - doesn't seem to really fit with the 'Classical' idea of bringing back melody back to being clean and not overly ornamented like the Baroque era... but is interesting in itself.

Quote
"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

That however, does make a lot of sense when you look at them from a theory point of view. It definitely does highlight the more consonant sounds of the piece.

Online keypeg

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Re: What is the use of appoggiaturas...
«Reply #3 on: June 20, 2018, 05:51:43 PM »
It sounds cool when you do it right, that's why.
Ok, the question, as I understand it, involves how it's written out.  Why is it written to resemble grace notes instead of being written out?  Your answer to the actual question seems to be:

"The reason that it's written like a grace note rather than writing out the notes, is because it sounds cool as f u c k.  If the notes were not written out, then it would no longer sound cool as f u c k." More likely you didn't understand the question, and though someone was asking why are there appoggiaturas.

Fact is that some of us are interested in these things.  If you aren't, then don't get involved in topics that bore you, but why get mad because others are interested?

I actually think it is an important question, because this notation gets misplayed.  People see it as a grace note and play it as such.  In this particular piece it's rather obvious, but there is a piece played as a beginner or early intermediate piece where half the students and teachers put in the wrong note values and to my ear it distorts the piece.  So we have to know about this in order to not misinterpret music from a certain period where this was the norm.

My teacher once told me the reason, and I think it was the one already cited --- to prevent people from adding ornaments to this kind of appoggiatura, which the musicians of that era were doing in those composers' lifetime.  For me as a student it was important to know that, or I would have played the music wrong too.

Online keypeg

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Re: What is the use of appoggiaturas...
«Reply #4 on: June 20, 2018, 06:07:52 PM »
Here is the piece I'm thinking of: The modest Minuet in G Major" (Petzold) which I found as a freeby on PianoStreet's site.
https://www.pianostreet.com/bach_minuet_in_g_114_psu.pdf

Note m. 8.  There's your appoggiatura written out in the manner of that time.  That B is not meant to be played as a grace note - it's longer - it's an appoggiatura.

Here it is at 0:11 (0:10 to 0:11 roughly).


But I hear a lot of piano versions played as if that appoggiatura were a grace note.  In fact, in this version they have even written in a grace note.  At least the playing is consistent with the notation.


Tzvi Erez plays it as an appoggiatura (0:08 to 0:09)


Again as an appoggiatura (around 1:32)
=82

 But on-line teachers, above all, seem to turn it into a grace note.  To my ear it sounds off, and I don't think it's just because of what I'm used to.

(Why is this in "Miscellaneous" and not "Theory"?)

Offline themeandvariation

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Re: What is the use of appoggiaturas...
«Reply #5 on: June 20, 2018, 08:05:13 PM »
PP  - you are probably aware that the baroque practice w ornaments - has the grace note starting On the beat, and taking half of the value of the note that follows.  Mozart seems to much of the time refer to this styling.  If one plays the grace note before the beat, however, as is the practice in the romantic epoch, it creates a different rhythmical motif - which would totally change it's sense of propulsion (as compared).  One could, I suppose… (i wouldn't)
4'33"

Online keypeg

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Re: What is the use of appoggiaturas...
«Reply #6 on: June 20, 2018, 09:36:11 PM »
PP  - you are probably aware that the baroque practice w ornaments - has the grace note starting On the beat, and taking half of the value of the note that follows.  .....
As I understand it, the grace note is the one that has a slash through it, like this
https://www.notation.com/ComposerDocs3/gracenotechart.gif

The appoggiatura we're discussing does not have a slash through it, like this
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/19499/19499-h/images/fig50-52.jpg




Offline outin

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Re: What is the use of appoggiaturas...
«Reply #7 on: June 21, 2018, 04:48:24 AM »
As I understand it, the grace note is the one that has a slash through it, like this
https://www.notation.com/ComposerDocs3/gracenotechart.gif

The appoggiatura we're discussing does not have a slash through it, like this
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/19499/19499-h/images/fig50-52.jpg


Could not see the second picture...

Anyway, it is important to remember that in Baroque era there was no one convention on how to notate embellishments between the composers from different areas. Hence the different opinions by musicologists... We have written instructions from Rameau and the table by Bach's son (iirc), but for composers such as Scarlatti, we need to use our own informed judgement. Also it was not uncommon for the notes notated as if they were embellishments to actually be an integral part of the melody.

Offline perfect_pitch

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Re: What is the use of appoggiaturas...
«Reply #8 on: June 21, 2018, 12:02:58 PM »
PP  - you are probably aware that the baroque practice w ornaments - has the grace note starting On the beat, and taking half of the value of the note that follows. 

Yes, don't worry - well aware - and you are correct - the appoggiatura does not have the slash, the acciaccatura does have the slash through the note.

My teacher once told me the reason, and I think it was the one already cited --- to prevent people from adding ornaments to this kind of appoggiatura

That's an interesting point... very informative. Thank you both (and of course dw4rn & outin) and for contributing something intellectual to the thread.

Online keypeg

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Re: What is the use of appoggiaturas...
«Reply #9 on: June 21, 2018, 04:41:17 PM »
Also it was not uncommon for the notes notated as if they were embellishments to actually be an integral part of the melody.
That seems to be the case with the appoggiatura.  And this is why it is not at all a frivolous question.