Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums Over 2.7 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!
So, I was practicing Dieupart's "Sixieme Suite" in F min., getting ready for the E-cital of suites, and the Courante was giving me fits! I could not for the life of me make anything out of the notation in 3/2 and find anything like a flow, or otherwise figure out, "How does this thing go?!?! ". So, I went looking for a recording on YouTube--kind of like having someone who is reading over your shoulder pronounce a word for you that you are stumbling with when trying to "sound it out".
I found several renditions in different arrangements: solo harpsichord; flute, violin, cello, organ; harpsichord and flute. In one of those renditions, they gave a dotted rhythm to the Allemande and the Courante, which gave it a very jaunty, dance-like feel. It was beautiful and made all kinds of sense, though the score from which I am reading does not notate it that way.
So then, this morning, while I was practicing Handel's Keyboard Suite No. 5, (the one that has in it what is commonly called, "The Harmonious Blacksmith"), I decided to swing the Courante, which also had been giving me certain kinds of fits. WOW! REVELATION! Seriously, giving it a jaunty dotted rhythm caused it to make sense to me in a very musical way that it had not before. I mean, there is this very strange passage in the second section of the Courante that cleared up instantly with this rhythm.
In the last few years, I have learned enough to know that I can distrust a fair amount of things when it comes to the way Baroque music is edited for publication. For instance, I pay NO ATTENTION to dynamic markings! LOL!
My question to those of you who know this stuff: Was it written one way with the understanding that it would be played another? I've seen many pieces of popular sheet music tunes that give a notation at the top of the page where it says something like, "swing feel," or where it shows, "eighth note = dotted eighth," or some such thing. When I followed these Dieupart renditions with the music, it was like someone cracked a code for me, though I am sure it does not apply to all Allemandes and Courantes (or Correntes, or whatever kind of regional Continental spelling there may be with all of the corresponding intricacies of nuance and cultural differences betwixt and amongst them... ) for all time in every way...
The question is, "Can I (may I) swing the Courante in Handel's Keyboard Suite No. 5?"
A courante is, or should be, the French version of the dance and therefore some notice should be taken of the French principle of notes inegales. A corrente is, or should be, the Italian version, so inequality is less appropriate. Think jogging in a carefree way against running, as gracefully as possible, for a train. The rhythmic effect of notes inegales is however subtle, for me a lilt rather than a swing. Given the provenance of the main non-organ keyboard instrument of the time, the harpsichord, some rhythmic freedom is necessary for expressive purposes, but in dances like Allemandes, this I believe should be very subtle indeed, hardly qualifying as notes inegales to the casual listener.
JSB wrote both courantes and correntes, but generally called them courantes. French suites 5 and 6 have correntes. In the other French suites the courantes are sort of French - for me the one in the 3rd suite comes nearest to a courante proper - but they seem to be a sort of hybrid. Compare also the courante in Partita 2, for me French, with the one in Partita 5, for me a corrente.
Courantes are in 3/2 time with more or fewer introductions of 6/4. Correntes are in 3/4 time. That more or less defines them. The confusion arises when, as in Bach's suites, they are all labelled "Courante" regardlessly.
Thank you, prout and jazzyprof, for the permission! It actually frees my playing spirit to know I can aim for the bleachers instead of having to lay down a bunt! :D
Thank you sandalholme and drumour for the information. That certainly fills in some gaps! :thumb:
I wish I could see these things danced at some point. I've read up on the Allemande and Courante on wikipedia (a simple start...), but seeing a hop or a leap in action, in time to music, is different than reading it on a page! :crazy: And tempo is always an issue. And sometimes the harmonies in some of Bach's and Handel's courantes are so complex and rich and gorgeous that I want to linger instead of just push it along... But mainly, I would like to know the "character" of these dances, and the way B and H write, each Allemande and Courante (and Sarabande and Minuet and Gavotte and Gigue, etc.) seems like an unpredictable individual to me! :grin:
I read in [url="http://www.amazon.com/Dance-Music-J-S-Bach/dp/0253214645/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1409667352&sr=1-1&keywords=dance+and+the+music+of+js+bach"]Dance and the Music of JS Bach[/url] that the french courante was one of the slowest dances. From what I recall this was deduced from specific dance steps written from the time of Louis XIV which could not have possibly been done quickly.
I took a peek on youtube and found a video of [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=418-Lzfhu0I]two girls performing the dance[/url]
It was an unusual concept when I first read it and my teacher made dubious faces at the idea so I never did give it a proper exploration. If I have time later I will dig up a quote or two from the book!
Last edited by 1RC; 09/02/1410:34 AM.
Re: Do you "swing" your Courante?
#2323415 09/02/1411:25 PM09/02/1411:25 PM