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The only way to read Metronome Markings
#2862244 06/24/19 07:40 AM
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acortot Offline OP
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There is a lot of confusion, and in particular one strong advocate of playing music at half speed, relating to the original metronome markings that were placed on the scores by the composers themselves in the early 1800's

The truth is that there is only ONE way to read the metronome markings.

If you can't play the music to speed, you need to practice, or at least understand that it was not the composer's intention to play at todays slow tempi

there is no such thing as single or double beat!! the only thing they ever did was count every other beat when the pendulum was too short for long beats..

proof:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Conuj-w8G8I&t

Last edited by acortot; 06/24/19 07:41 AM.

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Re: The only way to read Metronome Markings
acortot #2862251 06/24/19 08:07 AM
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I forget who, but someone from this forum went back in time a few weeks ago to meet with various composers. I hope he can shed some light on this.

Tempos seem to have slowed down when you compare modern recordings to those from the 1930s. I'm not sure if someone like Saint-Saens could even stay awake throughout some modern recordings.

Re: The only way to read Metronome Markings
PianoYos #2862260 06/24/19 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by PianoYos
I forget who, but someone from this forum went back in time a few weeks ago to meet with various composers. I hope he can shed some light on this.

Tempos seem to have slowed down when you compare modern recordings to those from the 1930s. I'm not sure if someone like Saint-Saens could even stay awake throughout some modern recordings.


And then there are the opposite pianists now. You need to wear a seatbelt it seems to not get thrown out of your chair due to the speed they play certain pieces.



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Re: The only way to read Metronome Markings
acortot #2862264 06/24/19 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by NobleHouse
And then there are the opposite pianists now. You need to wear a seatbelt it seems to not get thrown out of your chair due to the speed they play certain pieces.

So true...

Re: The only way to read Metronome Markings
acortot #2862283 06/24/19 10:29 AM
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I have heard the theory that metronome markings "give an idea" of tempo. In other words, the player turns on the ticker to check the tempo, memorizes that, turns it off again, then plays (probably slower, and more freely). It wasn't (always) intended to actually play with the metronome running.

Also, the tempo ranges printed on the scale behind a pendulum type of metronome can't account for note values and overlapping values by Italian tempo markings. So, something like the old Franz Metronome guide is a better indication.

http://www.franzmfg.com/book1.htm (see the section "Obtaining Metronome Setting from Italian Marking")

I like Matthay's opinion: that you shouldn't play faster than the composer could think the notes. 😁


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Re: The only way to read Metronome Markings
acortot #2863073 06/26/19 05:04 PM
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The instruments have changed. Old instruments like harpsichord and fortepiano were more for intimate smaller concerts, have shallow key depth, light hammers or even just a tiny plectrum, light dampers, lighter sound, less resonance. This all was good for fast playing. Today we are at the other end with concert pianos build to bring big sound to the other end of a large concert hall, with heavy hammers, enormous string tensions,crossed strings, pedals, all set up for maximum resonance and big sound. A much heavier sound, great for slow playing.

You can fit an old piece to the modern piano, but that may require a slower tempo for a good result.


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Re: The only way to read Metronome Markings
acortot #2863209 06/27/19 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by acortot
There is a lot of confusion, and in particular one strong advocate of playing music at half speed, relating to the original metronome markings that were placed on the scores by the composers themselves in the early 1800's

The truth is that there is only ONE way to read the metronome markings.

If you can't play the music to speed, you need to practice, or at least understand that it was not the composer's intention to play at todays slow tempi

there is no such thing as single or double beat!! the only thing they ever did was count every other beat when the pendulum was too short for long beats..

proof:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Conuj-w8G8I&t



This is possibly the dullest youtube video I've ever seen!

I saw a piece of music yesterday with a crotchet bpm of 260, with quavers being played throughout. Didn't feel too slow to me!


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