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#471101 - 11/11/07 04:59 PM what does this mean on my Debussy piece?  
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 45
vivo Offline
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vivo  Offline
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miami
Hey guys. I am presently working on a Debussy piece called, The Girl With The Flaxen Hair otherwise known as La Fille aux cheveux de lin.

At the heading of the first page before measure 1 the term

tres calme doucement expressif is used.

What does this mean? I tried looking it up in my music dictionary with no success.

On the 3rd page, before meauser 31, the term that is used is:

Murmure et en retenant peu a peu
what does that mean?

thanks for your help


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#471102 - 11/11/07 05:07 PM Re: what does this mean on my Debussy piece?  
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Theowne Offline
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Theowne  Offline
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It's French. Debussy was a french composer.

The first one means something like "Very calm, gently/slowly expressive". The second one I believe is basically "Whisper and hold back little by little".


http://www.youtube.com/user/Theowne- Piano Videos (Ravel, Debussy, etc) & Original Compositions
音楽は楽しいですね。。。
#471103 - 11/11/07 05:22 PM Re: what does this mean on my Debussy piece?  
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vivo Offline
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vivo  Offline
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thank you Theowne. I guess I need to learn French if I want to play Debussy huh? He is one of my favorite composers. BTW I watched your U-Tube Videos and you are GOOD! I really like the Arabesque

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBOHc7jHHK0


My piano is my best friend
#471104 - 11/11/07 06:14 PM Re: what does this mean on my Debussy piece?  
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vanityx3 Offline
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très calme doucement expressif
literally means, very calm sweetly expressive

[Doucement literally means sweetly; I guess Debussy could've used it to mean slowly, but I've never seen it used that way. Lentement is the word for slowly.]

Murmure et en retenant peu à peu
means,
murmur (whisper) by holding back little by little;

although I'm unsure why it wouldn't be La murmure...but thats a french grammar problem, it doesn't affect the music.


well I'm 20 years old, and I'm teaching myself piano.
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#471105 - 11/11/07 06:45 PM Re: what does this mean on my Debussy piece?  
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Theowne Offline
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Theowne  Offline
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Toronto, Canada
Quote
Originally posted by vivo:
thank you Theowne. I guess I need to learn French if I want to play Debussy huh? He is one of my favorite composers. BTW I watched your U-Tube Videos and you are GOOD! I really like the Arabesque

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBOHc7jHHK0
Luckily we can cheat since we know english. A lot of words are very similar (calme/calm, expressif/expressive, murmure/murmur).

& Thanks for compliments, makes all the retakes worth it wink


http://www.youtube.com/user/Theowne- Piano Videos (Ravel, Debussy, etc) & Original Compositions
音楽は楽しいですね。。。
#471106 - 11/12/07 12:26 AM Re: what does this mean on my Debussy piece?  
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BruceD Offline
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BruceD  Offline

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Victoria, BC
Quote
Originally posted by vanityx3:

Murmure et en retenant peu à peu
means,
murmur (whisper) by holding back little by little;

although I'm unsure why it wouldn't be La murmure...but thats a french grammar problem, it doesn't affect the music.
The noun 'murmure' in French is masculine, so it would be 'le murmure' if Debussy were using the word as a noun.

The verb "murmurer" means to utter softly, to murmur, to whisper and is a synonym for "chuchoter", to whisper.

However, the actual direction is "murmuré et en retenant un peu" Debussy is using the past participle of the verb "murmurer" as an adjective : "Whispered", "uttered softly", so a fair translation of the direction is "Murmured, and holding back little by little"; in other words, play very softly, with no accents, and gradually slow down.

Regards,


BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190
#471107 - 11/12/07 09:19 PM Re: what does this mean on my Debussy piece?  
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hyonchingonchon Offline
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hyonchingonchon  Offline
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Clair de Lune FTW!


You can take a noob and train him all day but that'll just make him a trained noob...
#471108 - 11/12/07 10:17 PM Re: what does this mean on my Debussy piece?  
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Aviator1010110 Offline
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Aviator1010110  Offline
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United States
Quote
Originally posted by BruceD:
Quote
Originally posted by vanityx3:
[b]
Murmure et en retenant peu à peu
means,
murmur (whisper) by holding back little by little;

although I'm unsure why it wouldn't be La murmure...but thats a french grammar problem, it doesn't affect the music.
The noun 'murmure' in French is masculine, so it would be 'le murmure' if Debussy were using the word as a noun.

The verb "murmurer" means to utter softly, to murmur, to whisper and is a synonym for "chuchoter", to whisper.

However, the actual direction is "murmuré et en retenant un peu" Debussy is using the past participle of the verb "murmurer" as an adjective : "Whispered", "uttered softly", so a fair translation of the direction is "Murmured, and holding back little by little"; in other words, play very softly, with no accents, and gradually slow down.

Regards, [/b]
HA! Leave it to the retired French teacher.

That has to be THE most complete translation of a musical term I've ever seen. Bravo!


Technical skills should never come before artistry. I think of technical ability as a necessary tool for extracting a truly moving performance from a sensitive interpretation. -Aviator1010110
#471109 - 11/12/07 10:32 PM Re: what does this mean on my Debussy piece?  
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vivo Offline
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vivo  Offline
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miami
thanks guys! I am lucky to have discovered PW!
Now I got 2 more questions about the same Debussy piece, which is, La fille aux cheveux de lin.

Before measure 23, the phrase is:

"Cedez----------au Mouv! (sans Lourdeur)
What does that mean?

Also on the same page there is also the phrase:
"un peu anime"
I think peu means a little , but I am not sure about the anime.

Am I going to need to learn French if I want to play Debussy? Should I sign up for French 1 at the local Adult night school? Or maybe I need a better music dictionary. Right now I have a little red pocket dictionary by Schirmer.

BTW , here is a u tube of the song for those of you that are unfamiliar with the song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfQ5hOOLk1o


My piano is my best friend
#471110 - 11/12/07 10:41 PM Re: what does this mean on my Debussy piece?  
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Theowne Offline
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Theowne  Offline
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Toronto, Canada
Cedez....au MouvT is basically saying to slow down.....and then return to the main tempo. MouvT is similar to "A tempo", although I found it confusing at first too. Maybe BruceD can elaborate on that.

"sans Lourdeur" - without *heaviness

"un peu anime" means "a little animated".

Quote
Am I going to need to learn French if I want to play Debussy?
Let's just say that Google translator has helped me in my Debussy endeavors (along with what I remember from my ninth grade French class).

http://translate.google.com/translate_t?langpair=fr|en


http://www.youtube.com/user/Theowne- Piano Videos (Ravel, Debussy, etc) & Original Compositions
音楽は楽しいですね。。。
#471111 - 11/12/07 11:35 PM Re: what does this mean on my Debussy piece?  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 20,316
BruceD Offline
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BruceD  Offline

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Joined: May 2001
Posts: 20,316
Victoria, BC
Quote
Originally posted by vivo:
thanks guys! I am lucky to have discovered PW!
Now I got 2 more questions about the same Debussy piece, which is, La fille aux cheveux de lin.

Before measure 23, the phrase is:

"Cedez----------au Mouv! (sans Lourdeur)
What does that mean?


Debussy sometimes makes a delightful choice of words in his musical directions. "Cédéz" means, literally, to yield, to give in. So it is, as has been said, a slowing down of the tempo, but the idea of "yielding" (to what?) adds an extra touch, even if it's only in the mind. "Sans lourdeur": without sounding heavy. This is an important direction because you have five-note chords moving in parallel motion here, and it's very easy for them to sound a little heavy or cumbersome. Sound all the notes of these chords, but keep them light and keep them moving forward.
Quote

Also on the same page there is also the phrase:
"un peu anime"
I think peu means a little , but I am not sure about the anime.

"Un peu animé" means slightly more animated. Debussy could have said "un peu plus vite" (a little faster), but there is something in the idea of making it more "animated" that adds something to the tempo, it's not just a little faster, there's something in the mental attitude that has to show "animation".
Quote

Am I going to need to learn French if I want to play Debussy? Should I sign up for French 1 at the local Adult night school? Or maybe I need a better music dictionary. Right now I have a little red pocket dictionary by Schirmer.

BTW , here is a u tube of the song for those of you that are unfamiliar with the song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfQ5hOOLk1o
You don't need to know French to be able to play Debussy, but it helps. You can always ask the old pedantic retired French teachers what they think. They'll tell you more than you need - or want - to know.

À bientôt, j'espère!


BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190
#471112 - 11/12/07 11:38 PM Re: what does this mean on my Debussy piece?  
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Theowne Offline
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Theowne  Offline
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Toronto, Canada
Could you explain the literal meaning of "Mouv" which usually has a small "t" in the upper right beside it?


http://www.youtube.com/user/Theowne- Piano Videos (Ravel, Debussy, etc) & Original Compositions
音楽は楽しいですね。。。
#471113 - 11/12/07 11:43 PM Re: what does this mean on my Debussy piece?  
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Posts: 20,316
BruceD Offline
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BruceD  Offline

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Posts: 20,316
Victoria, BC
Quote
Originally posted by Theowne:
Could you explain the literal meaning of "Mouv" which usually has a small t in the upper right beside it?
In the original Durand edition, the word Mouv.t is an abbreviation for "mouvement". This simply means that the section in question should move forward in tempo, at the original tempo. When you see "Au mouv.t" it means in tempo, that is, return to the tempo of the piece before any ritardando or "cédez" or "en retenant un peu".

Regards,


BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190
#471114 - 11/13/07 02:04 AM Re: what does this mean on my Debussy piece?  
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Posts: 269
vanityx3 Offline
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vanityx3  Offline
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Posts: 269
Quote
Originally posted by Aviator1010110:
Quote
Originally posted by BruceD:
[b]
Quote
Originally posted by vanityx3:
[b]
Murmure et en retenant peu à peu
means,
murmur (whisper) by holding back little by little;

although I'm unsure why it wouldn't be La murmure...but thats a french grammar problem, it doesn't affect the music.
The noun 'murmure' in French is masculine, so it would be 'le murmure' if Debussy were using the word as a noun.

The verb "murmurer" means to utter softly, to murmur, to whisper and is a synonym for "chuchoter", to whisper.

However, the actual direction is "murmuré et en retenant un peu" Debussy is using the past participle of the verb "murmurer" as an adjective : "Whispered", "uttered softly", so a fair translation of the direction is "Murmured, and holding back little by little"; in other words, play very softly, with no accents, and gradually slow down.

Regards, [/b]
HA! Leave it to the retired French teacher.

That has to be THE most complete translation of a musical term I've ever seen. Bravo! [/b]
Thank you Bruce for your explanations and corrections. By the way, I never knew you were a retired french teacher, I'm looking to be a future french teacher. I'm only in french 4 right now, I still need advanced french classes though.

I won't soon forget your corrections, as I was unsure if murmurer was a synonym for chuchoter or not. I actually knew murmure would be a masculine noun, I just had a brain fart though

And I understand what you were saying about murmuré being the past participle of murmurer and used as an adjective. I didn't make this connection though from the first post where the accents were left off.


well I'm 20 years old, and I'm teaching myself piano.

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