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Rule for playing grace notes #527169
11/16/03 10:37 AM
11/16/03 10:37 AM
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If the grace note has a line thru it, does that mean it should be played on or played before the beat? Does this rule apply universally to all periods and composers or is it one of those rules that is not always followed? The piece I am playing with the grace notes is the Piano Blues No.3 by Copland.

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Re: Rule for playing grace notes #527170
11/16/03 10:52 AM
11/16/03 10:52 AM
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Depends on style, context, value of the grace note, etc...

In Copland blues, I'd play it before the beat.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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Re: Rule for playing grace notes #527171
11/16/03 11:18 AM
11/16/03 11:18 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by Kreisler:
Depends on style, context, value of the grace note, etc...

In Copland blues, I'd play it before the beat.
But if "depends" on the things you listed above, why do some grace notes have lines through them and some do not? I assume the line through a grace note must mean something!

Re: Rule for playing grace notes #527172
11/16/03 11:56 AM
11/16/03 11:56 AM
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I guess grace notes with the little slash are often played a bit quicker and lighter, but it's hard to say. Different engravers print grace notes differently.

The problem is this: while there is a manual of standardized notation, composers don't read it, so different composers write things differently, and not always consistently at that. The best guide is always the ear.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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Re: Rule for playing grace notes #527173
11/16/03 03:07 PM
11/16/03 03:07 PM
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Grace notes with a slash through them should be played faster and lighter than those without a slash. As a rule, grace notes should be played right on the beat, not before the beat, but a lot of people tend to do the latter.

Re: Rule for playing grace notes #527174
11/16/03 03:14 PM
11/16/03 03:14 PM
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I believe the grace note (with a line through it) is played before, not on, the beat. While it has no inherent note value per se, in theory, the time it takes to execute it should then be subtracted from the subsequent note to keep the rhythm exactly in tact. The major exceptions are the many Chopin short cadenzas that appear thoroughout his piano works (and similarly in the Romantic repertoire), which, given their length, cannot possibly be treated the same way as one grace note of no value. Rather, those cadenzas are not required to adhere to strict rhythm at all and are often played ad libitum within reasonable limits.

Re: Rule for playing grace notes #527175
11/16/03 04:18 PM
11/16/03 04:18 PM
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See what I mean...one person says on, one person says before. They're both correct. In Mozart, you'd usually play them on. In Liszt, you'd usually go before. In Chopin, most people play before, but Eigeldinger's book (mentioned in another thread) suggests on.

Que sera, sera...


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Re: Rule for playing grace notes #527176
11/16/03 05:31 PM
11/16/03 05:31 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by RachFan:
I believe the grace note (with a line through it) is played before, not on, the beat. While it has no inherent note value per se, in theory, the time it takes to execute it should then be subtracted from the subsequent note to keep the rhythm exactly in tact.
Seems like the opposite would be true. If the grace note is played before the beat, then the next note would be on the beat and would not have to have anything subtracted from it to keep the rhythm. When the grace note is played on the beat the next note would automatically lose some time.

Re: Rule for playing grace notes #527177
11/16/03 07:46 PM
11/16/03 07:46 PM
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california
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It's not my personal opinion that grace notes should be played on the beat. I happened to ask my teacher the same question last week. She said grace notes with slashes are played so short and swift that they don't really take time away from the subsequent notes. Therefore they should start on the beat. Graces notes without slashes are longer so they're subjected to discrepancies. I would go with Eigeldinger in Chopin because he's an award-winning musicologist who has done a lot of research in the composer's works.

Re: Rule for playing grace notes #527178
11/16/03 07:56 PM
11/16/03 07:56 PM
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Sandra Rosenblum's scholarly book "Performance Practices in Classic Piano Music" mostly centers on the Viennese Classic era. Therein she says: "A small note played before the beat, taking its time from the preceding note but slurred to the following note in performance, is called a grace note. This name is also the nineteenth- and twentieth-century term for a small note that anticipates the beat." What she is referring to here is the grace note with the diagonal line through it, sometimes referred to as an acciaccatura (some would say incorrectly), as opposed to the more involved appoggiatura.

The "Harvard Dictionary of Music" in discussing the history of the appoggiatura points out that in the Baroque, there was flexibility in notation and rhythmic execution, but still governed by rules based on the melody, tempo and phrasing of the passage. After 1750 there appeared the "short appoggiatura", the forerunner of the grace note. In that era, the short appoggiatura was performed as a short note on the beat. This usually created a dissonance. This is the period too when the short diagonal line first appeared across the stem of the grace note. There were five rules on its use which we need not explore here.

In the 19th Century, according to the HDM, after 1800 performance of the grace note became anticipatory as opposed to be played on the beat. But some controversy still remains as to how it was to be executed exactly. In Modern music, it became the norm to "snap the grace note sharply onto the following note, so that it slightly anticipates the beat and imparts a decided accent to the main note."

I would still maintain that in Romantic and Modern music, no matter how quickly and lightly a grace note is executed, to any extent that it infriges on and robs any of the value of the principal note (even a portion of a second), then in theory (which is not always the same as practicality, I realize)that exact same amount of time must then be subtracted from the principal note for purposes of retaining rhythmic integrity. This would be impossible for any pianist to consciously calculate, of course; rather, it would happen intuitively, the same as in playing rubato, for example.

Re: Rule for playing grace notes #527179
11/17/03 01:36 AM
11/17/03 01:36 AM
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I believe and have always been taught that slashed grace notes fall before the beat and non slashed on the beat. This has consistently worked for me in all repertoire.

Mike

Re: Rule for playing grace notes #527180
11/17/03 02:43 AM
11/17/03 02:43 AM
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According to Valery Lloyd Watts and Carole L. Bigler, in their guide, Ornamentation: A Question & Answer Manual, Mozart was among the first to use the symbol of an eighth note with a slash. They say it is simply an old way of writing a sixteenth-note. Likewise, the eighth note that is slashed twice is an old way of writing a 32nd note. If the slashed eighth note is before a quarter note, it is played on the beat for its written value with this result: sixteenth followed by dotted eighth. If, on the other hand, it is placed before an eighth, the result would be two sixteenth notes. After 1900, there is more latitude in that the short appoggiatura is either played ahead of the beat or simultaneously with the main note.

Re: Rule for playing grace notes #527181
11/17/03 05:56 AM
11/17/03 05:56 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by RachFan:
I would still maintain that in Romantic and Modern music, no matter how quickly and lightly a grace note is executed, to any extent that it infriges on and robs any of the value of the principal note (even a portion of a second), then in theory (which is not always the same as practicality, I realize)that exact same amount of time must then be subtracted from the principal note for purposes of retaining rhythmic integrity. This would be impossible for any pianist to consciously calculate, of course; rather, it would happen intuitively, the same as in playing rubato, for example.
This applies only when the grace note is played on the beat.

Re: Rule for playing grace notes #527182
11/17/03 09:09 PM
11/17/03 09:09 PM
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Pianoloverus:

How in the world can you be up and writing about the grace note at 5:56 a.m.?!? laugh

Re: Rule for playing grace notes #527183
11/17/03 09:15 PM
11/17/03 09:15 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by RachFan:
I would still maintain that in Romantic and Modern music, no matter how quickly and lightly a grace note is executed, to any extent that it infriges on and robs any of the value of the principal note (even a portion of a second), then in theory (which is not always the same as practicality, I realize)that exact same amount of time must then be subtracted from the principal note for purposes of retaining rhythmic integrity. This would be impossible for any pianist to consciously calculate, of course; rather, it would happen intuitively, the same as in playing rubato, for example.
Compliments might be inappropriate over in this Corner, but I nonetheless must say - Rachfan you write beautifully.


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Re: Rule for playing grace notes #527184
11/17/03 10:02 PM
11/17/03 10:02 PM
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Thanks, apple, I really appreciate it! As I look back at that post, the first sentence was probably the longest one ever posted on this board!


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