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Arghhh Offline OP
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I'm playing the song "J'ai ferme mon coeur" (sorry I don't remember the keystroke to give an accent aigu...) by the Canadian composer Jean Coulthard which has instructions containing the word "augmentez". This word I would translate to "increase" in English. I am unclear whether this means to increase just the sound, as in a crescendo, or to increase the speed, or both.

For example, in ms. 9-10 there is a 2ms. hairpin crescendo to forte, and above that is "Augmentez Progressivement", then ms. 11-12 is a hairpin decrescendo to piano, and above that it says "Dim. et retenue". It seems the "Dim" is redundant.

There is another "Augmentez" later in the piece, also accompanied by dynamic changes.


Is there a standard meaning in music for augmentez?


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The way I've seen other composers us this is most often as an indication to increase the tempo. But it varies a lot by context. Debussy uses this in many instances to mean an increase in BOTH tempo and and dynamics, as it does in Poulenc in his songs And Faure, and Ravel, and Reynaldo Hahn, and Andre Caplet, et cetera.

How do you think the composer is using the term? What makes the most sense to you?

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'augmentez' means 'to become greater', in french music it is often used to broaden the tempo and increase the volume, NOT to increase the speed, to the contrary.


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Originally Posted by dolce sfogato
'augmentez' means 'to become greater', in french music it is often used to broaden the tempo and increase the volume, NOT to increase the speed, to the contrary.


thumb +1

Edit: Think 'expand'

Last edited by prout; 11/15/16 05:16 PM.
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well I disagree.

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Arghhh Offline OP
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I had found "expand" in one of the music dictionaries online too. Thing is, in this music, the sections under "augmenter" had faster notes (mostly 16th and 32nd as opposed to eighths). Wouldn't it be strange to write faster notes in the score, but then want to slow down the tempo?


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My Alfred Masterworks edition of the Debussy preludes translates "augmentez" as "increase, enlarge, get louder", and "augmentez progressivement" as "crescendo continually". So they think it refers to volume and not speed.

But rather than argue it abstractly, let's look at the Preludes themselves. I found "augmentez" in two Book I preludes:

-- In "Ce qu'a vu le lent d'Ouest", there are indications marked "En serrant et augmentant", and "serrez et augmentez". Now "serrez" and "serrant" definitely mean to get faster; this suggests to me that the "augment"ing is telling us to get louder.

-- In "La Cathédral engloutie", there is the indication "augmentez progressivement (sans presser)". I think this is pretty strong evidence: he's telling us to augment, without going faster. "Augmentez" must mean to get louder. (And, indeed, in this particular passage, everyone gets louder without speeding up.)

-J

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Well beat-pi, that about answers it. Thanks.

Don't speed up when you see 'augmenter'.

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Originally Posted by prout
Well beat-pi...


Funny: pi starts out 3.1415, not the 31425 of my username. But it comes from the old security code we had to punch in to get to the computer rooms in math grad school, which was mnemonically described to us as "pi and a quarter".

-J

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Originally Posted by beet31425
Originally Posted by prout
Well beat-pi...


Funny: pi starts out 3.1415, not the 31425 of my username. But it comes from the old security code we had to punch in to get to the computer rooms in math grad school, which was mnemonically described to us as "pi and a quarter".

-J


confirmation bias on my part. i saw 314 and assumed the rest. never got past 3.1415928 on memory though.

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The French words literally mean "progressively increase" or "become more". Wouldn't the nature of the music itself give some feeling to what this is about. "Sans presser" does not mean not to speed up, but not to rush.

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Originally Posted by keystring
The French words literally mean "progressively increase" or "become more". Wouldn't the nature of the music itself give some feeling to what this is about. "Sans presser" does not mean not to speed up, but not to rush.


Being a literalist and a bit of a physicist, two things come to mind.

1) The verb 'presser' is most commonly used to mean 'push' or 'quicken' in a musical context.

2) One cannot speed up anything unless one imparts a 'push' (force) to the objects current velocity.

Therefore, it is reasonable to assume the Debussy, who left little of his music unmarked, meant by 'sans presser', don't get faster.

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Originally Posted by dolce sfogato
'augmentez' means 'to become greater', in french music it is often used to broaden the tempo and increase the volume, NOT to increase the speed, to the contrary.

Yes, as opposed to the opposite, which would be some form of the word stringendo.

Both augmentation and stringendo come from fugues: Augmentation to increase the note value of each note in the subject (modern: to slow down, broaden), and stringendo to decrease the note value of each note in the subject (modern: speed up, accel).


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Originally Posted by Arghhh
I had found "expand" in one of the music dictionaries online too. Thing is, in this music, the sections under "augmenter" had faster notes (mostly 16th and 32nd as opposed to eighths). Wouldn't it be strange to write faster notes in the score, but then want to slow down the tempo?

Nope, not at all. Broaden the overall tempo so that the faster notes don't get lost and don't come across as a rushed mess.


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Look at the fioritura in Chopin. Keeping the same tempo would create a very unmusical line. In many cases they occur near the end of a phrase after a rit. marking.

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Originally Posted by prout
Originally Posted by keystring
The French words literally mean "progressively increase" or "become more". Wouldn't the nature of the music itself give some feeling to what this is about. "Sans presser" does not mean not to speed up, but not to rush.


Being a literalist and a bit of a physicist, two things come to mind.

1) The verb 'presser' is most commonly used to mean 'push' or 'quicken' in a musical context.

2) One cannot speed up anything unless one imparts a 'push' (force) to the objects current velocity.

Therefore, it is reasonable to assume the Debussy, who left little of his music unmarked, meant by 'sans presser', don't get faster.

You can have a hurried and rushed manner, or you can leisurely and gracefully speed up.

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Originally Posted by SonatainfSharp
[quote=dolce sfogato]
Both augmentation and stringendo come from fugues: Augmentation to increase the note value of each note in the subject (modern: to slow down, broaden), and stringendo to decrease the note value of each note in the subject (modern: speed up, accel).


Oh, dear, I must have been tired.

Stringendo from a fugue means that the subject re-enters sooner than it was when the second voice was first introduced. In modern applications, it means to speed up as you are playing subsequent notes sooner.

Diminution is when the subject is reduced in note values...sorry!


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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by prout
Originally Posted by keystring
The French words literally mean "progressively increase" or "become more". Wouldn't the nature of the music itself give some feeling to what this is about. "Sans presser" does not mean not to speed up, but not to rush.


Being a literalist and a bit of a physicist, two things come to mind.

1) The verb 'presser' is most commonly used to mean 'push' or 'quicken' in a musical context.

2) One cannot speed up anything unless one imparts a 'push' (force) to the object's current velocity.

Therefore, it is reasonable to assume the Debussy, who left little of his music unmarked, meant by 'sans presser', don't get faster.

You can have a hurried and rushed manner, or you can leisurely and gracefully speed up.


Even gracefully speeding up requires a push (force) - no push, no speed up, unless you know something the laws of physics of which the rest of the world is ignorant. I really do have to assume that when Debussy says 'sans presser' he means 'without ze push' and, therefore, without getting faster.

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I believe augmenter is the word for increase in volume, and serrez is the word for increase in tempo.


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