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☢ Interpreting Bowing Notation & Terms ☢
Can be confusing!
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (11 votes) 

June 30, 2022 - 6:33 am
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 5691
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@AndrewH -


I really appreciate all this, think I have a MUCH clearer picture of Classical music than when I started this thread. 

I definitely had some misconceptions - and I'm so grateful for all the help! 

Looking forward to learning more. 🤗

- Emily

Gordon Shumway
London, England

June 30, 2022 - 7:50 am
Member Since: August 1, 2016
Forum Posts: 2189
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AndrewH said
a lot is simply open to interpretation.  

...because notation is inadequate - the composer has an idea, uses what limited notation is available. Then the composer dies. Then someone has to fill in the gaps, i.e., interpret. It's the same with poetry and drama.

The best you can do is if the composer has conducted an orchestra or played the piece, and been recorded, but that's not really any kind of gold standard, as tastes change and some composers can have bizarre ideas that were worth amending. Some composers wrote for inferior instruments, or ones that differed greatly from modern instruments.

A further orchestral consideration is that no notation has ever existed as to how each section should counterbalance the other sections. That's always the conductor's vision.

Originally pp meant pianissimo, which is Italian for as quiet as possible and ff meant fortissimo, as strongly as possible. During the 19th century composers started writing ppp, pppp, ppppp, fff, ffff, fffff, which are logical impossibilities, but keeping up with the industrially improved instrument technology and possible balance of orchestral sections was perhaps intended. Or perhaps they wrote for orchestras that had become lackadaisical and lucklustre through playing too much Haydn?


Fort Lauderdale
July 26, 2022 - 2:09 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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Heifetz's up and down bow staccato are second to none. Amazing.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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