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18th Century Pianos: Design, Style, Music

Although the earliest pianos were invented at the beginning of the eighteenth-century, it was not until the 1780s that the piano began to usurp the harpsichord as the keyboard instrument of choice (Rowland, 1993, p.13). There were two distinct schools of piano building – English and Viennese – and it was only late in the […]

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Blog Education Historical Performance Music Music Analysis Musicology Partimento Review

Review: The Pianist’s Guide to Historic Improvisation by John Mortensen

“If I have one regret about my traditional education, it’s that it wasn’t traditional enough. We have forgotten that in the eighteenth century – those hundred years that form the bedrock of classical music – improvisation was a foundation of music training. Oddly, our discipline has discarded a practice that helped bring it into being. […]

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Analysis Education Music Music Analysis Musicology Partimento Realisation

Sala – No. 14

The partimenti of Nicola Sala (1713-1801) focus more on counterpoint than pedagogues from the Durante schools of Partimento. Sala teaches invertible counterpoint through presenting themes in the bass followed by their countersubject (which he sometimes marks with a Signa Congruentia ‘:S’ or ‘S:’ (Van Tour, 2017, Introduction)). The theme (interesting) must be played over the […]

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Analysis Education Music Music Analysis Musicology Partimento Realisation

Durante – Regola 31

Technique in Focus: “On the preparation of the 9th, which stems from the 3rd” This partimento demonstrates the “Up 2nd, Down 3rd” ‘Fonte’ sequence with suspended 9ths. The purpose of this rule prescribed by Durante, is to practise the prepation of a 9th suspension using the 3rd of the preparatory chord. The third of the […]

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Education Music Analysis Musicology Partimento Realisation

Durante – Regola 34

Technique in Focus: “On the use of (sequences of) 6/5s” Regola 34 by Durante focuses on the Down 3rd, Up 2nd sequence (this schema is also an example of an inverted Cycle of Fifths). I have used the term ‘Fonte’ to apply to this sequence rather than just the Fonte as prescribed by Riepel (Gjerdingen, […]

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Blog Education Historical Performance Music Musicology Partimento

Chapter 3: A Case for Partimento Pt. 2 – Improvisation

The Benefits of Improvisation A linguistic parallel may be applied to outline the relationship of different musical fields of study. When learning a foreign language, a student may be taught grammar, aural, literacy, pronunciation, and translation skills. But a language may only be said to have been learnt if the student can speak it. Subsequently, […]

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Blog Film Music Music Music Analysis Musicology

Wuthering Heights (1939): How the Soundtrack Influences Our Perception of the Narrative

The music for Wuthering Heights (Wyler, 1939) was led by “arguably the most influential music director in Hollywood”, Alfred Newman (Cooke, 2008, p.  103). He was an American-born composer at a time when the output of film scores was “dominated by European composers” (Cooke, 2008, p. 103). Edward Powell worked as an uncredited orchestrator for […]

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Analysis Blog Music Musicology

Analysis: Schubert D. 899 No. 1 ‘Impromptu in C Minor’

The first set of Impromptus (D.899) was written in the penultimate year of Schubert’s life, the summer of 1827. It was Schubert’s publisher, Haslinger, who titled this set of piano works. Initially, only the first two Impromptus were published in late 1827 (Fisk, 2001, p.115). Schubert wrote the two sets of Impromptus in the same […]

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Analysis Blog Historical Performance Musicology

Historical Performance: Brahms Op. 117 No. 1 by Adelina de Lara (1951)

The recordings made by Adelina de Lara, Ilona Eibenschütz and Etelka Freund are interesting case studies to consider. These are women whose professional performing careers were “curtailed by marriage” (Kim, 2012, p.52). This removal from performing life kept, to some degree, their performing practices away from the changing musical culture of the 20th century. Therefore, […]

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Blog Historical Performance Music Analysis Musicology

Historical Performance: Two Recordings of Quilter, Go, Lovely Rose

1934 Mark Raphael – Voice; Roger Quilter – Piano 2014 Mark Stone – Voice; Stephen Barlow – Piano Go, Lovely Rose is the third song in Quilter’s Op. 24 ‘5 English Love Lyrics’. This opus, and Op. 25 were “no more than loose collections of solo songs written by Quilter over a period of seven […]