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Second livre de pièces de clavecin (Couperin, François)
Yesterday: 0. Past 30 days: 2. Total Uses: More Statistics. Listen Listen Online. For a performer, this can be a particularly interesting and useful tool when dealing with more difficult, or extreme keys, such as F minor. Written in a rondeau form, La Forqueray bears the name of the famous viol player Antoine Forqueray — , who was known for his extravagance and virtuosity as much as for his angry temper. In this section, I am focusing on the works for harpsichord only, as the addition of a melodic instrument adds too many other considerations to the already large issue of temperaments.
Originally in Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Dissertation sur la musique moderne, Steblin gives a very useful account of keys and their characteristics throughout history. In the case of F minor, European writers seem to agree on its character. It represents a fatal anxiety and is exceedingly moving. The contrast with the middle section in F minor is then intensified by the change of colour and thus of character, a change that would be much less highlighted in equal temperament.
Nevertheless, in the particular case of F minor, it stands to reason that in any kind of French common temperament, as long as it is circular, this key will sound very contrasted and colourful. Adding contrast Another advantage of using a temperament that has a great variety of colours comes from the fact that a few pieces by Duphly can be considered as being harmonically stagnant. For instance, the beginning of La Victoire Second Livre is very much centered around D major and its dominant A major, to which the piece modulates during the first half.
In bar 38 see Figure 22 we find ourselves landing on an E-major chord, the starting point of a dominant prolongation that makes up the last third of the first half. Bach used the same form in his Ciaccona for solo violin. La Victoire, bars 26— If played in equal temperament, the passage in bars 38—44 goes mostly unnoticed, the only stress coming from the gradual raise towards a higher register. When tuned in this temperament, the brilliant character of the first section of the piece, featuring A major and E major, is contrasted in the second section by the softness evoked by the key of A minor and its highlighted pure third C-E.
A characteristic of this last collection is that all movements are in different tonalities and travel through uncommon keys in a manner that makes their harmonies evident. More contrasted temperaments therefore do not fare well in these pieces. Furthermore, the presence of the Alberti bass line, paired with its typical melodic line, requires a subtler tuning in order to not sound bluntly out-of-tune and generally unpleasant.
In such cases, the temperament Marpurg suggested offers a good middle ground. Not quite equal, it grants the comfortable use of all tonalities, while still retaining a subtle, almost insinuated tension in the keys at the far end of the system. It is not possible to know with certainty which temperament a composer such as Jacques Duphly favoured, and clues from his music could point both to equal and to unequal circular temperaments. It would be reasonable to think that his thoughts on the subject evolved just as his musical language and style did. Many books about tuning and temperaments present tables full of numbers and equations, quite often with no explanation as to how temperaments actually work.
Other books detail how to tune specifically tempered intervals by counting beats per second, a method borrowed from piano tuners and that can be very efficient, but that can grow quickly limited unless it is used together with an understanding of temperaments.
The choice of a temperament should also, ultimately, become a tool that will allow performers to choose sound colours that help intensify the character of a piece and reinforce the musical thought and expression that is unique to each musician. Conclusion My desire in the present dissertation to include elements pertaining to musical aesthetics, such as expression and temperaments, as they relate to French harpsichord music of the mid- eighteenth century, originated in my activities as a harpsichord player. As I became more interested in this repertoire, I realized that there was a flagrant lack of information available, especially for those who cannot read French.
When I first embarked upon this project, I did not realize how much study it requires to fully grasp French aesthetics, even for a targeted period of a little more than twenty years, nor did I suspect how few sources relate this aesthetic to instrumental music.
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What I offer here is a start, and it is my hope that it will soon grow to a more consistent body of knowledge for the benefit of musicians and musicologists interested in this repertoire. The research on expressivity presented in the second chapter also relates to French musical aesthetics, as they were understood before the Enlightenment but also as they evolved through the theories of the philosophers. A better grasp of the aspects that pertain to instrumental music, or more specifically to harpsichord music, will allow instrumentalists to take advantage of the different levels of freedom implied therein, and to transcend the ostensibly rigid structure and notation of the music.
Reconciliation of these three seemingly conflicting elements freedom, rigidity of structure, and rigidity of notation is fundamental to achieve musical expressivity in this aesthetic, as is the understanding of the directly related concept of mouvement. The difficulty of defining or explaining intangible ideas such as musical expression and mouvement makes it necessary to approach this repertoire from various perspectives, including a general awareness of the aesthetic from which it emerged.
Applied to music, the concepts of the imitation of nature and the role of visual or poetic referents point less to an aesthetic of straightforward metric rigidity, than one made of a subtle play between the objectivity of the subject and the time required for the audience to grasp its representation.
The importance of an essential aspect of historical performance practice, the knowledge of French temperaments and their resulting sound, which can influence the mouvement of a piece as illustrated in the third chapter, cannot be overstated. Explaining, and even translating these sometimes ambiguous texts always leaves space for interpretation.
However, not only are they, in my opinion, clearer than any mathematical chart can be, they also present enough similarities to allow modern readers to discern common characteristics and establish a specificity of eighteenth-century French temperaments.http://pierreducalvet.ca/70318.php
Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music
Elements of French harpsichord performance practice, of which temperaments are a part, can be examined in terms of two broad concepts. The idea of mouvement is complemented by the idea of touch toucher , which relates not only to the physical movement of the finger hitting the key, but also to questions of fingerings and articulation. These issues are largely outside the scope of this dissertation, but are as important to performance practice as is the concept of mouvement.
Research on the essence of French touch would also benefit from considering harpsichord making during the French Enlightenment.
Read e-book Pièces de clavecin 9th ordre, Allemande (à deux Clavecins) - Harpsichord
This would help define the intimate relationship that exists between the techniques used by builders and the specific qualities of their instruments , and the sensitive touch for which the clavecinistes were renowned. This relationship, which directly affects the way both the music and the instrument sound, is also influenced by indications of articulation found in musical scores, for instance, and could be clarified through information drawn from historical treatises. While I have focused most of my research on French aesthetics, a similar endeavour that would target Italian musical aesthetics, for instance, and that would be available in English, would be of great value to musicians.
In the case of this dissertation, for instance, such knowledge would have been helpful. Indeed, while Duphly composed in a style that derived directly from the traditional French harpsichord style, he also integrated many Italian elements into his keyboard music. To fully understand this dual aesthetic nature of his corpus, it was not only important to identify traits inherent to French music, but also to underline the stylistic elements specific to Italian music.
For too long now, musicologists have failed to recognize the musical value of later eighteenth-century harpsichord music. They often limit their study to comparisons with the music of the previous generations, or with their Italian and German counterparts, without trying to understand it in the aesthetic, social, and philosophical context of a very effervescent mid- eighteenth-century Paris. It has not helped matters that harpsichordists, myself included, have long avoided this repertoire.
This, together with a growing body of knowledge to which this dissertation contributes, should set the wheels in motion and help rehabilitate the composer and his period. Bibliography Archival material Duphly, Jacques. Archives nationales de France, Paris. Paris: Lacombe, January Observations sur la musique, les musiciens et les instruments.
Bacilly, Bertrand de.
Couperin Works for Two Harpsichords
Paris: Ballard, Batteux, Charles. Paris: Durand, Paris: D. Dictionnaire de musique. Amsterdam: Pierre Mortier, [c. Burney, Charles. Second ed. Robson, New-Bond- Street, and G. Robinson, Paternoster-Row, Collection lyrique. Edited by Moret de Lescer. Paris; Charleville, Corrette, Michel.
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Paris: Durand, Pissot, Les Bijoux indiscrets. Au Monomotapa [Paris], . Lettre sur les sourds et muets. Duphly, Jacques. Le Grand Clavier.