Tempo-indication in the 18th Century in:

Helmut Breidenstein

Mozart's Tempo-System, page 13 - 28

A Handbook for Practice and Theory

1. Edition 2019, ISBN print: 978-3-8288-4291-5, ISBN online: 978-3-8288-7203-5,

Tectum, Baden-Baden


Bibliographic information
Tempo-indication in the 18th Century 1) Textbooks The didactic books of Quantz, C.Ph.E. Bach, Marpurg, Tosi/Agricola and Leopold Mozart have often been taken uncritically as a basis for present-day performance-practice of the most different compositions of the 18th Century. It was ignored that their vast distribution at the time was not based on the general validity of all of their precepts but on the fact that they were simply the most eminent schools of the Century for flute, piano, singing and violin.— In their pedagogical intention they tend, however, sometimes to generalization and simplification; they leave unmentioned what they regard as self-evident and „produce under the constraint o f their system unrealistic constructions,"15 Charles Rosen noted in his perceptive work „The Classical Style. Haydn, Mo zart, Beethoven": „Almost any rule about eighteenth-century performance-practice w ill find its Contem porary contradiction somewhere or other. Above all, when we remember how fast musical fashions change, we must beware of applying the ideas of 1750 to 1775 or to 1800."— The additional information in the writings of Joseph Riepel, Jean and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Reichardt, Kirnberger, J.A.P. Schulz, Koch and Türk was strangely little regarded. Although „the works precede the doctrine" 17 and „principles of performance lag behind the development in styles of composition"18 and „traditions were only fixed in writing when they began to die out"19, authors a f t e r the time of Mozart like Gottfried Weber, G.W. Fink, Hummel, Czerny and Sechter were only seldom consulted. Yet, apart from that, questions of tempo cannot be solved in general, but only by direct approach to the complete works of each individual composer. What did he h i m s e l f mean by his indications? 2) The metres and their „natural" tempo ln contrast to the abstract division of time in the modern system of notation, where, for example, 3/4 time is nothing other than 75% of 4/4-time, or twice as long as 3/8 time (the tempo of the smallest note value normally remaining the same in changes of metre), and where tempo is defined exclusively by tempo words, metronome-marks or timing, the complex metrical system of the 18th Century was based on „natural" differences between the playing speeds of each individual metre and their manner of execu tion. Leopold M ozart 1756: ,,C, 2 o r 2/4, 3/1, 3/2, 3/4, 3/8, 6/4, 6/8, 12/8 : These species o f m etre are already su ffic ien t to show in some extent the natural difference between a s low and fast m e lody ."— Jo h a n n Philipp Kirnberger/ J.A.P. Sc h u lz 1776: „The composer must have acquired a correct fee ling for the natural tempo ofevery metre, or for what is called tempo giusto. In general among the metres that have the same number of beats, the one that has larger or longer beats is naturally somewhat more serious than the one of shorter beats. Thus 4/4 metre is less lively than 4/8 metre; 3/2 metre is more ponderous than 3/4, and the latter is not as lively as 3/8. For solemn and pathe- Tempo-indication in the 18th Century 13 — Frederick Neumann pointed out that Quantz and C.Ph.E. Bach who played music together in the same room contradicted each other in the details o f their textbooks at many places, and warned of the „use o f w rong sources" and the „w rong use of sources" (The Use o f Baroque Treatises on Musical Performance, 1967, p. 318). A See also: Neal Zaslaw, Mozart's Symphonies, 1989, chapter 12 „Performance Practice", p. 492 bottom ; and A Stefan Kunze, Aufführungsprobleme im Rezitativ des späteren 18. Jahrhunderts. Ausführung und Interpretation, in M ozartjahrbuch 1968/70, p. 132. 15 Nicole Schwindt-Gross, Einfache, zusammengesetzte und doppelt notierte Takte, in: Musiktheorie 4, 1989, p. 203. 16 The whole passage reads: „O ur knowledge of Contemporary performance from descriptions, memoirs, and treatises can help here, but we must beware o f letting it lead us blindly. I have never read a didactic book on Contemporary performance which could be trusted very far: most so-called piano methods w ill appear wrong or irrelevant to any pianist. We all know how misleading almost all descriptions o f performances are: the few that are relatively accurate w ill be almost indistinguishable in twenty years from the others. There is no reason to th ink that w riting about music was any better in the eighteenth Century than it is today. Almost any rule about eighteenth-century performance-practice w ill find its Contemporary contradiction somewhere or other. Above all, when we remember how fast musical fashions change, we must beware o f applying the ideas o f 1 750 to 1 775 or to 1800." (Charles Rosen, The classical style, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, 1971, p. 103f.) 17 Charles Rosen, The classical style, p. 401. 18 Hans Peter Schmitz, Einige Bemerkungen zur Wiedergabe klassischer Musik, in: Musica 1982/1, p. 9. 19 Hans Peter Schmitz, Prinzipien der Aufführungspraxis Alter Musik, (before 1951), p. 4. — Leopold Mozart, Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule (‘Essay on a fundamental School o f Violin Playing'), 1 756, p. 28, § 4; [app. p. 271]. A Still in 1854 this 18th Century conception was not forgotten. See Simon Sechter, Die Grundsätze der musikalischen Komposition (‘The Principles o f Musical Composition'), p .4 ,§ 1 [app. p. 347] 14 Tempo-indication in the 18th Century tic pieces, alla breve is especially appropriate and is therefore used in motets and other solemn church pieces. Large 4/4 metre has a very emphatic and serious motion and is suited to stately choruses, to fugues in church pieces, and generally to pieces where pomp and gravity is required. 3/2 metre is emphatic and very serious. 4/4 metre is best suited for a lively exhilarating expression that is still somewhat emphatic. 2/4 is also lively but already combined with more lightness and, for that reason, can be used well to express playfulness. 4/8 metre is already totally fleeting, and its liveliness no longer contains any of the emphasis of 4/4 metre. The character of 3/4 appears to be gentle and noble, particularly when it consists only, or at least mostly, of quarter notes. But 3/8 metre has a liveliness that is somewhatfrolicsome. [...] „Therefore one must have a feeling for the special effect of each metre and choose the one that best represents the expression to be portrayed."—' 21,23 a) Alla breve metre ($) Athanasius Kircher 1650: „Although the whole secret of music consists of the exact and m anifold execution of the tempo, I admit that I have seen nothing more confused, nothing treated more imprecisely than this. I read about this in the works of Franchinus, Zarlino, Glarean and almost countless others; yet they are so confused and give so little pleasure, that in the end, even if you spend a lot of time on it, you will hardly be able to understand what you have read. Moreover the opinions of musicians about this topic differ so widely, that you w ill hardly find anything you can adopt w ithout reserve."24 Chaos prevailed especially in the perception of the „tactus-alla-breve", a relic from the mensural notation. Around 1 760 2/1 and 4/2 metres, as well as the most diverse kinds of 2/2 metres, were still indicated by the time signature The ,large', ,small', ,heavy', ,light', ,genuine', ,divided', ,proper' alla breve, the ,antique semi -allabreve', ,alla capella', ,tempo maggiore', etc. were all spoken o fw ith various meanings. 22 The tim e signature ,2 ', used m ain ly in France, caused add itiona l confusion ; m ost authors regarded it as a m edium o r fast tem po, bu t it was no t consisten tly d istinguished from In add ition , Praetorius, Lo ulie , Ja n o w k a , Sa in t -Lambert, Samber And H einichen report countless mistakes in copies and prin ts—. M os t theorists like KlRNBERGER, Brossard and Q uantz (and others far in to the 19th Century) th ough t the alla breve to be twice as fast as the „o rd in a ry fo u r-fo u r tim e " (this, the baroque ,large ' C -m etre - see be low was generally considered to be „slow "). — Joh. Phil. Kimberger / J.A.P. Schulz, Die Kunst des reinen Satzes in der Musik (‘The Art o fS trict Musical Composition'), II, 1776, p. 106, 133 and 136) [app. p. 280] A „The fact that these and several other metres that we shall list are considered superfluous and obsolete today indicates either that good and correct execution has been lost or that an aspect o f expression which is easy to obtain only in these metres is entirely unknown to us. Both [of these conclusions] do little credit to the art, which supposedly has reached its peak in our tim e." Die Kunst des reinen Satzes (‘The Art o fS tric t Musical Composition'), II, p. 120 [app. p. 277] 22 „Joh. Seb. Bach and Couperin, who were indisputably capable of the ideal execution, and have not w ithout reason set fugues and other pieces in 6/16 and other metres that are unusual today, thereby confirm that each metre has its own manner of execution and its own natural tempo, so that it is not at all unimportant in which metre a piece be written and performed." (J.A.P. Schulz: „M etre" in Sulzer, Allgemeine Theorie (‘General Theory o f the Fine Arts'), vol. IV, 1 774, p. 496) [app. p. 290]. A See also: D.C. Türk, Klavierschule ('School ofClavier Playing’), 1 789, p. 96, § 59 [app. p. 300]. 23 About the „nature of metre" see also H. Chr. Koch, Anle itungzur Composition (‘Essay as an Instruction Manual for Composition'), vol. 11,1787, p. 273, §50 f f [app. p. 318]. 24 Athanasius Kircher, Musurgia universaüs, 1650, p. 676 (Translation H.B./L.F.). 22 „ A lla B reve and A lla S e m ib r e v e are expressions used now only in Italy to indicate a music which is to be executed as if in church. The expressions cause trouble for German music teachers and are explained one moment like this, one moment like that, depending on how one forms one's own idea of this musical mystery. [...] Only in Italian chapel or church music is it still usual to write in the old way. In order that the singer or player, who could take the poor things [breves and semibreves] for whole beats, should not go astray, one gives him a sign w ith the headings ,alla breve', ,alla semibreve' or ,alla capella', by which he can immediately see that he has old-style notes in front o f him, and that he must beat time faster than if they were new-fashioned ones. Therefore one habitually gives the rule that ,alla breve' means one should play the notes more than ha lf as fast again, though w ithout giving a reason for this rule." (Abbe Vogler, article „Alla Breve" in Allgemeine Deutsche Enzyklopädie, 1778, p. 353). 22 M ic h a e l P r a e t o r iu s : „Some mix it up, now p, now C, and one can nevertheless see no difference in the notes or in the entire song." (Syntagma musicum III, 1619); A Et ie n n e Lo u l ie offers seven signs: circles and half-circles, crossed through or not, w ith or w ithout dot: „The practice of them is not very certain; some use them in one manner, some in another." (Elements ou principes du musique, 1696, p. 60; A T h o m a s Ba l t h a s a r Ja n o w k a : „Everywhere one can hear among musicians different opinions about these things [C, 2, p], and as many in fact as there are heads; and the composers mix up one w ith the other everywhere." (Clavis ad Thesaurum, 1701, p. 15f). A Sa in t -L a m b e r t , Les Principes du Clavecin, 1702, p. 24f; A Jo h a n n Ba p t is t Sa m b e r : „M any mistakes are made by copyists who believe it to be all the same whether the signs C stays open or is crossed through [p]." (Manuductio ad organum, 1 704, p. 9); A Jo h . D a v id H e in ic h e n , Der General-Bass in der Composition, 1 7 2 8 , p . 3 5 0 . Tempo-indication in the 18th Century 15 Other authors said $ was „somewhat faster".27 Jean Rousseau 's and M arpurg ' s: „um die Hälfte geschwin der"28 could mean either half as fast again or twice as fast! Jo h a n n M attheson 's29 and Jo h a n n Gottfried W alther ' s30 alla breve was „very fast" (since it contained only quarter-notes), Joseph Riepel on the other hand complained that $ was performed „m uch too fast".31 The verbal heading „alla breve" or „alla capella" was regarded by some as a mere indication of something written in fugal style, by others as an addition indicating greater speed,— by still others as a doubling of the Yet most composers handled it either carelessly— or generally omitted it - as Mozart did. Quite contrary to the theory of Walter Gerstenberg and his disciples in the 1950s, who claimed the „integer valor notarum ", a system of invariable durations of the note values and consequent „tempo proportions",34 to be valid far into the 19th Century; many authors of the 1 7th and 18th centuries, however, spoke in astonishingly differentiated and practical ways about the tempo problem of the alla breve: - M ich a e l P rae to rius 1619: „One must consider text and harmony in order to know where the beat must be taken more slowly or more quickly."35 - M arin M ersenne 1636: „As conducting gestures can be done ,faster or slower, he who conducts the concert determines the tempo suitable for the kind of music and its contents, or according to his w ill." [!]36 - Pier Francesco Valentini 1643: „The beat is sometimes adagio, sometimes presto, and someti mes midway between presto und adagio, according to the styles of the compositions and the meaning of the words."37 - Daniel Friderici 1649: „In singing, not one and the same beat shall be feit throughout: but the beat must comply with the words of the text. Because sometimes a swift, sometimes a slow beat is necessary."38 - Jo h a n n Da v id H einichen 1728: „ It is a matter of course that the normal measure [bar] of the alla breve can be either more retarded or more driven forwards."39 - Friedrich W ilhelm M arpurg 1 763: „The tempo may be swifter or less swift since there are diffe rent grades ofliveliness also in the alla breve style."40 Accordingly, except in superficial, approximate gradings of tempo words into 3, 4, or 5 „classes" in instructions for beginners (e.g. the Iist of pulse-regulated tempos in „On playing the flute" by Quantz), or in Saint-Lambert's naive m ultiplication by eight o f the tempo from the C-metre via $ and ,2' to 4/8, „tempo proportions" can no longer be found in any author's treatise of the 18th Century.11 D uring the second ha lf o f the Century „the traditional notational practices o f the church style are thrown overboard. The younger composers abandon the traditional alla breve metre, which had been the norm for 27 See Robert Donington, The Interpretation o f Early Music, NewVersion 1979, p. 410 ff. A George Houle, Metre in Music 1600-1800, Performance, Perception and Notation, 1987, p. 57. 28 Friedrich W ilhelm Marpurg, Kritische Briefe über die Tonkunst (‘Criticai Letters about the Art o f Music'), II, 6 7 * letter, §71 ,p .333) 29 Johann Mattheson,Das Neu-Eröffnete Orchestre (‘The newiy reveaied orchestra'), 1713, p. 145, § 7 [app. p. 339]. 30 Johann Gottfried Walther, Musicaiisches Lexicon (‘Musical Dictionary'), 1732, p. 26f. 31 Jos. Riepel, Anfangsgründe zur musicaiischen Setzkunst (‘Basic Principies o fth e Art o f Composition'); „D e Rhythmopoeia, oder von der Tactordnung“ , 1 752, p. 78 [app. p. 320] 22 Telemann often wrote - probably in the same sense - „A lla breve" even over movements in C metre. 22 Thus Johann Sebastian Bach, who in his Mass in B minor did not indicate the Dona nobis pacem, whose music is nearly identical w ith that o fth e Gratias, once again verbally w ith „Alla breve" in addition to the tim e signature p. 34 Among others, Walter Gerstenberg, Die Zeitmaße und ihre Ordnungen in Bachs Musik, 1952, p. 20. 35 Michael Praetorius, Syntagma musicum III, 1619 ,p .51 . 36 Marin Mersenne, Harmonie universelle, 1636, Bd. II, p. 255. Livre 4me de la Composition, Prop. XX. („La Mesure est l'espace du temps que l'on employe a hausser & a baisser la main: & parce que l'on peut faire ces deux mouvemens opposez plus vistes, ou plus lents, celuy qui conduit le Concert, determine la vistesse suivant le genre de Musique & la matiere qu'il employe, ou suivant sa volonte.") 37 Tactus: „tal volta adagio, e tal volta presto, e tal volta tra'l presto e l'adagio mediocremente, secondo richiedono II stile delle compositioni, e II tal delle parole." (Pier Francesco Valentini, Trattato deiia battuta musicaie, 1643, p. 138, § 230). 38 Daniel Friderici, Musica figuralis, 41649, Cap. VII, Regula 19. 39 Johann David Heinichen, Der General-Bass in der Composition, 1 728, S. 947, (Supplementa, ad p. 332). 40 Friedrich W ilhelm Marpurg, Anleitung zur Musik überhaupt (‘Guide to Music in general and to the Art o f Singing in particuiar') 1763, part2, Chap. 4, §10, 3 [app. p. 335]. 22 Saint-Lambert, Les Principes du Clavecin, 1 702, p. 1 7-18. - On the basis of his indication of a walking speed of 3-3.5 m.p.h. (i.e. M M =108-120 per stride!) for the quarter notes in C-metre the result is M M =864-926 for the eighth notes in 4/8 metre.... (See my essay „Mäizeis M ord an Mozart. Die untauglichen 'Versuche, musikalische Z e itzu messen“ - l). 16 Tempo-indication in the 18th Century choral fugues during the forties and fifties. From about 1770 most composers write their fugues in [„large"] four-four m etre."42 In ten cases Mozart did so as well. The entirely different tf-metre of the classical style w ill be discussed from p. 046 under „Mozart's metres, B) Secular music". b) ,Large' four-four time (C) - tempo ordinario As a ,w h o le bar', the 4/4 m etre is the m atrix fo r ou r present day note values: whole note, ha lf note, quarter note, eighth note, etc., the m athem atical re lations o f w h ich rem ain always the same even in sm aller groupings like 3/4, 2/4, 3/8, 6/8— - in contrast to the variable values o f the mensural brevis, semibrevis, m inima, semiminima. (The eighteenth Century, however, considered the tem pos o f the metres as d iffe ren t „b y nature", see above). „Tempo ordinario means tha t all notes m ust be executed w ith the ir natural and norm al va lid ity " 44 - no t the ir values halved as they are in the $ o f the baroque style. The term refers exclusive ly to C m etre and, contra ry to w idespread o p in io n ,45 has no th ing to do w ith tempo giusto o r a „Standard tem po", as w e shall see. The ancient kind of C-metre, the , l a r g e ' f o u r - f o u r m e t r e , which today is often confused with the classical 4/4-metre, is mentioned by only few authors, since it was apparently still self-evident. They write that it is half as quick as the alla breve and is also used in place of the heavy 4/2-metre - undemandingly w ithout indicating their tempos. But even without tempo word the ,large' four-four metre was regarded as „s low "46, „very slow"—, „very heavy"48; „This sign (C) denotes a slow and grave singing".49 For H eini- CHEN it was the „ordinary slow metre", to be harmonized throughout from eighth note to eighth note.— Riepel spoke about „the o ld common 4/4 metre with its leisurely quarter-notes",51 Jo h a n n Gottfried W alther: „C; if nothing is additionally notated, it is always understood as adagio, and a slow beat is given, which the Italians call tempo ordinario."52 Daniel Gottlob Türk: „the large four-four metre (C or 4/4) has a strong and heavy execution and a slow tempo."53 Jo h a n n Philipp Kirnberger: „Four-Four metre, which is designated by C, is of two types: either it is used with the adjective grave in place of the 4/2 metre, in which case it is called , l a r g e ' 4 / 4 t i m e ; or it is the so-called common even metre, which is also called ,sm all' 4/4 time. ,Large' 4/4 time is of extremely weighty tempo and execution and, because of its emphatic nature, is suited primarily to church pieces, choruses, and fugues. Eighth and a few sixteenth notes in succession are its fastest note values."54 42 Bruce C. Maclntyre, „D ie Entwicklung der konzertierenden Messen Joseph Haydns und seiner Wiener Zeitgenossen", in: Haydn Studien VI, Heft 2, 1988, p. 87. — Jo h a n n Sa m u e l Pe tr i: „4/4 or common metre is the main metre of all; it has given the notes their values. For the name the notes have in the bar [measure] is kept even when [...] the relation of the parts or notes to the whole changes. This happens because the same note would otherwise have to be named differently, now this, now that. For example T is in 4/4 metre an eighth; in 4/8, i.e. 2/4 metre, it would be a quarter; in 3/4 metre a sixth; in 3/8 metre a third; in 12/8 a twelfth [...] Since this, however, would make it very complicated not only for beginners to learn the measure, but would generally cause frequent confusion among all musicians, the basic names that come from 4/4 metre, as the main metre, have been adhered to, so that one can always represent one and the same note-value by one and the same name." (Anleitung zur praktischen Musik, Leipzig 21782, p. 143). 44 Johann Gottfried Walther, MusicaHsches Lexicon, 1732. 45 e. g. Klaus Miehling, Das Tempo in der Musik von Barock und 'Vorklassik, 1993, p. 326 ff; A Siegbert Rampe, Mozarts Claviermusik, 1995, p. 154. 46 Johann Rudolf Ahle, Brevis ... introductio in artem musicam, in: Deutsche kurze doch deutliche Anleitung zu der ... Singekunst", 1690, „Von den signis“ . 4- Daniel Merck, Compendium musicae Instrumentalis chelicae, Das ist: Kurzer Begriff, welcher Gestalten die Instrumental-Musik ... zu erlernen seye. 1695. — W. Caspar Printz, Compendium Musicae, 1689, p. 21. A According to Etienne Loulie the sign C served for the indication o f a slow tempo also in other metres, so C2, C3, C3/2 (Elements ou Principes de Musique, 1696, p. 60) whereas p accelerated them. 48 Saint-Lambert, Les Principes du Clavecin, 1702, p. 18; A Michel l'Affilard, Principes tres faciles pour bien apprendre la Musique, 1705, p. 153. 49 Johann Baptist Samber, Manuductio ad organum, 1 704, p. 9. A and: Michael Praetorius in Syntagma musicum III, 1619, p. 50. — Joh. David Heinichen, Der General-Bass in der Composition, 1728, p. 268. 51 Joseph Riepel, Anfangsgründe zur musikalischen Setzkunst (‘Basic Principles o fth e Art o f Composition'), Chap. 4. „Erläuterung der betrüglichen Tonordnung", 1 752, p. 79. [app. p. 321 ] 52 Johann Gottfried Walther, Musicalisches Lexicon ('Musical Dictionary'), 1 732, p. 123. 53 D.G. Türk, Klavierschule (‘School ofClavier Playing'), 1 789, p. 95, § 58, b [app. p. 300]. 54 Kirnberger / Schulz, Die Kunst des reinen Satzes ('The Art o fS trict Musical Composition), II, 1 767/81, p. 122/123) [app. p. 278]. Tempo-indication in the 18th Century 17 Jo h a n n A b r a h a m Peter Sc h u l z : „ La rge f o u r - f o u r m e t r e . Its swiftest notes are eighths which like the quarter notes and all longer notes are executed on the violin with the fu ll weight o f the bow w ithout the least shading o f piano and forte except the particular stress on the first note in every bar which is necessary in all metres. Because of its grave and solemn pace it is therefore appropriate only for church music and especially for the magnificent and majestic expression of many-voiced polyphonic choruses and fugues. Some, instead of this metre, use 4/2 time where the heavy execution is shown still more clearly by the doubly long notes."55 Fr ie d r ic h W il h e l m M a r p u r g said with welcome pragmatism - even though not very helpfully for us: „The ordinary value [of the ,large' C] must be learned by practice since neither pulse, nor a person's stride are impeccable rules."[!]56 For Leopold Mozart and the Salzburg composers before him this baroque C-metre in the church style was still Standard (even if they took from time to time the more brilliant Vivaldi-A//egro as a basis for arias (p. 087 , Ex. 103). Joseph Haydn used it in many of his masses; even in the late oratorios Die Schöpfung („The Creation") and Die Jahreszeiten („The Seasons"), the great choral fugues „Des Herren Ruhm, er bleibt in Ewigkeit" („The Lord is great, His praise shall last for aye"), „Ehre, Lob und Preis sei d ir" („Glory, praise and laud to Thee") and „Uns leite deine Hand" („Direct us on Thy ways, O God!") are written in the „stately" and „seriously striding"57 ,large' C metre - very much in the sense of Handel.— They show very clearly its four nearly equally heavy beats with the metrical structure | = -------- |. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart used the ,large' C-metre - with a few specific exceptions - only in his church music (see p. 036 ). The essentially different classical 4/4 time w ill be examined in the context of his own tempo-system (see p. 089). c) Uneven metres ln the 18th Century, differently from today, it was a matter of course that the mouvement of uneven (triple) metres was faster than that of even (common) times with the same tempo word: A le x a n d e r M a l c o l m 1721: „The Movements of the same Name, as adagio or allegro, &c. are s w i f t e r in triple than in common T im e."59 Jo h n H olden 1770: „C o m m o n tim e is na tura lly m ore grave and solem n; tr ip le tim e , m ore cheerful and airy. And fo r th is reason, it is generally agreed tha t every m ood o f tr ip le tim e ough t to be perfo rm ed s o m e t h i n g q u i c k e r th a n th e c o rre s p o n d e n tm o o d o fc o m m o n tim e ."60 These authors give just as little reason for the tempo difference between even and uneven metres as Mattheson, Quantz, C.Ph.E. Bach, Marpurg, Riepel, Jean and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Leopold Mozart, Scheibe, Kirnberger, Türk and Koch, who all obviously assumed it as a matter of course. Only Schulz in 1774 gave a hint: „Because of the triplet-like progress o f its main beats, the uneven metre brings a generally greater vivacity to every expression, and is therefore more suitable for the depiction of lively emotions than the even metre."61 ,Triplet-like progress' - the wording could lead us down the right track: the triplet-like nature o fthe une ven (,triple') metres. The vividly accentuated music of the minstrels and trouveres could have helped not 55 Joh. Abr. Peter Schulz in: Sulzer, Allgemeine Theorie der Schönen Künste (‘General Theory o f the Fine Arts'), IV, 21794, p. 496f, art. „M etre" [app. p. 290]. 56 Fr.W. Marpurg: Anleitung zur Musik (‘Guide to Music in General’), 1 763, 2nd part, chapter IV, §10, p. 74 [app. p. 335]. 57 J.A. Scheibe, Uber die musikalische Composition (‘About Musical Composition'). p. 205, § 90, „Vom Takte und dessen verschiedenen Arten (‘About Metre and its Various Kinds'), 1 773, [app. p. 340]. — J. Joachim Quantz in his footnote refers above all to the ,large" C metre: „W hat was formerly intended to be taken very fast was played almost tw ice as slowly as today. Where Allegro assai, Presto, Furioso, and the like were intended it was indeed written so, and would be played barely faster than AHegretto is written and performed today. The many quick notes in the instrumental pieces of earlier German composers appeared much more difficult and risky than they sounded. The French o f today have in the main preserved the moderate speed in lively pieces." 'Versuch einer Anweisung (‘On Playing the Flute’), 1752, p. 263 [see footnote 803, app. p. 327]. 59 Alexander Malcolm, A Treatise o f Musick, 1721, p. 402. A Similarly James Grassineau, A Musical Dictionary, 31784, both authors similarly after A Brossard, Dictionaire de Musique, 1 703. 60 John Holden: An Essay towards a Rational System ofM usic, 1 770, p. 35. 61 Joh. Abr. Peter Schulz, article Metre, in: Sulzer, Allgemeine Theorie der Schönen Künste ( 'General Theory o f the Fine Arts '), vol. IV, p. 497-98 [app. p. 291]. 18 Tempo-indication in the 18th Century only the alla breve but also the uneven metre to free itself from the intellectual proportional Systems of the past. Via the fashionable court dances it immigrated to the more ambitious compositions; Chaconnes, Passacailles, Gaillardes, Courantes etc. were composed in uneven metres; solemn duple metre dances changed in their second half into the more animated triple metre. Finally, the astonishingly quick minuet (p. 229 ff) conquered the courts; it became the model for the 3/4 metre. Many authors commented on the multiplicity of tempos of the uneven metres, among them: G ia c o m o Carissimi: „There are not a few who use w ithout distinction one and the same beat and bar for all triples, pretending that the manifold variations of the figures were invented by Compo sers only to vex the musicians. How wrong they are! [...] One should regard and hear the great difference of the triples in courantes, sarabandes, minuets, gigues, and the like; more examples w ill then not be necessary."62 Dances determined the mouvement of their 3/2-, 3/4- and 3/8-metres by the step sequence and their different „changes of disposition", their character. The ,Tripel-Verhalt', the triplet nature of the uneven metre, survived as an inner whole-bar accentuation, but the new reference to physical action relieved it from mathematical restraint. G eorg M uffat: „In 3/2 the beat wants to be very held back, but in 3/4 more cheerful, in all ,sarabandes', ,airs', however, somewhat slower; in ,minuets', ,courantes' and many others it is given very briskly."63 All these authors see an unquantifiable increase of tempo from 3/1 through 3/2 and 3/4 up to 3/8-time.— The idea of „a quick motion connected to small notes"65 could have been a reason for this. In his conservative retrospect in 1809 G o t t f r ie d W ilh e lm FiNKexplained the phenomenon as follows: „We play eighth-notes twice as swiftly as quarter-notes and these more swiftly than half notes, etc.. This relationship is of course strongly imprinted on us and an Allegro in 3/8 metre has just by that a more fleeting nature than one in 3/4, and absolutely more than one in 3/2 etc. The longer the notes are, that are the basis of a metre, the more we will feel something that forces us to re tard, even if presto is indicated above the piece. According to this view, the entire necessity of the inconsistency of the names of the notes - quarter, eighth, etc. - in relation to the actual bar— proves itse lfw orthw hile ."67 It was only during the further course of the 19th Century that the metres - previously so different in cha racter and tempo - became groups o f equal beats that had no influence on tempo and manner of execu tion. Beginning with Berlioz and Wagner l'istesso tempo (beat=beat) became the norm when changing the metre.— 62 Giacomo Carissimi, Ars Cantandi, translation in the Appendix of: 'Vermehrter Wegweiser, Augsburg 31689. A George Houle, Metre in Music 1600-1800, p. 26; A also in: Walther, Musikalisches Lexikon, 1732, Lemma „Triple de 12 pour 16" [sic], p. 617; A Schünemann, Geschichte des Dirigierens, 1913, p. 108; A Herrmann-Bengen, Tempobezeichnungen, 1959, p. 49; A Dahlhaus, „Zur Entstehung des modernen Taktsystems im 1 7. Jh." (Archiv für Musikwissenschaft 18, p. 233 f). 63 Georg Muffat, Florilegium Primum, 1695, preface. — Only Saint-Lambert claimed naively (and, w ithout realising it, anticipating the System of today) that there was a quadruplication of the tempo from 3/2 through 3/4 to 3/8 metre, according to his ocfuplication o f the tempo from C metre to 4/8 (Les Principes du Clavecin, 1 702, p .18 and 19). 65 Carl Dahlhaus, Zur Entstehung des modernen Taktsystems im 17. Jahrhundert, A fM w XVIII, 1961, p. 230. — Beautifully explained by Samuel Petri, Anleitung zur praktischen Musik, 21 782, chap 5, „Von den Taktarten", § 2, p. 143 [see * p. 015]. 67 Gottfried Wilhelm Fink, Ueber Takt, Taktarten, und ih r Charakteristisches ll, Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, XI, no. 14, 04.01.1809, p. 214. [app. p. 345]. — H e c t o r B e r l io z supplied in 1838 a brilliant example in Fieramosca's Air in Benvenuto CeHini, „Ah! Qui pourrait me resister?" from AUegretto, un peu lourd: | | :3 /4 |4 /4 : | | :3 /4 |3 /4 : | | :3 /4 |2 /4 :| | :3 /4 |2 /4 : | |(M M J=160) (full score Ed. Choudens, Paris; Version Royal Opera House Covent Garden, 1976) A The numerous changes o f time in David's explanation of ,Meistergesang' in Die Mei stersinger by R ic h a r d W a g n e r always (apart from tempo modifications) take beat=beat for granted as well, if nothing eise is indicated (6/8 and 9/8 there are tripled 2/4 and 3/4 metres.) A In Salome (1905) R ic h a r d S t ra u s s , on the one hand, in the case of time changes in quick succession, indicated for safety mostly J=J; on the other hand, for instance at the first entrance o f Salome (from figure 21 „Ich w ill nicht bleiben. Ich kann nicht bleiben" [„I w on 't stay. I can't stay"] - (with which she already anticipates her end) he placed in a polymetrically complicated setting the most varied metres in the most varied relations, i.e. u nequal quarternotes, one on top o f the other. At the climax of one scene, 4 bars before Fig. 50, the psychotic excitement o fw h ich would probably have made Du Fay and Ockeghem shudder, he set, not unlike their technique, bars in 2/4, 3/4, 4/4 and p metre plus triplets and quintuplets simultaneously over the basis of a constant whole-bar beat, cum grano salis the tactus. In this procedure the metres kept the metrical shape handed down from the classical period, their inner hierarchy o f accents, though not their character as part o f a tempo-indicating tempo giusto, their ,natural' tempo. It no longer functioned as such in either l'istesso tempo J=J or the polymetres o f Strauss. The metres no longer dictated the style o f playing. Tempo-indication in the 18th Century 19 In 1802 Heinrich Christoph Koch had still seen that as an e x c e p t i o n , which had to be indicated explicitly: „L'istesso tempo, the same tempo. This expression is used sometimes, though not quite correctly, where one metre alternates with another, e.g. four-four with two-four or three-four metre, whereupon e x c e p t i o n a l l y the quarter notes follow each other as swiftly as in the preceding tempo."69 3) The smallest relevant note-values Further differentiations in the metrical movement resulted from the smallest relevant note-values.m C.Ph .E. Bach 1 759: „The degree o f m ovem ent can be judged both by the contents o f the piece in general, w h ich one indicates by certain w e ll-kn o w n Italian technical terms, and in particu lar by the f a s t e s t n o t e s a n d f i g u r e s there in . From th is exam ination one w ill be in a position neither to hu rry in allegro nor be sleepy in adagio."71 Jo h . Ph il . Kirnberger/J.A.P. Sch u lz 1776: „Regarding note values, dance pieces— invo lv ing sixteenth and th irty -second notes have a s low er tem po than those tha t to lera te on ly e ighth and at m ost sixteenth notes as the fastest note values in the same metre. Thus the t e m p o g i u s t o is de term ined by the m e t r e and the longer and shorte r n o te v a l u e s o f a co m p o s itio n ." „In addition, longer note values are always performed with more weight and emphasis than shorter ones; consequently, a composition that is to be performed with weight and emphasis can only be notated with long note values, and another that is to be performed in a light and playful manner can only be notated with short note values."73 The indication of ,tempo' in the Baroque worked exactly like that: Johann Sebastian Bach seldom needed to specify further. And this natural system continued to be valid: D a n ie l G o t t l o b T ürk 1789: „For example, an Allegro with thirty-second notes mixed in should not be played as quickly as one whose most rapid passages consist only of eighth notes."74 C a r l C z e rn y still in 1839: „ I f therefore 76* note triplets occur in a piece of music which is marked Allegro one must take the Allegro-tempo a little more moderately, in order not to rush these notes. If, however, only simple 16th notes are the swiftest kind o f notes, one may take the Allegro more vivaciously, provided that these 16th notes contain no complex or polyphonic passages, which must be performed somewhat more moderately for a better understanding and easier execution. But if no faster notes than eighth note triplets occur in the Allegro-tempo it is usually taken again a little faster. If only normal eighth notes occur as the fastest notes in a piece, the Allegro should be taken still faster. It goes w ithout saying that all this allows many exceptions if the character of the piece of music makes them necessary, or if the composer has expressly indicated the opposite by special additional words."75 For musicians grown up with classical music this is a matter of course even today, though it contradicts the modern system of notation where the tempo does not depend on metre and note values but is indica ted separately according to metronome or duration. 69 Koch, Musikalisches Lexikon ('Musical D ictionary’), 1802, col. 916 [app. p. 314]. 22 discounting grace notes, tremolos, tirate etc. 71 C.Ph.E. Bach, 'Versuch über die wahre Art, das Clavier zu spielen (‘Essay on the True Art o f Playing the Clavier') 1 759, part I, chapter 3 „Vom Vortrage", §10) [app. p. 329]. 22 and - as follows from innumerable texbooks - all other pieces too. 73 Kirnberger / Schulz), Die Kunst des reinen Satzes.(‘The Art o fS trict Musical Composition'), II, 1 776, p. 107 and 116; [app. p. 277]. 74 D.C. Türk, Klavierschule (‘School o f ClavierPlaying'), 1789, chap. 1 ,§ 7 2 ,p .1 1 1 [app. p. 300]. 75 Carl Czerny, 'Vollständige theoretisch-practische Pianoforte-Schule, op. 500, 1839, part 3, chap. 8 „Über das richtige, für jedes Tonstück geeigneteTempo", p .5 1 ,§ 4 „Über das Allegro". 20 Tempo-indication in the 18th Century 4) Tempo words As long as counterpoint and elaborate embellishments prevailed on the one hand and traditional dances on the other, the music's meaning did not much depend on the tempo. But the more it simplified its harmony and counterpoint in the Italian opera and the „galant" style the more easily it became a victim of inadequate tempos. The tempo giusto (being defined by metre and dass of note values) had to be specified with the help of additional „ t e m p o w o r d s . " Zi Kirnbercer/Sc h u l z : „Thus the tempo giusto is determined by the metre and by the longer and shorter note values of a composition. Once the young composer has a feeling for this, he w ill soon understand to what degree the adjectives largo, adagio, andante, allegro, presto, and their modifications larghetto, andantino, allegretto, prestissimo, add or t ak e a wa y from the fast or slow motion of the natural tempo."77 So, contrary to our habit, the tempo word alone was no „tempo indication" in the late 18th Century.— A module consisting of m etre+note values+tempo word determined the hierarchy of accents, the speed, the character and the manner of playing - the ,mouvement' in its widest sense. Therefore I use the restrictive term „tem po w ord" for the adjectives heading a piece instead of the too comprehensive „tem po indication". Problematic were - and are - their vague meanings. How do we understand „s low " (Adagio), „walking" (Andante) or „cheerful" (Allegro)? Does „ A n d a n t e " ask for a solemn striding or a lively pace? Caldara wrote andante ma non tanto allegro, V ivaldi andante m olto e quasi allegro, Handel, D. Scarlatti and Leopold M ozart andante allegro, G luck andante non presto. J.J. Rousseau equates andante with „gracieusement", and C hristian Friedrich Daniel Schubart formulates delightfully: „andante, a walking movement of the beat which kisses the adjacent border of allegro."79 Leopold M o zar t : „Allegretto has much in common with Andante. This word teils us that the piece must be allowed its own natural pace-, especially if ma un poco Allegretto is added."80 „Andante" in the 18th Century does not mean the stride or walking pace of a h u m a n b e i ng but the incorporeal pace of the m u s i c , a „walking m otion" in the sense of a regulär progression of time. In 1786 Friedrich N icolai reports on the significant differences in the performance practice of Andante between Berlin, Dresden and Vienna.81 In general, however, the 18th Century regarded Andante as „the tempo which keeps the mean between swift and slow".82 It was only in the 19th Century that Andante received the meaning of „slow", which influenced Mozart interpretation disastrously from then on. The increasing terms piu Andante and m olto Andante thus gained the meaning of „slower" and „very slow", although on the contrary an increase o f speed was meant. Mozart indicated Andante con m oto ten times and in K 338: Andante di m olto p iu tosto allegretto. Accordingly there were most contradictory semantic speculations about the diminutive A n d a n t i n o —: either it was understood as „somewhat walking" in the sense of slower than Andante-, or as a „sm all — Marpurg [abridged]: „Although the tempo of the metre is naturally defined by the size of the notes, and, for example, 2/2 must be played more slowly than 2/4, yet at every moment the opposite happens. One reason, among others, is whether more or fewer notes o f different size are used; the piece that uses only two kinds o f notes can and must be played faster than the one where the relations are far more manifold. This repeal of the relation between the kind of note figures and the tempo has forced musicians to adopt certain Italian technical terms for indicating the degrees of slowness or swiftness." - Anleitung zur Musik überhaupt (‘Guide to Music in general’), 1 763, part 2, chap. 4, p. 70, § 8 [app. p. 334] 77 Kirnberger / Schulz), Die Kunst des reinen Satzes (‘The Art o fS trict Musical Composition'), II., p. 107. [app. p. 275]. 2® See: Helmut Perl, Rhythmische Phrasierung in der Musik des 18. Jahrhunderts, 21998, chap. 3 and 4, p. 78-97. 79 J. J. Rousseau, Dictionnaire, I, 1 767, p. 73. A Chr. Friedr. Daniel Schubart, Ideen zu einer Ästhetik der Tonkunst, 1806, p. 360. 80 Leopold Mozart, 'Violinschule (‘School o f Violin Playing'), 1 756, p. 48 f; [app. p. 272 „A llegretto" and „Andante"]. 81 Friedrich Nicolai, Beschreibung einer Reise durch Deutschland und in die Schweiz im Jahre 1781, p. 541 ff. 82 Koch, Musikalisches Lexikon (‘Musical D ictionary') [app. p. 312 „Andante"]; A Kirnberger in Sulzer's Allgemeine Theorie General Theory', 1773 [app. p. 284]; A C.F. Wolf, Kurzgefaßtes Musikalisches Lexikon, 1792; A Schilling, Encyclopädie ... oder Universallexikon der Tonkunst, 1835. — D.C. Türk wrote in his Klavierschule (‘School o f Clavier Playing') 1789 that Andantino is „a little walking, i.e. walking gently, consequently not walking briskly, that is, somewhat slower than andante", but added the footnote: „In most instruction manuals, andantino is translated as somewhat faster than andante. If one considers, however, that a greater degree of speed is required for m olto Andante (a brisk walking tempo), than for Andante, then one may perhaps find my translation o f Andantino - indicating only a lesser degree o f walking speed or tempo - suitable in this context". [app. p. 300, footnote 765]. A N eal Z a s l a w agreed: „ I f Andante was not a slow tempo, then it is logical that its dim inutive stood for a speed slower than it." (Mozart's Tempo Conventions, in: International Musicological Society Report o f the Eleventh Congress 1972.) A M a x Ru d o l f (The Tempo-indication in the 18th Century 21 walking", which was therefore „a little slowly", or faster than Andante.84 There was also the opinion that Andantino meant nothing but simply a short piece in Andante. Jo h a n n A dam H il le r 1792: „The d im inu tive Andantino should certa in ly be taken a little m ore le isure ly than Andante; but m ost musicians regard it as identical w ith allegretto. It is bad tha t no national assem bly has decided a standing rule about th is and m any o the r m atte rs ."85 It is w e ll-know n tha t Beethoven, too, doubted the poss ib ility o f a com m on understanding o f th is indication : „ I f in the future among the airs you will be able to send me to be composed would be some Andantinos I would ask you to indicate if that Andantino is conceived to be slower or faster than Andante, since this expression like many others in music has such a vague meaning that sometimes Andantino approaches Allegro and another time is played nearly like Adagio."86 Joseph Haydn, Cimarosa and Martin y Soler wrote Andantino grazioso, Andantino vivace, Andantino con m oto, Andantino mosso and Andantino p iu tosto Allegretto-87 Mozart wrote Andantino con m oto and Andantino grazioso - contradictions in themselves if Andantino was regarded by them as slower than Andante. Things did not look much better forA I l eg r o and Adag i o : Joseph Riepel f752:„A llegro is played differently in each country, each town, nearly by everybody, consequently: sometimes swifter, sometimes slower. If I might, I would assert that concerning two Italian masters, the elder fixes his Allegro nearly one half slower than him who is 20 years younger. — And the same applies to Andante, Adagio and the rest, so that many a person does not know what to th ink."89 C.Ph.E. Bach wrote, that in Berlin „the Adagios are performed far more slowly, and the Allegros far more quickly than is customary elsewhere. In certain foreign parts this error is particularly prevalent, to play adagios too fast and allegros too slow."— Q u a n tz asked to see w he the r the ins trum enta lis t „ is able to play each piece in its p roper tem po, o r whether he plays everything marked Allegro at one and the same speed. "91 Kirnbercer distinguished: „There is a noticeable difference between the various kinds o f Allegro not only concerning the speed but also the expression; since a piece can be executed merrily, perkily, magnificently or coaxingly - at the same speed."92 There was also no agreement about the meaning of l a r g h e t t o - was it slower or swifter than A d a g i o ? - a n d A l l e g r o assa i : was it faster or slower than A ll e g r o m o l t o ? For Joseph Hayd n , Riepel, M arpurg, T ürk, Ko c h and Czerny „assai" had w ithout doubt the meaning of „very". They used it in this way in all combinations,— and it is insignificant if they were taken in by a se- Crammar o f Conducting, 1980, p. 341) and A Fr e d e r ic k N e u m a n n (Performance Practices o f the 17th and t8 ,h Centuries, 1993, p. 67) also stumbled into the semantic trap of a merely theoretical Interpretation o f the term w ithout referring to its application by specific composers. A H .C h r . Ko c h on the other hand in his Musikalisches Lexikon (‘Musical Dictionary') 1802: „Andantino as the dim inutive o f Andante (if it is taken as such) designates a tempo a little faster than Andante. But one often finds it also used in pieces which require a considerably faster tempo than the normal Andante." [app. p. 312] 84 N eal Z a s l a w (Mozart's Symphonies, 1989, p. 494) took as proof for Andantino being slower than Andante: „O f twelve theorists who distinguished between Andante and Andantino, seven thought the latter slower than the former and five the opposite." (Mozart's Symphonies, 1989, p. 494); [Democracy in academia ...!]; A S ie g be r t Ra m p e (Mozarts Claviermusik, 1995, p. 153) and A D a v id Fa l l o w s (in The New Grove, 2 nd edition, 2001, art. Andantino, quoted there as “convincing evidence") follows him in regarding this fictitious statistic of authors copying each others as relevant for Mozart. 85J.A. Hiller, Anweisungzum Violinspielen (‘Instruction fo rp lay ing theV io lin ’), 1792, „Anhang eines Lexicons", p. 58) [app. p. 331]. 86 Beethoven's letter to the publisher George Thompson, GE no. 623, from 19.02.1813 (originally in French [app. p. 348]. 87 Joseph Haydn, Hob 111:13 „Andantino grazioso", Hob XV:16 „Andantino piü tosto Allegretto"; Cimarosa, I! Matrimonio segreto no. 6 and 14 „Andantino con moto", no. 12 „Andantino mosso", no. 18 „Andantino vivace", and M artin y Soler Una cosa rara „Andantino con m oto" (I/7 Cavatina Lubino). - Searching for more examples would be worthwhile. 88 Very probably the elder wrote in ,large’ 4/4 (see above), but the younger (by 20 years) in classical 4/4 metre. 89 Riepel, Anfangsgründe (‘Basic Principles'), Chap. t, De Rhythmopoe'fa, oder von der Tactordnung, 1752, p. 78 [app. p. 321]. 22 Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, 'Versuch über die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen (‘Essay on the True Art o f Playing the Clavier') 1753, part 2, chap. 36, § 71, and part 1, 3rd chapter, § 1 [app. p. 328/329). 91 Quantz, 'Versuch ('On Playing the Flute'), 1 752, chap. XVIII, § 1 5 ,p .2 8 6 [app. p. 328]. 92 Kirnberger in the article „Allegro" in Sulzer, Allgemeine Theorie der Schönen Künste (‘General Theory o f the Fine Arts') vol. 1,1 773, p. 112 [app. p. 284]. 22 In the aria of Fileno, no. 9 in La fedelta premiata, Haydn even writes „staccato assai assai"! 2 2 Tempo-indication in the 18th Century mantic error. Sebastien de Brossard, however, had written in 1703 in his „D ictionaire de musique" that some indeed translated „assai" by „very", but others (like himself in his motets) meant that with the indication assai „the tempos should not be exaggerated but stay in a prudent moderateness o f slowness and swiftness".94 Beethoven seems to be the only one, who adopted Brossard's version assai=modera te95 and his conception still has an effect today. In contrast, 53 years after Brossard, Leopold M ozart wrote explicitly: „Presto means fast and Allegro assai is only little different. M olto Allegro is somewhat l ess than Allegro assai".96 (!) Concerning V i v a c e all authors contradict unanimously the present-day interpretation as „fast": - Leopold M o zar t : „Vivace means animated, and forms a m idpoint between fast and slow." - Joseph Riepel: „Vivace, lively, but just not too sw ift." - D e M eude-M o npas : „Vif, vivace: animated mouvement, hearty execution full o f fire. It is n o t a matter of speeding up the beat, but giving it w a r m t h . " - F. (probably G.W. Fink): ,,A speech can have a high degree of liveliness w ithout the words needing to be pronounced particularly fast: that's how it is in music too." Even for the virtuosos H um m el and Czerny it meant exactly this.97 Carl Maria von Weber's M olto vivace for his „Chorus of the Peasants" in no. 1 of „Der Freischütz" seems to me to be meant like this as well: hearty, fu ll o ffire , - but not: fast.98 In view of all these contradictions Jo h a n n Jo a c h im Q uantz gave „young people who are dedicating themselves to the art of music"99 (thus beginners!) with the human pulse a rough Standard for determining the tempos.105 He wrote nowhere that professional musicians ever played like that; the tempo table in his book was not to be more than a rule o fthum b for students to prevent them „from departing too far from the true tempo of each piece". For „there are so many tempos in music that it would not be possible to fix every one."101 In spite of Marpurg's warning, that „neither the pulse, nor the pace of a person's stride are impeccable rules",102 Quantz's table was misunderstood a thousandfold in our time as a dog ma; even Mozart, two generations younger, is supposed to be played according to this beginner's Schema.101 Kirnberger/Sch u lz explain the w ho le system in brief: „Thus tempo, metre, and rhythm [periodicity] give melody its life and power. Tempo defines the rate of speed, which by itself is already important since it designates a livelier or quieter character. Metre determines the accents in addition to the length and brevity of the notes and the lighter or more emphatic delivery; and it shapes the notes into words, so to speak. But rhythm establishes for the ear the individual phrases formed by the words and the periods composed of several phrases. Melody becomes a comprehensible and stim ulating speech by the proper combination of these three things. None of these elements is sufficient by itself to define any character of the melody exactly; the true expression of the melody is determined only by their synthesis and their interaction. Two compositions may have the same degree of allegro or largo, yet still have an entirely different effect; according to the type of m e t r e , the motion is - at the same speed - more hurried or em- 94 „ASSAI; Selon quelques uns H veut dire BEAUCOUP; & selon d'autres que la mesure & les mouvemens ne doivent avoir rien d'outre, mais demeurer dans une sage mediocrite de lenteur, & de vftesse" (Brossard, Dictionaire de Musique, 1 703, p. 6). 95 Stewart Deas, Beethoven's ,AHegro Assai', 1950 (with convincing examples). 96 Leopold Mozart, Violinschule (‘School o fV io lin Playing'), p. 48 „Presto" [app. p. 272]. 97 Leopold Mozart, 'Violinschule (‘School o fV io lin Playing'), p. 48 „vivace"; [app. p. 272]. A Joseph Riepel, De Rhythmopoeia, 1752, p. 78 [app. p. 320]. A J .J .O .d e Meude-Monpas: „Vif, vivace: Mouvement anime, execution hardie et pleine de feu. I! ne s'agit pas de hater la mesure, mais de lu i donner de la ch a l e u r ." (Dictionnaire de Musique, 1 787, p. 210) A „F.", (presumably C. W. Fink) „Ueber das Lebhafte in der Musik" in: AmZ, vol. 13, no. 51, 18.12.1811, col. 852. A Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Ausführliche theoretisch-practische A n w e isu n g zum Pia n o -Forte-Spiel, 1828, p .67. A Carl Czerny, Pianoforte-Schule, 1839, part I, Lection 15, §4. 98 In contrast to the otherwise great Interpretation on record by Carlos Kleiber. 99 Quantz, Versuch ('On Playing the Flute'), 1 752, Introduction, p. 2 [app. p. 322]. 122 „one should take the pulse-rate o f a merry and jovial, yet also somewhat hot-headed and superficial person [...] w ith a cholericsanguine temperament, as it is from after the midday meal until evening. [...] This w ill prevent them from departing too far from the true tempo of each piece." (Quantz, 'Versuch (‘On Playing the FluteO, chap. XVII, sect. VII, § 55, p. 267 [app. p. 327] 101 Quantz, 'Versuch (‘On Playing the Flute'), chap. XVII, sect. VII, p. 262, § 49 [app. p. 326]. 102 Marpurg, Anleitung zur Musik überhaupt (‘Guide to Music in general'), 1 763, vol. II, chap. 4 ,§ 1 0 [app. p. 335]. 122 „A systematic attempt to apply Quantz's fixed tempos to Mozart's music proved more a procrustian bed than a source o f interpretative inspiration. Quantz's system, if it ever worked as an applied rather than a theoretical or pedagogical system, belonged to the music o f his own circle in Berlin in the 1 740s and 1 750s, not to Mozart's music o fa different time, place, and style." (Neal Zaslaw, Mozart's Symphonies, 1989, chap. 12 „Performance Practice", p. 492). Tempo-indication in the 18th Century 23 phatic, lighter or heavier. From this it is clear that tempo and metre must combine forces. It is the same with rhythm [i.e. periods]: the same parameters of which the song consists can, depending on metre and tempo, assume a quite different expression. He who wants to set a melody must necessarily at the same time pay attention to the united effect of tempo, metre and rhythm [see above] and not regard them without respect to the other two."104 In order to achieve the intended tempo Mozart had therefore to add „M olto A llegro" to the intrinsically slow ,large' metre $ of the first movement of the G minor Symphony K 550 (Ex. 087). He added „Larg hetto" to the intrinsically light-footed 2/4 (resp. 4/8) metre of Tamino's „portrait" aria (Ex. 203, Ex. 204, Ex. 205), and „Adagio" to the 3/4-metre-without-16th notes of Sarastro's aria „O Isis und Osiris" (Ex. 276). Logically, he moderated the Prestissimo $ of the sketch for the 4th movement of the „Hunt"-quartet, K 458, into Allegro assai when he wrote the final Version in 2/4 metre which was „by nature" faster. We shall see why he chose the respective metres. 5) „Church"-, „Theatre"-, „Chamber"-Style Next to all that, the height of style of the performance had to be respected: J. J. Q u a n t z : „to be suitable for the church the rendition as well as the tempo must be taken somewhat more m oderately than in operatic style. [...] If a Serenade or Cantata is written expressly for the chamber, then care is taken to distinguish this Chamber style from both the Church and Thea tre styles. The difference consists in this, that the Chamber style requires more liveliness and free dom of thought than the Church style; and, because there is no action taking place, more elabora tion and artifice are permitted than in the Theatre style. [...]"10S CHARLES AVISON: „An Allegro for the Church, cannot, with Propriety, be adapted to theatrical Purposes; nor can the Adagio o f this latter Kind, strictly speaking, be introduced into the former. For, the same Pieces which may justly enough be thought very solemn in the Theatre, to an experienced Ear w ill be found too light and trivial when they are performed in the Church. The Words Andante, Presto, Allegro, &c. are differently apply'd in the different Kinds of Music above-mentioned: for the same Terms which denote Lively and Gay in the Opera, or Concert Style, may be understood in the Practice of Church-Music as less lively and gay: wherefore, the Allegro, &c. in this Kind of Composition, should always be performed somewhat slower than is usual in Concertos or Operas. By this Observation we may learn, that these Words do not always convey what they import in their strict Sense, but are to be considered as relative Terms; and if they cannot fully answer the Composer's Intention of communicating, to every Performer, the Nature of each particular Style; yet are they more proper than any other for that Purpose."106 RESUME: The tempo words, still regarded today as „tempo indications" in spite of their indefiniteness and contradictory application, can in no way serve „as an adequate starting point for research into tempo af ter 1600"107 w ithout relation to metre, note values and style (as well as to the notational practice of the respective composer); the assertion of Nikolaus Harnoncourt, that ,,a certain tempo word designates al ways the same tempo", is incorrect - especially for Mozart, to whom he was referring.— 104 Kirnberger / Schulz), Die Kunst des reinen Satzes ('The Art o f Strict Musical Composition'), II, 1 774, p. 105/106 [app. p .275]. 105 Quantz, Versuch einer Anweisung ('On Playing the Flute'), 1 752, p. 266, § 53, p. 327, §2 7 p. 328 [app. p. 328]. 106 Charles Avison, An Essay on Musical Expression, London 1 752, p. 89/90 [app. p. 321 ]. 107 in the view o f Irmgard Herrmann-Bengen (Tempobezeichnungen, 1959, S. 30). 122 „Ein bestimmtes Tempowort bezeichnet immer dasselbe Tempo" - Nikolaus Harnoncourt in: „Wenn die Komödie stillsteht in: Programme book o f the Salzburger Festspiele 2006 „Le Nozze d i Figaro", p. 28. - Quantz, on the contrary, demanded that a musician „should not play everything marked Allegro at one and the same speed."! (Versuch einer Anweisung (‘On Playing the Flute', p. 286, §15 [app. p. 328]. 24 Tempo-indication in the 18th Century 6) The manners of playing ln the literature for historical performance-practice, the sources have indeed been consulted regarding practically every individual single topic. However, I do not see that in the discussion of tempo - aside from the purely physical speed of the performance - the mutual penetration of all parameters of the exe cution has been sufficiently considered, though it has decisive influence both on the realisation of the tempo by the performer, and on the listener's perception of it. The prerequis ite o f the ,mouvement' in the sub lim ina lly always dance-like m usic o f the 18th Century was a steady tem po: - Q u a n tz : „The understanding o f Tempo w ith special perfection, and the practice of it w ith the greatest strictness, is a duty laid on all those whose profession is music."109 - M arpurg : „The tempo may not be disturbed by embellishments."— - J.A.P. Sc h u l z : „Keeping in time also belongs to c la rity in execution. N o th ing is as d isrup tive to the listener as an irregu lär m etrica l pulse. " 111 - M attheso n : „Harmony does not apply only to the sound but also to its soul, the metre."112 (About playing rubato above a strictly steady basic pace, see W.A. Mozart's letter no. 355, Leopold M o zart's School for Violin, p. 297, § 20, and Koch, Musical Dictionary, article Tempo rubato,113) In the 18th Century the term „m ouvem ent" did not refer primarily to „speed", but rather to ,Tactbewegung' (motion within the metre), i.e. the density of the hierarchically organized accentuations within the metre, the rhythmical structure, the dynamics and even the m a n n e r o f p l a y i n g . Jo h a n n Friedrich Reichardt, Kapellmeister at the court of Frederick the Great, Q uantz , Leopold M ozart, Sc h u lz , T ürk and Ko c h gave very valuable hints regarding this, which up to now have been little considered: Reichardt (abridged): „The different characters of pieces also require different bowstrokes. Thus the bowstroke in A d a g i o is very different from that in A l l e g r o , and contrasts mainly in that the former remains more on the string than in Allegro. Nothing but a rest must bring the bow entirely off the string in Adagio. Even on the notes marked with a stroke for staccato (I), even in an ,Abzug' [i.e. lifting the bow], it must not entirely leave the string, but remain on it with at least an eighth o fthe hair. - In An dan te the bow must have the lightness of the Allegro bow, but w ithout its sharpness and without its rapidity in leaving the string at an ,Abzug'. - It is the same i n A l l e g r e t t o , only now the bow acquires somewhat more liveliness and from time to time some sharpness. - Finally in A l l e g r o , however, the sharpness of the bow in detached notes and its rapidity at an ,Abzug' is highly necessary. - The more extreme terms, such as, for example, Allegro d i m olto, Allegro assai, Presto, Prestissimo, merely affect the tempo and alter no thing in the character o fthe bowstroke. For this an expression must be added which specifies the character of the piece. Allegro e con brio, Allegro e con spirito, con fuoco, resoluto, etc. - In the same way the terms which diminish the speed of the Allegro, such as, for example, Allegro ma non troppo, moderato, etc., make no difference to the character of the bowing, but merely affect the tempo. If, however, canta bile, dolce, or another expression which more narrowly determines the character of the piece occurs, then that has a bearing on the bow, which must be drawn more gently and smoothly. - Similarly, in slow movements the terms maestoso, affettuoso, mesto, grave, indicate that the longer bowstrokes should receive a longer, more expressive accent, and in these cases the notes before rests, rather than being taken off short, should only come away gradually. - Forte in adagio is very different from forte in allegro. Because of the frequent detaching and the sharp ,Abzüge' [lifting of the bow], the latter acquires a completely different look: for in adagio nothing must be sharply cut short. Even the stroke of the bow must be less fast in adagio; consequently in adagio only the pressure of the bow remains for strength." So even the dynamics were determined by the tempo word. „One can divide the ,Abzüge' [i.e. lifting of the bow] into virtual and actual. The v irtu a l,Abzug' consists in the bow continuing more weakly, or even remaining stationary on the string; it is appropriate for every 109 Quantz, 'Versuch einer Anweisung ('On Playing the Flute'), p. 254, § 31 [app. p. 326]. 112 Marpurg, Anleitung zur Musik überhaupt (‘Guide to Music in general'), 1 763, part 1, chap. 1 ,§ 1 1 , p .7 [app. p. 334]). A Türk: „In general, the pulse must be maintained in the strictest manner, even for the most wide-ranging ornamentation. If some individual notes are played a little too early or too late for the sake of the affect, the tempo must not be changed in the slightest degree as a result." Klavierschule (‘School ofC lavier Playing'), 1 789, p. 325, § 24, 6 [app. p. 302]). 111 J.A.P. Schulz in Sulzer, General History (,Allgemeine Theorie', vol. IV, 1 774, p. 706, 5) [app. p. 292]). 112 Mattheson, Der 'Vollkommene Capellmeister (‘The Perfect Capellmeister’), 1 739, p .1 7 2 ,§ 1 7 [app. p. 336]. 113 W.A. Mozart Setters, no. 355 [app. p. 260]; Leopold Mozart, Vioünschule ('School for Violin'), p. 224, § 20 [app. p. 273/274]; Koch, Musikalisches Lexikon ('Musical Dictionary') [app. p. 31 7 and footnote 792]. Tempo-indication in the 18th Century 25 note with an appoggiatura. The actual .Abzug' consists in the bow being entirely lifted off the string as soon as the note has been even softly heard; it is appropriate for every note with an appoggiatura which is followed by a rest. The lifting of the bow is appropriate principally for every note followed by a rest - only with this difference: that this note w ithout appoggiatura takes its full prescribed duration before the bow is lifted off; whereas the note with appoggiatura - like the last syllable in speech - is heard even though quite short and soft as it is followed by a rest. Since it is the last one and consequently not obscured by one following it is always heard strongly enough. Anyway, the listener's expectation of the following note becomes so lively through the appoggiatura that the smallest touch o fthe note is enough to satisfy h im .114 Q u a n tz (abridged): „The Allegro, Allegro assai, Allegro di molto, Presto, Vivace, call for a lively, real ly light, detached and very short bowstroke, since these kinds of pieces must be played more playfully than seriously: yet taking care to play with a certain moderation of tone. [...] An Allegretto or an Allegro non troppo, moderato, &c. must be rendered somewhat more seriously, and with a bowstroke that is indeed somewhat heavier though lively and rather powerful. The 16ths in Allegretto, like the 8ths in Allegro, call especially for very short bow-stroke. [...] The quick passages, however, must be played with a light bow. A Cantabile is rendered calmly, and with a light bowstroke. A Maestoso asks to be played seriously and with a somewhat heavy and sharp bowstroke. An Adagio assai requires the greatest moderation of tone, and the longest, calmest, and heaviest bowstroke. The Sostenuto that consists of a series of serious harmonious melodies, must be played very sustained and seriously with a long and heavy bowstroke."115 Leopold M ozart (abridged): „Prestissimo. This very rapid tempo requires a light and somewhat shorter stroke. Allegro indicates a merry, though not too hasty tempo, especially when moderated by Allegro, ma non tanto, or non troppo, or moderato: For this a lighter and livelier bow-stroke is called for, yet certainly more serious and never as short as in the fastest tempo. Allegretto, usually having something pleasant, charming and playful, and much in common with Andante. It must therefore be performed in a charming, trifling and playful manner. Andante: the word itself teils us that the piece must be allowed its own natu ral pace; especially when ma un poco Allegretto is added. Sostenuto: the bowing must be serious, long and sustained, linking [the notes of] the melody together." Sc h u lz (abridged): „The degree of heaviness or lightness depends chiefly on the metre of the piece. The longer the note values of the metre, the heavier the manner of playing must be; the shorter the note va lues, the lighter the manner must be. We note here that one must also refer to the tempo and the note values of the piece when giving its per formance the proper degree of heaviness or lightness. 3/8 time for example is rendered lightly; if a move ment in this metre is marked Adagio and filled with thirty-second notes, however, then it is played more heavily than it otherwise would be, but still not as heavily as if the same piece were set in 3/4 time."116 TÜRK, in the comprehensive and most instructive chapter VI of his School o f Clavier Playing, „About the execution" (abridged): § 43 „Whether the execution is to be heavy or light may be determined (1) from the character and purpose of a piece; (2) from the indicated t e m p o ; (3) from its m e t r e ; (4) from its n o t e - v a l u e s ; and (5) from the way it proceeds, etc. § 46 A Presto must be played with a lighter touch than an Allegro; this more lightly than an Andante, etc. Generally speaking, then, slow pieces demand the heaviest execution. § 47 Metre also has, or should have, a marked effect on whether a heavy or light style of execution is apt. The greater the main beats of the bar, the heavier should be the perfomance style. Thus, for example, a piece in 3/2 is to be played far more heavily than if it were written in 3/4 or particularly if in 3/8. § 48 Different val ues o f n o t e s demand a more or less heavy execution. For example, if a piece con sists mainly of longer notes, namely whole- and half- or quarter-notes, the execution must on the whole be heavier than if eighths and sixteenths are included. In particular, dotted notes, both as regards the division o fthe bar as well as heavy or light execution, need - according to the circumstances - very varied treatment."117 114 Johann Friedrich Reichardt, Ueber die Pflichten des Ripien-Violinisten {‘On the Duties o fth e Tutti Violinist'), 1 776, p. 25-27, 69 [app. p. 297]. 115 Quantz, 'Versuch einer Anweisung (‘On Playing the Flute’), 1 752, p. 199, § 26 [app. p. 325]. 116 Joh. Abraham Peter Schulz in: Sulzer, Allgemeine Theorie {‘General Theory’), vol. IV, 1 774, p. 708/709 [app p. 294]. 117 Türk, Klavierschule ('School o f Clavier Playing'), 1 789, p. 359-61, chap. 6, section 3 „About heavy or light execution", §35, 43 48) [app. p. 305, 306 ]. 26 Tempo-indication in the 18th Century Ko c h (abridged): „Allegretto, a little sw iftly or lively. Composers usually add this heading to pieces which are to be rendered noticeably slower and with a less fiery expression than an Allegro, since they usually have the character of pleasant cheerfulness; they must therefore not be executed w ith sharply detached tones but more legato. (See p. 065-068, allegretto 2/2) „Andante: here the tones are rendered neither as slowly and meltingly into each other as in Adagio, nor as sharply accentuated and detached as in Allegro. Everything here is moderated; even the strength o f tone demands moderation unless the composer expressly prescribes a higher degree of strength."118 7) The execution „Les mouvemens differens sont le pur esprit de la M usique, quand on y sait bien entrer." („The different mouvements are the pure spirit of music, if one knows how to penetrate them .") (Jean Rousseau 119) The aim o f all late 18th Century e ffo rts was no t to indicate an ob jective ly measurable speed bu t the „(logically) correct" execution.120 Execution in the m ost com prehensive sense - since the com bined m odules o f m etre+note value + tempo word did no t o n ly define the m etrica l s tructure, speed and character bu t also the light o r heavy manner o f p laying121, the trea tm en t o f the (over)dotting and the o v e ra ll leve l o f the dynamics: an extrem ely fin e ly graduated com positiona l means, w h ich a ttribu ted to each m etre, each dass o f notes, and each tem po w o rd , a d iffe ren t m anner o f execution. Jo h a n n A braham Peter Sc h u l z ' s explanation of this whole system is unsurpassed: „So, putting metres of all kinds together side by side, it would be sufficient to have one even metre of two beats and another of four, and a third of three beats for uneven time; a precise indication at the beginning of the piece would determine the rapidity or slowness at which it should be performed: nothing more would seem to be necessary for a piece as regards metre and movement." (This opinion, described here as mistaken, corresponds precisely w ith the romantic, as well as the modern, understanding!) „But, overlooking the fact that the movement is capable of infinite degrees of rapidity and slow ness which cannot be defined by words or other signs, you would still need as many signs or words to describe how the piece should be e x e c u t e d ; i.e. should it be played heavily and forte, or more lightly and mezzo forte, or very lightly and, as it were, playfu lly l For this is what the whole character of the piece depends on. There is a world of difference if a piece, irrespective of its tem po, is played on the violin with the full weight of the bow, or lightly and with only the tip. What we are talking about is not some artificial rendering, but one based on the character o f each individual piece, w ithout which the music would be a rigid and tedious monotone; and this character must be understood if it is to be captured in order to find the right manner of playing. Now it has become the habit of every experienced musician to play long notes heavily and strongly, and short notes more lightly and less strongly. He w ill therefore execute a piece heavily in which he sees at most but a few eighth notes as the fastest, and another more lightly in which quarters are the longest notes, whether the pieces are in even or uneven metre and even though they may have the same playing speed. Corresponding to the very long or very short notes prevailing in the piece he w ill play it very heavily or very lightly. Likewise he has acquired by experience a certain concept of the na t u ral l e n g t h o r b r e v i t y o f t he d i f f e r e n t c l as ses o f notes . He w ill therefore play a piece which has no indication of the tempo at all, or which is indi cated by tempo giusto (which is the same) in a slower or swifter though right tempo according to the longer or shorter note values it consists of. At the same time he will give it the right g r a v i t y or l i g h t n e s s o f e x e c u t i o n and know how much slowness or swiftness he must add to, or take away from the natural length and brevity of the notes, if the piece is marked with adagio, an dante, or allegro etc. The advantages of subdividing the even and uneven metres into different kinds, with longer or shorter notes on the main beats [2/2-4/4-4/S resp. 3/2-3/4-3/8J, become in this 118 Koch, Musikalisches Lexikon ('Musical Dictionary'), col. 130 and 142 [app. p. 311 ]. 119 Jean Rousseau, Methode claire, 1678/91, p .8 6 ; - quoted also by Mattheson in „The Perfect Capellmeister" (,Der vollkommene Capellmeister'), 1 739, p .172, §18 [app. p. 337, footnote 811 ]. 120 Türk, Klavierschule ('School ofClavierPlaying’), chap. 6, section 2, p. 340, §19 [app. p. 303]. 121 About that seeTürk, Klavierschule (‘Schoo! ofClavierPlaying'), chap. 6. sect. 3, § 43, p. 359; [app. p. 305]. Tempo-indication in the 18th Century way understandable, for in this way each metre gets its o w n p a r t i c u l a r t e m p o , its o w n w e i g h t in the executionandconsequently i t s o w n c h a r a c t e r . If a piece is to be played lightly but at the same time in a slow tempo, the composer w ill choose, depending on the degree of lightness required in the execution, a metre of short or shorter beats [for example 2/4 or 3/8], and use the words andante or largo or adagio etc., according to how far the slowness of the piece should exceed the natural movement of the metre. And conversely: if the piece is to be played in a heavy manner but at the same time at a fast speed, he will choose a heavy metre [for example $] and add the words vivace, allegro or presto, depending on the sort of execution he wants. An experienced musician seeing the species of note values in such a piece w ill be in a position to capture the manner of playing and the tempo which correspnd exactly with the composer's ideas; at least as exactly as could be expressed by no other signs or words, however precise they might be. It was necessary to mention in advance [before the description of the metres] the essential influence of the various subspecies of even and uneven metres on both execution and tempo. Only few composers know the reason for their choice of this rather than that even or uneven metre for a piece, although they immediately feel that the one they have chosen is the only right one; others, who with Rousseau consider the multiplicity of metres to be arbitrary inventions [...], have either no feeling for the particular execution of each metre, or deny it, and therefore run the risk of composing pieces which - as they are not set in the metre appropriate for their character - are performed quite differently from how they were conceived. How is it that every experienced musician, listening to a piece, regardless of whether its metre is even or uneven, knows at any moment ex actly in which metre it is notated, if each metre did not have something characteristically its own?"122 122 Joh. Abraham Peter Schulz, art. ,Metre' in: J. C. Sulzer, Allgemeine Theorie ('General Theory') vol IV, 1 774, p. 493-95 [app. p. 289],

Chapter Preview



A reference book for the musician’s practical work of interpretation, this volume, after a general presentation of 18th century principles for determining a tempo, offers a compendium of all Mozart’s autograph tempo markings in 420 lists of pieces of similar character. Thus, a comparison of slower and quicker movements is made possible by 434 music examples, and there follows a wide-ranging collection of relevant texts taken from historical sources.

The book does not claim to know “the single correct tempo” for the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It hopes to be of assistance in the unavoidable search by every interpreter for the “true mouvement” of each work—for the work itself, for the performer, the instrument or instruments, the room, the public, the nature of the event. It follows that there can be no absolutely “authentic” tempo for Mozart’s works. And yet his tempo markings, since he chose them so meticulously, should be taken equally seriously with the other parameters of his famously precise notation.

Alfred Brendel writes: “an astonishing opus … one of those rare and important books in which music and musicology form a vital association; a lifelong study that makes one very much aware of a field to which attention is rarely paid. It accomplishes this by bringing to bear an understanding that never loses sight of the musical foundation on which it is built, and by a discerning intelligence that does not shy away from raising debatable topics, although without ever claiming infallibility … One cannot be grateful enough to Helmut Breidenstein for his methodological accuracy which allows us Mozart interpreters to orientate ourselves with ease and pleasure … His book sharpens our perception, at the same time giving an overview and making us sensitive to each individual case. Admiration and gratitude.”