What's this sign? [edit : answer : a "closed" diminuendo]

• Dec 7, 2021 - 23:52

Hello everybody,

Does somebody know the name of this sign please? It like a closed decrescendo or crescendo, common in Rossini's writing. In the case of the pictures, it means that you attack the note softly, then strong and normal decrescendo.

I can't find anything on internet neither on musescore. If someone can help me, many thanks in advance. :)

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Is this a piano reduction of the score? How old is this publication? Is this all you have to go by? None of what you say is possible on piano. Have you looked at other versions of this?

In reply to by bobjp

Hello bobjp, thank you for your answer and questions.

Yes this is the piano reduction, Ricordi edition (Otello di Rossini). I don't know the year, but it is a criticized edition, so I guess it's late 20th century.

This sign cannot indeed apply to piano, it is not feasible. It is mostly used for voice actually. When it is written for the piano, it's also written that the piano plays a lign that is normally plaid by strings, woods, or brass.

In reply to by underquark

This is it! Thank you very much for the information. So it is a "closed" crescendo or closed diminuendo, without a specific name. The description of what it means is more accurate and specific than what I said, haha, but pretty closed.

Indeed, according to what they said, it was only used in Northern part of Italia, and as it wasn't known elsewhere, editors didn't used it anymore. But it is really important to be as close as possible to what the composer wrote.

Therefor another question : does this sign already exist in musescore? Or could/should it be added in the future?

In reply to by Accordobru

Two things come to mind:

  1. Did the composer actually use this symbol, or did the publisher use it?
  2. I wonder about the use of a symbol that nobody knows the actual meaning of. "What the composer wrote" already exists. you aren't replacing it. Your making it readable by modern musicians. Yes?
  3. Speaking of terms that are no longer in use, consider the word "anon". Very common in Shakespeare. What does it mean? Usually you might hear it used like this, "I'll be there anon." When? It has three meanings. 1. Later. 2. Soon. 3. Now. I have never heard anyone use this term. Have you? Why do you think that is? Of course when we produce a play, we use "anon". We hope that the way the actor says the word will define it. So the context is important. Just like in music. You can't just go by a symbol. You also use what is around it.

I can't think of any musical symbol that isn't subject to interpretation. How soft is "p"? How fast is "largo"? It's the way music works. It's what makes it alive and not static.

150 years ago this symbol was used in Northern Italy. Do you suppose there was an exact way everyone understood what it meant?

In reply to by bobjp

Your remarks are legit, but I think the article posted above by Underquark, answer to all of those.

It's actually because it was omitted or replaced by something else by further editors although it was used by the author, that nobody knew or used it for decades. But scores like this are criticised and informed versions. See the picture here in attach : bars 90 to 93 are a variation of bars 86 to 89, and "the sign" is used only in the repetition. If Rossini wrote it like that, it's because he felt that the second time had to be different than the first time (and more complicated than only quarter notes...). Therefor, it's important to have a way to write it in score.

Even if almost nobody knows it (because it was neglected...), at least the ones who want to do it deeply or seriously will find what it means and why it's there.

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In reply to by Accordobru

It is one thing for a composer to mark up their score just the way they want. And an entirely different thing for it to be performed just that way. Sure there needs to be a starting point.

It all depends on if you believe that music is the notes on the page, or is music the notes that you hear. To me the notes on the page are meaningless until they are brought to life. And it is the job of the musician to make the best music they can.

In reply to by Accordobru

I know I may have come across as a bit negative. That is not my intention. You asked a simple question and I charged in with totally irrelevant statements. Sorry you had to put up with that. We all use MuseScore for different things. Personally, I have no interest in transcription. And almost none in arraigning. I only have one piece on .com because I had to in order to demonstrate something in a debate group. I use MuseScore for composition. But only for the fun of it. It's therapy for me.

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