In my efforts to revise for the music theory, I have decided to write this post consisting of a glossary of the performance directions found in the 3rd movement of Sibelius' Symphony No. 2.
Perhaps someone could enlighten me on why many of the performance directions commonly found in Western music tends to be in Italian, Latin, French or German language. I think if I were to learn all four of these languages, I can score instinctively well for my understanding of foreign words used for performance directions!
For these few weeks, I shall attempt to write a series of posts on this topic of the definitions behind the various words used for music performance directions. To start the ball rolling, I have decided to work on a work that I will be performing in an upcoming concert. Details can be found right below:
If you were to come for the concert, try listening out for the following in the above-mentioned symphony:
Tying in with Sibelius' philosophy on the art of the symphony, the work grows almost organically out of a rising three-note motif heard at the opening of the work, which, after appearing in many guises throughout the entire symphony (and indeed forming the basis for most of the material) forms the dramatic theme of the finale.
(the only thing is that we won't be playing the first movement of the symphony!)
For more on Sibelius' Symphony No. 2, refer to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_No._2_(Sibelius)
Now for the glossary of performance directions from the 3rd movement of Sibelius' Symphony No. 2:
Vivacissimo: With vivacity, very lively
div.: (divisi) divided. To divide into two or more groups.
unis.: (unisono) in unison, with everyone performing the same notes. a direction to cancel divisi.
Lento e soave: slow and smooth
ten.: (tenuto) held (a slight degree of separation between notes so marked.)
poco accelerando: gradually getting slightly faster (?)
allargando: broading, i.e. getting a little slower and probably also a little louder.
atttacca: go straight on, indicating an immediate move to the next section of the music
Eric Taylor's The AB Guide to Music Theory.