[Smt-talk] Classical metric fakeouts

Stephen Jablonsky jablonsky at optimum.net
Sun Mar 27 08:40:13 PDT 2011

The Debussy Sonata is an unusual piece because the tempo is Allegro vivo but the opening dynamic is pp and dolce sostenuto. It looks like Claude was of two minds, or, as you suggest, making tempo magic (Things are not what they appear to be). Much of the rest of the piece is also slow and rhapsodic. To me this movement never sounded "fast" in the traditional Western sense.

On Mar 26, 2011, at 12:13 PM, Stephen Taylor wrote:

> Dear all,
> I'm looking for examples of what Justin London would call "metric fakeouts" in the classical repertoire. Especially situations like the opening of the Debussy Violin Sonata, where the meter is 3/4 Allegro vivo, but the beginning sounds slow. It's not apparent that the piece is fast until m. 15, when the quick 8th notes in the violin finally coalesce with the piano part.
> I've been looking for examples, and as far as I can tell most pieces don't do this - they pretty much announce their tempo, slow or fast, right at the start; or else they begin meterless, with a fermata (Rite of Spring, Beethoven 5). But most pieces don't have a hidden meter which is revealed later. Maybe Beethoven's Coriolan Overture? (although this piece is much more straightforward than the Debussy).
> Any ideas or examples are greatly appreciated!
> Best wishes,
> Steve
> _________________________________
> Stephen Taylor
> Associate Professor of Composition-Theory
> School of Music
> University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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Prof. Stephen Jablonsky, Ph.D.
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The City College of New York
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