Engelke, Melody as Musical Speech

Engelke, Ulrike
Melody as Musical Speech in the 17th and 18th Century. The Most Important Statements about Vocal and Instrumental Performance Practice from Baroque and Pre-Classic Sources / Melodie als Klangrede in der Musik des 17./18. Jahrhunderts. Die wichtigsten Aussagen zur vokalen und instrumentalen Aufführungspraxis aus den barocken und vorklassischen Quellen. Münster, 2018. 21 x 30 cm, 515 pp.

All the important composers and theorists of the baroque and rococo periods wrote about how music should be, touching on many aspects of aesthetics, style, embellishment and technique. If there was one concern of overriding importance—whether it be instrumental or vocal music—it was the belief that musical expression should emulate human speech, that music should be “played spoken”. Contemporary reports tell it in many ways with many tips and analogies. Mattheson describes breaking  up small motives of a vocal or instrumental melody by shortening syllables into “Klangfüße” using commas, semicolon and the period; other comments are blunter: “play from the soul, not like a trained bird. This remarkable book by Urike Engelke, a distinguished performer and scholar, is a unique exploration and narrative on the subject, in easy-to-follow bilingual format (Ger-Eng), using more than 1,000 facsimile-examples to make her point and allow the masters to speak for themselves. It's an indispensable work for students and scholars interested in performance practice which can also be used as an exercise book. Handy ring-binder, for easy reading from the music stand. $68    View Table of Contents

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