"Sweetenings" and "Babylonish Gabble" : Flute Vibrato and Articulation of Fast Passages in the 18:th and 19:th centuries

Abstract: During the 18th and 19th centuries, vibrato as well as the articulation of fast passages was often not indicated in the musical scores, but was left to the players discretion within prevailing practice. A finger-vibrato technique that this study names the flattement technique was the most recommended vibrato technique in Western classical music throughout the 18th century. Another finger-vibrato technique used was called martellement or Schwebungen. During the first half of the 19th century the flattement technique coexisted on equal terms with chest vibrato, which was during most of the period under investigation slow and controlled, typically four waves on a long note.The syllables and spellings documented for double-tonguing on the flute can be categorized in three techniques, d-g/t-k, d-r/t-d and d-l/t-tl, where d-g, d-r and d-l represent softer nuances. During the 18th and first half of the 19th century, d-l/t-tl was the most common double-tonguing technique in England and Germany, whereas in France it was not much used. Legato could be applied when not indicated; during the late 18th century and the first half of the 19th the articulation patterns paired slurs and two slurred, two tipped were commonly recommended. In France, d-g/t-k was the dominating double-tonguing from the late 18th century and on, and the embracing of this technique also in Germany and England in the second half of the 19th century reflects a transition from the 18th century ideal of a rounder execution of an articulated fast passage towards a shorter staccato ideal.The playing techniques recommended in the sources have been tested and evaluated in musical practice by the author. For a more complete understanding of the problem areas, sounding examples from concerts and recordings are integrated in the dissertation.

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