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Classical and Romantic Performing Practice 1750-1900$
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Clive Brown

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198161653

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198161653.001.0001

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Alla Breve

Alla Breve

(p.313) 9 Alla Breve
Classical and Romantic Performing Practice 1750-1900

Clive Brown

Oxford University Press

The meaning of alla breve is particularly problematic. Different ways of indicating it are listed. Conventions behind its use are examined and distinctions between different types of alla breve (notionally twice as fast as normal common time, with a time signature of 4/4 or C, or somewhat faster than that metre), employed by particular composers, are investigated. Meaningless use of the usual sign for alla breve (C with a vertical line through it) is illustrated. A series of tables, based on composers' metronome marks for alla breve and common time, show how these metres are related in different ways in the music of Beethoven, Schubert, Cherubini, Weber, Schumann, and Wagner.

Keywords:   common time, metronome marks, metre, time signature

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