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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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(p.558) 15 Portamento
Classical and Romantic Performing Practice 1750-1900

Clive Brown

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with a discussion of terminology, identifying a variety of meanings applied to the word portamento, and a number of related terms, such as cercar dells nota, messa di voce crescente (or decrescente), port de voix, slur, and Tragen (or Durchziehen) der Töne. It looks at the growing employment of a variety of sliding effects in singing, string playing, and even wind playing from the 18th century to the beginning of the 20th century. Different types of portamento (for instance, Corri's ‘leaping grace’ and ‘anticipation grace’) and their execution are discussed in relation to theoretical sources. The evidence of treatises and composers' or editors' fingerings in string music of the period, supported by early recordings, forms the basis of a discussion of the employment of portamento in the music of the period.

Keywords:   cercar dells nota, messa di voce crescente, messa di voce decrescente, port de voix, slur, Tragen der Töne, leaping grace, anticipation grace

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