Hairpins in Brahms Violin Sonata No. 3

Edited: September 22, 2019, 10:41 AM · Hi all,

Recently, I have been working on Brahms' Violin Sonata No. 3, the first movement, and I would like ask for your thoughts on where exactly the hairpins in the 2nd and 3rd bars should be placed. Listening to recordings, I hear the peak of the hairpin being located everywhere from the middle of the bar, to just before the last semiquaver, to on the semiquaver itself. According to my teacher, it should be the last option, but the prevalent interpretation seems to the be the second option.

Thanks in advance!

Replies (8)

September 22, 2019, 10:43 AM · When you say hairpin, do you mean crescendos and diminuendos?
September 22, 2019, 10:49 AM · @Jake Yep I do haha, sorry for not clarifying this
September 22, 2019, 1:15 PM · In general, because of the printing press set-up, most crescendo markings stop right before the bar-line, when they should extend over the bar line into the next note. I think it was Wagner who complained about the "tyranny of the bar line". It is not a rest or barrier to climb over. It should not interrupt the rhythmic, dynamic, or melodic contour.
September 22, 2019, 1:34 PM · In the score I'm looking at it isn't clear whether the violin's hairpin should coincide with that in the piano but I think it only makes sense if it does so I'd make the peak of the hairpin on the 4th beat, so the quaver doesn't bulge out. It seems most performances you've heard play it this way
September 22, 2019, 2:11 PM · I would make the moving notes fall away from the top of the line. Whether that makes the first one louder or as loud as the note before, I couldn't say. My inclination is no.
October 13, 2019, 2:23 AM · Thanks for your replies! They are really helpful :)
October 13, 2019, 2:24 AM · @Stephen but I don't quite understand what you mean by "fall away from the top of the line". Do you mean in terms of register?
October 13, 2019, 10:54 AM · Forget about the dynamic markings for a bit. Simply play the tune. Where does the dynamic top of the melody seem to be? The music will tell you.


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