Hairpins in Brahms Violin Sonata No. 3
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!
When you say hairpin, do you mean crescendos and diminuendos?
@Jake Yep I do haha, sorry for not clarifying this
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.
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
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.
Thanks for your replies! They are really helpful :)
@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?
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.
Surely you mean the third and fourth bars, not the second and third? I performed it with the crescendo and diminuendo both within the final quaver of each of these bars, so it was a gentle leaning on the quaver - At the very least, the performance (1st two movements only) went down well with novelist E M Forster, who had me round for tete a tete with sherry on Friday evenings for the next couple of years.
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