Trills etc in Corelli

Edited: April 14, 2020, 9:13 AM · I'm playing (Op.5, natch),no.3, 3rd movmt (sarabande?), no.10 sarabande, and FolĂ­a theme and first 5 variations.

There's a regular motif, when you come to the end of a phrase, of trilled dotted crotchet plus quaver leading note plus clearly down-bowed minim. And of course the problem is do you down-bow the dotted crotchet and play the quaver on the upbow, or do you play the trill up bow and legato into the leading note?

Anyone here have a personal or theoretical preference?

Playing the trill on the upbow is an easy way to manage bow distribution, but maybe that's just inexperience talking.

All the bowings are dictated by editorial phrasing (although I've got editions without bowing that say the bowing is Corelli's own original, lol!), so they can be refashioned to some extent.

Otoh, if I made every single trill upbowed and legato etc, it might become very monotonous.

Part of the problem is when there's double stopping and one note is a minim. Do you just bow it down and up and ignore the fact that it's written as a minim?

How do I find out about baroque bowing? Is there any theory behind it?

Replies (5)

Edited: April 14, 2020, 11:18 AM · I don't understand any of the posh note value terms you used, so I don't see the picture. But the great thing about baroque music is that nobody really has any idea how they played it back then, so you can play it however you see fit. The only theory to it is the one you come up with.
Edited: April 14, 2020, 11:44 AM · minim = half note
crotchet = half a minim
quaver = half a crotchet
By leading note I meant the penultimate note of the musical phrase.

Do Americans call a breve a double note?

April 14, 2020, 1:28 PM · Gordon there were detailed guidelines for bowing in the baroque, with some variation according to time and place. The Leopold Mozart tutor is a great place to start, or you can get Judy Tarling's excellent compendium of the sources, "Baroque String Playing for Ingenious Learners". If you search for "the rule of down bow" you will find a sketch of the basic principle, although there were many exceptions and I can't speak to exactly how it is relevant to deciding on bowing with a modern bow. The reason the edition with "Correlli's bowing" has no bow indications is because the old rules were very clear about what to do.

Cotton Mather, your comment "But the great thing about baroque music is that nobody really has any idea how they played it back then," is incorrect. There is a great deal known about how they played back then, and it is a disservice to people searching for knowledge to dismiss what is known so cavalierly.

Edited: April 14, 2020, 3:07 PM · Whenever people use these archaic (oops, I meant "scholarly") terms for their note-values, I just find myself getting crotchety.

I agree with Andres. My reading of most baroque music (not generally including the Bach solo S&P, which are in a different category altogether) is that it seems almost written around prevailing rules about bowings. I think that's possibly why some baroque string music comes off sounding very square. Maybe it was supposed to.

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