Bibliography for Music Phrasing

August 25, 2021, 8:06 AM · Dear Violinists community,

I am studying for my Bachelor Dissertation & the topic will be around Music Phrasing, possibly around the application of phrasing techniques on violin.

Do you have any recommendations on book titles, magazines, other dissertations etc?

Replies (9)

Edited: August 25, 2021, 1:10 PM · You might try issues of THE STRAD MAGAZINE (published in England). There might also be articles in copies of STRINGS magazine. I think these magazines have internet access (for a price) - try contacting the publishers. FIDDLER magazine might have some information (for a different genre).

A book I have found useful in the past for expanding my mind to interpretation and phrasing has been "SZIGETI ON THE VIOLIN." (published in 1969)

If you are a violinist and are not familiar with IVRY GITLIS, I would suggest listening to some of his recordings and videos. He was definitely a most idiosyncratic interpreter, especially of "salon pieces," and became even more so late in his very long career. Some of his playing at the Verbier Festival in his 90s are a revelation of what one can get away with (in my opinion) and have inspired me during the COVID pandemic when I haven't had to worry about "staying with" an ensemble or accompanist.

If there are laws of music phrasing I would rank some of his interpretations of law with Robin Hood's.

August 25, 2021, 4:00 PM · mr. Vector, your comment is really helpful. Thanks a lot!!
August 25, 2021, 4:35 PM · Go to scholar.google.com type "violin phrasing" into the search bar. That will give you enough to get started.
August 26, 2021, 2:44 AM · ISBN 1786010984, 1860961940, 1860961924
August 26, 2021, 10:29 PM · Bachelor's Dissertation ? -- Sounds unusual. They will probably give you some slack on length and originality. Graduate students in Western Musicology have a tough time finding an original, non-trivial topic. The Germans did all the important work 150 years ago.
Be sure to look at original sources, like Leopold Mozart.
Some scholarly books; Robert Donington, the Interpretation of Early Music, Thurston Dart, The Interpretation of Music, Hermann Keller, Phrasing and Articulation.
Keep in mind that for the string player the topic of phrasing overlaps with bowing. Composers, who are usually pianists, use the slur mark to indicate musical phrases, while the violin slur is more specific. It shows where to change bow direction.
For choreographing phrasing and bowing I have always found it helpful to imagine how a singer or wind player would do it. Too many composers stop the slur at a bar-line, when it is obvious that the next note belongs to the same phrase.
Edited: August 26, 2021, 11:00 PM · "the violin slur is more specific. It shows where to change bow direction."
Although Andrew Victor has expressed some doubts about how literally that should be taken. And in the case of the organist Charles Ives' violin music, there's room for quite a lot of doubt.
August 27, 2021, 10:32 AM · Charis, if Mr Vector was that helpful, why not promote him to a tensor?
I can name you one famous performer who, when I heard him at age 90, did not appear to me to have a clue about phrasing: Andrés Segovia Torres, 1st Marquis of Salobreña.
August 27, 2021, 10:54 AM · John, clearly, he's a humble man who is satisfied just pointing people in the right direction.
August 27, 2021, 10:56 AM · Go away and practise your scalars.


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