Wednesday, August 21, 2013

On the Moderato Trail

New finding today:  In CPE Bach!  I am deeply convinced that such modifiers as moderato, un poco (as in un poco allegro), assai, imply that the "real" tempo word (usually allegro) refers not as much to speed as to metric structure.

Think about it: If allegro means essentially a ratio rhythm of 4:1 with a quarter note beat, then
  • assai might mean allegro as strictly defined
  • moderato might mean not as strictly defined but with a lyrical bending
  • un poco allegro might mean allegro but not at all times
I prefer the word "might" to "would" as all musical definitions must be tested in each specific case.