Tempo and Tactus in the German Baroque
Title Details

30th April 2021

544 Pages

15.24 x 22.86 cm

Series: Eastman Studies in Music

Imprint: University of Rochester Press

Tempo and Tactus in the German Baroque

Treatises, Scores, and the Performance of Organ Music

by Julia Dokter

  • Description
  • Contents
Guides modern performers and scholars through the intricacies of German Baroque metric theory, via analyses of treatises and organ music by J.S. Bach and other leading composers, such as Buxtehude, Bruhns, and Weckman.
Before the advent of the metronome ca. 1800, there was little in the way of a standardized, commonly accessible method for precisely communicating how fast musical compositions should be performed. Instead of absolute time (e.g., plottable on a metronome), Baroque musicians developed notational cues for relative speed: this was accomplished primarily through combinations of time signatures and note values. Julia Dokter's Tempo and Tactus in the German Baroque helps decode these tempo cues for modern performers.

Part 1 investigates metric theory in music treatises from roughly 1600 to 1790. Parts 2 and 3 explore the organ scores of pivotal composers such as J.S. Bach, Buxtehude, Weckman, and Bruhns, and present case studies demonstrating how Baroque tempo indications may interact in performance situations.

Readers will discover how Baroque musicians modified the Renaissance mensural system to incorporate tempo shifts; how the various duple, triple, and compound meters interrelated; how the technical display of stylus phantasticus writing affected tempo; how tempo words (e.g. allegro) functioned; and how the choice of performing forces (e.g., chorus, solo keyboard, etc.) could affect the way tempo was notated.

Dokter's book will become a basic resource for performers of Baroque music, not only for organ and keyboard solo repertoire, but also for other instruments and ensembles.

Julia Dokter teaches musicology at Georgia State University and organ performance at Agnes Scott College.
Notes to the Reader
Introduction
The Foundation of German Baroque Tempo Theory: Michael Praetorius
Duple Meter
Triple and Compound Meter: Proportional Relationships
"2" and Blackened/Whitened Notation
Beat Patterns and Tempo
Source Excerpts
Tempo Words
The Functional Equivalency of Integer Valor Duple Meters in Later Seventeenth-Century Organ Music
Stylus Phantasticus
Differentiations Between Various Integer Valor Duple Meters in Johann Sebastian Bach's Music
The Large Allabreve and the Kirnbergian Small Allabreve
Triple Meter and Tempo Words
Case Studies
Final Remarks, Summary, and Synthesis

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Title Details

30th April 2021

544 Pages

1.52 x 2.29 cm

Series: Eastman Studies in Music

Imprint: University of Rochester Press