restricted access V: The Role of Silence
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v 0 00 The Role of Silence Speech after long silence; it is right. WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS Whether a jazz band playing sempre fortissimo, or electronic nothings piped into our ear when phoning or swathing our consciousness when shopping or dining, we become accustomed to decibels and white noise and become uneasy when we have to listen to silence. Silence is the sound of aloneness, when we become conscious of unhappiness or boredom. For the musician, silence is the sound of the inner self, the sound of concentration. As shown by the following table, Beethoven frequently notated an extended silence at the conclusion of a movement, creating a frame for the listening experience. The sonatas listed are those in which one or more movements end with a fermata over a final rest (marked *) or with a fermata over a complete measure of rest (marked **). Op.2/1 Op.2/2 Tempo *Allegro *Adagio Menuetto *Prestissimo **Allegro vivace Largo appassionato Scherzo: Allegretto Rondo: Grazioso *Allegro con brio Meter Dynamic Level¢ If 3/4 PP 3/4 pp¢ ff 2/4 PP 3/4 PP 3/4 ff c p c ff The Role of Silence 49 Adagio 2/4 pp *Scherzo: Allegro 3/4 pp *Allegro assai 6/8 ff 0p.7 **Allegro molto e con brio 6/8 ff *Largo, con gran espressione 3/4 pp Allegro 3/4 f *Rondo: Poco Allegretto e grazioso 2/4 pp Op.1O/1 **Allegro molto e con brio 3/4 ff Adagio molto 2/4 pp *Prestissimo ¢ p Op.1O/2 *Allegro 2/4 ff **Allegretto 3/4 f **Presto 2/4 ff Op.1O/3 **Presto ¢ ff *Largo e mesto 6/8 pp Menuetto: Allegro 3/4 pp *Rondo: Allegro c p Op.13 **Grave-Allegro molto e con brio c/¢ ff Adagio cantabile 2/4 pp *Rondo: Allegro ¢ ff Op.14/1 Allegro c pp **Allegretto 3/4 pp Rondo: Allegro comodo ¢ f Op.28 **Allegro 3/4 pp Andante 2/4 pp Scherzo: Allegro vivace 3/4 ff Rondo: Allegro, rna non troppo 6/8 ff 0p.31/1 **Allegro vivace 2/4 p Adagio 9/8 pp **Allegretto ¢ pp 0p.3113 Allegro 3/4 f Scherzo: Allegretto vivace 2/4 pp Menuetto: Moderato e grazioso 3/4 pp *Presto con fuoco 6/8 ff 0p.49/1 Andante 2/4 pp *Rondo: Allegro 6/8 ff 0p.49/2 *Allegro, rna non troppo ¢ Tempo di Menuetto 3/4 0p.53 Allegro con brio c ff *Adagio molto-Allegretto 2/4 f 0p.54 In Tempo d'un Menuetto 3/4 pp *Allegretto 2/4 ff ) The Sounds of Involvement 50 0p.57 Allegro assai 12/8 ppp Andante con moto 2/4 ff *Allegro rna non troppo 2/4 ff 0p.79 *Presto alla tedesca 3/4 p Andante 9/8 p Vivace 2/4 p 0p.90 *Mit Lebhaftigkeit 3/4 pp Nicht zu geschwind 2/4 pp Op.101 Etwas lebhaft 6/8 p *Lebhaft c f Langsam 2/4 *Gesch>yinde 2/4 ff In the sonatas following Op. 14 NO.1, the complete measure of rest with fermata occurs much less frequently. Silence, then, is the blackboard on which the Classic repertoire is written. Whether or not Mozart actually said that the rests were as important in his music as the notes, the remark is excellent advice. Listening to silence promotes the clarity of partwriting and articulation and the significance of individual notes (Exx. 5.15 .3). Silence acts as a psychological buffer zone between dramatic outbursts (Ex. 504) and as a means of separating formal sections (Ex. 5.5). Ex. 5.1. BEETHOVEN, SoNATA Gp. 2 NO.1, I, MM. 11-16. " I } ~ f.=i=:i " " , ~\ " .. ~', ~ - .., ~' .0 .0 ~ ~ p. ~p. fa ~ Ex. 5.2. BEETHOVEN, SoNATA OP. 2 NO.2, II, MM. 1-2. Largo appassionato lel/ulo sempre slaccato sempre The Role of Silence 51 Ex. 5.3. BEETHOVEN, SoNATA Gp. 2 NO.3, IV, MM. 111-12. Ex. 5-4. MOZART, SoNATA K. 457, III, MM. 269-75. A $ql'- fl i~ 1':'1 - ~. 1':'1 tJ if) I r fI- ~- 1':'1 ~fI- 1._ I 1':'1 P~ . . I 'I I I ~01 Ex. 5.5. HAYDN, SONATA No. 31, I, MM. 16-18. The importance of silence in these examples can be appreciated by comparing the clangorous background of the B-minor Etude Tableau of Rachmaninoff, in which the melody line competes with the repeated-chord accompaniment. The...