From Phrase to Phrasing - a Classical Perspective (2015)

Jan Willem Nelleke

About this exposition

This paper explores the structure and performance of musical phrases according to sources from the second half of the eigtheenth century. As phrasing is such an essential part of music making it seems curious that there is not much written about it and its application usually taken for granted. This paper wants to address this from the assumption that a better understanding of structure (phrases) will enrich delivery in performance (phrasing). It is written from the viewpoint of a performer with a focus on the practical application of theory. Subjects include repose-moments, cadences, phrase-rhythm, punctuation, notation, skills in phrasing, breathing, and observations on Classical phrase structures and proportions in general. Case studies are provided to demonstrate and test the theory on practical use and extend into less obvious areas like writing song intro's and cadenzas.
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