Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by wilky, Oct 28, 2008.

  1. wilky

    wilky Member

    Hi All

    Often wondered why notes in cadenzas are smaller than the notes not in cadenzas?
  2. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member

    Is it because the cadenza is more like a suggestion of what to play, rather than exactly what is to be played... i.e. make up your own cadenza?
  3. wilky

    wilky Member



    not sure, as when ever we hear recordings or these pieces people always seem to play the cadenza written. If it is a guide why still not write it in notes that we can read and still leave it upto people to play what they want?
  4. MarkGillatt

    MarkGillatt Member

    I think it's to make the player look silly when he plays it, because he has to squint to see the tiny little notes
  5. themusicalrentboy

    themusicalrentboy Active Member

    and it give us on the end an excuse if/ inevitably when we mess it up!!!
  6. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    Small notes in cadenzas usually indicate free time, i.e., the notation doesn't fit the time signature, giving players license to perform (interpret) how they choose.
  7. themusicalrentboy

    themusicalrentboy Active Member

    I've never really thought about this before, but cadenzas generally don't have barlines either.

    the things you miss....
  8. wilky

    wilky Member



    I appreciate all the above and the'free time' element but why small notes, the free time element can still be given if the notes are big or small.People know it is a cadenza due to the fact that within the cadenza there are various pauses etc. Just often wondered why this is done and no one really seems to know the reason?
  9. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    It might be a hang-over from the era when Air varies were all the rage, cadenzas were much more commonplace, and typesetting was much more difficult than it is now.

    It's just an idea, but i suppose it was much easier to make the notes smaller and squish them in so you can fit a whole cadenza on one line than it is to find a suitable juncture to split it over two lines. Parts were generally letter-sized then rather than A4 as they are today so space really was at a premium.

    As an aside:
    Someone mentioned above that brass players generally play the cadenza as it's written, and my experience is that this is usually the case. However I've three versions of Weber's clarinet concerto at home, and the quasi-cadenza passage in the rondo is NEVER what's printed on the score.

    Does this difference come from the tradition of test-pieces containing cadenzas, ergo EVERYONE had to play the same one or it was a bit unfair?
  10. Mark Bousie

    Mark Bousie Member

    Hey Wilky,

    Maybe we should consult Professor Meechan again! You are inquisitive at the moment! Have you nothing better to do during half term? Can't wait for the next question.....
  11. wilky

    wilky Member


    Hi Mr Bousie,

    Ive already text him!!!! It must be an age thing but thought i would ask these questions after years of doing things wrong!!! (ie the accidental question previously raised)
    What could my next one be, the meaning of life?, why does my cornet play wrong notes?

  12. Di

    Di Active Member

    If it were just on the score, whether it be with piano or band accompaniment, I'd suggest it possibly being to cut down on the blank spaces/bars rest that the accompaniment would have. I can see no reason for it being done on the soloists copy though.
  13. MarimbaMan

    MarimbaMan New Member


    There is no definite rhythmic guidline for a cadenza so its is written with appoggiatura notation(smaller) because these have no definite rhythm and are simplly notes one after another.
  14. Deano

    Deano Member

    Read that on the back of a cornflake packet or swallowed a dictionary for breakfast did we?

    Only joking, good explaination.

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