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Which Language for expressive comments?

Discussion in 'Composing' started by Anonymous, Oct 31, 2007.

  1. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest


    First, I'm new to the Piano Society so I'll introduce myself before posing my question. I'm primarily a jazz pianist but do enjoy playing/composing in the serious (or "classical") style as well. Most of the time when I write jazz/contemporary pieces I'll put written indications of tempos and other devices in English (e.g. "Fast Swing", "moderately", etc...). When I compose "serious" music I prefer to use Italian ("Moderato", "Allegro", etc...). Since I'm from the US and English is my primary language does it matter what I use? I recently wrote a piano piece for my son and wrote the dedication in French because it reminded me of Chopin and I frequently have seen his dedications printed in French. When I had an Italian pianist play the piece he didn't question the Italian remarks but asked, "why is the dedication in French?"

    Does it really matter?
  2. mary

    mary New Member

    Oct 17, 2007
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    Composer,poet, artist, translator
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    I'm a composer,too, and I use Italian sometimes, English at other times--Usually, I use English when I have to write something outside of the usual allegro, andante-something a little quirky. But I do think that whatever language you use it's a good idea to be consistent within the piece. Otherwise it might seem a little haphazard and confusing.
  3. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

    Jun 12, 2006
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    Welcome here !

    I don't think there is a hard language rule. Italian is obviously default but some composers use their own language (all French composers, obviously :lol: ), and many composers use other language languages when it suits them. Beethoven mixed Italian and German, and even a contemporary person like Kapustin uses Italian but with a liberal use of Frence and English (perlé, swinging, with an easy swing).

    So... does it matter ? Not a lot as long as people understand it. Scriabin's way-out directions often require a dictionary, as do many of Sorabji's Italian concoctions.

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