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Classical Music/Moonlight Sonata 3rd Mvt

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Question
I am trying to learn to read music on my own. Currently I am reading Moonlight Sonata 3rd movement, and stuck on bar 188. Is that bar contain only grace notes? If so, which note is being decorated? In the following bar, bar 189?

Thanks in advance.

Answer
Measure 188 is "free meter," meaning it isn't in strict time. So, in the left hand, you hold the chord as long as you can before the right overtakes it. In the right hand, you play the trill for a little while (whatever feels right), then end the trill into the grace notes. The trill should go right into the grace notes without a pause between them. The grace notes don't have to follow the previous tempo, nor do they have to be strictly in time. The last three notes (d#, a, and g# quarter notes) should be about twice as long as the eighth notes, slightly detached from each other and getting softer as indicated.

Measures 189 and 190 are just long held out octaves. He indicates that he wants them held for four beats, but slower beats than the overall tempo of the movement (so they are long!). There are no other notes here, as the grace notes were only for measure 188; it's just f double sharp at octaves, then g#'s. Because there is no "beats per minute" marking, it is really up to you how long you want to hold them.

Trills are worth discussing a little. As with all trills, unless otherwise notated, you begin with the note above. So in measure 188, start on the b and trill down to the a. Also, the first few notes of a trill should almost always be slower than rest of the trill, and these first few notes accelerated before becoming steady. In other words, the trill starts on the note above, starts slowly, then accelerates into a steady fast rhythm.

I hope this helps. Keep up the good work! It's not easy teach yourself to read :)

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Oshi Jager

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I majored in music, and performed and recorded mostly classical music. Questions about classical style, performance and performance practices of the Renaissance to Classical era (ca. 1400 a.d. - 1830 a.d.) music are welcome, and I am well versed in other eras and styles. I have some experience in world music and jazz, but I have almost none in rock, rap, hip-hop, blues, pop, soul... so you should find someone else for good answers in those areas. My main interests and experience are in performance of brass instruments, and composition, form, and analysis of classical and modern music. This includes; trumpet, horn, and trombone technique, as well as tuba to a lesser extent; early instrument technique, performance, and embellishment - especially re. cornetto (early brass family); composition styles and theory. I am not willing to answer homework or assignment questions outright, but I am willing to lead you in the right direction if you are honestly willing to do your part. All other questions are welcome - if I don't know the answer, I will try my contacts, and if none of us do, I will let you know.

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I have been playing trumpet since 1980 in school bands, and since 1988 in local and professional orchestras; studied music as a major at university from 1996-2003; composed and had performed many compositions for many different ensembles and in many different styles since 1996.

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International Trumpet Guild

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B.A. in Music from Humboldt State University, 2003

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