Playing the harpsicord, spinnet or piano forte, made easy by new instructions wherein the Italian manner of fingering is shewn by variety of examples, with choice lessons selected from the most eminent masters, proper for beginners, and very useful for proficients on those instruments or the organ, with concise rules for playing a good thoro’ bass. Also an approv’d method of tuning, & a dictionary explaining such words as generally occur in music.
London, Longman and Broderip [1780?]
42 p. illus. 17 x 25 cm.
Second, augmented edition?
Today’s post takes a closer look at this list of musical terms on page 36 of this 46 page handbook on the harpsichord.
It’s tricky to define the scale of musical tempo and dynamic markings concisely and effectively. This may be why the author defines allegro in a rolling paragraph, where the tempo is described as “brisk”, but can be modified to be “not as quick” or “quicker” with additional terms.
Happy coincidence places grave and largo in alphabetical proximity, so the author can move from grave as “very slow” through larghetto as just “slow” to the happy medium of largo as “slower than larghetto but not as slow as grave.”
Finally, there’s the various piu designations, making different terms “a little more” than what they were solo (a little louder, quicker, etc.). However, I think what the author needed “a little more” of at this point was column inches.
This volume also contains some great charts for playing thorough bass and instructions for how to properly tune one’s harpsichord, and I’ll post those in the weeks to come.