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Topic: OT - HELP!!!! - French musical terms?

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  1. #1

    OT - HELP!!!! - French musical terms?

    Hi all,

    For all of you forum members who speak French, I need some help.

    I am working on preparing a Rameau suite score ready for performance but everything is in French - except for a few German scribbles by the conductor. I have learned much, and have been able to figure out most things, but there are some thing which still elude my understanding.

    Can someone please tell me what the following translates into? I have looked up in a French dictionary, but the musical inferences are not plainly manifest to me.

    - á demi (has half?) what would that mean for a player?

    - sans rendeur (I think - the handwriting is bad and it is a bad photocopy)

    - petite repa

    There might be more - but anyone who can help, I really appreciate it. I am under a deadline here.

    Thanks so much for your help!

    Jerry Wickham
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  2. #2

    Re: OT - HELP!!!! - French musical terms?

    Jerry:

    peut-être--no guarantees:

    á demi = by/in half
    petite repa (repos?) = small/short break/rest
    sans rendeur (rigueur?)=without rigidity/flowing/smoothly

    Also, check HERE, for example...
    Bill

  3. #3

    Re: OT - HELP!!!! - French musical terms?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry W.
    - á demi (has half?) what would that mean for a player?
    - sans rendeur (I think - the handwriting is bad and it is a bad photocopy)
    - petite repa
    most of this sounds like bad french, so I'm going to assume that the handwriting is difficult to decipher?

    à demi COULD logically mean something like "in 2". It would really help to know what the exact context of the indication is. is it in 4/4? or 2/2? is it part of an orchestral score? is it a harpsichord part?

    Sans rendeur isn't french. sans means without. rendeur isn't a word. As someone else said sans rigueur would mean something like freely, without precision.
    petite repa appears to be incomplete. if the word was repos for rest, then it would not even be petit (and certainly not petite which is the feminine - repos is a masculine noun), but rather something like bref. I suspect that the repa is an incomplete annotation.

  4. #4

    Re: OT - HELP!!!! - French musical terms?

    You mentioned "a demi" as specific to a player?
    Perhaps it is an indicator of a playing style with the instrument/mute? Trumpets, for example, can play with a harmon at half-stems (not that harmons would appear in 17th century French music, but it could be a similar concept) If it is the case of a harpsichord, I bet qccowboy has it on the money (switching from 8 footers to 4's)

  5. #5

    Re: OT - HELP!!!! - French musical terms?

    Thanks guys.

    Actually - and you can see it here, á demi is used in the full score - in 3/4 time. I am almost thinking it is some kind of dynamic indication? I know doux is soft and fort is loud. There is no harpsichord (at least there won't be in the performance) and a demi shows up in all of the parts scores.

    Petite repa was scribbled in with pencil - almost illegible - I am sure I am not reading it right.

    And also in this pic I have highlighted the "sans rendeur" or whatever it says at the top.

    I am sure all these things can be cleared up with the conductor at the rehearsal, but the thing is, it is for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. And I just want to do this as good as I can. It is a German guest conductor, who scribbled german indications on the score in really light pencil here and there. And he uses circles and squares as dynamic indicators. circle is P, Square is forte.

    mixed in are some standard italian musical terms like da Capo, etc.

    A fun project, to be sure.

    Here is the pic



    Jerry
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  6. #6
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    Smile Re: OT - HELP!!!! - French musical terms?

    Hi Jerry! I think it is not written "sans rendeur" but rather "sans lenteur" which would mean actually "without slowliness" (does it mean something in English?), so I would guess playing without being tempted to slowdown tempo at some point. But I am not a good musician, so this is really a guess. Best. mhleo

  7. #7
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    Re: OT - HELP!!!! - French musical terms?

    Hi Jerry,

    It definitely is "Sans lenteur", meaning "without slowliness". It would actually be something close to "Andante".

    "A demi" in that context means "soft", "p" or "pp", "With discretion", etc.

    The "Petite Repa" remains a mystery, it doesn' mean anything as is. Yes, perhaps, "Petit repos", which means little break or pause. Can you post the pick for this one, for the whole thing to be solved?

    Robert

  8. #8

    Re: OT - HELP!!!! - French musical terms?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Piéchaud
    Hi Jerry,

    It definitely is "Sans lenteur", meaning "without slowliness". It would actually be something close to "Andante".

    "A demi" in that context means "soft", "p" or "pp", "With discretion", etc.

    The "Petite Repa" remains a mystery, it doesn' mean anything as is. Yes, perhaps, "Petit repos", which means little break or pause. Can you post the pick for this one, for the whole thing to be solved?

    Robert
    Hi Robert AND Everyone,

    Thanks for that - You are right - I was definitley reading it wrong. Sorry for the trouble.
    Here is the page from the Sarabande from Rameau's Naïs suite: © the editor. You will notice the last four measures have been marked Petite SOMETHING - I am not sure what it says - it was my guess. It was scribbled in there by the conductor.



    Hey - while we are at it, anyone know what the english version of "Tambour Provencale" would be? I know it is a drum - and in the recording it sounded like something that was in size between a snare drum without the snare engaged and a bass drum - too high to be a bass drum, but too low to be a snare. There are several instruments which are no longer in use as well. Haute Contres - which I have learned is a string instrument that was naed that because it was closest to matching the voice indications of that same name - who's part today is usually played by the viola. (Viola in this score is called "parties", or just "alto" - another voice-inspired named instrument, like the Baryton(e).

    Thank you all for your patience - You guys are great!!

    This is my first score I have worked with in French. I am used to German, Italian, or even just English and am familiar with several French terms - but so far, have encountered several in this score that have baffled me.


    Thanks again,

    Jerry Wickham
    MacBook Pro Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5ghz 4GB Ram OSX 10.5.8
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    T3, Logic 9, DP7, K2, GPO4, Strad, Gofriller, C&MB, Finale 2010

    My Website!
    New Film Scores!
    Also, Ever think about having your very own personal documentary? See my new Website!
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Talking Re: OT - HELP!!!! - French musical terms?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry W.



    Jerry
    No, No, No, you have it all wrong! That indicates when Demi Moore does here dance routine!
    Styxx

  10. #10

    Re: OT - HELP!!!! - French musical terms?

    After the Sarabande I notice it says: attacca + petite repr.

    Could it be petite reprise?

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