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Thread: Barber's Adagio

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    Default Barber's Adagio

    Here is a video of Barber's Adagio with the score:

    https://youtu.be/ajaMdRv0IK0

    Following the score while listening shows the work is much harder than it sounds.

    I have trouble understanding why composers use 2 as the bottom number in time signatures in slow music. Why do you think Barber choose 2 instead of 4?

    In measures 55-56 the harmony changes. What was Barber trying to accomplish here?

    The final chord is A natural(!), F, and C. How do you like this compared with an ending in Bb Minor or a sudden switch to Db Major?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aurelian View Post
    I have trouble understanding why composers use 2 as the bottom number in time signatures in slow music. Why do you think Barber choose 2 instead of 4?
    It reflects the expansive nature of the music and avoids the distracting and misleading beaming that would otherwise be necessary if the quarter notes were eighths. The beaming of such eighths in twos or fours would suggest rhythmic grouping that isn't actually present and doesn't reflect the freedom of grouping in the sounding music.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aurelian View Post
    In measures 55-56 the harmony changes. What was Barber trying to accomplish here?
    This calls for rank speculation. It is a moment of deep, calm reflection after the climax of the work and a transition to the final rounding phrases. It's a beautiful progression.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aurelian View Post
    The final chord is A natural(!), F, and C. How do you like this compared with an ending in Bb Minor or a sudden switch to Db Major?
    This is an "ending" in Bb minor, only the last chord is the dominant. In the original string quartet from which the Adagio is excerpted, the movement does not end, but proceeds attacca into a finale which begins in Bb minor.

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