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Do you like/dislike repeats in your favorite works? Does it depend on the work, or perhaps on the genre? Are there actual musical reasons or are you just trying to save time? :)

Charles Rosen on Repeats in The Classical Style.

Baroque Era

"The repeat during the Baroque period is a way of accenting the regularity of a dance-form; repeating an entire piece as a unit only serves to continue the dance, but repeating each half separately emphasizes its symmetry."

Classical Era: During the third quarter of the 18th Century:

"In the third quarter of the eighteenth century, the repeat was above all the opportunity for expressive ornamentation, for the display of sentiment or virtuosity… It is largely in the music of Haydn and Mozart after 1775 that structure replaced ornamentation as the principal vehicle of expression. The repeats (particularly in the first movements, the slow movements always retaining some of their ornamental character) then became above all an essential part of proportions, the balance of tonal areas, and of the interplay of harmonic tensions."

During Beethoven's Time:

On the Eroica Symphony, he begins discussing repeats.

"The length of the movement being so unusual, Beethoven briefly thought of omitting the repeat of the exposition: he finally decided the repeat was essential. Without it, as we still sometimes hear the symphony played, the exposition is dwarfed by what follows."

Ignoring repeats and other "desecrations" aren't just a modern practice.

"It might be said that there is almost no possible desecration of a classical work that is not sanctified by a tradition dating back to the composer's lifetime. Beethoven's friends indignantly reported to him a performance of the Fifth Symphony which went from the C major Trio of the scherzo directly into the pedal point of the transition of the finale."

Are they necessary?

"A better basis for decision would be the question of significance (and in the classical style, proportions are an essential part of meaning); even if it becomes longer, a work can only gain in interest if it makes more sense. There is no rule: some repeats are dispensable, others absolutely necessary; some succeed in clarifying what is only half-intelligible without them."
 

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Do you like/dislike repeats in your favorite works? Does it depend on the work, or perhaps on the genre? Are there actual musical reasons or are you just trying to save time?

Charles Rosen on Repeats in The Classical Style.

Baroque Era

"The repeat during the Baroque period is a way of accenting the regularity of a dance-form; repeating an entire piece as a unit only serves to continue the dance, but repeating each half separately emphasizes its symmetry."

Classical Era: During the third quarter of the 18th Century:

"In the third quarter of the eighteenth century, the repeat was above all the opportunity for expressive ornamentation, for the display of sentiment or virtuosity… It is largely in the music of Haydn and Mozart after 1775 that structure replaced ornamentation as the principal vehicle of expression. The repeats (particularly in the first movements, the slow movements always retaining some of their ornamental character) then became above all an essential part of proportions, the balance of tonal areas, and of the interplay of harmonic tensions."

During Beethoven's Time:

On the Eroica Symphony, he begins discussing repeats.

"The length of the movement being so unusual, Beethoven briefly thought of omitting the repeat of the exposition: he finally decided the repeat was essential. Without it, as we still sometimes hear the symphony played, the exposition is dwarfed by what follows."

Ignoring repeats and other "desecrations" aren't just a modern practice.

"It might be said that there is almost no possible desecration of a classical work that is not sanctified by a tradition dating back to the composer’s lifetime. Beethoven’s friends indignantly reported to him a performance of the Fifth Symphony which went from the C major Trio of the scherzo directly into the pedal point of the transition of the finale."

Are they necessary?

"A better basis for decision would be the question of significance (and in the classical style, proportions are an essential part of meaning); even if it becomes longer, a work can only gain in interest if it makes more sense. There is no rule: some repeats are dispensable, others absolutely necessary; some succeed in clarifying what is only half-intelligible without them."
 

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Ha! that's pretty funny Dim7. As to the question of repeats, I would concur with Mr Rosen that some are absolutely essential while others are open to personal preference. If you are in the Classical style of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven then for the most part they are essential as part of the Sonata form and the composers certainly never decided "hmmm I like this opening so much I think I will repeat it" but rather had it in mind when writing the movement. Of course Beethoven started stretching the form like silly putty but he did it with an exact knowledge of what was being stretched. After that with the romantics and even Schubert, they were using a more loosely defined structure and in some cases were actively trying to avoid the conformity of the classical style so I am less inclined to miss repeats with those later works since some of them are just lengthening the work but not strictly necessary to the form.
 

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I always prefer the repeats. Long and slow is how I like to take it.

Nothing wrong with keeping to the score being played... improvisation is good too.
 
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Whatever the composer decided is okay with me, and preferred. On the other hand, if the performer prefers to skip them, then I can probably go along with that, too, but, being musically somewhat challenged ;) the repeats would be better for me to get it... and that's part of the point, isn't it, as well as aesthetic considerations? Since I don't follow along in the score, I wouldn't know whether there is supposed to be a repeat or not.
 

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Can I ask a question to the people who know about Schubert's music? Why do so many pianists not take the repeat in 960/i

Where you have a repeat of music with no change at the end, I think the interpreter should play the repeat differently second time around.

Does a Feldman score have a lot of repeats in it? Is it normal to vary repeated music in contemporary music? (Change the articulation, voicing or something.)
 

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I have nothing against repeats, as I usually tend to enjoy them a great deal, so long as they do not extend beyond the exposition. Some conductors take great liberty in repeating the development section/s, which I find unnecessary and to me, it takes away whatever momentum the piece has built up. So yeah, repeat the exposition, but please do not do the same to the development section/s. :cry:

Love, TPS!
 

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You'd have to walk me thorough a work and tell me what and when are the repeats. I know nothing about them but that they are omitted in some performances. Presumably it is repeating some of the music?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Can I ask a question to the people who know about Schubert's music? Why do so many pianists not take the repeat in 960?

Where you have a repeat of music with no change at the end, I think the interpreter should play the repeat differently second time around.
Yes, I agree completely that the musician should play it differently the next time around. Well said.

Here's a section from "The Quartets in Performance", an essay from "The Beethoven Quartet Companion" (I can't recommend this book highly enough, not just for those interested in Beethoven's string quartets, but anyone who loves string quartets, period.). This is from a member of the Sequoia Quartet, Robert Martin, who adds his expertise and experience of actually performing Beethoven's quartets:

"Repeats were the occasion for performers to add or alter ornamentation. Something of the flavor of this tradition is retained in repeats even when there are no literal changes; the performers can find subtle ways of playing the music differently, responding to the fact that the audience has heard it once. It is disheartening to hear a repeat performed with no feeling of freshness or change of perspective." (137)
 
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I have nothing against repeats, as I usually tend to enjoy them a great deal, so long as they do not extend beyond the exposition. Some conductors take great liberty in repeating the development section/s, which I find unnecessary and to me, it takes away whatever momentum the piece has built up. So yeah, repeat the exposition, but please do not do the same to the development section/s. :cry:

Love, TPS!
Actually, this is written into many classical-era scores, including many by Mozart or Haydn. I think the finale to Mozart's 40th loses a lot if the second half isn't repeated, and my favorite joke in the first movement of Mozart's Musical Joke is lost if you don't take the second repeat.

Perhaps it goes without saying, but I think the repeats in Mahler's works (the exposition of the First and Sixth Symphonies' first movements, the first part of the First's scherzo) should be taken for reasons of balance. The exposition repeat in the Fifth, which was removed by Mahler but remains in scores based on the first printing, is better off not taken.
 

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I'm often at odds with normally like minded individuals on this topic (Looking directly at you Woodduck!). All my preferences for repeats are taken on a case by case, and sometimes movement by movement basis. To me, the repeat in Schubert 9, Mvt 1 is essential but the same in Mvt 3 is unnecessary and redundant. Schubert SQ 14 is just not the same without the repeats but Beethoven 9, Mvt 2 sounds like the conductor lost his page and decided to simply start the movement from the beginning.
 
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Can I ask a question to the people who know about Schubert's music? Why do so many pianists not take the repeat in 960/i

Where you have a repeat of music with no change at the end, I think the interpreter should play the repeat differently second time around.

Does a Feldman score have a lot of repeats in it? Is it normal to vary repeated music in contemporary music? (Change the articulation, voicing or something.)
There's probably a few reasons for leaving off this repeat but I think most pianists do so because they feel they have provided the interpretation that they desired for that section and to play it again exactly the same is meaningless but to change it is to draw comparison to their own interpretation.
 

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There's probably a few reasons for leaving off this repeat but I think most pianists do so because they feel they have provided the interpretation that they desired for that section and to play it again exactly the same is meaningless but to change it is to draw comparison to their own interpretation.
the point of course is that the ending of the repeat is astonishingly, dramatically, different second time round, as it were. Second time round there's an enormous loud crashing dissonance at the end. Death. So when you leave it out you're changing the meaning of the music in a rather major way.
 

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I prefer them on the whole but am not fanatical about them . In first movements which are shortish , such as with those of Haydn , it's wrong to omit them . In longer symphonies with longer firstmovements , it's not quite as damaging . Leaving the repeat out in the very short exposition
of the Beethoven 5th is a criminal offense , however, and some conductors, mainly in the past have done this , even eminent ones .
Interestingly , one of the last symphonies with an exposition repeat is the Rachmaninov 3rd, which dates from the 1930s . On his own recording conducting the Philadelphia orchestra , which I have, he omits it . Possibly this was due to the primitive recording techniques of the day where a disk could only last a few inutes , was the reason for this , but we'll never know . Whether the cmposer would have observed it in a live performance is anyone's guess .
As far as I know, the last symphony to have a repeat in the first movement is the 9th of Shostakoich , a neo-Haydnesque work .
 

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Repeats with changes are fine. Note for note repeats depend on the music being repeated. Just like a chorus in pop music, if it is awesome, I have no problem listening to it again. Other times, I just want them to get on with it.

Pomp and Circumstance is a lovely tune, but the number of repeats it gets at graduation ceremonies is too high. The one that irks me the most is Stars and Stripes Forever by Sousa. The repeat of the first section and the repeat of the final two sections do not add enough new in the orchestration for me to remain interested. I would prefer a shorter, snappier march.
 

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I'm often at odds with normally like minded individuals on this topic (Looking directly at you Woodduck!). All my preferences for repeats are taken on a case by case, and sometimes movement by movement basis. To me, the repeat in Schubert 9, Mvt 1 is essential but the same in Mvt 3 is unnecessary and redundant. Schubert SQ 14 is just not the same without the repeats but Beethoven 9, Mvt 2 sounds like the conductor lost his page and decided to simply start the movement from the beginning.
I'm looking directly back at you, scratchgolf, but I haven't the foggiest what you're referring to!

That said, I just listened to Beethoven's Eroica today, and Herr von Karajan omitted the exposition repeat in the first movement. I felt instantly cheated, discombobulated even; it may be a long movement, bit it's so rich in material that the repeat performs an essential solidifying function, and is absolutely necessary to balance the epic development and the further development in the coda. Length in Beethoven is not prolixity. Schubert, now... Case by case!
 
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