Beethoven's Tied-Note Notation. An Ongoing Debate

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    Beethoven’s tied-note notation for piano is often regarded as somewhat of a controversial subject, with notable examples being found in the Piano Sonatas Opp. 106 and 110, and the piano part to the Cello Sonata Op. 69. Differing views over the execution of this notation have raised many questions, and associations with the Clavichord’s so-called ‘Bebung’ technique are often used as evidence to support interpretations. Scholars such as Badura-Skoda (1988), Del Mar (2004), and Bilson (2004) have all published their own (often differing) views on this subject and in their respective discussions have used examples from Beethoven’s published repertoire, historical performance practice treatises and organological considerations to support their arguments, either for or against the notion of audible repetition.

    However, a seemingly unknown figuration, dating from c.1790 and located amongst Beethoven’s sketches, has never before been examined in the context of these discussions, and therefore its inclusion adds vital elements to the argument – both that of timescale and alternate fingerings. In drawing attention to this sketch and evaluating its contribution to the evidence surrounding Beethoven’s tied-note notation, this paper will provide a reconsideration of the available evidence, highlighting how differing interpretations have developed – particularly during the twentieth century – and how new evidence can bring fresh insights to a long-standing debate.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)100-117
    Number of pages18
    JournalBeethoven and the Piano: Philology, Context and Performance Practice
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 1 Nov 2023


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