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Oxford University Press

Scarlatti's Tremulo Author(s): Barbara Sachs Source: Early Music, Vol. 19, No. 1 (Feb., 1991), pp. 91-93 Published by: Oxford University Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3127955 Accessed: 10-10-2015 22:48 UTC

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OBSERVATIONS

BarbaraSachs

Scarlatti's tremulo insufficient reason for dismissing note-repetition, which, after all, has been the standard meaning of
Scarlatti's
tremulo
insufficient reason for
dismissing note-repetition,
which,
after all, has been the standard meaning of trem-
olo for strings from Marini and Castello to the present.
Scarlatti did,
notes-almost
of course, write out ordinary repeated
always an even number of notes, played
through a beat or a bar, by alternating two fingers. There
is a
olo
'touch' however,related to note-repetition, that Nic-
Pasquali considered'whimsical' and said was known
as 'tremolato'
In his Art of Fingering the Harpsichord, a book for
teachersof beginnerscompleted by 1757 and published
posthumously, Pasquali explained 'tremolato,or qua-
vering' as the playing of one key by three fingers,
fJ.
or
2.
4
3
2
432
as quickly as the quillpermits.3 (His other'touches' besides
legato and staccato,were 'sdrucciolato,or sliding' [glis-
sando] and staccatissimo.In the last two, all the notes
1 Domenico Scarlatti, portrait (c. 1740) by Doi
de Veldsco (Instituicao Jose Relvas, Alpiarca)
appear undera slur and are playedby a single finger. The
sdrucciolato certainlycorresponds to Scarlatti's glissandi
runs 'conun deto' [with one finger].) Pasqualiprescribed
this basic three-note repetition for beginners; as with
beatsand shakes, perhaps in some contexts more advan-

ced players could add more repercussions.Figures like

In seeking a possible explanation for what Kirkpatrick called the 'puzzlingly consistent distinction" between

tremulo (trem.,tre.) and (,) in the sonatasof Domenico Scarlatti, it might be advisableto refrain from hoping that the former will turn out to be a particular form of the latter.Accustomed as we are to deliberating over the

musical implications of the various ways to interpret

shakes, we usually contrive to make

Scarlatti'stremuli

sound acceptable as trills, without identifying a feature that warrantsand requires the use of the special term

tremulo. Shouldwe be looking for a differentornament? Kirk- patrick dismissed mordents, schnellerand rapid note- repetition, all of which were sometimes called tremoliin the 17th century, because 'none of these examples appears to have any bearing on Scarlatti'.2This seems an

J.

or

  • 43432 432

JJ432

4

3

2

4

3

2

preserve the sparkling characterof the tremolatoand remain distinct from the trillo continuato and from

paired repeated notes. Another conjecture is the possibility of combining such a tremulowith a trill. Christophe Rousset4contests Emilia Fadini's relating of Scarlatti's tremulo to the

repeated notes ending trills (and called trills) in Lorenzo Penna'streatise of 1672 and Gregorio Strozzi's keyboard

music (1687).5 As 'le contre-exemple ideal'he cites K.n8, where tremulo appears above tr (five times). But rather

than equating the two terms this call for a successiveexecution of

example may actually both ornaments.The

resultcould be either a trill from above followed by two

EARLY

MUSIC

FEBRUARY

1991

91

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extra repercussions of the principal note, by Penna, or a trill from the principal note

as illustrated with three to

five repeated notes at the end, as found in Strozzi.The

superimposition of

two ornament terms over one note

recalls such familiar compound signs as 2 or y. The tremulo portions of Penna's and Strozzi's trills were

probably played without changing fingers, the effect being more vocal than Pasquali's tremolatoor Scarlatti's

tremulo, and more suited to the organ.

Tremuli are indicated in K.96,114, 115,118, 119, 128,132, 136, 137,172, 175,183,187, 194, 203, 204a, 208, 272, 291, 296,

510, 525 and 543.6They occur only in the right hand, and even when they are inserted in chords, fingers 432

usually remain availableto play them; in

other cases

some people might prefer443 or 444 to 543, or 332 to 321.

The following examplesmay help to

show that the most

logical meaning of the term in question need not be dis- missed: it produces a novel effect and solves an old

puzzle.

 

'

 

R.

P.390.

 

2

Ibid, P.393.

 

3N.

1758), pp.26-27.

 

4

C.

No. 1 (1985),p.79.

5

 

6

Ibid, p. 84. This

pancies. Rousset says

 

7

Critical Edition

 

8

Kirkpatrick,ed., Scarlatti Sixty Sonatas (NY/London,1953), ii,

p.lg9; R. Kirkpatrick, DomenicoScarlatti (Princeton,1953; rev. 3/1968),

Pasquali, The Art of Fingering the Harpsichord(Edinburgh,

sonates' in DomenicoScar-

Rousset, 'Approchestatistique des

latti 13Recherches, Cahiersde la Societe de Musique Ancienne de Nice

See also E. Fadini,'La grafia dei manoscrittiscarlattiani: problemi ed osservazione',in Gli Atti del Convegno Scarlattie il suo tempo, Acca- demia Chigiana,1985 (Florence, 199o).

helpful list also includes K.357,which, however,

contains the trillo continuato, not the tremulo.There are no Scarlatti

autographs, but the manuscriptsources are in substantial agreement

slight

discre-

regarding tremuli. See Fadini's edition for details of

the K.128tremuli are only in the Parmacodices;

accordingto Fadini they arein the Miinster and Vienna manuscripts as well.

per clavicembalo,

Emilia Fadini, ed. Domenico ScarlattiSonate

(Milan: 1978-), ii, pp.159,

161.This source is noted

because it differsfrom Kirkpatrick's edition cited above.

Ibid, iii, pp.84-85.

Ex.1Tremulo on single notes

K.132(Cantabile) 7

A

-do-

_

29

tremulo

i_

J.J":

·

r

J Jt7

tremulo

69

e i-1---35

K.291(Andante)

n

0

-J

+L-rr

r

i

rr

r

;

;

;

r

I

r

f

-

a.

tre

,

J

-

'-

Ex.2 Tremulo on long notes

K.115 (Allegro)

K.132(Cantabile)

334

32

L_3 -

J-

47

Trlo

'

LLW

4b telo

L'

r

,

L'P

1

33

432432

16

-I

43emulo

'

I

f

-33

'

3432

or

432

9 bSb

r

rrr rr

r rr r r r

b

vr.

X

;

92

EARLY

MUSIC

FEBRUARY

1991

bJJ

'

2

-

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Ex.2 contd. 543 5 4 3 or 4 4 3 4 3 2 K.96 (Allegrissimo) --
Ex.2 contd.
543
5
4
3
or
4
4
3
4
3
2
K.96 (Allegrissimo)
--
_1-.-
7-'1.
h
A k
7
i-2
-
y,
r,~f
i'r
-m-
..
3
2
1
I
I
Tremulo
di
sopra'l~~I
Tremulo
di
sopra
i
)
9:"KJ
j
i
r
Ex.3 Tremuloin chords
432
K.175 (Allegro)8
mm
(trill)
m~\
A
(trill)
I
-
II
11
f
--
I-
~
w,
' titrem.
I
trem.
^27·f:
.^Q-^^
^
K.119 (Allegro)
5
1.45 3 2same
L
fingering
i
I
432
I
Tremulo nell' A la mi re
-
N
o
k 56
|,
,
1'
1K -J
-
I _
_
K]
h
'
--
tr
tr
tr
tr
Ex.4 Tremulo
as compound
ornament
K.118 (Non presto)
3A
4
~4
43324 3
4
3
2
4
4332 4 3
3
2
^
34
332
or
34
332
etc.
:
e4
3
3
2
Tremulo
ttrc
=
'[ec.
EARLY
MUSIC
FEBRUARY
J
-n
Y
3:#ttR
t

..

-

1991

93

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