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Understanding musical scores
Understanding musical scores

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2.3.1 Fitting sound and silence together

The interplay between sound and silence has been an important trend in art music since the mid-twentieth century and much has been written about the philosophy and psychology of silence in music.

These small silences articulate the musical space, so you need to be able to identify rests and places in large scores where instruments are silent in order to understand what is happening and to follow them through. Essentially, you will need to move your eye to the active lines of music not the resting ones.

Figure 8
Download this audio clip.Audio player: Mozart’s fifth variation
Mozart’s fifth variation
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Listen to Mozart’s fifth variation. Here, Mozart breaks up our now familiar melody between the left and right hands, and where one is busy, there is a rest in the other. You may find the movement from one clef to the other tricky to follow at first, but once you get used to seeing how they fit together, it becomes easier to follow both staves together than to separate them. Notice that Alexander observes the first repeat mark, but not the second one.