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During the last century and a half, the "Romantic Virus" has been solidly entrenched in performances of music by 18th, 19th and even 20th century composers. Simply stated, it is the compulsion to always play across the bar-line or into the next strong(er) beat and to change 6/8 measures from a trochaic to an iambic meter (the first movements in Mozart's Sonata in A major and Beethoven's Opus 101 are just two examples). It mars - actually makes unintelligible - almost all performances of music of the baroque and classical era. Romanic composers of course frequently do go across the bar-line, but certainly not exclusively so. Schubert, Chopin, Brahms and countless others such as Fauré and Debussy use this romantic trait very judiciously. It has become standard practice in 19th century and later editions to anachronistically apply contemporary dynamic and especially phrasing and articulation markings to earlier periods. Applying especially the latter two lock-stock-and-barrel to previous musical periods is one of the most pervasive and gravest errors a performer can make. Practically all non-Urtext editions corrupt the texts of previous periods - with the blessings of prominent music theorists - and perpetuate this epidemic. This article presents a methodology I use that may provide a cure.


This work also appears under the title "Extirpating the Romantic Virus: An Introduction to Principles of Metrical/Mathematical Analysis."

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