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Vorhaltsmelodik

English translation: expressive suspension patterns

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10:34 Dec 14, 2005
German to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Music
German term or phrase: Vorhaltsmelodik
"In der folgenden Aria mit obligater Oboe arbeitet Bach mit ausdrucksstarker Vorhaltsmelodik und charakteristischen Sprüngen in der Oboenstimme, um Klage und Anrufung Gottes auszudrücken."

This refers to the first aria of BWV 199 Mein Herze schwimmt im Blute (!), which is written for soprano solo and orchestra, although in this movement the accompaniment is just oboe and continuo. I listened carefully to my recording of the cantata, but still can´t figure out what is meant by "Vorhaltsmelodik". Any ideas?
Chris Rowson
Local time: 17:50
English translation:expressive suspension patterns
Explanation:
Not sure here at all as my suggestion would somewhat lose the aspect of melody. HTH anyway - I'm not a musician.

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Note added at 43 mins (2005-12-14 11:18:12 GMT)
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Perhaps the author wanted to emphasise that the suspension played an even greater role in this composition, compared to others of a similar kind.
Selected response from:

Steffen Walter
Germany
Local time: 17:50
Grading comment
I´m selecting Steffen´s answer because I actually used “expressive suspended melody”. But thanks also to the other contributors.

I agree that the “Vorhalt” is often not equivalent to a suspension, at least not as Quantz uses the term, although when it resolves downwards I would perceive it as having an implied preparation and thus constituting a suspension. However, I decided it was not possible to communicate a strict interpretation of the term in a flowing sentence in English.

But it was only while preparing this note that I finally found what I suspect is the proper translation of “Vorhalt”: I think it´s an “anticipation”. I still can´t make a good translation of “Vorhaltsmelodik” out of it, though, unless maybe “anticipatory melody”. I doubt though whether this would be well understood.

For Sabine, the site you link to is very interesting, and I would nominate another for the list of musicians, if only I could find some more detail: he appears in "The Diary of John Grano", where he is referred to as "my black pupil" and "the black trumpeter" and was apparently active and quite well known in London in the 1730s and maybe 1740s. Unfortunately, the book is not indexed and I can´t immediately find the references.
3 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +1melody based on resolved dissonances
Robin Thomson
2expressive suspension patterns
Steffen Walter


Discussion entries: 4





  

Answers


41 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5
Vorhaltsmelodik
expressive suspension patterns


Explanation:
Not sure here at all as my suggestion would somewhat lose the aspect of melody. HTH anyway - I'm not a musician.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 43 mins (2005-12-14 11:18:12 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Perhaps the author wanted to emphasise that the suspension played an even greater role in this composition, compared to others of a similar kind.

Steffen Walter
Germany
Local time: 17:50
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman
PRO pts in category: 15
Grading comment
I´m selecting Steffen´s answer because I actually used “expressive suspended melody”. But thanks also to the other contributors.

I agree that the “Vorhalt” is often not equivalent to a suspension, at least not as Quantz uses the term, although when it resolves downwards I would perceive it as having an implied preparation and thus constituting a suspension. However, I decided it was not possible to communicate a strict interpretation of the term in a flowing sentence in English.

But it was only while preparing this note that I finally found what I suspect is the proper translation of “Vorhalt”: I think it´s an “anticipation”. I still can´t make a good translation of “Vorhaltsmelodik” out of it, though, unless maybe “anticipatory melody”. I doubt though whether this would be well understood.

For Sabine, the site you link to is very interesting, and I would nominate another for the list of musicians, if only I could find some more detail: he appears in "The Diary of John Grano", where he is referred to as "my black pupil" and "the black trumpeter" and was apparently active and quite well known in London in the 1730s and maybe 1740s. Unfortunately, the book is not indexed and I can´t immediately find the references.
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1 day9 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
Vorhaltsmelodik
melody based on resolved dissonances


Explanation:
e.g. 'In the following aria with oboe obbligato Bach uses a highly expressive melody based on resolved dissonances and characteristic leaps in the oboe part..'
which can be simplified to
'In the following aria Bach uses a highly expressive oboe obbligato based on resolved dissonances and characteristic leaps...'

I also can't find a one-word equivalent for Vorhalt. However, it isn't 'suspension' as suggested above. A Vorhalt is a note that is initially dissonant and moves to one that is consonant; a suspension is the opposite, where the note stays the same while the harmony moves away from it. Thus my paraphrase. Clearly the melody features this particular tactic, so it is valid to say 'based on' - or you could say 'featuring'.

Robin Thomson
Local time: 16:50
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Kieran McCann: absolutely right about the distinction between 'Vorhalt' and 'suspension'
1 hr
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