Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Day 38: Golliwogg's Cakewalk

I have to admit, I have been a bit of a slacker since last weekend.  I haven't practiced much.  Just a little bit of a down-cycle, but I'm picking right back up today.  Notturno is still in pretty good shape and almost complete.  As I did with Wedding Day at Troldhaugen, I am now picking up the next piece before I am completely finished with Notturno.  I am moving on to Golliwogg's Cakewalk by the great Claude Debussy.  This piece is the last of the six-part Children's Corner written between 1906 and 1908.  Golliwogg, a black male doll, was the gallant hero of popular children's books written in the 1890's by Bertha Upton and illustrated by Florence Kate. Golliwogg's Cakewalk thus is a very lively piece.  As with anything Debussy composed, you can close your eyes and envision Golliwogg on one of his adventures while listening to this piece.

I am not uploading a video of what I can remember of it because I can only remember about eight measures.  Not very impressive.  I am essentially starting from scratch on this piece.  So, I will start from the beginning on this piece.  The first section is about two pages in length.  I didn't count up the measures just yet, so if you are looking in a different publication than I have, your two pages could very well be more measures than my version.  This happens when a publisher likes to cram more measures on a page than some others.

There are a couple of musical notations of note here:

First of all is the term "allegro giusto." Giusto means strict and allegro means fast or lively.  So, literally this means strictly fast/lively.  Given the nature of the doll this piece is written for, this is a very lively piece.

You can barely make it out here, but this says "tres net et tres sec."  This is French (Debussy was French, after all) and means literally "very clean and very dry."  I think that Debussy's intent here is that the notes should be played very cleanly, but also without any intervention of the pedal (thus, the "very dry" notation).  Any thoughts on this?  This is how I've always interpreted it.

1 comment:

  1. I forgot to mention: Another 30 days is set on this and I am still way ahead of schedule!