A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Appoggiatura

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APPOGGIATURA. (Ital. from appoggiare, to lean upon; Ger. Vorschlag, Vorhalt; Fr. Port de voix.) One of the most important of melodic ornaments, much used in both vocal and instrumental compositions. It consists in suspending or delaying a note of a melody by means of a note introduced before it; the time required for its performance, whether long or short, being always taken from the value of the principal note. It is usually written in the form of a small quaver, semiquaver, or demisemiquaver, either with or without a stroke across the stem (Ex. 1).

The appoggiatura may belong to the same harmony as the principal note (Ex. 2), or it may be one degree above or below it. In the latter case it is a so-called 'auxiliary note' (sometimes called 'transient' or 'changing' note— Wechselnote), and follows the known rule of such notes, that the lower auxiliary note should be only one semitone distant from the principal note, the upper being either a tone or a semitone according to the scale (Ex. 3).

{ \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \time 2/4 
 << \relative c'' 
  { s4^\markup { 1. \italic Written. } \acciaccatura d8 c4 |   \appoggiatura f8 e4 d \bar "||" \time 1/4
    \acciaccatura c8 e4^"2." \bar "||" \time 3/4 
    \appoggiatura fis,8 g4^"3." \appoggiatura d'8 c4 \appoggiatura f8 e4 \bar "||" }
\new Staff { \clef treble \relative c'' 
  { s4^\markup { \italic Played. } d64 c32. ~ c16 ~ c8 |
    f( e) d4 | \time 1/4
    c32 e8.. | \time 3/4
    fis,8( g) d( c) f( e) } } >> }


With regard to its length, the appoggiatura is of two kinds, long and short; the long appoggiatura bears a fixed relation to the length of the principal note, as will be seen presently, but the short one is performed so quickly that the abbreviation of the following note is scarcely perceptible. There is also a difference between the two kinds in the matter of accent; the long appoggiatura is always made stronger than the principal note, while in the case of the short one the accent falls on the principal note itself (Ex. 4).

{ \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \time 4/4 << \relative c'' { \acciaccatura b8 c1^\markup { 4. \italic Written. } | \appoggiatura b8 c4 \appoggiatura e8 d4 \bar "||" }
\new Staff { \relative c'' { b64^\markup { \italic Played. } c32.\rtoe ~ c16 ~ c8 ~ c4 ~ c2 | b8->( c) e->( d) } } >> }

On this subject authorities would seem to differ, Leopold Mozart, Hummel, and others holding the view advanced above, while Emanuel Bach, Marpurg, and Agricola give the rule that all appoggiaturas should be accented. It is however evident that a note which passes away so quickly as a short appoggiatura can scarcely receive any effective accent, and besides this it is doubtful whether the above-named writers may not have intended the rule to refer exclusively to the long appoggiatura (Vorhalt), as they often used the word Vorschlag for both kinds indiscriminately. Since then there is no accent on the short appoggiatura, the term itself, which means a note dwelt upon, seems inappropriate, and accordingly the word 'acciacatura' has been very generally substituted for it, though properly belonging to another similar kind of ornament. (See {{sc|Acciaccatura.)

The rules relating to the length of the long appoggiatura are three, and are thus given by Türk in his 'Clavierschule':—'Whenever it is possible to divide the principal note into two equal parts, the appoggiatura receives one half' (Ex. 5). 'When the principal note is dotted the appoggiatura receives two-thirds and the principal note one' (Ex. 6). If the principal note is tied to another shorter note, the appogiatura receives the whole value of the principal note' (Ex. 7). The third rule is commonly though not invariably followed when the principal note is followed by a rest (Ex. 8).

5. Mozart, Sonata in A minor.

{ \time 4/4 << \relative e'' { e4 e8. e16 e4 c8( a) \appoggiatura a8 gis4 gis2 gis 4 \bar "||" s4 }
\new Staff { \relative a' { s1 | a8(-> gis) gis2 gis4 | s4 } } >> }


6. Hummel, 'Pianoforte School.'

{ \time 4/4 << \relative g'' << { \appoggiatura g4 \stemUp fis4. e8 \appoggiatura e4 d4. c8 \bar "||" s4 } \\ { r8 <c a> <c a> <b g> r <a fis> <a fis> <fis d> | s4 } >>
\new Staff { \relative g'' << { g4( fis8) e e4( d8) c | s4 } \\ { r8 <c a> <c a> <b g> r <a fis> <a fis> <fis d> | s4 } >> } >> }


7. Bach, 'Passionsmusik.'

{ \time 12/8 \key d \major << \relative g'' { g8. fis32 g a8 ~ a8. g16 fis8 \appoggiatura f8 e4. ~ e8 g e \bar "||" }
\new Staff { \clef treble \key d \major \relative f'' { s4. s fis( e8) g e | } } >> }


8. Beethoven, 'Adelaide.'

{ \override Score.Rest #'style = #'classical \time 4/4 \key g \minor << \relative f' { r4 f8. f16 bes4 \times 2/3 { bes8 c d } | \acciaccatura b8 c4 r \bar "||" }
\new Staff { \key g \minor { s1 | b'4( c'') } } >> }


Exceptions to the above rules are met with as follows:—to the first and second rules in Bach and Mozart, who frequently employed an appoggiatura (called by Marpurg 'der kürzeste Vorhalt') which was worth one third or less of the principal note, but which differed from the short appoggiatura in being accented (Ex. 9). An exception to the second rule occurs whenever its strict observance would occasion a fault in the harmonic progression (Ex. 10), or when it would interfere with the rhythmic regularity of the passage (Ex. 11). Exceptions to the third rule are of still more frequent occurrence; many passages containing a tied note preceded by an appoggiatura would entirely lose their significance if the rule were strictly adhered to. Taste and experience alone can decide where similar exceptions are admissible.

In the works of some of the earlier composers an appoggiatura is occasionally, though very rarely, to be met with, which although placed before a note capable of being halved, yet receives three-fourths of its value. This appoggiatura was usually dotted (Ex. 12).

9. Bach, 'Passionsmusik.'

{ \time 12/8 \key b \minor \partial 8 << \relative f' { fis8 | d'8. cis16 b8 \appoggiatura cis8 b8. ais16 b8 b4. ~ b4 \bar "||" }
\new Staff { \clef treble \key b \minor \relative c'' { s8 | s4. cis16 b ~ b ais b8 b4. ~ b4 | } } >> }


Mozart, Fantasia in C minor.

{ \time 4/4 \partial 4. << \relative g' { r32 gis[ b a] cis[ b d cis] e[ d fis e] | \appoggiatura g8 fis4 fis8 fis \bar "||" }
\new Staff { \clef treble \relative g'' { s4. | \times 2/3 { g16 fis ~ fis ~ } fis8 fis fis } } >> }


10. Bach, 'Suites Françaises.'

{ \time 3/4 \key g \major << { << \relative b' {  \appoggiatura b8 \stemUp a4. b8 g8. fis16 \bar "||" s8 } \\ { c'8 e' d' c' b a | s } \\ { fis'2. | s8 } >> }
\new Staff { \key g \major \relative b' { \grace s8 b16 a ~ a8 ~ a b g8. fis16 | s8 } } >> }


11. Schubert, Rondo, Pianoforte and Violin.

{ \time 4/4 \key g \major << \relative b' { b4. b8 c4. c8 | d4. d8 b'4. b8 | \acciaccatura b8 a4. a8 \acciaccatura a8 fis4. fis8 \bar "||" }
\new Staff { \key g \major \relative b'' { s1 | s | b16 a8. ~ a8 a a16 fis8. ~ fis8 fis | } } >> }


{ \override Score.Rest #'style = #'classical \time 2/4 \partial 16 << \relative a' << { a16^"12." | \appoggiatura c4. bes2 | a4 } \\ { s16 | r4 <e cis> | <fis d> } >>
\new Staff { \relative a' << { a16 | c4.( bes8) | a4 } \\ { s16 | r4 <e cis> | <fis d> } >> } >> }

The appoggiatura, whether long or short, is always included in the value of the principal note; if therefore it is applied to a chord it delays only the note to which it belongs, the other notes of the chord being played with it (Ex. 13).

13. Beethoven, Andante in F.

{ \time 3/8 \key f \major << \relative g' { <g d>8 ~ <g d>16. <a fis c>32 \appoggiatura c16 <bes g d>16. <g d>32 \bar "||" s8 }
\new Staff { \key f \major \relative c'' << { s4 \times 2/3 {c32[ bes ~ bes] ~ } bes[ g] | s8 } \\ { s4 <g d>16. d32 } >> } >> }


Mozart, Sonata in F.

{ \time 6/8 \key f \major << \relative c'' << { <c g e>4. \appoggiatura e8 <d b f>4. | <c e,>4 } \\ { g,2. | c4 } >>
\new Staff { \key f \major << \relative c'' { <c g e>4. e4( d8) | c4 } \\ { s4. <b' f'> | <e' c'>4 } \\ { \stemDown g2. | } >> } >> }


The manner of writing the appoggiatura bears no very definite relation to its performance, and its appearance is unfortunately no sure guide as to its length. In music of the 17th century, at which period the short appoggiatura appears to have first come into use, it was customary to make use of certain signs (Ex. 14), but as after a time the long appoggiatura was introduced, these were given up in favour of the small note still used. This small note ought always to be written of the exact value which it is to bear, if a long appoggiatura (Ex. 15); or if a short one it should be written as a quaver or semiquaver with a short stroke across the stem in the opposite direction to the hook (Ex. 16).[1]

{ \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \time 3/4 \override Score.Clef #'stencil = ##f \relative f'' { f4^\markup { 14. \italic Written. } <d>-\tweak #'X-offset #0 -\tweak #'Y-offset #1.5 -\stopped b-\tweak #'X-offset #0 -\tweak #'Y-offset #0.5 -\stopped \bar "|" f' d b \bar "|" f'\glissando d\glissando b \bar "||" f'^\markup { \italic Played. } e16[ d8.] c16[ b8.] \bar "|" } }
{ \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \override Score.Clef #'stencil = ##f \relative f'' { \cadenzaOn \appoggiatura f16^"15." e8 \appoggiatura f8 e4 \appoggiatura f4 e2 \appoggiatura f2 e1 \bar "||" \acciaccatura f8^"16." e8 \bar "||" } }


But the earlier writers often wrote the short appoggiatura as a semiquaver or demisemiquaver without the stroke, and in many new editions of old compositions we find the small note printed with the stroke even where it should be played long, while in modern music the semiquaver without the stroke is often met with where the short appoggiatura is obviously intended. In this uncertainty the surest guide is the study of the treatment of the appoggiatura by the great masters in the numerous cases in which they have written it out in notes of the ordinary size (see Beethoven, Bagatelles, Op. 119, No. 4, Bar 2; Mozart, Sonata in C, Halle's edition, No. 6, Bar 37, &c.), as by analogy we may hope to arrive at some understanding of their intentions respecting it when we find it merely indicated by the small note.

The following series of examples of the conditions under which the several kinds of appoggiatura are most commonly met with, may also be of service in the same direction.

The appoggiatura is short when used before two or more repeated notes (Ex. 17), before detached or staccato notes (Ex. 18), or leaps (Ex. 19), at the commencement of a phrase (Ex. 20), and before groups containing dotted notes in somewhat quick tempo (Ex. 21).

17. Beethoven, Septett.

{ \time 3/4 \key ees \major \relative e'' { <ees g bes ees>2. | \acciaccatura d8 ees4 \acciaccatura d8 ees4 \acciaccatura d8 ees4 | s8 } }


18. Mozart, Sonata in C.

{ \time 4/4 \override Score.Rest #'style = #'classical \relative b' { \acciaccatura b8 c4 r \acciaccatura dis8 e4 r | s } }


19. Mozart, Sonata in C.

{ \time 4/4 \relative g' { \acciaccatura gis8 a8 \acciaccatura b8 c8 \acciaccatura dis8 e8 \acciaccatura gis8 a8 \acciaccatura b8 c8 \acciaccatura gis8 a8 \acciaccatura dis,8 e8 \acciaccatura b8 c8 | } }


20. Mozart, Sonata in A minor.

{ \time 4/4 \relative e'' { \acciaccatura dis8 e4 e8. e16 e4 c8 a | s } }


21. Hummel, Op. 55.

{ \time 3/4 \key bes \major \relative g''' { \ottava #1 ges8. f16 \acciaccatura f8 ees8. des16 \acciaccatura des8 c8. b16 | s } }


In triplets, or groups of four or more equal notes, the appoggiatura is short (Ex. 22), except in groups of three notes in slow triple time (Ex. 23). The appoggiatura at a distance from its principal note is short (Ex. 24), except sometimes in slow cantabile passages (Ex. 25). Appoggiaturas occurring in a melody which ascends or descends by diatonic degrees are moderately short (Ex. 26), as are also those which occur in a melody descending by thirds (Ex. 27). Emanuel Bach says of these—'when the appoggiaturas fill up leaps of a third in the melody they are certainly short, but in adagio their expression should be smoother, as though representing one of a triplet of quavers rather than a semiquaver.' Türk calls them 'undecided appoggiaturas.'

22. Beethoven, 'Bagatelles,' No. 1.

{ \time 6/8 \key ees \major \partial 4. \relative b' { bes8( g') ees | bes4 g8 \acciaccatura bes8 aes( g) aes | s } }


Op. 22.

{ \time 3/4 \key bes \major \partial 4 \relative d' { d8. ees16 | f2 \acciaccatura a8 g16( f g a) | bes4 f | } }


23. Mozart, 'Don Giovanni.'

{ \time 3/8 \relative e'' { \appoggiatura e16 d8 c b | c4 r8 | s } \addlyrics { Toc -- ca mi qui. } }


24. Haydn, Sonata in E♭.

{ \time 3/4 \key e \major \relative c'' { c8.. b32 \acciaccatura b8 fis'8.. b,32 \acciaccatura b8 g'8.. b32 | s } }


25. Mozart, 'Requiem.'

{ \time 3/4 \key bes \major \partial 2 \relative g'' { \appoggiatura g8 bes4. \appoggiatura d16 c8 | bes4 } \addlyrics { Do -- mi -- ni. } }


26. Bach, Passepied in B.

{ \time 3/8 \key b \major \relative d' { dis8 \acciaccatura fis8 e \acciaccatura gis8 fis | \acciaccatura a8 gis8 \acciaccatura b8 ais8 \acciaccatura cis8 b | s } }


27. Mozart, Rondo in D.

{ \time 4/4 \key d \major \relative a'' { a2 \acciaccatura g8 fis4 \acciaccatura e8 d8 | g4. e8 cis4 r8 } }


In groups of two equal notes the appoggiatura is long if in slow tempo or at the end of a phrase (Ex. 28); if otherwise, short (Ex. 29).

28. Graun, 'Der Tod Jesu.'

{ \time 4/4 \clef bass \key g \major \partial 2 \relative d' { d4 e | d8( b4) d8 c a4 c8 | \grace c8 b4 a } \addlyrics { Es hat li -- ber -- wun -- de der Lö -- we } }


29. Hummel, 'Pianoforte School.'

{ \time 4/4 \relative b'' { \acciaccatura b8 a8( g) \acciaccatura a8 g8( f) \acciaccatura g8 f8( e) \acciaccatura f8 e8( d) | s } }

When applied to the last note but one of a final cadence the appoggiatura should, according to Emanuel Bach, be short. But later composers have usually preferred the long appoggiatura under these circumstances, especially when accompanied by the seventh of the chord (Ex. 30), or by a part moving in sixths with it (Ex. 31). Beethoven has even lengthened it beyond the value of the principal note, but in this case it is always written as an ordinary note (Ex. 32). When however, in Haydn, Mozart, and all later composers, the final note of the cadence is anticipated, the appoggiatura to the preceding note is short (Ex. 33).

30. Mozart, First Mass.

{ \override Score.Rest #'style = #'classical \time 4/4 << \partial 2 \relative d'' { << { \stemUp d4. d8 | d4 ~ d16 e c a g4. \appoggiatura b16 a8 | g4 }  \\ { r4 fis | g e d2 } >> }
\new Staff { \clef bass \relative d' { <d a fis>4 <d c> ~ <d b> <c c,> <b d,> <c a d,> | <b g> } }
\new Lyrics \lyricsto "1" { Ky -- ri -- e _ e -- _ lei -- _ son. } >> }


31. Haydn, Symphony in E♭.

{ \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \time 3/4 \key ees \major << \relative e'' { <ees g,>2 \appoggiatura <g bes,>8 <f aes,>4 | <ees g,> }
\new Staff { \clef bass \key ees \major << \relative e' { r4 <ees g,> <d bes> | <ees bes> } \\ \relative b, { bes2. | ees4 } >> } >> }


32. Beethoven, Op. 30, No. 3.

{ \time 3/4 \key ees \major << \relative c'' { c8( ees,4.)-\tweak #'X-offset #6 -\tweak #'Y-offset #-0.5 -\turn g8. f16 | ees4 }
\new Staff { \clef bass \key ees \major << \relative g { s4 g8 bes aes b | g4 } \\ \relative g { <ges a,>4 bes, bes | ees } >> } >> }


33. Mozart, Sonata in F.

{ \time 6/8 \key f \major << \relative f' { f4. \acciaccatura a8 <g e>4 f8 | f4. }
\new Staff { \clef bass \key f \major << \relative a { a4. bes | a } \\ \relative c { c2. | f4. } >> } >> }


In vocal recitative, at the close of a phrase, or of a section of a phrase, an appoggiatura is often introduced which has the full value of the principal note, and indeed appears in its stead (Ex. 34); such an appoggiatura is often not indicated, but is left to the discretion (or want of discretion) of the singer (Ex. 35). It is more appropriate at the close of the whole recitative than after its component phrases, and is especially so when the melody descends a third or a fourth (Ex. 36).

34. Weber, 'Der Freischütz.'

{ \time 4/4 \key ees \major \partial 4 << \relative c'' { c4 | \appoggiatura g'8 f4 f r2 | s8 } \addlyrics { Ent -- se -- tzen! }
\new Staff { \key ees \major \relative g'' { s4 | g4 f r2 | s8 } } >> }


35. Haydn, 'The Seasons.'

{ \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \time 4/4 \key c \minor \partial 2. << \relative b' { r8 b d4. ees8 | c8. c16 c4 r2 | s8 } \addlyrics { The meek -- eyed morn ap -- pears. }
\new Staff { \key c \minor \relative d'' { s2. | d8. c16 c4 r2 | s8 } } >> }


36. Bach, 'Passionsmusik.'

{ \override Score.Rest #'style = #'classical \time 4/4 << \relative d'' { \cadenzaOn \autoBeamOff r8 d g, f \bar "|" d d r4 \bar "|" s8 } \addlyrics { They an -- swered no -- thing. }
\new Staff { \relative e' { \cadenzaOn \autoBeamOff s2 e8 d r4 | s8 } } >> }


Handel, 'Messiah.'

{ \override Score.Rest #'style = #'classical \time 4/4 << \relative d'' { \autoBeamOff dis8 dis dis e b b r4 | s8 } \addlyrics { have them in de -- ri -- sion. }
\new Staff { \relative e'' { \autoBeamOff s4. e8 e b r4 | s8 } } >> }

When a trill or other ornament appears in combination with an appoggiatura, the latter is long, and the trill is performed on the principal note or on the appoggiatura, according as it is placed above the one or the other (Ex. 37).

37. Haydn, Sonata in F. Türk.
{ \time 3/4 \key f \major << \relative c'' { c \times 2/3 { a'8 a, d} \appoggiatura c8 bes4\prall | }
\new Staff { \key f \major \relative c'' { s2 c8( bes64 c bes16.) | } } >> }
{ \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \time 2/4 << \relative b' { \appoggiatura c4\turn b2 | }
\new Staff { \relative d'' { d32*2/3( c b c8. b4) } } >> }
[Time signature changed per App. p.523.]


The proper execution of the appoggiatura seems to be most doubtful in the group in which the note bearing the appoggiatura is followed by two or four notes of half its own value. In the majority of such cases the appoggiatura should be long (Ex. 38), and particularly in smoothly flowing passages in moderate or slow tempo (Ex. 39). But there are numerous exceptions, as for example when the employment of the long appoggiatura would alter the rhythm of the passage (Ex. 40), or when (according to Türk) only a single example is present (Ex. 41).

38. Beethoven, Op. 10, No. 3.

{ \time 4/4 \key d \major \partial 2 \relative d'' { \appoggiatura d8 cis4 b8 a | gis4( e) \appoggiatura d'8 cis4 b8 a | } }


Mozart, Sonata in D.

{ \time 6/8 \key d \major \partial 4. \relative f'' { fis4 g8 | \appoggiatura b16 a8( g16 fis) e d \acciaccatura g8 b4 cis8 | } }


39. Mozart, Sonata in C, Andante.

{ \time 3/4 \key f \major \relative b'' { b16( c d c) \appoggiatura c16 bes8( a16 g) \acciaccatura g8 f8( e16 d) } }


40. Weber, 'Der Freischütz.'

{ \time 2/4 \key d \major \relative b'' { \acciaccatura cis8 b4 \acciaccatura cis8 b4 | \acciaccatura cis8 b8 a16 g fis8 a16 g | \acciaccatura g8 fis e16 d \acciaccatura fis8 e d16 cis | } }


41. Türk.

{ \time 4/4 \key f \major \relative f' { f2. \acciaccatura g'8 f e16 f | d2 } }


In such cases no definite rule can be given, and the question becomes a matter of taste and feeling.

[ F. T. ]

  1. This transverse stroke is probably an imitation of the stroke across the note in the (now obsolete) acciacatura. (See that word.)