Alla Breve

My Compositional Style – English Translation

stile antico

My style of composition

I shall improve this translation as soon as I get the time. Most was done in Google Translate. I have simply improved on Google’s weird translation of «alla breve» into «all the letters»!

stile antico

When we think of alla breve today it is usually the 2/2 meter. I use the term as defined in the Great Norwegian Lexicon . «Alla breve, in half-tempo, denotes rhythm types with the half-note as the counting unit instead of the quarter- note .» ( alla breve in the Store Norwegian lexicon on snl.no. Retrieved May 21, 2020 from https://snl.no/alla_breve ).

It is also an older way of writing church music. Older hymn books used it until the 50-60s. Then they began to move to the common time. I think Trond Kverno has previously referred to «the pure church style» (there is little understanding of genre, and I would wish people had a better understanding of what fits in the church room as opposed to other premises). The reason I have consistently gone back to the older convention has to do with psychology. Admittedly, you can perform the music in 4/4 in just the same way, but can you? If you perform alla breve, you just know that this music is different and has a depth you do feel in «ordinary» common time.

If anyone still decides that alla breve is only synonymous with 2/2, I will refer to this German article:

Wiewohl er übrigens fast ausschließlich bei dem Zweizweiteltakt (2/2) gefunden wird, ist er doch mit diesem nicht ganz identisch. Das erhellt schon daraus, dass man auch den 4/2-Takt mit Alla breve bezeichnet findet, so in der bekannten Fuge «Christus hat uns ein Vorbild gelassen» in Grauns «Tod Jesu». Professional argumentation for alla breve designation in 4/2 beat. Retrieved from https://musikwissenschaften.de/lexikon/a/alla-breve/

So, translated, although the term is almost exclusively associated with 2/2, it is thus not entirely identical. This is evident from the fact that also 4/2 is called alla breve in the famous fugue «Christ hat uns ein Vorbild gelassen» in Graun’s «The death of Jesus». I have, through a cursory survey on the web, that I would now like to elaborate on found that 4/2 historically were not only alla breve – but alla breve in the strictest and original meaning of the word. Unfortunately, I do not have the in depth information or sources to be able to say this here and now.

Either way, it is deliberate on my part to use it to indicate the pure church style, and that is something I only deviate from when I write arrangments for folk tones.

You can hear this in Musescore here

You can hear this in Musescore here

You can hear this in Musescore here

You can hear this in Musescore here

Men jeg bruker ikke alla breve til bearbeidelser av folkemelodier

You can hear this in Musescore here