Friday, February 22, 2013

Putting Your Money on the Dot

I have been spending the past couple of days trying my best not to cheat dots (something I am wont to do). It is a delicate process because in addition to the conscious act of counting out whatever subdivision works best for the musical moment, there needs to be the right combination of bow speed and vibrato to make sure that what is in my head makes its way through the bow and out the instrument.

Wont! What a great word. Our friends at Merriam-Webster tell us that was first used before the 12th century, and is the "past participle of wonen to dwell, be used to, from Old English wunian; akin to Old High German wonēn to dwell, be used to."

It's also the opposite of won't!

This morning I found this pencil notation in a piece of orchestral music:

What an elegant way of making a point to put a little bit of extra inflection on a particular part of a beat (or phrase, for that matter). Perhaps a heart would do the trick as well, but somehow it seems that money does the most talking, and has the most meaning in these trying times.

I will not give a cash reward to anyone who identifies this piece of music, but I will give you a lot of praise. Hint: It does bear some relationship to something about the word "wont."


charles noble said...

that's actually an indication to save bow for the long span of notes under one down bow. Hence the $ equals "savings".

Elaine Fine said...

Thanks, Charles! I have never seen it before!

Charles Noble said...

It's one of my favorites - I had never encountered it until joining the orchestra here in Oregon and seeing it on a rental part.