Intermediate Oboe Students, Step Seven, Cut Time

Step Seven-Cut-time

Cut-time means there are two beats in a measure and the half note receives one beat.

Cut-time gives the oboists an opportunity to play at a faster tempo.  In book I there are examples of how a concert march can sound the same with two different note patterns-one pattern has the quarter note receiving one beat while the second pattern has the half note receiving one beat.  Two melodies that sound the same but are spelled differently in musical notation.  This is like a homonym or homophone in English grammar.

When playing in cut-time the music is moving faster.  It is important to play the pattern of the melodic line and try to hear the music more than you are reading the music.  Check the key signature, check for accidentals (notes not in the key signature), check for repeat signs, and check for either D.S Al Coda or D.C. Al Coda.

D.S. Al Coda meas that you are going the sign somewhere within the musical composition.  D.C. Al Coda means you are going back to the beginning of the music.  In both of the above you will come to the coda sign (a circle with a cross) and skip to the coda where there is another circle with a cross and play the coda(the tail ending of the piece).

The above can be confusing as the music in cut-time is seldom slow, and the above markings requires performers to skip from place to place within the music rather than playing all the measures in sequence from beginning to end.

Most cut-time pieces require the oboist to observe different articulations (staccato, legato, and accent) and different dynamics (piano, forte, crescendo and diminuendo).  These multiple challenges at the same time requires extra practice to perform with no mistakes.
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