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phrase music with confidence provided you know what a phrase means!
In the title’s context phrase marks are a means of punctuating
music through the use of slurs (a curved line over or under a group
A wind player will attempt to play a slur in one breath. A sadistic
composer will give a hated woodwind or brass player long phrases.
A nice composer will be more sensible, of course. A string player
will attempt to bow all of the slurred notes in one bowing. Pianists
look at slurs as a suggestion of playing smoothly (legato).
A phrase length, on the other hand, is the length of a musical idea.
A four bar phrase length is usually part of a longer melody.
For more on phrasing, consult the all-in-one book for composer and
pianists called Ready,
here for Ready, Set, Compose!, the ultimate resource
book for keyboard improvisers, composers and pianists.
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