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1/30/2005: I’ve been studying the score of Otello. In the Ricordi full score (p.274-5), 7 measures before rehearsal K in Act II (in Iago's narration of Cassio's dream) the first violins and celli have accents and the middle strings have that ^ marking. What did Verdi mean by the ^? I've realized that Verdi rarely uses "sf" or "sfz" markings. I cannot recall seeing one in all of Otello. Does this have something to do with it?

I always took the marking ^ as a landing point or a more delicate form of > (for example, 7 bars and 6 bars before V in Act II, Scene 1 in Desdemona's line). However these distinctions are almost more for the eye than for the ear—to help us feel the shape of the phrase. To actually try to make these distinctions, I think, would create a pedantic reading. You might also want to get the opinion of a musicologist, though.

2005 by Joseph Rescigno. The text here may be freely reproduced for non-commercial purposes as long as credit is given.

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