Embodying the 'sighing figure'
After the fierce battle against the Giants (which some might have confused with windmills) Don Quichotte becomes tremendously sentimental... Sighs and sobs take over his body at the sweet memory of his beloved Dulcinea.
I construct the gestural representation of passionate sighing by incorporating a sequence of expirations and inhalation in my performance on the violin. The irregularity of breathing is expressed by irregular body movements, which will have an impact on timing.
As I have already discussed above, a Soundist achieves expressive timing by manipulation of rhythmical durations in relation to the regular pulse (Repp, 2001), while a Gesturist realizes the local deviations from regularity by the expressive body movements.
A sighing gesture, as performed while playing the violin, consists of a slow upward body movement that supports the languid shape of the bow stroke. The body moves all the way up towards a loaded (vacuum-like) inertia at the end of the sigh. As if in order not to choke, the body suddenly moves quickly downwards with a sobbing like inhalation, getting ready for a new, maybe even heavier sigh.
Ex. 1 A sigh (an eighth note semitone step) followed by an interjected inhalation (the sixteenth note falling figure with interrupted slurs), Telemann’s Don Quichotte, ‘Ses soupirs amoureux après la Princesse Dulciné’, bb. 9-10, (17??).
Vid. 1 A comparison between a sighing gesture performed on the violin and the actual sighing movement.
More and more time is taken for each sighing gesture. The sobbing motif has to compensate for the 'stolen time' by moving forward. The heavier the sigh, the more forward moving 'sobbing' compensation – 'i.e. paying back the stolen time' – is necessary.
Ex. 2 The illustration of timing in the sighs and inhalations.