Notes Inegales is a very important concept in French Classical music. They mean that some rhythms have to be performed differently from the actual notation on the page. Usually this implies making one note of the group longer and the other shorter (a little like performing swing in Jazz music). Most of the time Notes Inegales work for eighth-notes written in a stepwise motion.
The range for rhythms in Notes Inegales is rather broad - from dotted eighths and sixteenths to gentle swinging quarter-notes and eighth-note triplets (and everything in between depending on the tempo and the character of the piece).
Here is an opening excerpt from the 2nd Kyrie from the Mass for the Convents by Francois Couperin (1668-1733).
Compare the above fragment to the picture below which indicates how equal eighth-notes could be performed:
Already in measure 2 you can see the dotted rhythms instead of stepwise eighth-notes. Listen to this piece how it sounds on the real organ with the Trompette registration. Note that in order to play the French Classical music in a stylistically appropriate manner, you have to learn to apply Notes Inegales.
By the way, if you want to learn to play the entire Mass of Couperin, check out my Couperin Mass Training which includes completely fingered scores in addition to the training videos.
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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