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#1732003 - 08/12/11 11:20 PM Do you play the same when you repeat?
DaveInMichigan Offline
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When you repeat a section, are you supposed to play it the same way as before? Or are you allowed to make different interpretations each time?

If this question is too general, I am thinking about Beethoven sonatas, for example.
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#1732019 - 08/13/11 12:10 AM Re: Do you play the same when you repeat? [Re: DaveInMichigan]
carey Online   content
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Beethoven Sonatas.......play the repeated section the same as before.
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#1732023 - 08/13/11 12:14 AM Re: Do you play the same when you repeat? [Re: carey]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: carey
Beethoven Sonatas.......play the repeated section the same as before.

You cannot be serious. smile

There's no such rule for any music, and I think if anything most advanced musicians would say that there are almost always at least slight differences. I agree that in Beethoven sonatas it's more likely that there would usually be a lot more similarity than difference, but it still wouldn't be "same" -- and it would depend on the kind of movement. Like, in "theme and variation" movements, we'd probably have a greater tendency to vary the repetitions.
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#1732033 - 08/13/11 12:47 AM Re: Do you play the same when you repeat? [Re: DaveInMichigan]
BruceD Offline
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I think that convention has it that whether it is Beethoven or any other composer, repeats are not played exactly the second time as the first. Yes, of course the notes are the same, but the dynamics and expression are different upon repetition, perhaps not vastly different, but with some variation of "musical inflection," for lack of a better term.

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#1732034 - 08/13/11 12:51 AM Re: Do you play the same when you repeat? [Re: BruceD]
Mark_C Offline
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.....or of intensity.
Or something.

Although not necessarily. smile
There's no rule.

Of course if we play it exactly the same, a lot of people will wonder why we're playing the repeat at all....
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#1732053 - 08/13/11 02:13 AM Re: Do you play the same when you repeat? [Re: DaveInMichigan]
beet31425 Offline
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I've played things differently the second time through with short, AABB-structured pieces, like in Bach. But a Beethoven sonata exposition? That's always seemed to long, and too structured, to really change anything.

Also, it seems to me that I never hear concert artists vary the repeat of a Beethoven sonata exposition. Anyone have a counter-example?

-J
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#1732056 - 08/13/11 02:39 AM Re: Do you play the same when you repeat? [Re: beet31425]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: beet31425
I've played things differently the second time through with short, AABB-structured pieces, like in Bach. But a Beethoven sonata exposition? That's always seemed to long, and too structured, to really change anything.

Also, it seems to me that I never hear concert artists vary the repeat of a Beethoven sonata exposition. Anyone have a counter-example?

Seems like maybe some of us mean different things by "vary."
Are you talking maybe about changing notes?
(I'm not.)

Anyway I don't really understand the thing about "too long and too structured" in terms of varying the repeat. I can sort of understand it, but not really, especially if we're talking about slight or subtle changes.
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#1732057 - 08/13/11 02:44 AM Re: Do you play the same when you repeat? [Re: DaveInMichigan]
liszt85 Offline
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When playing repeats in the Beethoven Sonata that I'm working on, I do play it slightly differently the second time (or I'd like to think I do!) because it just sounds right slightly different because a repeat is after all different from the first time because the first time, was the first time you heard it..:D the repeat is the second time you hear it. Imagine the music speaking to you stating that it fully knows that its a repeat and therefore emphasizes that with some musical nuances.

I wouldn't be able to play it exactly the way I played it at the start even if I tried hard, I'd think..
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#1732060 - 08/13/11 02:59 AM Re: Do you play the same when you repeat? [Re: Mark_C]
beet31425 Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: beet31425
I've played things differently the second time through with short, AABB-structured pieces, like in Bach. But a Beethoven sonata exposition? That's always seemed to long, and too structured, to really change anything.

Also, it seems to me that I never hear concert artists vary the repeat of a Beethoven sonata exposition. Anyone have a counter-example?

Seems like maybe some of us mean different things by "vary."
Are you talking maybe about changing notes?
(I'm not.)

Anyway I don't really understand the thing about "too long and too structured" in terms of varying the repeat. I can sort of understand it, but not really, especially if we're talking about slight or subtle changes.


I wasn't talking about changing notes, or embellishing with ornaments. Just "interpretation". Most recordings of Beethoven expositions don't seem to change even that.

As for "too long and too structured", I only partly understand it myself. smile All I know is that in the short Schumann pieces I'm working on now, it often feels natural to play a repeated section slightly differently, usually a little more dramatically (for the fiery pieces), or a little more slowly and intensely (for the dreamy pieces). These are, generally, short sections that are repeated, say 30 seconds or so.

But I never feel the same urge in a Beethoven exposition. It's hard to say why not, but if I try to put it into words, I get: it feels too structured; it feels like it's trying to tell a story, and it's the same story each time.

-J
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#1732064 - 08/13/11 03:41 AM Re: Do you play the same when you repeat? [Re: DaveInMichigan]
TSC Offline
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Posts: 35
I think it's essential. It's said that music is repetition, and while that is simplistic, there's truth in that. Repetition is what gives music structure, and _how_ you do each repetition is what in many cases makes or breaks an interpretation. I try to construct (or recognize, where obvious enough) an overall arc for every piece I play, which inevitably involves change/transformation over the course of the piece, so that hopefully every repetition is both distinct and part of a recognizable arc or musical story.

Of course, there can be structures where the theme is transformed again and again and does repeat, at the very end, exactly as in the beginning. But I think that's the exception that proves the point -- in that case, that very constancy is what draws the listener's attention (another famous exception is Ravel's Bolero, which is pretty much built on constancy -- it's exactly the constancy of phrasing that most defines its character).

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#1732067 - 08/13/11 03:51 AM Re: Do you play the same when you repeat? [Re: DaveInMichigan]
stores Offline
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What does the score tell you to do? That is all that matters.
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"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

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#1732076 - 08/13/11 04:51 AM Re: Do you play the same when you repeat? [Re: DaveInMichigan]
wr Offline
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Opinions among pianists vary - some say you should, some say not. I think Hofmann(?) was famous for playing repeats with completely different interpretations than the first time around.

But even if you play a repeated section exactly the same the second time through, the listener will not experience it the same way, because it will be messing around with their short-term memory of what you did the first time (as well as messing around with your own memory of what you just did). It's like some kind of induced pseudo deja vu.

Or you could think of playing through a repeat as a way in which music seems to accomplish an impossible thing, something many people dream of, which is reliving something in the past and doing something about it. How many times do people think "if only I could do that over again, I'd change this or that"? Well, with music, you sort of can.

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#1732079 - 08/13/11 05:08 AM Re: Do you play the same when you repeat? [Re: DaveInMichigan]
sandalholme Online   content
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Registered: 12/31/09
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Varying the notes in Beethoven, when he took such pains to write and re-write? I think not. Varying the way of playing them? At one level, the repeat will always be different, whether we intend it or not, technically, at the micro second level, it is physically impossible to play absolutely exactly the same, even if we needed electronic equipment to detect the differences. I would argue that we instinctively change the interpretation because of what we have just played: the question is whether we should do this consciously. That's our choice. As for recordings: how many repeats are just copied from a good take of the first time around? I have a very respected set (Colin Davis) of Haydn symphonies. In the repeat of the first part of a first movement I wince every time I hear the extraneous noise (soft, but audible) at the same place. The recording engineers and producer should have spotted it, of course, but they didn't, or thought the listener wouldn't detect it.
The listener will respond differently to the repeat, especially on first hearing the work. Should the artist point the way? My own approach is to allow my natural responses to what I have played already to inform my playing of a repeat.

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#1732145 - 08/13/11 09:37 AM Re: Do you play the same when you repeat? [Re: DaveInMichigan]
PaulaPiano34 Offline
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When I learnt the Schumann Papillons op2, my teacher and I worked very hard on varying the repeats to keep it interesting and more expressive.
Here's my recording of the 1st half for reference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeFPMH3feO0&
In general, I don't play the repeats the same way. It's kind of boring...

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#1732159 - 08/13/11 10:13 AM Re: Do you play the same when you repeat? [Re: wr]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Originally Posted By: wr
But even if you play a repeated section exactly the same the second time through, the listener will not experience it the same way, because it will be messing around with their short-term memory of what you did the first time (as well as messing around with your own memory of what you just did). It's like some kind of induced pseudo deja vu.


Yes!

Originally Posted By: stores
What does the score tell you to do? That is all that matters.


Yep. There are several instances where composers write out varied repeats when they want something done differently. Take the Brahms Handel variations for example. The vast majority of the variations are written with repeats, but not the 8th or 19th. In the 8th, he wanted the top voice taken down an octave on the repeat, so he writes it out. In the 19th, the change is more subtle, he simply wanted a different voice emphasized and ornamented, so he writes it out.

Where this is a bit different is in Bach. Bach probably would've done things different on the repeats. However, he wouldn't have done things differently *because* of a repeat. He would've done things differently because improvisation was part of the style (in some things, not fugues!) Obviously, if you allow for some improvisation, then repeats are going to be different, but not because of some silly arbitrary rule that says "repeat = more ornaments" (which is how an awful lot of people treat his music.)
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#1732164 - 08/13/11 10:19 AM Re: Do you play the same when you repeat? [Re: Kreisler]
stores Offline
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Registered: 12/28/09
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Originally Posted By: Kreisler


Originally Posted By: stores
What does the score tell you to do? That is all that matters.


Yep. There are several instances where composers write out varied repeats when they want something done differently. Take the Brahms Handel variations for example. The vast majority of the variations are written with repeats, but not the 8th or 19th. In the 8th, he wanted the top voice taken down an octave on the repeat, so he writes it out. In the 19th, the change is more subtle, he simply wanted a different voice emphasized and ornamented, so he writes it out.

Where this is a bit different is in Bach. Bach probably would've done things different on the repeats. However, he wouldn't have done things differently *because* of a repeat. He would've done things differently because improvisation was part of the style (in some things, not fugues!) Obviously, if you allow for some improvisation, then repeats are going to be different, but not because of some silly arbitrary rule that says "repeat = more ornaments" (which is how an awful lot of people treat his music.)



+1
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"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#1732195 - 08/13/11 11:38 AM Re: Do you play the same when you repeat? [Re: DaveInMichigan]
TSC Offline
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Registered: 02/13/10
Posts: 35
I think there's a big difference between saying "play the same notes in the repeat" and "play the repeat the same". Of course, if the score shows the same notes (or just indicates a repeat), you should (generally) play the same notes the second time around. That doesn't mean your interpretation should stay the same.


Edited by TSC (08/13/11 11:40 AM)

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#1732214 - 08/13/11 12:04 PM Re: Do you play the same when you repeat? [Re: TSC]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: TSC
....That doesn't mean your interpretation should stay the same.

Exactly -- and it's still seeming to me that some of the replies are mixing the two, possibly confusing what the OP meant.

Unless I am. smile
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#1732215 - 08/13/11 12:05 PM Re: Do you play the same when you repeat? [Re: beet31425]
carey Online   content
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Originally Posted By: beet31425


Also, it seems to me that I never hear concert artists vary the repeat of a Beethoven sonata exposition.



That's been my experience as well (which is why I originally gave a simple answer to a very simple question), and it is consistent with the way I was taught to play sonatas by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.

Of course, I recognize that it is almost impossible to play anything the "same way" upon repetition. My most recent home recording attempts certainly demonstrated that !! grin
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#1732294 - 08/13/11 02:19 PM Re: Do you play the same when you repeat? [Re: DaveInMichigan]
TheHappyMoron Offline
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I sometimes commit the worst crime in all music. And add extra notes and embellishments the second time round.... don't shoot me!!
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#1732300 - 08/13/11 02:24 PM Re: Do you play the same when you repeat? [Re: TheHappyMoron]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: TheCannibalHaddock
I sometimes commit the worst crime in all music. And add extra notes and embellishments the second time round.... don't shoot me!!

If I could do that WELL, I would.
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#1732304 - 08/13/11 02:29 PM Re: Do you play the same when you repeat? [Re: Mark_C]
PaulaPiano34 Offline
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Registered: 10/16/10
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: TheCannibalHaddock
I sometimes commit the worst crime in all music. And add extra notes and embellishments the second time round.... don't shoot me!!

If I could do that WELL, I would.


I do that sometimes when I play Scarlatti!

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#1732322 - 08/13/11 03:03 PM Re: Do you play the same when you repeat? [Re: DaveInMichigan]
beet31425 Offline
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Loc: Bay Area, CA
By the way, my favorite repeat change is from Schiff's recording of the Goldberg Variations.

He takes all the repeats, generally without varying much. But in Variation 7 ("al tempo di Giga"), he plays the repeated sections one octave higher, and in Variation 18 ("Canone alla Sexta") he plays the repeated sections one octave lower.

The effect, in both places, is wonderful.


-Jason
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#1732323 - 08/13/11 03:07 PM Re: Do you play the same when you repeat? [Re: PaulaPiano34]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: chobeethaninov
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: TheCannibalHaddock
I sometimes commit the worst crime in all music. And add extra notes and embellishments the second time round.... don't shoot me!!

If I could do that WELL, I would.

I do that sometimes when I play Scarlatti!

....and actually, believe it or not smile that's the main composer I was thinking of. I have the hugest admiration for people who are able to do it well.

At the Boston amateur competition, one of the semi-finalists did it even the first time around. ha
He did it 'well' (IMO) but I wasn't sure it made sense, and I felt sure the judges wouldn't be sure about that either.

They weren't. grin
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#1732413 - 08/13/11 05:44 PM Re: Do you play the same when you repeat? [Re: Mark_C]
TheHappyMoron Offline
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Registered: 08/06/10
Posts: 1166
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: TheCannibalHaddock
I sometimes commit the worst crime in all music. And add extra notes and embellishments the second time round.... don't shoot me!!

If I could do that WELL, I would.


When i do it, sometimes it comes out well, other times, not so much. Mozart tends to be the biggest victim, as there always seems to be space for it, especially in the slower movements.
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#1732431 - 08/13/11 06:01 PM Re: Do you play the same when you repeat? [Re: stores]
ChopinAddict Offline
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Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: Kreisler


[quote=stores]What does the score tell you to do? That is all that matters.


Yep. There are several instances where composers write out varied repeats when they want something done differently. Take the Brahms Handel variations for example. The vast majority of the variations are written with repeats, but not the 8th or 19th. In the 8th, he wanted the top voice taken down an octave on the repeat, so he writes it out. In the 19th, the change is more subtle, he simply wanted a different voice emphasized and ornamented, so he writes it out.



True. I have also seen repeats with "p the second time" for example, or "f the second time".
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#1732510 - 08/13/11 08:01 PM Re: Do you play the same when you repeat? [Re: DaveInMichigan]
jeffreyjones Offline
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I'm pretty sure Beethoven stated to play precisely what he wrote. He underlined his attitude by effectively decommissioning the improvised cadenza for good with the "Emperor." His was the last word. Besides, my feeling is that if he uses a repeat, it's because he built the structure with that repeat in mind, and if you follow his directions, it will have the intended effect. He instructs you when he wants something different the second time with either a 2e volta (Op. 31/3 minuet), or a difference in the second ending.

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#1732512 - 08/13/11 08:03 PM Re: Do you play the same when you repeat? [Re: carey]
wr Offline
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Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7424
Originally Posted By: carey
Originally Posted By: beet31425


Also, it seems to me that I never hear concert artists vary the repeat of a Beethoven sonata exposition.



That's been my experience as well (which is why I originally gave a simple answer to a very simple question), and it is consistent with the way I was taught to play sonatas by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.



This reminds me of something I once read in a review by one of Beethoven's contemporaries, of some of LvB's newly published sonatas (they were early Beethoven). The critic complained that Beethoven had written in too much ornamentation, which made it excessively difficult for performers to fit in any of their own! I thought that was very interesting for a couple of reasons - I hadn't realized that performers were still in the habit of adding ornamentation at that time, and because of the idea expressed that composers should not take away all opportunity for adding and changing notes.

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#1732552 - 08/13/11 10:02 PM Re: Do you play the same when you repeat? [Re: wr]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: wr
....I thought that was very interesting for a couple of reasons - I hadn't realized that performers were still in the habit of adding ornamentation at that time, and because of the idea expressed that composers should not take away all opportunity for adding and changing notes.

Those of us with the general more flexible view of how to approach scores wouldn't be surprised by that at all. In fact, at least for me, knowing about that kind of thing has been one of the major bases for my more flexible view. I'm really surprised you weren't aware of it.

I wonder if knowing it might lead you to have a more flexible view as well....
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#1732562 - 08/13/11 10:26 PM Re: Do you play the same when you repeat? [Re: Mark_C]
wr Offline
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Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7424
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: wr
....I thought that was very interesting for a couple of reasons - I hadn't realized that performers were still in the habit of adding ornamentation at that time, and because of the idea expressed that composers should not take away all opportunity for adding and changing notes.

Those of us with the general more flexible view of how to approach scores wouldn't be surprised by that at all. In fact, at least for me, knowing about that kind of thing has been one of the major bases for my more flexible view. I'm really surprised you weren't aware of it.

I wonder if knowing it might lead you to have a more flexible view as well....


I knew that adding ornamentation was still standard operating procedure in the early stages of the Classical era, but somehow it never occurred to me that it would apply to Beethoven. And of course, it doesn't usually apply to Beethoven, since, as the critic said, he pretty much wrote it all in himself. At any rate, I read this some time ago, so it's not a recent discovery.

And, if my view was any more flexible than it already is, it wouldn't even exist (a kind of non-existence which may be a nice goal, but I'm not there yet). smile

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