Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Gifts and supplies for the musician
SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
Ad (Piano Sing)
How to Make Your Piano Sing
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pianoteq
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
Who's Online
107 registered (accordeur, anamnesis, Anita Potter, allakart, A Guy, 27 invisible), 1374 Guests and 16 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Pianos
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#1973642 - 10/15/12 03:16 PM Learning Rubato
Bluoh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/11
Posts: 421
Loc: Canada
How do you teach rubato?

I was over at the beginners' forum just now, and someone had been wondering how you can learn to play stylistically Romantic without ruining his own interpretation of the piece by watching other performers.

I thought it would be an interesting discussion for teachers:

(a) How do you teach rubato?

(b) Is it possible for a beginner to interpret a piece of music entirely on his or her own? (I.e. No demonstrations of the piece, no videos, etc.?) Why or why not?

Top
(ad) Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#1973654 - 10/15/12 03:38 PM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: Bluoh]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
That's interesting.

I have found that some students will use rubato quite naturally without me having to say anything at all. Its a musically expressive thing to do with the right kind of piece and I love it when it happens spontaneously in an appropriate place!

Must admit it is rare though.

Teaching rubato is about awareness of style and also about balance. Rubato literally means 'robbed' time. And what is taken must be paid back. A lot of phrasing will have a gentle push towards the climax and then relax towards the end. Balance.

What I do insist on is that students can play exactly in time first. They need to fully understand the rhythm. Then a useful technique is to play a phrase with a metronome, get a little ahead but then end up back in time again.

I start with pieces where the effects of rubato are quite subtle. If its understood then the same thing can be applied with other works as and when required.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

Top
#1973832 - 10/15/12 10:29 PM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: Bluoh]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Bluoh
(b) Is it possible for a beginner to interpret a piece of music entirely on his or her own? (I.e. No demonstrations of the piece, no videos, etc.?) Why or why not?

There are many of us who grew up learning pieces by playing them. The written music "told" us how the piece sounded. The only time music was "demonstrated" was if we repeatedly got it wrong, and were completely unable to decode the written page.

Typically, we did not preview any piece by listening to it, and we certainly did not see anyone performing it. Unless we were learning a piece by ear, the "sound" was on the paper.
Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

Top
#1973965 - 10/16/12 07:43 AM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: Chris H.]
Monaco Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/28/11
Posts: 387
Loc: GA
Originally Posted By: Chris H.
That's interesting.

Rubato literally means 'robbed' time. And what is taken must be paid back.


I asked my professor about this and he said "No."
Not to say you're wrong, but there are different opinions about this.

I have found that in most cases it is necessary to demonstrate rubato at first. After a while they can do it without demonstration.
I also find that showing them something one time will not produce an exact copy of your performance anyway.
_________________________
Ben Ereddia
Piano Teacher
Beginning Tech

Top
#1973969 - 10/16/12 07:55 AM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: LoPresti]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11810
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
Originally Posted By: Bluoh
(b) Is it possible for a beginner to interpret a piece of music entirely on his or her own? (I.e. No demonstrations of the piece, no videos, etc.?) Why or why not?

There are many of us who grew up learning pieces by playing them. The written music "told" us how the piece sounded. The only time music was "demonstrated" was if we repeatedly got it wrong, and were completely unable to decode the written page.

Typically, we did not preview any piece by listening to it, and we certainly did not see anyone performing it. Unless we were learning a piece by ear, the "sound" was on the paper.
Ed

I have had several teachers for two instruments. I agree that the gist of the music is on paper. You get melody, tempo, dynamics, and if you understand the nature of the genre, this will guide you as well. I was able to, and expected to play the basic music from notation. Nonetheless there are finer points of musicianship which a trained musician will know of, and the student won't. Rubato, fine points of phrasing, special nuances brought out by the nature of the instrument - these did get demonstrated. This was not for imitation but for hearing what was possible, and refining the ear. Recordings can be used the same way. You have studied the music and seen possibilities, now you hear various interpretations. You are not just hearing what was done, but asking, why did this performer make those choices? Does this give additional insight into the music?

Top
#1973981 - 10/16/12 08:45 AM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: Monaco]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
Originally Posted By: Monaco
Originally Posted By: Chris H.
That's interesting.

Rubato literally means 'robbed' time. And what is taken must be paid back.


I asked my professor about this and he said "No."
Not to say you're wrong, but there are different opinions about this.


Of course there are different opinions!
There are also different definitions and interpretations of rubato.

It's not an exact science and probably something that you can't really teach. You can give advice and guidance but no two pianists will use rubato in exactly the same way so it's very much an individual response to the music.

I try my best to keep things simple.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

Top
#1974011 - 10/16/12 10:49 AM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: Chris H.]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2472
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Chris H.
Rubato literally means 'robbed' time. And what is taken must be paid back.


I am doubtful of this translation of the word rubato

Top
#1974017 - 10/16/12 11:00 AM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: Bluoh]
LadyChen Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/25/12
Posts: 521
Loc: Canada
Actually, the translation is correct. The word literally means "robbed". But as a musical term, it means much more than that.

Top
#1974019 - 10/16/12 11:04 AM Learning Rubato [Re: keystring]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
Originally Posted By: Bluoh
(b) Is it possible for a beginner to interpret a piece of music entirely on his or her own? (I.e. No demonstrations of the piece, no videos, etc.?) Why or why not?

There are many of us who grew up learning pieces by playing them. The written music "told" us how the piece sounded. . . . . Typically, we did not preview any piece by listening to it, and we certainly did not see anyone performing it. Unless we were learning a piece by ear, the "sound" was on the paper.

. . . I agree that the gist of the music is on paper. You get melody, tempo, dynamics, and if you understand the nature of the genre, this will guide you as well. I was able to, and expected to play the basic music from notation. Nonetheless there are finer points of musicianship which a trained musician will know of, and the student won't.

Absolutely! That is what makes the trained musician a musician, and the student, well . . .

Originally Posted By: keystring
Rubato, fine points of phrasing, special nuances brought out by the nature of the instrument - these did get demonstrated. This was not for imitation but for hearing what was possible, and refining the ear. Recordings can be used the same way. You have studied the music and seen possibilities, now you hear various interpretations. You are not just hearing what was done, but asking, why did this performer make those choices? Does this give additional insight into the music?

Encore -- assolutamente! I should have completed my thoughts with:
Learning the music of the piece first, by working on it from written notation, is a wonderful learning experience, although we never thought of it as that. And then, whenever one had the opportunity to hear that same MUSIC come to life in the hands of a professional, it magnified and solidified and enhanced that original learning all the more! It infused one’s original learning experience with all the possibilities that the student had left out. And in so doing, the better student became a trained musician. Then, when faced with new music on a page, the individual knows how it sounds without pressing a key, or drawing a bow, or placing mouthpiece to embouchure.

In my opinion, going through the steps in a different order, ie. hear the professional rendition, then see the written music for the first time, then hear the professional play again, then fit the notation on the page to what one hears, then play it on the instrument, then hear the professional play again, then put the finishing touches on the student’s playing -- this loses much of the development of the musician. While it might help the ear, it weakens the independence of reading and interpretation.
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

Top
#1974082 - 10/16/12 01:16 PM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: LadyChen]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2472
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: LadyChen
Actually, the translation is correct. The word literally means "robbed".


Look in an italian dictionary and see whether it says anything about stealing time ... or about giving it back.

part. pass. di rubare ¨ agg. [f. -a; pl.m. -i, f. -e] nei sign. del verbo ||| agg. e n.m. [f. -a; pl.m. -i, f. -e] ( mus.) indicazione sul testo musicale con la quale si prescrive un’esecuzione svincolata dalla rigidità del tempo: eseguire un rubato; una battuta in tempo rubato.

Top
#1974102 - 10/16/12 02:15 PM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: landorrano]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: LadyChen
Actually, the translation is correct. The word literally means "robbed".


Look in an italian dictionary and see whether it says anything about stealing time ... or about giving it back.

part. pass. di rubare ¨ agg. [f. -a; pl.m. -i, f. -e] nei sign. del verbo ||| agg. e n.m. [f. -a; pl.m. -i, f. -e] ( mus.) indicazione sul testo musicale con la quale si prescrive un’esecuzione svincolata dalla rigidità del tempo: eseguire un rubato; una battuta in tempo rubato.


Knock yourself out reading your dictionary.

I'll be playing my piano.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

Top
#1974106 - 10/16/12 02:23 PM Learning Rubato [Re: landorrano]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
All'ora - Questa problema consistera dei significa della parola ||svincola||. Si noi crediamo che 'svincola' indicata "completely clearing the rigidity of the previous meter", poi il tempo nuovo Ă© libero. Ma, in contrasto, si noi crediamo che 'svincola' indicata "suspending the rigor of the previous meter", poi quella comporta una torna al tempo primo.

_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

Top
#1974109 - 10/16/12 02:26 PM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: Chris H.]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Chris H.
Knock yourself out reading your dictionary. . . . I'll be playing my piano.

But Chris, will you be playing in Italian? Playing Rubato??
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

Top
#1974115 - 10/16/12 02:42 PM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: Bluoh]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
Haha I doubt it since it seems I don't understand a word of it!

I'll stick to the speedy up, slowy down thingy.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

Top
#1974127 - 10/16/12 03:14 PM Learning Rubato [Re: Chris H.]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Chris,

Definitions aside, I believe I have always thought of rubato, at least subconsciously, as a give-and-take proposition, where I would play slightly faster here, only to exagerate slowness there. In that sense, if we are not writing about precise durations of time, I tend to agree that the ebb and flow of rob-and-pay-back, rob-and-pay-back does fit my conception of rubato.

Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

Top
#1974136 - 10/16/12 03:28 PM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: Bluoh]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
I have found it to be a good starting point and something that can be introduced quite early on. Being expressive is complex but you have to start somewhere.

I have tried explaining that you need to be 'flexible' or 'take liberties' with timing but inexperienced students don't really get that. They need something more to go on. The rob and pay back method works for me when applied to the right piece. I often write in push and pull on the score where appropriate for those who don't feel it naturally.

One important point I haven't seen mentioned is that the use of rubato should never be allowed to distort the rhythm. Some students use it so much you can't tell what the rhythm should be!
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

Top
#1974137 - 10/16/12 03:28 PM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: LoPresti]
Bluoh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/11
Posts: 421
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
Chris,

Definitions aside, I believe I have always thought of rubato, at least subconsciously, as a give-and-take proposition, where I would play slightly faster here, only to exagerate slowness there. In that sense, if we are not writing about precise durations of time, I tend to agree that the ebb and flow of rob-and-pay-back, rob-and-pay-back does fit my conception of rubato.

Ed

That's how most of us are taught, but I never thought of it that way. I think it's more of a "being in the moment" and stretching the music to its limits. If that means moving quicker in some places than others, and slowing when you feel it, then so be it.

Definitions aside (haha) how do you guys teach rubato?

Top
#1974142 - 10/16/12 03:46 PM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: Bluoh]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
Originally Posted By: Bluoh


Definitions aside (haha) how do you guys teach rubato?


I suppose by first teaching them to understand rhythm and to play in time. Also by teaching control of tempo, making sure changes are gradual when they encounter accelerando and rallentando etc. They are more likely to find tempo changes marked in the score before experimenting with rubato. Good use of rubato will draw on this experience. It all takes time.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

Top
#1974144 - 10/16/12 03:46 PM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: Bluoh]
LadyChen Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/25/12
Posts: 521
Loc: Canada
Some students will be able to play rubato very naturally with no direction. Others .. not so much. For these students, I find that conducting them as they play can help, or singing, or counting.

I only have beginner students right now, so I'm not teaching a lot of rubato, but I do have one student who has trouble with even a ritardando at the end of her piece. To illustrate the slowing down, I just counted out loud using 1 + 2 +... so she can hear the subdivision of the beat and how notes still need to have their full values as the tempo is slowing down.

Speaking of note values -- sometimes when a student first starts to play around with rubato, they play with 'bad time' instead of 'robbed time' smile. I feel like the counting helps with this.

Top
#1974161 - 10/16/12 04:41 PM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: Bluoh]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5558
Loc: Orange County, CA
I once attended a presentation given by composer Dennis Alexander. He draws forward arrows in the score where the music should move forward, and backward arrows where the music should slow down.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#1974193 - 10/16/12 05:48 PM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: Bluoh]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2472
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Bluoh
how you can learn to play stylistically Romantic


Romantic music is very much charged with central and eastern sensibility, so many composers coming from the Austro-Hungarian empire, from Poland. When you hear music coming from these countries you can have a hard time getting a handle on the rhythmic sense. Even a waltz seems kind of crazy, if you're accustomed to conceiving it in a smooth ONE-two-three meter, Laurence Welk style.

Music in these regions can also seem out of tune to a foreigner.

Rubato is fundamentally, in my view, an application of a rhythmic sensibility that isn't written in the score and cannot be written in the score. The way to begin to be able to use rubato is to gain a familiarity with the music and the culture of a country in this region of Europe, to get to know something of the language and the way of singing.

Top
#1974196 - 10/16/12 05:51 PM Learning Rubato [Re: LadyChen]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
LadyChen, you are in very good company here with the counting!

We have been discussing the difficulties and complexities of imparting the idea of rubato to a single student, and having her/him "get it". Immagine, if you will, getting the full orchestra to feel a "common rubato", as a single person might. There is not a conductor in the world who does not COUNT THROUGH these things at rehearsal, at least until the interpretation of the work is familiar to most of the players.

Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

Top
#1974201 - 10/16/12 05:56 PM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: Chris H.]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Chris H.
Originally Posted By: Bluoh


Definitions aside (haha) how do you guys teach rubato?


I suppose by first teaching them to understand rhythm and to play in time.

Chris,
You have brought this up twice now, and I could not agree more. Whether it is building chords, playing rubato, or most anything else, I have always believed that one must know how to do it "right" first, so that one can then "do it wrong" correctly.

Ed


_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

Top
#1974298 - 10/16/12 10:08 PM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: Bluoh]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11810
Loc: Canada
Would anyone say that the challenge in rubato is to use time expressively in a free manner while not losing underlying pulse, and in a way that fits rather than ending up clownish? With the idea of underlying pulse there is probably the idea of knowing how to play in strict time, and knowing how to count.

Top
#1974437 - 10/17/12 08:15 AM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: keystring]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3243
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: keystring
Would anyone say that the challenge in rubato is to use time expressively in a free manner while not losing underlying pulse, and in a way that fits rather than ending up clownish? With the idea of underlying pulse there is probably the idea of knowing how to play in strict time, and knowing how to count.


I agree, and would rather see/hear someone fail to use ANY rubato rather than lose the pulse. Losing the pulse seems to be a common problem.

There is another category that I call microtime. It is not rubato per se, as the pulse is relatively constant, but it requires the player to either advance or lag behind every beat by a specific amount unique to the genre. Thank of a jazz bass playing slightly behind in some styles, or being required to lead in others.
_________________________
gotta go practice

Top
#1974474 - 10/17/12 09:54 AM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: Bluoh]
IPlayPiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/08/11
Posts: 104
What is taken must be given back...

Keystring nailed it. There is a difference between "rubato" and "playing out of time" and they should not be confused. A fine musician MUST have a good sense of time while playing rubato in order to be able to give back what has taken. In other words the musician should be able to play rubato to a metronome and still end up on the right beat by the end of the piece. "Playing out of time" does not require this skill.

As far as the interpreting of pieces, I always say that music is a language. Wanna learn french? Go to France! I find it unfair that a child should be expected to interpret a piece using only the markings on the page, without that foundational language experience in a native-tongue fashion. Go to concerts, get recordings, youtube! And of course, demonstration. Put on the metronome and demonstrate a rubato version of Happy Birthday.

Top
#1974625 - 10/17/12 03:23 PM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: TimR]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5558
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: TimR
I agree, and would rather see/hear someone fail to use ANY rubato rather than lose the pulse. Losing the pulse seems to be a common problem.

Same here. I'd be glad to have students who can count accurately. Rubato is not to disguise weakness in counting.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#1974655 - 10/17/12 03:50 PM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: Bluoh]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Except for KeyString, you folks are steering clear of the second, potentially more interesting part, of Bluoh's oroginal question:
Originally Posted By: Bluoh
(b) Is it possible for a beginner to interpret a piece of music entirely on his or her own? (I.e. No demonstrations of the piece, no videos, etc.?) Why or why not?

Any particular reason?
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

Top
#1974675 - 10/17/12 04:06 PM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: Bluoh]
BeccaBb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 905
Loc: Thunder Bay, On Canada
I'm a beginner and this is how I learn to make music (unless it's beyond me in level): I read over the score and circle all the dynamics. I look at the time signature. I begin to learn the notes (two hands for easy, hs for hard.) Once I get the notes down, I begin to play them with counting. Once I get the rhythm down, I begin to add in dynamics. Once I have that all in place I add it all together. Once it sounds like actual music I MIGHT listen to the song elsewhere, but usually do not.

I honestly can't imagine learning pieces by listening or watching them first. I was really surprised to read a question implying that others do not do this!
_________________________
Becca
Began: 01-12-11


Floundering and Lost
Roland RD300NX

Top
#1974681 - 10/17/12 04:09 PM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: LoPresti]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11810
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
Except for KeyString, you folks are steering clear of the second, potentially more interesting part, of Bluoh's oroginal question:
Originally Posted By: Bluoh
(b) Is it possible for a beginner to interpret a piece of music entirely on his or her own? (I.e. No demonstrations of the piece, no videos, etc.?) Why or why not?

Any particular reason?


There is a problem with that question, Ed, and also the answer you've give so far, if it is to be seen as "the" answer. The problem is that teaching is a process where something is developed over a long period of several years, and teachers may come from opposite sides to meet at the same destination. Any individual teacher may also make different choices for different students. We'll leave out poor teachers, in this.

Take these two opposites: the ability to play timing and note values and meter with relative accuracy - the freedom of feeling the music, being creative with time for expressive purposes. You must be able to maintain the pulse even with rubato, and you have both elements occurring in music. Some teachers may start with freedom, and bring in the accuracy later. Some may start with accuracy, and bring in the freedom later. Many may toggle both ends of it. Any attempt to say that one particular approach is the right one is misguided.

The same goes for anything else. I am a creative, self-directed person, and have been so from earliest childhood. But there are times when imitation has served me well. Sometimes imitation can be a step in getting something into your body which then goes toward your senses, and ultimately understanding. Sometimes the understanding will lead musical choices, which then translate directly into playing. Either angle may be appropriate in various circumstances.

I think that what you are objecting to, Ed, is this idea of listening to a CD in order to find out "how it goes", and then copying that CD. In general I don't feel comfortable with that idea either.

Other elements include gaining an understanding of music. What is the general mindset of the Baroque period or the Romantic period? If a piece is based on "dance music" and they actually danced to it during that period, what type of rhythm do the dancers need, and how did they move at that time? Will the student learn this theoretically, maybe watch such dancers (easy with the Internet), and then try to bring that pulse into his playing? Or does his teacher first model the rhythm, to be copied by rote, and bring in the understanding afterward after a few pieces have been played?

One elephant in the room involves competitions or exams, and "what judges like to see". This may restrict the creativity and imagination of both the teacher and the student. Here you may get into imitation, looking at performances, not for ideas, but as models of "what is acceptable".

I don't think that this is a simple thing, with simple answers.

Top
#1974693 - 10/17/12 04:25 PM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: Bluoh]
LadyChen Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/25/12
Posts: 521
Loc: Canada
I think the second part of the question could almost be it's own thread -- it's a very big question and goes way beyond rubato.

The part about question b that makes me really think is the word "beginner". Take that out and I feel I could give a confident answer, but the beginner part throws me off. We have different shapes and sizes of beginners too, which complicates this further.

I'm trying to think about how much interpretation I teach my beginners, and it's making me realize that I need to do more. I probably throw too much of my effort behind getting them READING instead of making MUSIC.

My feeling is that yes, a beginner can interpret a piece on their own, but they need to be given the tools to do so first. They also need to be given the encouragement necessary to build enough confidence to try doing their own thing with a piece. Plus they need the technique to bring the interpretation out of their head and onto the keys.

A nice beginning interpretation activity is to hand a student a blank score (blank as in nothing but the notes) and have them add their own markings. At this level, it can be simply an exercise in creativity -- they can add whatever markings they want without worrying about being stylistically appropriate. And then the next part of the exercise, obviously, is playing the piece and following their own markings.

The follow-up to this first activity could be listening to the teacher play the same blank score used above, and have the student mark up the score to reflect how the teacher plays.

I think both these activities are important for teaching a student about interpretation. So I guess that means my answer to the question, is Yes, it's possible, and a good skill to have, but I also think learning from other musician's interpretations is valuable as well.

Top
#1974940 - 10/17/12 11:59 PM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: keystring]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
Except for KeyString, you folks are steering clear of the second, potentially more interesting part, of Bluoh's oroginal question:
Originally Posted By: Bluoh
(b) Is it possible for a beginner to interpret a piece of music entirely on his or her own? (I.e. No demonstrations of the piece, no videos, etc.?) Why or why not?

Any particular reason?

I don't think that this is a simple thing, with simple answers.

That is precisely what makes it the more intriguing part of the query.
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

Top
#1974960 - 10/18/12 12:56 AM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: Bluoh]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11810
Loc: Canada
I think I wrote more than that one line, and in this case that "more" probably matters. smile

Top
#1974962 - 10/18/12 01:06 AM Learning Rubato [Re: keystring]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Milano, 7 Aprile 1924

Dear Giacomo,

I would like to start by thanking you for sending along the score to that new opera - the one set in China. I had to tip the delivery boy a few extra lire because it was so heavy and cumbersome. As usual, your manuscript is a delight to behold! Even the corrections have a certain << je ne sais quoi >> that is your trademark. Over the last few evenings, I have read through the Adami and Simoni libretto. (I didn’t realize those two were ever in China!) Anyway, I doubt that our heavily-romanced language can adequately express those complex Oriental sentiments. But, that really is not my “department”, is it? (Ha, ha)

I have also been looking carefully at the notes on the staves - so many, many notes - and so many instruments! Page after page after page, with different instruments and voices entering here and there. I also noticed several - uh, actually countless - key changes and stuff. And, even though I asked you not to, once again the violincelli in the tenor clef! You have it all very neat, and well organized, of course.

This brings us to sort of an awkward moment, Giac. I was wondering if, in the next few days, you might stop over, and kind of tell me how this goes. I mean, you wouldn’t have to play it ALL on my piano - just some of the harder parts to get me started. Oh, and I am hoping you could sing for me at least the tenor and the soprano solos. Again, not every single measure (there are so many of them!), but just the main themes, and just until I learn them.

Once I start to learn most of it, I’ll see if we can get La Scala for the debut.

Oh, and I am certain I can still trust you to keep these little “coaching” sessions just between us, the same as when we worked on that Japanese Butterfly thing.

Your friend with kind regards,
Arturo
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

Top
#1975003 - 10/18/12 03:41 AM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: keystring]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5558
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: keystring
Some teachers may start with freedom, and bring in the accuracy later.

Yikes! Talk about playing with fire. No no no no no!!!

You can't play with rubato until you can play the entire piece precisely with the metronome. On the scale of grossly over-rubato to strictly in time, I'd err on the side of strictly in time. Even for Chopin. In fact, Chopin showed tremendous restraint as a performer and he disdained over-rubato.

It's easy to fool untrained ears with "expressive" rubato (plus ultra-choreographed movements to match). Rubato cannot be a substitute for lack of technique and rhythmic accuracy.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#1975005 - 10/18/12 03:48 AM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: LadyChen]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5558
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: LadyChen
My feeling is that yes, a beginner can interpret a piece on their own, but they need to be given the tools to do so first. They also need to be given the encouragement necessary to build enough confidence to try doing their own thing with a piece. Plus they need the technique to bring the interpretation out of their head and onto the keys.


I'm going to assume "beginner" in this case has had lessons for one to two years, and is somewhere in book 3 or 4 of method books. Your ideas are very good.

I ask my students to notice patterns first. Imitation, repetition, sequence, and motive give clue to phrasing. Once we identify all the phrases, we mark up the "climax" of each phrase by feeling or hearing. This will give a general clue about whether to move forward in time or relax/slow down. The more advanced students will apply theory (harmonic analysis) to justify their rubato choices.

In the process of studying the music in-depth, the student gains the ability to form his/her own opinion on how the piece should sound. However, I seriously doubt the beginner-beginners (i.e., kids in Preparatory of Book 1 of a method book) can do this on their own.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#1975041 - 10/18/12 06:58 AM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: LoPresti]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2472
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
I mean, you wouldn’t have to play it ALL on my piano - just some of the harder parts to get me started.


Originally Posted By: LoPresti
Oh, and I am hoping you could sing for me at least the tenor and the soprano solos. Again, not every single measure (there are so many of them!), but just the main themes, and just until I learn them.


Great stuff. And the response:

My dear Art, old and faithful friend, please read the darn score yourself. I believe in you, you have so much creative impulse in you that is just waiting to be expressed, I don't want to box you in and stifle all of that with my preconception of how it should sound ... as if there is one right way! Let it all hang out, old chum.

Text me about la Scala lol!



Edited by landorrano (10/18/12 08:22 AM)

Top
#1975075 - 10/18/12 08:37 AM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: AZNpiano]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3243
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: keystring
Some teachers may start with freedom, and bring in the accuracy later.


You can't play with rubato until you can play the entire piece precisely with the metronome.


I agree 100%, as did Abby Whiteside and Carmine Caruso.

I go even further. I think that playing in strict time, as slow as necessary, enhances the learning process. One should not detach from time even when working out a difficulty.

There are many who disagree, including the rather vehement N who's no longer with us. And a lot of them get good results. So there seem to be other approaches that work.
_________________________
gotta go practice

Top
#1975120 - 10/18/12 11:23 AM Learning Rubato [Re: landorrano]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: landorrano
My dear Art, old and faithful friend, please read the darn score yourself. I believe in you, you have so much creative impulse in you that is just waiting to be expressed, I don't want to box you in and stifle all of that with my preconception of how it should sound ... as if there is one right way! Let it all hang out, old chum.

Text me about la Scala


Va bene, má ~ acceto la responsabilità – No! Ben ricorda che successo al’ultima volta . . .

As you wish, Giaco, but ~ I can not be responsible for how this comes out. Remember what happened last time . . .

At least stop over, and review with me about that stupid C-clef thing. I got spoiled because Giuseppe used to pencil-in the names of the notes into his score for me. That way, when we are rehearsing, I don’t have to stop and say, ”Violas, I want you to emphasize that -- well -- you know -- that note -- in measure 497 -- the one that has the -- the sharp in front of it.
I lose a lot of credibility with the players that way . . . . .

I am taking “steps” to secure La Scala for the premier.
Art


I am glad you found it amusing, and have joined in the "conversation". It is fun to project where certain learning deficiencies might lead.
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

Top
#1975125 - 10/18/12 11:35 AM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: Bluoh]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11810
Loc: Canada
If this is still about teaching rubato, can you link this flight of fantasy to the issue of teaching rubato? I'm probably being dense, but I'm not seeing the connection. You have two hypothetical people, neither of whom is a student or teacher. How does this come together for the topic at hand?

Top
#1975134 - 10/18/12 11:47 AM Learning Rubato [Re: keystring]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Come on - we have lots of smart individuals here. Spelling it out spoils it. Anyway, landorrano and I are enjoying ourselves.
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

Top
#1975152 - 10/18/12 12:16 PM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: keystring]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3243
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: keystring
If this is still about teaching rubato,


I admit it. It has not been proven to me that rubato needs to be taught at all.
_________________________
gotta go practice

Top
#1975319 - 10/18/12 05:26 PM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: landorrano]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: LadyChen
Actually, the translation is correct. The word literally means "robbed".


Look in an italian dictionary and see whether it says anything about stealing time ... or about giving it back.

part. pass. di rubare ¨ agg. [f. -a; pl.m. -i, f. -e] nei sign. del verbo ||| agg. e n.m. [f. -a; pl.m. -i, f. -e] ( mus.) indicazione sul testo musicale con la quale si prescrive un’esecuzione svincolata dalla rigidità del tempo: eseguire un rubato; una battuta in tempo rubato.

I see you answering a different question. One person gave a literal translation of the verb form, with no context.

You are giving the specific musical definition, and that is going to be roughly the same in any language. )
_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
#1975506 - 10/19/12 03:32 AM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: Bluoh]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2472
Loc: France
True enough.

Still, one can say that he thinks of rubato as stealing time and then giving it back; that is one way to conceive of it, an interpretation or a metaphore, no problem. But he can't say that rubato is translated or defined as stealing time and then giving it back. Well, one can say it, but it is simply not so and, in my opinion, leaves the question on a very shallow level.

Top
#1975516 - 10/19/12 04:48 AM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: landorrano]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11810
Loc: Canada
I didn't see this before. LadyChen's literal translation is correct. Meanwhile:
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: LadyChen
Actually, the translation is correct. The word literally means "robbed".


Look in an italian dictionary and see whether it says anything about stealing time ... or about giving it back.

part. pass. di rubare ¨ agg. [f. -a; pl.m. -i, f. -e] nei sign. del verbo ||| agg. e n.m. [f. -a; pl.m. -i, f. -e] ( mus.) indicazione sul testo musicale con la quale si prescrive un’esecuzione svincolata dalla rigidità del tempo: eseguire un rubato; una battuta in tempo rubato.


In what way is it helpful to quote a definition in a language that most people in the forum do not understand? I've passed your definition through Google Translate and get:
"indication of the musical text with which prescribes execution released by the rigidity of time to perform a steal, steal a line in time." Someone else can turn this into proper English. I see the word "steal" which is a synonym of "rob".

Here is a definition from my musical dictionary:
Quote:
Rubato [It. tempo rubato stolen time]
In performance, the practice of altering the relationship among written note-values and making the established pulse flexible by accelerating and slowing down the tempo; such flexibility has long been an expressive device.
Two varieties of rubato are usually discussed. In the first, the underlying pulse remains constant while the rhythmic values are minutely inflected. This was extensively done as an expressive nuance in the 18th century, especially in the solo part or melody of slow movements (the instrumental adagio and vocal cantabile) while the accompaniment held the beat steady.
The second type is the more common, present-day understanding of rubato. Changes in tempo and rhythmic figuration (accelerando and ritardando) are mode in all parts at the same time without any compensation; the original tempo is simply resumed at the performer's discretion. Even though this expressive rhythmic freedom is frequently associated with the playing styles of 19th century virtuosos such as Liszt, it is discussed by 17th- and 18th- century writers.**


** Source: Harvard Concise Dictionary of Music and Musicians

Top
#1975665 - 10/19/12 11:45 AM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: AZNpiano]
Bluoh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/11
Posts: 421
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: keystring
Some teachers may start with freedom, and bring in the accuracy later.

Yikes! Talk about playing with fire. No no no no no!!!

You can't play with rubato until you can play the entire piece precisely with the metronome. On the scale of grossly over-rubato to strictly in time, I'd err on the side of strictly in time. Even for Chopin. In fact, Chopin showed tremendous restraint as a performer and he disdained over-rubato.

It's easy to fool untrained ears with "expressive" rubato (plus ultra-choreographed movements to match). Rubato cannot be a substitute for lack of technique and rhythmic accuracy.


That's how we've all been taught, but is that the right way to do it? Are you killing something inside the pianist by suppressing that type of freedom right off the bat?

For the record, I also get my students to play evenly before adding rubato.

Top
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >

Moderator:  Ken Knapp 
What's Hot!!

Happy Thanksgiving!
Happy Thanksgiving!
(ad) Yamaha CP Music Rest Promo
Yamaha CP Music Rest Promo
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Seiler Pianos
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
(ad) Piano Music Sale - Dover Publications
Piano Music Sale
Sheet Music Plus (125)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Steinway legs?
by Klavimaniac
33 minutes 44 seconds ago
1875 legs and lyre where to get?
by Klavimaniac
Today at 06:02 PM
"It Don't mean A Thing (If it Ain't...
by prout
Today at 04:43 PM
Yamaha CP33?
by Possum SP280Krome
Today at 04:16 PM
E4 Just Won't Come Into Tune
by Cobra1365
Today at 03:49 PM
Forum Stats
77071 Members
42 Forums
159406 Topics
2341623 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
Gift Ideas for Music Lovers!
Find the Perfect Gift for the Music Lovers on your List!
Visit our online store today.

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
|
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission