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!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
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 Accessories
* 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
Topic Options
#2018013 - 01/20/13 07:54 PM tempo rubato
ico Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/13/13
Posts: 7
Loc: Brazil
How to play tempo rubato correctly and elegantly?

ico

Top
(ad) Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#2018020 - 01/20/13 08:00 PM Re: tempo rubato [Re: ico]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19648
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: ico
How to play tempo rubato correctly and elegantly?

Not easily. grin

Top
#2018022 - 01/20/13 08:04 PM Re: tempo rubato [Re: ico]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19648
Loc: New York
....but seriously folks.... grin you'll get different answers from different people. Opinions vary.

Some people would say the accompaniment has to keep strict time, while playing the melody flexibly; others (including me) would say that's an oversimplification -- the accompaniment doesn't have to be totally strict and rarely should be. And even once we get past that debate, we've only just begun. smile
That's when it gets really hard, to say what exactly is correct or elegant.

Best I can say: How a good singer might sing it.

Top
#2018024 - 01/20/13 08:06 PM Re: tempo rubato [Re: ico]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6070
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Can you perfectly internalize steady beat, pulse, rhythm, etc.?

Listen to lots of opera, songs, choral music, wind instruments, string instruments, chamber music, etc... Learn and understand how to achieve a good long line, good phrasing, and horizontal movement/momentum in music.

It takes lots of time and experience to fully get it, something I still don't fully get.

And it's definitely not something that can fully be explained in just text.

Top
#2018118 - 01/21/13 01:35 AM Re: tempo rubato [Re: ico]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Welcome to the Forum ico ... only 6 entries to date.

My guess is that the rubato question relates to the playing of Chopin ... especially the Nocturnes.

How to get it right would of course depend on individual passion for Chopin compositions ... for my own part, having over the years played the lot ... my take would suggest that the slowing or speeding up of the tempo would depend on the particular mood of the pianist ... I don’t think I’ve ever successfully matched the Chopin-esque rubato to the breathtaking Nocturnes ... but I keep trying!

Watch out chaps ... the OP is a Brazilian Prosecuting Attorney ... and might put you in the hot-seat with his cross-questioning ... however, he does seem to be a cultured gent with a liking for music, painting, literature and philosophy.



Top
#2018126 - 01/21/13 01:50 AM Re: tempo rubato [Re: ico]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6095
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
The book Interpreting Mozart by Badura-Skoda has a nice chapter on rubato. Although the examples are by Mozart, you'll get a better understanding of rubato if you have the chance to read it.
I think you must really get into the secrets of a piece (emotionally) before you attempt rubato. smile
_________________________



Music is my best friend.


Top
#2018202 - 01/21/13 07:44 AM Re: tempo rubato [Re: ico]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7763
There is no "correct and elegant" rubato. But, in contrast, there is lots of inept, tasteless, and inelegant rubato. So, all you have to do when playing rubato is to avoid the latter, and you'll have what you are looking for.

Top
#2018240 - 01/21/13 09:19 AM Re: tempo rubato [Re: wr]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19227
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: wr
There is no "correct and elegant" rubato. But, in contrast, there is lots of inept, tasteless, and inelegant rubato. So, all you have to do when playing rubato is to avoid the latter, and you'll have what you are looking for.
Not really. I think that there's a lot of range between inept/tasteless and correct/elegant. Rubato or any aspect of piano playing is a continuum. And one person's inept may be another person's elegant, although there will be some unanimity of opinion among knowledable pianists.


Edited by pianoloverus (01/21/13 09:19 AM)

Top
#2018489 - 01/21/13 03:48 PM Re: tempo rubato [Re: ico]
Tim Adrianson Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/10
Posts: 1021
To me, you can't give a straight answer to that: it depends too much on the type of music. For example, the ballad portion of solo piano renditions of jazz and popular standards virtually require quite high levels of rubato to be effective. By contrast, visiting those same levels on Romantic Classical piano invariably results in something corny and tasteless. I have heard Chopin, Schumann, Beethoven, Schubert, Liszt, et al, played -- uh, freely -- but typically the expressiveness is on the printed page: it doesn't need "help" in that regard.

Top
#2018491 - 01/21/13 03:51 PM Re: tempo rubato [Re: Tim Adrianson]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19648
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Tim Adrianson
To me, you can't give a straight answer to that: it depends too much on the type of music....

You mean you could give a straight answer for a type of music? grin

Top
#2018564 - 01/21/13 06:56 PM Re: tempo rubato [Re: ico]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4526
Loc: in the past
Rubato is stolen time, in other words push and pull. A lot of people take time when they see rubato but never make up for it.
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

Top
#2018649 - 01/21/13 09:52 PM Re: tempo rubato [Re: Pogorelich.]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19648
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
Rubato is stolen time, in other words push and pull. A lot of people take time when they see rubato but never make up for it.

That reflects a view that is often stated, but which in the opinion of many is too rigid and pat, and not right.

Paderewski: "We are not so noble. What is taken away cannot always be given back." smile

That's actually not an exact quote, but my recollection of how it's sometimes paraphrased. I figured I'd try to see if I could find the actual thing, and through the miracle of the web cool I found it -- and in fact it's just a small part of a long and thoughtful article on rubato that he wrote.

Here's the part that the above thing is paraphrased from:

"....Some people, evidently led by laudable principle of equity, while insisting on the fact of stolen time, pretend that what is stolen ought to be restored. We dully acknowledge the highly moral motives of this theory, but we humbly confess that our ethics do not reach such a high level. The making up of what has been lost is natural in the case of playing with orchestra, where, for the security of the whole, in spite of the fractional alterations of the movement, the metric integrity should be rigorously preserved. With soloists is quite different. The value of notes diminished in one period through accelerando, cannot always be restored in another by ritardando. What is lost is lost. For any lawlessness there is, after a certain term, proscription."

BTW, none of what we're saying really answers the OP. In fact, I think nothing really answers it. The answer is a matter of talent, taste, ear, and learning. But it helps to talk about it. smile

Top
#2018659 - 01/21/13 10:01 PM Re: tempo rubato [Re: ico]
ruiomichlet Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/21/13
Posts: 6
It takes lots of time and experience to fully get it, something I still don't fully get.
_________________________

Top
#2018665 - 01/21/13 10:16 PM Re: tempo rubato [Re: ico]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6095
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
Pollini once said:
Rubato must emerge spontaneously from the music, it can’t be calculated but must be totally free. It’s not even something you can teach: each performer must feel it on the basis of his or her own sensitivity. There’s no magic formula: to assume otherwise would be ridiculous.
That's what I have always thought of rubato.
_________________________



Music is my best friend.


Top
#2018694 - 01/21/13 11:26 PM Re: tempo rubato [Re: ico]
Kuanpiano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2116
Loc: Canada
Personally, rubato means flexibility of time, but not rhythm. The basic pulse should remain, but be slightly distorted - rhythms should still be correct relative to each other.

Most of all, when you make conscious decisions about rubato, you should always be in control. Don't just let your hands meander, how you distort time should always contribute to the musical expression you're trying to achieve.
_________________________
Working on:
Beethoven - Piano Sonata op. 109
Brahms - 6 Klavierstucke op. 119
Rachmaninoff - Piano Sonata no.1

Top
#2018871 - 01/22/13 08:56 AM Re: tempo rubato [Re: Mark_C]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4526
Loc: in the past
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
Rubato is stolen time, in other words push and pull. A lot of people take time when they see rubato but never make up for it.

That reflects a view that is often stated, but which in the opinion of many is too rigid and pat, and not right.

Paderewski: "We are not so noble. What is taken away cannot always be given back." smile


Yes it cannot "always" be given back. But if we always take take take, it will sound unnatural. I was just saying that it's the definition of "rubato" - stolen time. There's nothing wrong with taking time (I do it all the time, probably badly but whatever), but it's interesting and this is something that a great violinist said to me in a coaching once - when you tell people to be free, the first thing they usually think of is to take time. Most wouldn't think to go forward, which can be free as well.

Something to think about.
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

Top
#2018929 - 01/22/13 10:39 AM Re: tempo rubato [Re: ico]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19227
Loc: New York City
Just because something is taken it doesn't mean it has to be given back. So I think the fact that rubato translates as "stolen time" in no way implies anything has to be given back (unless perhaps if those who first used this term specifically said something to this effect).

Top
#2018930 - 01/22/13 10:41 AM Re: tempo rubato [Re: ico]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4526
Loc: in the past
How on earth do you make it sound good?
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

Top
#2018932 - 01/22/13 10:42 AM Re: tempo rubato [Re: ico]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19227
Loc: New York City
Just because something is taken it doesn't mean it has to be given back. So I think the fact that rubato translates as "stolen time" in no way implies anything has to be given back (unless perhaps if those who first used this term specifically said something to this effect).

Top
#2018949 - 01/22/13 11:18 AM Re: tempo rubato [Re: ico]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4526
Loc: in the past
Are we talking about rit. or rubato? For a non-nauseating rubato it goes both ways - it involves flexibility in the tempo which doesn't only mean taking time.
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

Top
#2018992 - 01/22/13 12:22 PM Re: tempo rubato [Re: ico]
kuifje Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/20/11
Posts: 110
The only way to make rubato sound good is to play exactly half of the piece faster than average, and the other half slower.

Fortunately that's not as difficult as it sounds.

Top
#2019007 - 01/22/13 12:44 PM Re: tempo rubato [Re: Pogorelich.]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19648
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
Yes it cannot "always" be given back. But if we always take take take, it will sound unnatural. I was just saying that it's the definition of "rubato" - stolen time. There's nothing wrong with taking time (I do it all the time, probably badly but whatever)....

I disagree. You do it very, very well! grin

Originally Posted By: kuifje
The only way to make rubato sound good is to play exactly half of the piece faster than average, and the other half slower.

Fortunately that's not as difficult as it sounds.

Hopefully that's a joke!

I mean it is, but I hope it was intentional.

Top
#2019036 - 01/22/13 01:19 PM Re: tempo rubato [Re: ico]
kuifje Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/20/11
Posts: 110
Sure it was intended as a joke, but it is also true. As the mathematically inclined will confirm this is the very (not entirely precise i'll admit) definition of "average speed": the speed for which it holds that half of the piece is faster, and half of the piece is slower. So it is mathematically impossible NOT to play a piece exactly like this.
(that's why it's not hard, you can't play any other way no matter how hard you try).

As a more serious comment, i can't help thinking of this fact when I hear that the stolen time must given back, in order to maintain a certain average speed, as I think i've heard Barenboim say in a master class on YT. It is meaningless.

So it's clear i don't feel that the stolen time should necessarily be given back.
Even more than singing, tempo rubato makes me think of reading a book out loud (for children for instance). The text itself imposes how fast you read (a chase will be faster), and in between you have little pauses to punctuate (parts of) phrases that belong together, catch your breath, or accentuate something.

This -and this is key for me- are irregularities in order to make it sound regular. Just because i tak a breath does not mean i should hurry to make up for it (of course there can be other reasons to accelerate). If a robot reads the same text out loud it sounds very awkward/unnatural, because the listener anticipates the pause, and if you don't do them, you steal time, not from the clock but from the listener. Such little pauses don't FEEL like a pause, unless...


...


it is used for some effect. (This would be a rit. for me.)

The same is true for light effects in the paintings of Rembrandt, Vermeer, or even e photo: in order to make a surface seem of a uniform brightness, you cannot paint it with a uniform brightness.

Some other observations i'd like to venture:
-Sometimes you can accentuate or phrase something but just a little hesitation, coming just a little bit after the beat, but not enough to incur a significant delay that should be recouped.
-In lots of places it seems to me that Chopin is writing the rubato in the score: Where you have a melody of a perfectly even rhythm, but all of a sudden he throws in a rest and a dotted note that breaks the pattern. To me that's an invitation to play that one like i feel, and not exactly as written.
-The effect (or rather:feeling) that Chopin apparently sought to achieve is the feeling of freedom of the melody. And never exaggerate.

So that's what i try to do. Even if i'm tempted to accentuate a particularly beautiful chord by holding on to it, i let the melody prevail. Simplicity being the highest goal and all.











Edited by kuifje (01/22/13 01:24 PM)

Top
#2019041 - 01/22/13 01:24 PM Re: tempo rubato [Re: kuifje]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19648
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: kuifje
Sure it was intended as a joke, but it is also true. As the mathematically inclined will confirm this is the very (not entirely precise i'll admit) definition of "average speed": the speed for which it holds that half of the piece is faster, and half of the piece is slower. So it is mathematically impossible NOT to play a piece exactly like this.....

But.... grin

Good thing you said "not entirely precise," because it isn't, and sometimes it's not even that close. I'll leave out the full explanation, except to say that it's the same as why "mean" and "median" are often very different.

Top
#2019051 - 01/22/13 01:31 PM Re: tempo rubato [Re: Mark_C]
kuifje Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/20/11
Posts: 110
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: kuifje
Sure it was intended as a joke, but it is also true. As the mathematically inclined will confirm this is the very (not entirely precise i'll admit) definition of "average speed": the speed for which it holds that half of the piece is faster, and half of the piece is slower. So it is mathematically impossible NOT to play a piece exactly like this.....

But.... grin

Good thing you said "not entirely precise," because it isn't, and sometimes it's not even that close. I'll leave out the full explanation, except to say that it's the same as why "mean" and "median" are often very different.


Exactly! I did not want to go into that either, but it IS what i think of when i hear that stolen time must be given back. For the median that's not necessary.

The full explanation will remain our little secret (and maybe almost all of the forum members).


Edited by kuifje (01/22/13 01:32 PM)

Top
#2019059 - 01/22/13 01:39 PM Re: tempo rubato [Re: kuifje]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19648
Loc: New York
BTW, I shoulda said, it was a good joke anyway. grin

Top
#2019062 - 01/22/13 01:44 PM Re: tempo rubato [Re: Mark_C]
kuifje Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/20/11
Posts: 110
well thank you!

Top

Moderator:  Brendan, Kreisler 
What's Hot!!
Our latest Issue is available now...
Piano News - Interesting & Fun Piano Related Newsletter! (free)
-------------------
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Knabe Pianos
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
Who's Online
78 registered (a-z0-9, AndrewJCW, AZNpiano, Art_Vandelay, 18 invisible), 1317 Guests and 17 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
75553 Members
42 Forums
156219 Topics
2294262 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Happy Birthday Cinnamonbear!
by Kuanpiano
Yesterday at 11:17 PM
Finger "Tapes": Purpose?
by CleverName
Yesterday at 10:56 PM
Accessories needed for grand pianos.
by Stevio55
Yesterday at 08:31 PM
Schulze Pollmann 113e Moderno detail information?
by pdxfz1
Yesterday at 07:12 PM
Will starting on unweighted keys cause problems later on?
by Alex1
Yesterday at 05:43 PM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
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