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#934697 - 07/08/07 01:41 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Beethoven Fan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/06/07
Posts: 191
 Quote:
You can read through the posts here and see how rare it is for someone to pick up a sheet of music and play it without ever having heard anyone else play it. That affects interpretation, and we cannot go back. [/QB]
I think that this is a very interesting observation that I have thought deeply about. By chance, earlier today I had thought about how people living in the 19th century and how whenever they heard something it was always amazing because it was always a live performance since there were no recording devices. Every performance had been personalized by the performer and unless you were able to round up a symphony or perform the music yourself on the instrument you wouldn't hear it again as often. Today with youtube and all the CDs, we've probably heard pieces 10x more than anyone had during that period. I would also like to add that I think it would be interesting to teach a student popular concert pieces that they had never heard because I do agree that with our knowledge of a performance that is considered great, we let that influence our interpretation to some degree. For the most part, i haven't played that much from the standard repertoire and actually have had to try and learn pieces I had never heard which is makes things harder. But once my teacher demonstrates the correct way, I shoot for mimicing it before I add my own spice to it.

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#934698 - 07/08/07 09:13 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10747
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Beethoven Fan, that's a good point about recordings.
I also think it is important to point out that most people hear music via recordings and not live, and so the standard of expectation is to sound like a recording. This not only means no mistakes, but playing the same way each time. And as a performer, it is so easy to be influenced by another's take on a piece, and you're right, we tend to imitate it that way. With a recording, one can listen over and over again to get the exact nuances down, whereas before, it was largely up to the performer to figure it out from the implications in the score, and trust their own musicality. But these days, it's almost as if we are taught we aren't musically adept enough to interpret for ourselves, so it's bes tot listen to what someone else did, and the closer to the line of students to a composer or great pianist of the past someone is, the more authentic their interpretation is. All of a sudden, we're not musicians, we're parrots.

Personally, I think we need to get back to teaching our students that they are valid interpreters, at *any* age and level of skill. Let them develop their own musicality, without us squashing every ounce of creativity they bring to a piece by insisting upon our own. If we dont' let them develop their own musicality, then we can hardly expect them to stand on their own as mature pianists. This, I feel, would be closer to a composer's expectation, and not mimicry.
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#934699 - 07/08/07 09:29 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
keyboardklutz Offline
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Morodienne, I agree 100%. Too many teachers are happy for their pupils to parrot the teacher's interpretation. The student's interpretation must still be based on sound knowledge of the relevant performance practice.

I listened to Reineke. If Mozart is to be played like that, I shall go out and shoot myself.
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#934700 - 07/08/07 10:44 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Morodiene Offline
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keyboardklutz:
That was my reaction as well when I first heard Mozart's Sontata K332 played in much the same manner! But please don't \:\) . It is really not that far from where you are probably now, but it is taking what you most likely do now a step further. This is *not* the modern aesthetic, and so that is why it seems so foreign to us. But if you listen to that recording of Mozart with yoru eyes closed, all presuppositions taken away of what it "should" sound like, then compare to a modern recording of Mozart, which one would cause the audience to "swoon in the aisles" like Mozart himself was able to invoke?

I have since played Mozart for musicians and non-musicians alike in this same manner: the way Mozart played, and the way we play Mozart now. Non-musicians are a lot more receptive to the the old aesthetic, and they simply cannot believe I'm playing the same piece of music! Generally those musicians I play for (I've played it for a few teachers) would rather ignore or dismiss it simply because they are too vested in their own way of playing it, the modern aesthetic. But it all depends on whether or not you wish to play Mozart, Bach, Chopin, etc. the way they most likely played it (and probably intended it to be played), or if you'd rather apply the modern understanding of it.

As a side note, playing the way Reineke played creates much more room for interpretation of a piece than the modern aesthetic does.
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#934701 - 07/08/07 12:42 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
BDB Offline
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Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20749
Loc: Oakland
Reinecke's interpretation is a product of his time. He probably uses more pedal than Mozart did, and his articulation is probably different. (Mozart's piano would have been tuned to some meantone, while the Reinecke is simply out of tune, but of course, that is not Reinecke's fault.)

We do not have many original performances of classical performances, just a few mechanical organs, so we have to rely on contemporary reports, which come in a variety of ways. There are things like Rosenthal's article on a concert given by Rubinstein with Liszt's reactions to it. From that we learn that Rachmaninov played like Rubinstein rather than Chopin from Liszt, who heard both of them.

We still do not have it all down. Even those people who play reproductions of period instruments do not break them during concerts like Beethoven or Rubinstein did. Nobody plays barnyard imitations on the violin upside down behind their back between movements of his violin concerto, even though that is authentic, too. We no longer sit on the keyboard to demonstrate the chord that opens the finale of the 9th Symphony, as Henselt was known to do. We live in a world of constant noise, which dulls our senses. Concerts do not last as long. All these change our experience of music in ways we cannot imagine.
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#934702 - 07/08/07 01:22 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 777
Loc: Manassas,Va
Dear Piano Teacher Members ... Sandy B here ... Thank you so very much for your input. Very appreciated and I am printing now all of your comments, they will be treasured. Have view relaxed compared to when I studied classical piano 40 years ago? Thank you in advance for your input. Sandy B
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Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06

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#934703 - 07/08/07 01:57 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
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Morodienne, there is simply NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER that Mozart played like Reineke's recording. If you think you do have evidence post it please.
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#934704 - 07/08/07 02:14 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
ChrisKeys Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 1267
Loc: Dallas, TX
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
Morodienne, there is simply NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER that Mozart played like Reineke's recording. If you think you do have evidence post it please. [/b]
Agreed. Morodienne, you yourself said Reineke was born in 1824, 33 years after Mozart's death. It's much more likely that Reineke played in the style of his time, as BDB noted, not necessarily in the style of Mozart. I think this is especially likely given his friendship with the Schumanns (as you note).

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#934705 - 07/08/07 02:22 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
keyboardklutz Offline
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before you post Moart's one comment on tempo rubato here is his dad:
 Quote:
1 A clever accompanist must also be able to sum up a concert performer. To a sound virtuoso
he certainly must not yield, for he would then spoil his tempo rubato. What this 'stolen tempo'
is, is more easily shown than described But on the other hand, if the accompanist has to deal
with a fot-sant virtuoso, then he may often, in an adagio cantabile, have to hold out many a
quaver the length of half a bar, until perchance the latter recovers from his paroxysms; and
nothing goes according to time, for he plays after the style of a recitative.
pp 224 from Knocker's 1948 translation of Leopold's Treatise on Violin Playing. There is no indication here that tempo rubato is anything other than an occasional exception to playing in time. Mozart would have strictly adhered to this.
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#934706 - 07/08/07 02:32 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 777
Loc: Manassas,Va
Dear Teachers, Sorry I spelled lineage wrong. Senior moment at 68 years old? Forgive my spelling mistakes,etc. please. Strokes and a brain operation... but... I try. You are all musicial angels... I printed 30 pages of answers from you and I am so grateful to all of you who posted for each and every word...I have a lovely file cabinet just for sheet music , method books etc. that I treasure and you will be filed for reference and conversations with my friends... Thank You Again, Sandy B
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Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06

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#934707 - 07/08/07 02:37 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Betty Patnude Offline
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Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
I think distortion is a very possible thing when we play from the master composers works. The instruments have changed greatly, the differences in society changes is huge. We are not the same people that they were - their musical experiences came from a different environment. News comes to us in the present moment and agitates and stresses us on an international basis every moment of a 24 hour day, seven days a week.

I think to enter there music as they did, we would have to effect more than their music and characteristics. We would have to enter their lifestyle and reality to be exacting replicas of their music.

To capture their way of doing it, would a person not have to be a "purist" and "scholar" in search of the "prima vista" if that could be used as back to the origination point.

Evolution is a funny thing. You notice it in passing through it. Kind of a megatrends thing.

How exacting can we be? Perfection is a tightrope, excellance is a pursuit. I, myself, am happy to reach a close approximation from time to time.

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#934708 - 07/08/07 02:43 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
keyboardklutz Offline
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Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Betty, you have a good point. Most 18th music was written for a highly educated elite who had an ear for complexity. This changed with the rise of the middle-class in the 19th.
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#934709 - 07/08/07 05:10 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
BDB Offline
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Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20749
Loc: Oakland
 Quote:
Most 18th music was written for a highly educated elite who had an ear for complexity.
There were cheap seats in theaters even then. Plus street musicians, music at bars and taverns, church music and things like that.
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#934710 - 07/08/07 05:11 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10747
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I would have to pull out my research papers, which are currently buried in my attic for exact quotes. But I do know of things Mozart said in his letters regarding the left hand falling behind the right. I also recall quotes about Mozart's playing where the audience swooned upon hearing him play his own music. Who has ever done this in modern times?

I will be happy to provide you with quotes, if you will be patient, as I am in the middle of other things.
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#934711 - 07/08/07 06:27 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 777
Loc: Manassas,Va
Dear Teachers, Sandy B here again...The question you answered, "Should we play classical piano as closely as possible to what the composer intended from the lineage?" I have posed the question to our classical piano forum just minutes ago. I am anxious to hear their answers. All 30 pages of the teachers answers will be read carefully by me now. I briefed though earlier. Thank all of you again . Sandy B
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Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06

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#934712 - 07/08/07 09:42 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 777
Loc: Manassas,Va
Dear Teachers, Sandy B here and going to bed now so I will sign off tonight . You can give yourselves credit for making a "Golden Girl" lady very happy today. The 30 pages of info you wonderful members have emailed to me, and I printed out, have been read. I will research the excellent information and referrals to others sites. The lineage information was very touching and I treasure...I cannot wait to call my very close friend a piano teacher , Glenn Rapoport, semi retired piano teacher. His dad was a Concertmaster Violinist with the Portland Maine Symphony and one of the founders. Glenn grew up in this wonderful world of music at the concert hall. My dad was a Big Band, Society , band member for years too. We share, both of our dads were professional musicians. We love sharing musicial information and he will love input. I will read to him word for word very soon. Thank you again and good night. Sandy B
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Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06

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#934713 - 07/09/07 12:39 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Beethoven Fan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/06/07
Posts: 191
Well Sandy, I would like to take this moment to tell you that you are welcome and I'm glad that my word was worth something. I myself was very pleased with the responses as well and have really thought deeply on the matter and some of answers to questions posed just caused more questions for me to ponder about. That's one thing I love about music, it's so deep and there is so much to explore and speculate that Rachmaninov was right when he said, "Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music."

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#934714 - 07/09/07 04:54 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
My opinion on this has changed a great deal over the years. When I was a student I was constantly searching for THE correct way to play things. I listened to recordings, read books, followed my teacher’s suggestions etc. All of this was useful and I did well but sometimes I was not sure that my interpretation was right and as a result the performance was not convincing.

I remember the subject of ‘authenticity’ being very prominent at college. It was fashionable to attempt to play as the composer intended. I think this is a modern phenomenon. In the early part of the 20th Century, performers would have played how they wanted to with much less regard to the origins of the music. This is evident when you listen to early recordings. It also shows up in over edited scores. I teach students to adhere to what is on the page by and large but this only works if you use a reliable edition of the music.

It is virtually impossible to be truly authentic when you play on a modern piano. The sound is too far removed from the instruments used at the time of composition. I feel it is more appropriate to use your instrument in a musical way. This is why I use the sustain pedal when playing Bach. If I feel it enhances the music I will use it.

The solution I have found over the years is to go with what you feel. Take the time to gather all the information so that you can make an informed decision. I want my students to listen to my views as an experienced musician, learn about the characteristics of music through time, follow directions from the score etc. Then it is important that they add some of their own personality and individuality to the interpretation. If you try to play in a way which doesn’t suit you it will never work.

By the way, are we talking specifically about the piano or music in general? So much of the repertoire we play on the piano was intended to mimic vocal or instrumental music. You have to take this into consideration if you want to get to the bottom of what the composer was after.
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#934715 - 07/09/07 04:11 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10747
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Well said, Chris. I too, use the pedal for Bach in many places (though not to make it muddy), because I think if Bach had a pedal and a modern piano, he'd use it that way. And if it moves the audience, why not? That is the ultimate goal, isn't it? To communicate a feeling or expression to an audience? Even if we happen to be the only audience available. \:\)
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#934716 - 07/09/07 05:13 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 777
Loc: Manassas,Va
Dear Morodiene and other Teachers. You have brought a soft smile to this old girls face so often with your responses to extreme laughter, some of you are really fun...The classical member students forum response were very interestig... They know this was asked of you on the Teacher's Forum and they very good sports to enter their thinking. Mostly I wonder if I am correct to now think the high middle road is the standard of the academics herein? Keep the composer in mind but do not be a parrot? I loved this remark. Input please? Thank you in advance for your input. Sandy B
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Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06

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#934717 - 07/09/07 06:39 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Morodiene Offline
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Posts: 10747
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I think you'll find as many opinions on this as there are pianists \:\) . Do what works for you, and if you perform, what works for your audiences (within reason!). But I think you'll find a lot of people don't go to the extremes of either end of the discussion. Btu we have seen posted here some people who are very strict in adhereing to what they think the composer meant, and the truth of it is, we only have the notes on the page to go by. Perhaps that is a good thing, so we can be free to be musicians as well.
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#934718 - 07/10/07 07:39 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
As a further contribution to this thread, I am posting this interpretation of a very popular and famous Bach Prelude that, I am certain, will have some of you purists ranting and raving at me for defiling Bach's musical intent. However, oddly enough, it makes me, and most people who listen to it, feel very good. I feel the rubato, pedalling and dynamic changes lend it a certain emotional quality that the original is lacking. Maybe, if Bach had had access to the instruments we have available to us today, he might have written more like this.....we'll never know. Anyway, let the fireworks begin:

Bach Prelude #1
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#934719 - 07/10/07 09:27 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
Hate it!

What is with the pausing at the end of each measure? It just sounds like poor sight reading. Rubato is all about push and pull. The borrowed time should always be payed back at some point and it should be clear what the time signature is.

It even has the extra measure. :rolleyes:

Not for me I am afraid, but if people enjoy it then who am I to argue?
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#934720 - 07/10/07 09:49 AM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
The pausing at the end of the measure is to allow the listener to hear, and enjoy, the tonal properties and sustain of the piano. Like I said, I knew this would elicit a firestorm, but, so be it..........I happen to hate the original version. Much too rigid and lifeless. But I do appreciate your opinion and input. (By the way, I wasn't sight reading). I do think, however, that this illustrates the difference between people who listen to music to analyze it for virtues or shortcomings, versus those that just "go with the feeling" it evokes. Of course, it can't evoke a good feeling in someone who can't get past its deviations from the "norm". I think that that is what this whole discussion comes down to, which is why I posted this recording.
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#934721 - 07/10/07 12:05 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
OOOOOps, sorry.

If I had known it was your own recording I would have been much more tactful. In fact it might please you to know that I thought it was a professional recording.

No offence meant.

Aside from the pauses I did not have a problem with the more subtle use of rubato. Let me try to explain my views on the pauses. I feel that a pause is most effective at moments of harmonic tension or when a melodic phrase seems to pose a question. In this case I really feel that the music should be allowed to flow naturally.

If we were to..............

speak like this it................

could be a....................

bit irritating.

I did find moments in the recording, especially at the start, a bit like this.

I also don't think that this piece needs to be played in a boring and lifeless way. Some people seem to feel that baroque music should be very strict and lacking in any expression. "The harpsichord had no dynamic variation so you mustn't use the piano in this way.", is a phrase I have often heard. I could not disagree more. Use the instruments capabilities to the full as long as the result is musical.

You do play very well in general. I am afraid I just didn't find the pauses musical. But you know you can't please everyone. \:\)
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#934722 - 07/10/07 12:20 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
\:\) I took no offence. I appreciate your comments and do understand where you are coming from on this. Thanks.
Dan
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#934723 - 07/10/07 03:21 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10747
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
CC2: thank you very much for posting that! I have a few comments.

First, for Chris H.: Actually, rubato means literally to steal. There is no take and give back.

However, I agree that a flow must be kept in a piece, but bravo on the attempt to play this musically. Towards the end, it gets a bit repetitive, however. I quickly made this recording to demonstrate a different way of incorporating rubato (it is by no means definitive, just another view):
http://www.yousendit.com/transfer.php?action=download&ufid=EE6FD8560755C568

By the way, this was just a run-through, and not something I practiced, so forgive the mistakes \:\) .
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#934724 - 07/10/07 03:28 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10747
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Sorry for the double-post. But Chris H.: we do pause as we speak, but in appropriate places. We need to breathe, or allow a pause for better understanding. If someone spoke with no pauses, it would be harder to understand. Pauses are so important that we allow for them even in writing with commas and other punctuation. I dont mean to pick on you, but I don't think taking pauses is wrong, but it must be appropriately placed. So in a sense, I agree with what you said.
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#934725 - 07/10/07 03:48 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
keyboardklutz Offline
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Morodienne, you performance was thoughtful for sure. The top line made by each high note of the figure was inconsistent though. Bach is a world within worlds.
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#934726 - 07/10/07 03:52 PM Re: Do we always have to play classical piano as the composer intended ...through linage?
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10747
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Thanks! Good point about the top line. If I were to seriously record this, I'd make sure that was clearer. \:\)
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