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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000410.txt from 1996/04

From: Jonathan Cohler <cohler@-----.NET>
Subj: Re: Performance Lattitude
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 1996 00:55:09 -0400

At 9:08 PM 4/14/96, Daniel A. Paprocki wrote:
> What if you can not attain the composers posted speed limit?
>Should a performer be restricted from that piece? What about a student?
>Don't perform this until 144 to the quarter is reached! I hope not. I've
>heard clarinetists do the Stravinsky Three Pieces below, above, and right
>on the reccomended tempo. Are those players not at 168 or 160 are in
>violation of the composers wishes? How many of us have an infallible
>internal metronome that can hit a specific tempo right on? I will always
>try to meet the composers wishes but sometimes I just physically can't go
>that fast or can't tongue that fast. Who's to say that the day the
>composer set the metronome marks his metronome needed a new battery or
>winding? Or the printer marked 160=quarter note instead of 160=eighth note?
>I think what is needed is a genuine commitment to "try" and achieve the
>composers intent not "either play it exactly at this speed or not at all."
> Daniel A. Paprocki


Certainly, my remarks about adhering to composers wishes are not meant to
say that students that are not yet capable of the marked tempi (or
articulations, or dynamics, etc.) should not perform the works. Of course
they should perform to the best of their ability. That's the only way to

Students should do the best they can at their own level. But the goal
should always be clearly in mind, and they should be working toward it and
pushing themselves toward it.

As for having a perfect metronomic sense, if one periodically checks his or
her tempi against a metronome, one can develop a very secure sense of tempo
in any given piece. Given a reasonable range of plus or minus 5 percent of
the tempo marking, any advanced student that has practiced carefully should
be able to hit the desired range every time.

As for "who's to say that....", again it's up to the composer or some other
piece of documented evidence to say. It's certainly not up to us to say
without any justification.

Jonathan Cohler

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