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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000582.txt from 2004/08

From: Tony Pay <tony.p@-----.org>
Subj: [kl] Improvisation
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 21:59:13 -0400

I said in a previous post:

> Embellishment, like other variation, needs to be motivated by an internally
> felt need, growing from a necessarily plausible approach to the repeated
> passage. It's not just that you 'show off'. True, showing off is
> sometimes required in music; but very often it's not, particularly in
> pieces like the Mozart quintet.
>
> You need rather to generate something like the impression that the music
> wants to 'flower' when it comes back -- or sometimes 'to be caressed more
> intimately' when it comes back -- or sometimes 'to be explored more fully'
> when it comes back. Each of these stances will require a different sort of
> embellishment; and if you're not up to providing the notes that constitute
> such embellishment, you may be better off with just the change of
> atmosphere, plus minor decoration.

I'd have done better to rewrite the second paragraph as follows:

> You need rather to generate something like the impression that the music
> wants to 'flower' when it comes back -- or sometimes 'to caress more
> intimately' when it comes back -- or sometimes 'to explore more fully' when
> it comes back. Each of these stances will require a different sort of
> embellishment; and if you're not up to providing the notes that constitute
> such embellishment, you may be better off with just the change of
> atmosphere, plus minor decoration.

See the difference?

One of the dangers of encouraging embellishment or improvisation on the
return of a passage is that you give an opportunity to players who don't even
understand what it takes to play the first occurrence of the passage to feel
that they have attained some sort of spurious authenticity if they merely
vary their failure in the first occurrence on the repeat.

Be assured -- particularly if you want to say, but it's so boring to do the
same thing -- you don't gain brownie points by providing bright-eyed,
bushy-tailed, trivial embellishment in music that speaks deeply.

Even some quite famous players don't understand this.

Tony
--
_________ Tony Pay
|ony:-) 79 Southmoor Rd tony.p@-----.org
| |ay Oxford OX2 6RE http://classicalplus.gmn.com/artists
tel/fax 01865 553339

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