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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000484.txt from 2005/08

From: Tony Pay <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Composers as teachers
Date: Sun, 28 Aug 2005 17:46:57 -0400


What you naively write about performance is very little connected to what
good players do when they play.

I cannot speak for all good players, but here is something of what I do.

I look at my part, and explore the notes. I also explore the structures and
patterns that those notes make, especially the intervals that recur. I try
to see whether these intervals are an important part of the structure of the

The most important thing is, I study the score, and I look at the expressive
instructions that the composer writes. If it is not a contemporary piece, I
try to find out something of what the composer might have meant by the
notation of that score, and by the expressive instructions.

I investigate how my part is embedded in the score. If my part is a solo
part, I ask what are its expressive implications, and how the accompaniment
supports or contradicts that expression. I have many choices of what that
expression might be, you see, because I can play a passage happily, sadly,
reflectively, passionately, aggressively... If my part is not a solo one, I
ask how my part contributes to the possible expressive qualities of the music
that contains it. I may ask whether my part is something like an active
'arm', or more like a supportive 'leg'.

Further, I ask how the expressive qualities I am conjecturing fit in with
other sections of the piece I am learning. Does a light, joyous feel here
make sense in the context of what comes before, or what comes after? Is this
passage an interlude, or a much more determining influence in the tenor of
the whole piece? Should there be variety, or should there be a more
consistent overall feel? Is the piece better played as a dirge, or could it
be an expression of both the light and shade that there is in existence?
Would this part, that I thought could be light and joyous, work better as
quiet and reflective? Would that heighten the drama that obviously follows?

Is the piece more about one person's feeling, or more about conversation?
How many people are there in the particular bit I'm looking at? Does it
dance, or does it lament? What sort of sound is appropriate? Is it more
instrumental, or more vocal?

What would happen if I asked the orchestra to be my equal, and what would
happen if I asked the orchestra to be my background instead? Should it be
more the one here, and more the one there....?

...and so on.

So now, am I, according to your great theory of what performers do, creating
enough space for 'my personality' in all of this?

And when I listen to some little unthinking dipshit little orchestral oboe
player, expressing what he inappropriately 'feels' at some moment in a
large-scale structure that he has no idea about -- should I *applaud* his

Bollocks I should.

And -- forgive me -- that's absolutely the end of this 'discussion'.

_________ Tony Pay
|ony:-) 79 Southmoor Rd
| |ay Oxford OX2 6RE
tel/fax 01865 553339

... There is no gravity--The earth sucks!

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