Pat head, rub tummy


Within solo piano music, it happens that the individual must play two very differing things at the same time. In Beethoven's Opus 110, the right and left hands have different patterns of articulation and emphasis. For me, it would be best if the heavy, syncopated comic accents in the left-hand music do not in any way effect the folk simplicity of the paired-note articulation above, in the highest voice in the right hand part. In doing … [Read more...]



In J. S. Bach's Capriccio, BWV 992 I noticed strongly emotional content in an unusually repetitious passage -- a place where as the keyboardist's right hand stays in place repeating a simple figure the left hand incrementally departs physically, signifying departure, descending step by step lower and lower. Something similar occurs in Schubert's G-flat-Major Impromptu: … [Read more...]

Texts for the Memory


Repurposing of musical passages -- especially repeating a passage modified with a different continuation -- was useful efficiency in the writing of music to be read by amateurs in the living room. Those same ways of constructing phrases pose memory puzzles for the professional player delivering the music in a public concert. Scripts of old plays were memorized by actors, making use of all the considerable techniques of the memory arts of the … [Read more...]

What if?


What if our classical music is really much more varied, confusing, and more disorderly than we make it sound in playing today? What if the wordless instrumental music of Mozart and Beethoven encodes and encloses so many references to the specifics and generalities of living Italian comic opera that we're in the dark without it? What if in the great regularizing of the bow, the beat, subdivisions, fingerings, registers high and low, we … [Read more...]