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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:19 pm 
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Terez wrote:
alf wrote:
Terez wrote:
alf wrote:
Herculean (mouse wheels sigh at your posts :lol: )! And thank you for those snatches. So, since words cannot really give us back what Chopin really did at the piano, what are the closest aural documents to Chopin's pianism? Saint-Saens's?

Again, I'm not so sure that there is such a thing. We can only read what his students and contemporaries said about his playing, take the historical meaning of the term into consideration (which Eigeldinger has done quite well for us, I think), and make our own decisions. The same goes for any aspect of HIP where there is no audio documentation of the original source...and even when there is, such as in the cases of Rachmaninov and Shostakovich (whom we have discussed before, if I recall), we might choose another path. IMO, it's good to be informed regardless, which is what all that typing was for.

Ha, that's always been my point. You're echoing some observations I've made myself in the past!

Am I? It's possible. I dug out the emails I had in mind, and what you said there (if you'll forgive me for quoting such a small innocuous bit) is 'I don't know if one should play Chopin in strict or loose tempo (ie: in an agogically more or less free way), and I believe nobody really knows.'


I was referring to the obligation to get informed first and the right later to make our own decisions. Too often people don't bother to get properly informed since they already have a belief. I'm talking for instance about the endless debates about the need to get reliable editions as a starting point to speak of a composition.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:23 pm 
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Reliable editions are good, though making them seems to be problematic. That's part of why I got Eigeldinger, since he has most of the info on which these editions are based in his book. I also need to get Kallberg's dissertation on edition differences, but I've read a lot of what he's written on that subject. However, I don't think editions have much to do with this particular subject, aside from the fact that Mikuli's comments are taken from the preface to his edition. Eigeldinger's analysis of the usage of the term 'rubato' in the scores is more helpful than anything I've seen in urtext editions. Also, as Liszt said, Chopin stopped using the term in his music because he realized that the talented musician would sense this need for irregularity in his music. So there's something to be said for instinct in this case.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:32 pm 
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jlr43 wrote:
I just don't see how it logically can be otherwise; things that are out of sync (melody to harmony) sound terrible.


:?: :?: :?:

Out of sync in music is more the rule than the exception. I mean just the writing, the composition, not the performance of it.
It'd bore us to death otherwise. Really, rethink it a bit.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:49 pm 
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Terez wrote:
Reliable editions are good, though making them seems to be problematic. That's part of why I got Eigeldinger, since he has most of the info on which these editions are based in his book. I also need to get Kallberg's dissertation on edition differences, but I've read a lot of what he's written on that subject. However, I don't think editions have much to do with this particular subject, aside from the fact that Mikuli's comments are taken from the preface to his edition. Eigeldinger's analysis of the usage of the term 'rubato' in the scores is more helpful than anything I've seen in urtext editions. Also, as Liszt said, Chopin stopped using the term in his music because he realized that the talented musician would sense this need for irregularity in his music. So there's something to be said for instinct in this case.


Yes, of course editions don't help discovering Chopin's rubato, how could they, but you keep evading my point that is about your method of doing things, which has changed considerably in time. A couple of years ago Mikuli was sort of a prophet, now he's just a witness of his times, and your sources are a tad more updated. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:56 pm 
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Quote:
Out of sync in music is more the rule than the exception. I mean just the writing, the composition, not the performance of it.
It'd bore us to death otherwise. Really, rethink it a bit.


Not sure what you mean here, or at least it seems contradictory to me. I'm only talking about performance, not composition or writing, and I only mean that when, e.g., an A-flat in the right hand is written against, e.g., an undulating nocturne bass and that A-flat goes with a D-flat in the bass it should be compressed along with that D-flat (unless of course there's hand breaking, there are different views on that), regardless of what rubato is being applied. That is, the hands apply rubato together, not asynchronously.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 4:11 pm 
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I tend to think that it's a little too easy to dismiss these accounts as being inaccurate, or exaggerated, because the concept and execution of the technique is not easy to grasp, but the idea that this legendary and even definitive aspect of his playing was imagined or exaggerated stretches credulity IMO. Also, the words apparently came from his own mouth (according to many students), so the idea that his students interpreted his playing badly doesn't make any sense, either. (And add that to Mozart's description of the same exact thing, not to mention countless others through the 17th and 18th centuries, aside from the 19th).


You may very well be right. However, arguing this point from the standpoint of what Chopin's students thought or interpreted, or even what the Master himself thought, runs the risk of commiting a logical fallacy, the argumentum ad verecundiam. I think what we (or at least I) want to know is (1) the observation of this in others' playing and (2) the explanation, based on that observation, of how or why this is the case (e.g., how it is working or why it's acceptable) I've explained why I think it's impossible, now IMO you (i.e., argue for yourself) should explain why it's possible in connection with your examples, which I look forward to.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 4:51 pm 
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Terez wrote:
I listened to some Saint-Saëns recordings. He seems to favor toccata-like tempo fluctuations in his own music, sometimes at a schizophrenic pace, which is definitely not the type of rubato he described IMO (for example, Rhapsodie d'Auvergne). It's not that he can't keep a strict tempo - he does so for the most part in the Marche Francais, with the exception of a couple of sectional tempo changes and a few affective fluctuations. His hands always seem to move together.

It may be that Viardot imparted the 'secret' to him by having him accompany her. He kept the time, and she demonstrated the rubato. I think it's a little easier to pull off in this context because the singer doesn't have to execute the accompaniment - only keep up with it. It's worth mentioning that Viardot arranged some of Chopin's mazurkas for voice, and that he approved of them by all appearances.


These clearly are not the best examples you could find (I understand they are probably the only ones available to you, though). There are slower pieces and more 'chopinesque' (I'm using that word very loosely), like an inner section of Mazurka Op.21 and IMO spectacularly the Valse nonchalante, where you can really assess this kind of features. What I hear is a blend of agogical devices among which you can also tell a very subtle rubato technique that might resemble Chopin's rubato (e.g. bars 10-12 and in the second exposition, end of page 2 on, just to point you to something concrete)

http://www.mediafire.com/?fvkc14ebaic4x0t
http://216.129.110.22/files/imglnks/usi ... piano_.pdf

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 5:01 pm 
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Tempo Rubato as described by C.P.E. Bach, Mozart, and Chopin.

To test its possibility and viability, we can start with a simple example that would fit into the idea of robbing and then giving back time in one part while keeping the other part in strict time.

Let's take a regular half-note pulse that is unvarying and on top of that place 8 - 16th notes. While these could of course be played evenly as 16th notes, would it not be possible to say begin with a slight accelerando on the first few notes to allow for a slight ritardando on the last two or three and still end in sync on the next half note without it necessarily sounding "out of sync"? Would this not be an example of the "Two Layered Rubato Thingy?"

One could argue that the composer could write a 16th note quintuplet followed by a 16th note triplet, but if followed to the letter that would create a break in the flow, the quints moving faster than the triplets with a definite change in rate, not a smooth flow.

Just a thought.

Scott


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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 5:02 pm 
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Terez,
That was A LOT of work on your part, and made for fascinating reading! Thank you for the investigation. I maintain, as Joe does, that I have not ever heard this "2-layered rubato thingy" by a concert pianist, whether live or recorded. But for me (and my household) I'll play any melody, polyrhythm or fioritura he writes, and will do so in time with rubato to the whole as artistically indicated. Thanks again for your work!

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 5:05 pm 
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jlr43 wrote:
Quote:
Out of sync in music is more the rule than the exception. I mean just the writing, the composition, not the performance of it.
It'd bore us to death otherwise. Really, rethink it a bit.


Not sure what you mean here, or at least it seems contradictory to me. I'm only talking about performance, not composition or writing, and I only mean that when, e.g., an A-flat in the right hand is written against, e.g., an undulating nocturne bass and that A-flat goes with a D-flat in the bass it should be compressed along with that D-flat (unless of course there's hand breaking, there are different views on that), regardless of what rubato is being applied. That is, the hands apply rubato together, not asynchronously.


Problem is that any performance starts from the score. Don't you have out of syncs at any suspension, anticipated bass, off-beat syncopation and all kind of rhythmic gimmicks a composer can devise to elude a listener's expectations? The Andante from Bach's Italian Concerto is an effective example of rubato embedded in the score. The LH keeps going and the RH does all kind of out of sync stuff.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 5:18 pm 
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Quote:
The Andante from Bach's Italian Concerto is an effective example of rubato embedded in the score.


How so? If rubato refers to the individual performer's robbing of tempo in certain places, and catching it up in other places, to suit his or her musical intentions, then it seems to me that by definition it isn't part of the score but something that the individual performer adds. I think the Bach Andante from the Italian Concerto could be played exactly in time just like any other work in the entire musical literature could be (subject to human error for not having metronomes in our heads :P ), but I agree that that would be terribly boring.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 5:50 pm 
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jlr43 wrote:
Quote:
The Andante from Bach's Italian Concerto is an effective example of rubato embedded in the score.


How so? If rubato refers to the individual performer's robbing of tempo in certain places, and catching it up in other places, to suit his or her musical intentions, then it seems to me that by definition it isn't part of the score but something that the individual performer adds. I think the Bach Andante from the Italian Concerto could be played exactly in time just like any other work in the entire musical literature could be (subject to human error for not having metronomes in our heads :P ), but I agree that that would be terribly boring.


You know the finger and the moon thing... Rubato is performance related, of course, but the premise of rubato (out of sync RH to LH, to put it simple) are in countless examples in the music writing. If you play the Andante from the Italian Concerto "in time" (like a MIDI sequencer, to make it clear), you have plenty of "out of sync" moments. All the music is like that, most of the times. So it's simply not true that "things that are out of sync (melody to harmony) sound terrible.", because they are most of the times. Now, rubato is just the same thing, only with smaller values and undeterminable with accuracy, and that the composer can't put into writing without making the score look a mess. I'm oversimplifying but you're smart and I'm sure you got the point.

The fact that most of you seem not to manage to conceive such a possibility is probably because that kind of rubato is extinct. In a post of mine above there's a link to Saint-Saens playing is Valse nonchalante and where I pointed to a couple of moments of Saint-Saens's rubato. I don't know if Chopin's rubato was similar to SS's, but for sure today we don't have any kind of rubato anymore.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 6:35 pm 
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alf wrote:
jlr43 wrote:
Quote:
Out of sync in music is more the rule than the exception. I mean just the writing, the composition, not the performance of it.
It'd bore us to death otherwise. Really, rethink it a bit.


Not sure what you mean here, or at least it seems contradictory to me. I'm only talking about performance, not composition or writing, and I only mean that when, e.g., an A-flat in the right hand is written against, e.g., an undulating nocturne bass and that A-flat goes with a D-flat in the bass it should be compressed along with that D-flat (unless of course there's hand breaking, there are different views on that), regardless of what rubato is being applied. That is, the hands apply rubato together, not asynchronously.


Problem is that any performance starts from the score. Don't you have out of syncs at any suspension, anticipated bass, off-beat syncopation and all kind of rhythmic gimmicks a composer can devise to elude a listener's expectations? The Andante from Bach's Italian Concerto is an effective example of rubato embedded in the score. The LH keeps going and the RH does all kind of out of sync stuff.

Alfonzo,
With all due respect, you're changing the subject, which is fine to do if you like but the former arguments do not segue. The discussion (or the controversy anyway) on rubato cares nothing about a rhythm indicated in a score. It not about composition, its about performing in a manner not indicated in (contrary to) the score. If the score shows a treble-dominated texture with melody accompanied by simple patterns (Alberti bass for example), the question is, "Is it valid/tasteful/authentic to play the melody not simultaneously with the note(s) indicated in the score that are indicated simultaneously?" (E.g., in Mozart's Sonata facile in C major) We aren't exploring the history of rhythmic development in art music. That would be a fascinating discussion but is seperate and appart. Any reference to a score (anybody's) to argue about the "2-layered (contextually-dissociated) rubato" misses the point/issue entirely.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 7:01 pm 
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Quote:
With all due respect, you're changing the subject, which is fine to do if you like but the former arguments do not segue. The discussion (or the controversy anyway) on rubato cares nothing about a rhythm indicated in a score.


Exactly. I think this is a better explanation of what I was trying to say myself in response. I don't see how the score per se relates to this discussion, but maybe I'm just confused...

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 7:50 pm 
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jlr43 wrote:
Quote:
With all due respect, you're changing the subject, which is fine to do if you like but the former arguments do not segue. The discussion (or the controversy anyway) on rubato cares nothing about a rhythm indicated in a score.


Exactly. I think this is a better explanation of what I was trying to say myself in response. I don't see how the score per se relates to this discussion, but maybe I'm just confused...


In fact it doesn't relate per se to the discussion but to the following your statement "Yet whenever he applies it to the right hand, the left follows suit. I just don't see how it logically can be otherwise; things that are out of sync (melody to harmony) sound terrible.", which is clearly false, since in piano music you have tons of examples of asynchronicity where, to make it simple, the hands don't go together. What a composer does all the time writing it down, why the performer couldn't do on principle on a smaller scale? The fact that you have never heard that kind of rubato before it doesn't mean that it wasn't practiced by Chopin or others. Have you listened to the Valse nonchalante I posted above?

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