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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:08 pm 
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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?


But again, we're talking about two different things here. When I said "he applies it" I was referring to the performer, not the composer. The score just is what it is, a document that's there and unalterable. The only thing that's at issue here is what the performer does while interpreting the score.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:22 pm 
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alf wrote:
What a composer does all the time writing it down, why the performer couldn't do on principle on a smaller scale?

Whata c omposerd oesa llt he tim ewritingi td own ,whyt hep erformerc ouldn'td oo nprincipleo na smaller scale?

To me the is exactly what were talking about. Who in there right mind would say such is acceptable? Alfonzo, you're still missing the critical point: a shift from the defined relationship per the score. :|

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:40 pm 
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jlr43 wrote:
Quote:
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?


But again, we're talking about two different things here. When I said "he applies it" I was referring to the performer, not the composer. The score just is what it is, a document that's there and unalterable. The only thing that's at issue here is what the performer does while interpreting the score.


You don't get my point. Composer and performer live in the same acoustic world (and in Chopin they were one person). How can be that the out-of-sync by the composer is good and the out-of-sync by the performer "sounds terrible"? The acoustic principles on which they're based a pretty the same. And what's more, "logically" so?

You see, I simply don't agree on your explanation of why that kind of rubato could not be possible and was badly interpreted by students and commentators. That kind of rubato is possible and, as some recordings from the past prove, it was practiced by some pianists, like Saint-Saens.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:48 pm 
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Quote:
Quote:
You see, I simply don't agree on your explanation of why that kind of rubato could not be possible and was badly interpreted by students and commentators. That kind of rubato is possible and, as some recordings from the past prove, it was practiced by some pianists, like Saint-Saens.


I didn't say it wasn't possible. I only said I have yet to hear it on recordings. I also didn't say that it was necessarily badly interpreted by students and commentators, only that that's a possibility. I will listen to the Saint-Saens recordings later to see whether I can spot it.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:48 pm 
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Location: Piemonte, Italy
musical-md wrote:
alf wrote:
What a composer does all the time writing it down, why the performer couldn't do on principle on a smaller scale?

Whata c omposerd oesa llt he tim ewritingi td own ,whyt hep erformerc ouldn'td oo nprincipleo na smaller scale?

To me the is exactly what were talking about. Who in there right mind would say such is acceptable? Alfonzo, you're still missing the critical point: a shift from the defined relationship per the score. :|


I'll be blunt with you Eddie. How can take you seriously if you keep spelling my name wrong?

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:57 pm 
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jlr43 wrote:
Quote:
Quote:
You see, I simply don't agree on your explanation of why that kind of rubato could not be possible and was badly interpreted by students and commentators. That kind of rubato is possible and, as some recordings from the past prove, it was practiced by some pianists, like Saint-Saens.


I didn't say it wasn't possible. I only said I have yet to hear it on recordings. I also didn't say that it was necessarily badly interpreted by students and commentators, only that that's a possibility. I will listen to the Saint-Saens recordings later to see whether I can spot it.


OK, as they say a recording is worth a thousand words. Let's see if we agree at least on the presence of that kind of rubato.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:58 pm 
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Posts: 1250
Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
alf wrote:
jlr43 wrote:
Quote:
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?


But again, we're talking about two different things here. When I said "he applies it" I was referring to the performer, not the composer. The score just is what it is, a document that's there and unalterable. The only thing that's at issue here is what the performer does while interpreting the score.


You don't get my point. Composer and performer live in the same acoustic world (and in Chopin they were one person). How can be that the out-of-sync by the composer is good and the out-of-sync by the performer "sounds terrible"? The acoustic principles on which they're based a pretty the same. And what's more, "logically" so?

You see, I simply don't agree on your explanation of why that kind of rubato could not be possible and was badly interpreted by students and commentators. That kind of rubato is possible and, as some recordings from the past prove, it was practiced by some pianists, like Saint-Saens.

Very simple: If a composer writes syncopation and you play straight, the performance is wrong. If he writes syncopation and you correctly play syncopation, the performance is correct. If he writes straight and you play syncopation, the performance is wrong. If he writes straight and you play straight, you play correctly. If you want to recite Shakespear, Dante or the Bible, if you say what's written, then you do good, if you say other than written in a recitaion then you fail. It's so simple that every child learns this in elementary music lessons. If you want to improvise on a Chopin Nocturne, by all means do so, but don't call it Chopin. In fact, if we have the freedom to change the melodic rhythm as we desire, then why not the other elements? Why not change the melody itself? Or the harmony? Perhaps the score is just a mild suggestion. :) Again, show me the money! I want to HEAR a famous pianist doing this, otherwise it is nothing more that arcane myth. Perhaps you could do some for us with the Mozart sonata I alluded to earlier. Right now I also have the Beethoven Appasionata under hand; consider this simple example: Imagine that a pianist doesn't make the distinction of the 16th note value of the second note of the piece, instead playing it as the 3rd note of a triplet, and does so manytimes throughout the piece while saying, "I'm doing rubato!" He/she will not pass his board exam and everyone will know he doesn't know rhythm!

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"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


Last edited by musical-md on Fri Aug 19, 2011 9:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 9:01 pm 
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Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
alf wrote:
musical-md wrote:
alf wrote:
What a composer does all the time writing it down, why the performer couldn't do on principle on a smaller scale?

Whata c omposerd oesa llt he tim ewritingi td own ,whyt hep erformerc ouldn'td oo nprincipleo na smaller scale?

To me the is exactly what were talking about. Who in there right mind would say such is acceptable? Alfonzo, you're still missing the critical point: a shift from the defined relationship per the score. :|


I'll be blunt with you Eddie. How can take you seriously if you keep spelling my name wrong?

:oops: Sorry Alfonso. I'm sorry. Many people will also spell my name incorrectly as Eddie. I will try to write your name correctly so that you can take me serioso. :)

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Eddy M. del Rio, MD
"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


Last edited by musical-md on Fri Aug 19, 2011 9:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 9:04 pm 
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musical-md wrote:
Many people will also spell my name incorrectly as Eddie.


I know, it hurts a bit.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 9:14 pm 
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Quote:
I'll be blunt with you Eddie. How can take you seriously if you keep spelling my name wrong?


Oops! :oops: I'll be honest that I've been spelling it wrong too (exactly as Eddy did). It's only fair that you get to call me Jo or Joeseph in response :P

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 9:25 pm 
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Alfonso,
Despite misspelling your name, I did make two good (IMHO :wink: ) arguments from analogy. I'm waiting ... :roll: But it must be close to midnight where you live.

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"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 1:32 am 
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alf wrote:
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:

My method of doing things is the same as usual. I never claimed Mikuli was a prophet; if I recall, I said I felt bad for ditching his fingerings at one point, and you told me not to worry about it since he often ditched Chopin's fingerings. You seem to think that I shouldn't have opinions on things because you know more than I do. I can relate to that, because I have the same feeling in subjects in which I am an expert. However, I don't think that there is anything wrong with having an opinion on something even though you don't know everything there is to know about it, so long as you are open to learning more and changing opinions when facts suggest you should. If we all had to learn everything there is to know before having an opinion, then we couldn't have opinions at all - and that goes for you as well.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 3:40 am 
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alf wrote:
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

In a way I can see why you used that example. I think he still mostly uses hands-together rubato, though I can see some element of the 'steady accompaniment' rubato in the bars you indicated. His LH still gets a little off-kilter, though, don't you think? However...I found what appears to be a piano roll of Saint-Saëns doing some Chopin - the 15/2 nocturne (they even include the quote :lol:). Is that real? I'm guessing it is, since the style seems much the same. I don't understand the technology, so I'm not sure what the differences are between a roll and a recording. I've heard some rolls that were really horrible, but this one sounds like a good recording. He does keep tempo through most of it, though there are some exceptions. Overall I think he does well with not abusing rubato - particularly in the flourishes that accompany the return of A, which are often slowed down shamelessly - though IMO he doesn't display much independence of the hands.

To find an example for Joe, I started with the nocturne that began this whole conversation - the 48/2 nocturne in F# minor. I wanted to see if I could find anyone who kept time with the LH when the ornamental flourish shows up in m. 41.

Image

This type of situation is where this type of rubato is most useful in my opinion. Perhaps especially for this piece (which is, perhaps not surprisingly, a bit of a polyrhythm exercise in itself). It's one of the most basic rules of composing that you should have rhythmic motion toward the end of the measure to keep the line from lulling, and Chopin took a (probably very deliberate) risk in writing the LH of this nocturne with no action on every second beat of the bass. Because of that, IMO the piece calls for a driving direction at times to keep it interesting, and the typical performance of m. 41 just adds an extra lull right as the passion is supposed to be building.

Rubenstein - He seems to try, but doesn't quite manage it.
Gülsin Onay - Nope, though she does achieve the independence of the hands sometimes. She overuses the hands-together rubato IMO, which makes her performance seem a bit drunken, but she at least shows herself quite capable of the 'two-layered' thing. The hands-together rubato just distorts the effect so much that it's not quite an example of what I had in mind.
Pollini - Nope. (Anyone surprised?)
Lívia Rév - Not bad! I think she almost manages it mostly because she played the ornament so fast, though (both times), not because she used rubato, so it's not a very good example of what I had in mind. It also doesn't come off as being very fluid - not the sort of relaxed indifference to the accompaniment that I imagine.
Arrau - Nope. Didn't even try.
Biret - Nope. She also seems to have some independence of the hands, but also abuses (IMO) hands-together rubato a little bit, and also abuses the concept of independence of the hands (I noticed this in her Chopin nocturnes before - IIRC it was worse in the E minor posthumous).
Ekier - Tries, like a good Pole, and almost succeeds. But not quite.
Iddo Bar Shai - Nope. What's funny, in the rest of his performance, you can see him trying to do the independence of the hands thing, and failing badly. I think this is probably a good example of how not to do it. He gets a little closer to keeping time through the ornament the second time...in general he does better in the return of A than in the first A-A.

I didn't dig too far into amateurland, but I might do that later. You never know; there might be an amateur with a knack for this, though even then there will probably be other difficulties.

Anyway, despite all these failures, I can still hear it in my head clear as day. The LH keeps trucking on, maybe even pushing a little, and the RH just goes with the flow, being essentially caught up by the beginning of the next measure, but still broad against the LH until the beginning of the next. I don't think it's impossible - I tried it with the metronome today, and while I didn't succeed on the first tr(ies), that won't stop me from trying again. (I bet Alfie could do it; it's just a matter of whether or not he would be inclined to try.) I've never really worked on this nocturne because I think that while it's easy on the surface - hence why I played through it occasionally when I was younger - the difficulties of it are subtle. Some think it's one of the weaker nocturnes from a compositional standpoint. I believe Chopin knew that when he published it; the weaknesses in it are the difficulties of it, and if one overcomes those difficulties it can be quite a beautiful piece.

[opinion=highly speculative]Aside from that, I think the nocturnes were always reflective of his romantic thoughts at the time of composition, whether they are actual romantic situations or just fantasies. This one seems to be George's nocturne - perhaps not her only one, but the one most reflective of their relationship from Chopin's perspective.[/opinion]

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 4:11 am 
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Terez,
I'm not sure what your example is supposed to be demonstrating as far as argument goes. It seems that you have selected a passage exactly like I mention in the 3rd post of this thread; i.e., a Chopin passage that has irregular groupings in the melody and a patterned accompaniment.

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"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 4:23 am 
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musical-md wrote:
Terez,
I'm not sure what your example is supposed to be demonstrating as far as argument goes.

That hardly anyone can keep time through that passage, and that they might be able to do it if they had this skill of independence of the hands. In other words, I doubt that every pianist linked is incapable of doing it. I just think the skill isn't cultivated, because it's counterintuitive to most people, and therefore it's easier just to pretend like Chopin's students had no idea what they were talking about. :wink: As Eigeldinger said (quoted again from my longpost):

Eigeldinger wrote:
Tempo rubato: stolen time. Although this expression first appears in 1723 in the treatise by Tosi (Bolognese theoreticial of bel canto), the musical reality which it reflects can be traced back at least to the beginnings of accompanied monody in Italian humanist circles. The following postulates emerge from Tosi's seminal writings for the intelligent use of the singer in particularly expressive passages [mostly in slow tempi] in various pieces [recitatives, arias, ariosi], rubato is a system of compensation whereby the value of a note may be prolonged or shortened to the detriment or gain of the succeeding note. This metric 'larceny' is best applied to improvised ornaments [taking the sense of the words into account as much as the music] over the imperturbable movement of the bass (underlined by Tosi). It results from counterpoint between the solo line and the bass line and is characterized, vertically speaking, by moments of metric displacement between the two parts; it is left to the singer's discretion to use it with moderation, according to the rules of good taste. Here we have the pure tradition of Italian Baroque bel canto, linked with the art of improvising suitable ornaments, and deriving from theory of affetti.

This ornament from the 48/2 nocturne is very much in the style of an improvised ornamental flourish, as are many similar ornaments in Chopin's music (generally found in a repetition of a theme, somewhat after the baroque style).

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