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 Post subject: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:06 am 
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Here is one of the few Beethoven sonatas we (surprisingly) did not have on the site yet. There's a couple of small issues in the Presto, maybe I should re-record that one.

Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2 - 1: Allegro (6:37)
Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2 - 2: Allegretto (3:50)
Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2 - 3: Presto (4:10)

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:35 am 
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I know this sonata rather well as I used to play it. Running commentary as I listen: first movement bar 4, rh articulation; bar 9, trill is ropey; bars 19-35, not enough dynamic gradation; in paticular there isn't enough difference between the ff and p. As you do the repeat and bars 4 and 9 are much better second time round it wouldn't be hard to do a little edit using their second occurrence. Bar 71-74: good l.h. Bars 75-94, which can be tricky, is very nicely played. Bars 99 and 100 sound smudged; I'm not convinced by your pedal usage. Bars 126 and 141 the trills are crisp; makes me think that the error at bar 9 was a hands not warmed up or nervous and not really got into the piece yet type error: I remember when I played this piece on stage when I was much younger, I was so nervous about the first line and something going wrong with the articulation. Bar 143 your rubato is excessive even for my taste which must be quite something :wink: ditto the minor section from bar 153 which appears to be at a different tempo. Bar 178 is staccato, not tenuto. In the coda I don't know if how you are playing the acciaccature before the trills is correct or not. I played them as a lower auxiliary to the trill rather than how you play them, which appears to be as a separate entity, but in truth I have no idea which approach is correct. I'm being fussy with these comments and perhaps they sound a bit bitchy but in general your performance is fine, it could just be improved through a bit more dynamic variation and correcting these small issues. I'll comment on the other two movements in a little bit: in particular I'm looking forward to seeing how you handle the presto, which I think is extremely difficult.


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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 12:12 pm 
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The second movement is really well played; the lilting three in the bar is maintained very well through out. There is a rh slip in bar 136 but other than that I can find precious little to criticise and much to commend.

The third movement always reminds me of tightrope walking! I must say I think your tempo is much more sensible than mine! Small slips in bars 48 and 54, but bar 50, which I always found was inclined to go wrong, is very nice. You got through bars 87 to 106 with a minimum of garbling and it still made sense, so kudos for that (it's not quite as good second time round). First time round bars 116, 117 and 123,134 are a bit dodgy, second time 117 and 118 there is a slipup which disrupts the flow; I wouldn't have thought these would be difficult to fix with editing. With the end (note you have the same wrong r.h. chord both times in 143) why do you accel at 142 first time? If you're going to do it at all, I would do it second time. Well done on getting through the movement without anything major going wrong - that sounds patronising, but I really think it's a damn sight harder than a lot of Liszt, for example, and a lot nastier than it's generally given credit for being.

The highlight of your recording is undoubtedly the middle movement, which is a thoroughly artistic performance. Thanks for the upload.


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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 1:52 pm 
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Thanks for your details review Andrew - that is very useful. You've correctly spotted all the little flaws. Not sure why I did not correct the slip in the middle mvt which would otherwise have been note perfect. Maybe I should do some little editing here. I should really re-record the Presto but one thing or another is bound to go wrong every time, and it gets rather tiring after a while. Not sure why I sped up at the end but not in the repeat, I agree it sounds weird. I could maybe simply swap the last couple of bars around, but that feels a bit like cheating. My editing usually goes no further than cutting out the flubs.
The one thing I didn't agree on are my little tempo liberties in the first mvt. I like them, and would even do a bit more next time around. I did not get what you meant with "bar 4, rh articulation". What was not right there ?

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:04 pm 
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Bar 4 (first time) the r.h. is really uneven; the triplet semiquavers (in particular the second and third ones) appear only half-sounded and stumbled over. Compare bar 2 where they are fine and even. The tempo deviations from bar 143 through the F min section, to me at least, sound more typical of the romantic era; in early Beethoven I would opt more something more discreet, but I guess these things are a matter of taste. I agree about something being bound to go wrong in the Presto - and often where it will go wrong is completely unpredictable!


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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:33 pm 
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Ah I see.. You counted the upbeat as bar 1, I didn't and so was looking at the wrong bar. Yes the triplets are uneven. I think I'll need to record the outer movements, and at least correct that slip in the middle mvt. I hope you'll have a listen again when I post a new version. Thanks for now, that was very helpful.

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 5:11 pm 
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Hi Chris,
first I thought, I already had recorded this sonata for this site, too, but it was op. 2, no. 1 in f-minor, so the other well-known one of the earlier sonatas.
Op. 10, 2 is also part of my repertoire, especially the first movement I´m playing here and there in school lessons. (I think, the Presto I can not play any more, at least not without practising it before.)
For now I only found time to listen to the first movement, but I could listen to the second and third movement later, if you still want some more tips for your re-recording. Concerning the first movement I agree to most of the details Andrew had pointed out, so there is not too much to add for me. Except, that very often the second chord of the opening idea (staccato eight + staccato quarter) is too long. In my Henle Urtext edition also the second chord has always a staccato. And I think to have heard a wrong note at the beginning of the execution. I could have a closer look, if you like.
In summary I like how you have captured the "storm and stress"-atmosphere this early sonata obviously has!

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 8:30 pm 
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Thanks Andreas. Any more suggestions are welcome before I redo this one. I've corrected the slip in the middle part already (I had multiple takes of that passage).

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 7:36 pm 
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This is very well played, as we expect of you. Here are just a few niggles:

The first thing that struck me about the 1st movement is how short you play the C and Bb first notes (without chords) of bars 2 and 4 in comparison to the C and Bb first notes (with chords) of bars 1 and 3 (counting the incomplete upbeat bar as bar 0). In my edition they are all crotchets with staccato, but you make a marked duration difference. Unless my edition is wrong, they should be the same, and I prefer your longer version to your short version, though it might be better somewhere inbetween. You give the same (to me unattractive) short treatment to the chordless C in bar 14, but for some reason not in bar 16 (except on the repeat).

In bar 5 there is a rhythm discrepancy, perhaps editorial. My edition has the A and C as straight semiquavers here but you play them dotted (which is how my edition has them in the other two places they occur -- just after the key change to Dmaj and also 15 bars later after the change back to Fmaj). Could my edition have a mistake in bar 5?

The trill in bar 9 sounds unsatisfactory, I think you are trying to squeeze too many notes into it. I feel this one should start on the note, not above it. Together with the Nachschlag, 5 notes are probably OK, more than 7 probably not. You are putting in so many that you are starting them well before bar 8 is finished.

In the 4th bar after the repeated exposition (this is the bar with 7 semiquavers in the RH), you play D C# D C# D F D, I have D C# D E D F D, i.e. the note at the climax of the hairpin is different. Editorial?

A few bars after that, where the anchor-less triplets start in the RH, there is a sense of you suddenly speeding up. I'm not sure that, objectively, you actually do, but it still feels like it all the same, I wonder if there is something you could do to diminish the impression of urgency here. 22 bars later, where the triplets revert back to the LH, one can feel the brakes being applied.

In the middle of the short Dmaj section (counting the upbeat as bar 0) there is in bar 12 a crotchet chord followed by a crotchet rest, and bar 13 is a complete rest except for the quaver upbeat to bar 14. You are skipping a bar here, contracting the 5/8 rest to 1/8, and playing the upbeat at the end of 13 as though it were in bar 12.


The second movement is lovely.

I get the feeling that in the repeat of the first 8 bars you are anticipating the sfs which are printed in the second 8 bars, on the 3rd beat of each bar. Then when you you actually get to the 2nd 8 bars you play the sfs a bit too in-your-face for my taste (better on the repeat, though).

Where it goes into the 5-flats trio section, many of the chords are printed with staccato dots but within a slur (so that they are, in a manner of speaking, semi-detached). For my taste you are detaching across the bar lines too much e.g. bar 1 into 2, and 2 into 3, etc, but not (and I like this better) bar 9 into 10 and 10 into 11.

About halfway through the trio section there is a bit where the LH has sfs on the 2nd beats of various bars (first on Db for 3 bars, then 4 bars later on A and Bb , and I think these are too strong.


The third movement seems to appeal to you, with its almost Bach-like opening. I suppose if you can't have a fugue, a canon will have to do. :)

In the last 8 bars of the 1st repeated section the melody in the tenor is being overwhelmed a bit by the RH accompaniment.


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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:01 pm 
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Hi Chris, I just listened to the first movement. Even though I don't know this sonata well, I could hear some spots that could be polished. But overall this is very freshly and lively interpreted!!! I liked this very much!

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:02 pm 
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Thanks also for your detailed comments, Rainer.

As it happens, when I read it I had just finished uploading new versions of mvts 1 and 3 (I did not change 2 except edit out the only slip it had). Though most if what you wrote I had already corrected, there were some important points, notable the two read mistakes and the speeding up in the first page of the second half. It seemed better to re-record the whole thing all over again, and so I did. Perfect it still isn't (I'm not a Barenboim, Schiff or Goode as yet....) but certainly a whole lot better thanks to all the valuable feedback. The Presto is still not as squeaky clean as I would wish but nonetheless respectable I hope. I will have to do.

Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2 - 1: Allegro (6:37)
Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2 - 2: Allegretto (3:50)
Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2 - 3: Presto (4:10)

I think I will leave this sonata alone for a couple of years now :D

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:03 pm 
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hyenal wrote:
Hi Chris, I just listened to the first movement. Even though I don't know this sonata well, I could hear some spots that could be polished. But overall this is very freshly and lively interpreted!!! I liked this very much!

Thanks Hye-Jin. Just uploaded a new version that is better. Of course one could go on polishing forever... and never submit anything :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:42 pm 
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The third movement is a definite improvement; nice work.

I still have some reservations about the first movement. You've certainly corrected much of what was questionable (your second triplet semiquaver is still ropey), but there are some odd moments which I didn't think were there before: 26-30 sounds curiously stilted and there are a few other places where it also feels like the flow is being disrupted. I don't want to overemphasise these things as some of them are probably now in the realms of quibbling, and I could go through my recording and quote a double-figure number of things I don't like about it! I probably just think your tempo is on the slow side. The section around bar 150 which I complained about before seems more convincing now. The movement finishes with satisfying brio.


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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:53 am 
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Hi Chris,
the first movement is clearer (correcter) and well-behaved, brave (in the sense of german "brav", not of "mutig") now, but for this is has lost the nice storm and stress-atmosphere of your first version, so I prefer you first version, though it had more "mistakes". The tempo is quite slow here.
I have the following suggestions for improvement:
first movement:
0) the "sf" are always too silent
1) in bar 9 the trill is a bit too long
2) there still are too little dynamic contrasts, especially between ff and p in the bars 27-31f.
3) in bar 53 the quarter is too short
4) in bar 57 the two thirds in the bass are not clear enough
5) the trills in bar 62 and 64 are a bit too "swimmy" for my taste
6) the staccati in bar 59-61 are not audible, that means you don´t play them as such
7) the little rit. in bar 67-68 is funny, was it meant as a joke to give the impression, that here the piece could be finished? If so, I like that idea!
8) that you don´t play all staccati in the bass-voice in the execution for me it is right, but that´s a matter of interpretation and taste
9) bar 119: the quarter is too long
10) the chords in bars 123-126 have to be played all legato
11) there is no cresc. and decresc. in bars 153, 154
12) you don´t bring out the staccati in bar 164 f.
13) I personally miss the staccati in bar 189 f., either you play them too soft or you just ignore them
Summary: My main niggle is, that there aren´t enough dynamical contrasts and articulation as this is especially important in Beethoven-sonatas.

second movement:
0) pay attention on the rhythm in the bars 1-8. I had the impression you give a bit much accent on the third beat here are there (this idea only is from bar 9 f.)
1) in bar 35, 36 you could bringt out the upper-line (g, a-flat, b-flat)
2) again too little dynamical contrasts from bar 21-38, f.ex. the ff in bar 33 doesn´t come out, but from my view it´s very important
3) the sforzati in the bars 59-65 and 79-85 are better (they also are easier to play, isn´t it?)
The tempo is more on the fast side, but I like it, though I play this movement usually slower.

third movement:
1) too little dynamic contrasts, too few of sforzati, but apart from that splendid, bravo!
2) bar 39-47: some passages are a bit too unproper (some tones are not clearly coming out), in the repeat it´s much better.
3) I miss (so much) the sforzati in the bars 120-123 (in the repeat they come out a little little bit), because they really are the "pepper in the soup" here, which is to typical for Beethoven.

In summary of your recordings I like the third movement most. (I think, I really would have a lot to practise to get it in that tempo again), because for me it captures most of Beethovens spirit. You have the luck (or should I say bad luck :lol: :wink: ), that this sonata is one of my standard works of Beethoven I play since I was a teenager ( and my first piano teacher - he was also the assistant organist of the Dome of Cologne - was very severe, but also very good. I think, what I have remarked here, he also would have remarked). So excuse me, if you find my critiques too hard.
Fortunately with Smetanas music I´m not so nitpicking. :D Looking forward to wednesday! :!:

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:31 pm 
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andrew wrote:
The third movement is a definite improvement; nice work.

I still have some reservations about the first movement. You've certainly corrected much of what was questionable (your second triplet semiquaver is still ropey), but there are some odd moments which I didn't think were there before: 26-30 sounds curiously stilted and there are a few other places where it also feels like the flow is being disrupted. I don't want to overemphasise these things as some of them are probably now in the realms of quibbling, and I could go through my recording and quote a double-figure number of things I don't like about it! I probably just think your tempo is on the slow side. The section around bar 150 which I complained about before seems more convincing now. The movement finishes with satisfying brio.

Thanks for relistening Andrew, I appreciate it. I seem to take a quite relaxed view of this movement. You'll have to allow an old man his little indulgence :)

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:35 pm 
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Thanks Andreas, that is quite a list of issues you have compiled there. You're probably right in most or all of these (as usual :roll: ) but I have already decided to leave well enough alone and move on. One could polish any given piece for a lifetime and still not be able to please everybody. And I have no illusion to be able to play any piece perfectly.

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:31 pm 
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A competent performance, in particular if put together in a short time, and nice to hear you play some Beethoven! I listened to the revised version.

Like many other here I played this in my youth. Your take on the 1st mov is so different from mine that I am not certain what you want to project, but that may be because of my inability to adapt. Some of the things you do I find very unorthodox, eg the non legato of the melody in m19-22 - yes it means greater clarity but the line and phrasing is lost. And some of the rubatos breaks the pace. The part I liked best was the development, here I felt you really think this is important music - with Beethoven, if you lose that feeling all you are left with are scales and chords. Your 2nd mov is better in that respect, though to me it comes across as too harsh and aggressive, my view of this is much more tender and intimate, with sustained p and pp and strong attention to phrasing. In the very first phrase your accents on the 3rd beats sound a bit corny. The 3rd mov I liked best! Good job and nice energy throughout, with playfulness only a hair's breadth from getting serious and nasty! To hold that tempo is much harder than it looks. The few slips did not disturb me at all. My only gripe would be in place like m87 and 95 where the LH melody is drowned by the RH runs, you can get a very nice effect by highlighting how the melody jumps between registers - like children playing tag.


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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:00 pm 
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troglodyte wrote:
A competent performance, in particular if put together in a short time, and nice to hear you play some Beethoven! I listened to the revised version.

Not such a short time, all in all it took me the best part of two days with all the re-recording and postprocessing. And I had been practicing it for a while (actually, ever since Mark Budd posted a sonata we didn't have yet, and I realized there were some more to fill in).

troglodyte wrote:
Like many other here I played this in my youth. Your take on the 1st mov is so different from mine that I am not certain what you want to project, but that may be because of my inability to adapt. Some of the things you do I find very unorthodox, eg the non legato of the melody in m19-22 - yes it means greater clarity but the line and phrasing is lost. And some of the rubatos breaks the pace. The part I liked best was the development, here I felt you really think this is important music - with Beethoven, if you lose that feeling all you are left with are scales and chords. Your 2nd mov is better in that respect, though to me it comes across as too harsh and aggressive, my view of this is much more tender and intimate, with sustained p and pp and strong attention to phrasing. In the very first phrase your accents on the 3rd beats sound a bit corny. The 3rd mov I liked best! Good job and nice energy throughout, with playfulness only a hair's breadth from getting serious and nasty! To hold that tempo is much harder than it looks. The few slips did not disturb me at all. My only gripe would be in place like m87 and 95 where the LH melody is drowned by the RH runs, you can get a very nice effect by highlighting how the melody jumps between registers - like children playing tag.

Yes... sigh... there will always be something to improve, unless one is a master pianist. And it's clear that everybody has their ideas about Beethoven. I take an instinctive approach like always, not too much bothered by how it should be played. At least it's deemed competent :)

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:18 pm 
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There are always things to improve even for a master pianist! And Beethoven wouldn't be so great if he did not inspire us to think and take a stand, and the fact that we can take different stands is interesting! You are completely right not to bother too much about convention. Your take is an interesting contribution, far beyond "competent"! Sorry if I came across in the wrong way.


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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:32 pm 
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troglodyte wrote:
There are always things to improve even for a master pianist! And Beethoven wouldn't be so great if he did not inspire us to think and take a stand, and the fact that we can take different stands is interesting! You are completely right not to bother too much about convention. Your take is an interesting contribution, far beyond "competent"! Sorry if I came across in the wrong way.

Nope - I guess I just took it the wrong way, having convinced myself I was done with this sonata for the time being. Belated thanks for your reply BTW.

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:16 pm 
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Techneut wrote:
Quote:
but I have already decided to leave well enough alone and move on.


Yes, sigh, I already have feared, that I will have done the work of listening and commenting in detail in vain, when I have seen, that these even were you re-recordings. :( But it´s o.k., of course.

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:01 am 
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Having thoughout about it today, I feel that your first movement retake was less spontaneous, perhaps because you were specifically attempting to incorporate the suggestions/corrections leading from the feedback. If I'm going to be honest I'm with Andreas in that I preferred the first take of the first movement. I must reiterate that the third movement is clearly better second time round.


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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 9:06 am 
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musicusblau wrote:
Yes, sigh, I already have feared, that I will have done the work of listening and commenting in detail in vain, when I have seen, that these even were you re-recordings. :( But it´s o.k., of course.

Sorry to have wasted your time :) I should maybe have waited for your comments. But I'm sure when I try to fix these issues as well, something else will be wrong again, and before we know this would be going the way of the Arietta. Perfection in all details, spontaneity, sturm-und-drang, and an interpretation that is individual and yet pleases everybody... I'm not sure all of this is possible for a mortal soul. I think nostalgically of the time that all I aspired was to hit the right notes...................

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 9:12 am 
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techneut wrote:
an interpretation that is individual and yet pleases everybody...
by definition doesn't exist.


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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:10 am 
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Techneut wrote:
Quote:
Sorry to have wasted your time :) I should maybe have waited for your comments.


It wasn´t a waste of time to listen to your recording, of course, just the opposite, it was interesting and inspiring. :) With "in vain" I just meant, that my tips in detail will not be realized any more. And of course, you couldn´t know, when I will write my comment, though I had promised to write one. So it just was "dumm gelaufen" (as we say in german, I think translated in English it´s "shit happens"), and that´s really no problem! :D

Quote:
I think nostalgically of the time that all I aspired was to hit the right notes


To hit the right notes (or at least to try it) is what we all can do (more or less, myself counting definitively to "less", if you regard my little read errors in the Bach-pieces and probably also my part of "Vysehrad" :oops: , but don´t tell it anyone, please :wink: ), for me personally that´s not the main issue (though it´s not totally unimportant). 8)

andrew wrote:
techneut wrote:
an interpretation that is individual and yet pleases everybody...
by definition doesn't exist.

I agree to that! It´s probably impossible to reach this aim.

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 9:17 pm 
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musicusblau wrote:
andrew wrote:
techneut wrote:
an interpretation that is individual and yet pleases everybody...
by definition doesn't exist.

I agree to that! It´s probably impossible to reach this aim.


It most definitely is. However, it is what people seem to expect ! Because they all like you to play it their way, yet they also want you to be individual, i.e. do it your own way. It seems a bit of a conundrum. Especially seeing how opinions can differ about one and the same piece, e.g. what one perceives as lovely and lilting, another finds harsh and aggressive. Hmmmmm.... sometimes you just don't know what to do.

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:33 am 
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Because they all like you to play it their way, yet they also want you to be individual, i.e. do it your own way. It seems a bit of a conundrum.



Personally, as a listener I don't care whether someone plays a piece my way; I just want them to convince me of their way. One might think of a performance as an argument of sorts -- a form of inductive reasoning in which one infers, on the basis of an examination of the piece's elements, what may have been the composer's message and conveys an interpretation of that message to an audience in an attempt to persuade, similarly to how an essayist persuades a readership by taking a position. There may of course be technical issues that hinder the message from being appreciated in its best light (just as there may be chinks in a writer's argument). In a Chopin nocturne, for example, I think we can say that legato cantabile playing against an undulating well-balanced left hand is a must given the genre's inherent nature. However, how the right hand is sculpted and sung is a completely individual matter, as is the rhythm (e.g., rubato), the highlighting of lefthand counterpoints, etc. Over the years, I've probably heard 10 or so thoroughly convincing (to me) performances of the famous op. 9, no. 2 nocturne, each completely individual with respect to dynamics, phrasing, rhythm, touch, etc. (Cortot, Rachmaninoff, and Sofronitsky come to mind). I may have my favorite (in this case I think it's Rachmaninoff), but each one I think is fabulous in its own right. Of course the "basic notion" of the nocturne is there in all of them, but besides that each interpretation is so distinctive that I couldn't imagine anyone else playing it that way.

Anyway, I'm not sure the statement above is really a conundrum. It seems like more of a simple nonsequitur. Because of course, if someone really does want you to play it "their way," then they by definition don't want to hear an individual and unique conception; rather, they want you to produce a carbon copy of their idea, probably to flatter themselves that this idea is the only right one. I must say I find that viewpoint rather parochial and unreflective. Just as one should first thoroughly understand an author's argument before agreeing or disagreeing with it, one should carefully listen to a musical performance and reflect on whether the artist has a convincing conception that works for them.

Joe

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 2:12 pm 
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Joe, I think that's a fine statement you made on interpretation, but I partially take exception to your saying
jlr43 wrote:
.... a completely individual matter, as is the rhythm (e.g., rubato),
Theses are not the same. I agree that rubato is largely an individual affair, but not rhythm. I realize that we have been down this road before (I think) so I won't press the point but to observe that rhythm is mathematical, defined and given by the composer, the particulars of rubato are not, and rubato affects the tempo, not the rhythm therein. As an example of what I'm trying to say, when a conductor directs a ritardando followed by an accelerando, even sudden ones, the individual members of the string section will still play their parts together if they each observe the written rhythm.

Eddy

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:09 pm 
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Quote:
Theses are not the same. I agree that rubato is largely an individual affair, but not rhythm.


Agreed, good point. I should have said "interesting sense of rhythm" perhaps.

Quote:
I realize that we have been down this road before (I think) so I won't press the point but to observe that rhythm is mathematical, defined and given by the composer, the particulars of rubato are not, and rubato affects the tempo, not the rhythm therein.


I would, however, still take issue with this point. Scientifically, there are really only two basic elements that the pianist is controlling: force and duration. Rhythm and tempo are of course subcategories of duration and are thus inextricably linked. That is, because there is really only the one element that one is controlling, what one does to tempo must by definition also affect the rhythm. Consider again the repeating bass-note chords in the Chopin E Minor Prelude. If one applies rubato to that figure, what one is doing in essence is to "steal" time from one portion of the figure and ideally, according to the definition of rubato, make it up elsewhere. So what does stealing time really mean? One might, for example, speed up slightly at one point in the measure and then slow down later on in the measure so that ideally no net time in the measure is lost. However, in addition, during that slight speeding up, effectively what one is actually doing is to lower the value of the eighth notes in question more toward a faster rhythmic grouping such as 16ths, and then vice versa for slowing down, thereby affecting the duration of the rhythmic eighth-note groupings to regain the net, overall effect of tempo. One might think of the rhythm as the nitty-gritty note groupings (i.e., the details) that comprise the whole. The rhythm, the details, fit into the the overall time (tempo, same word). What one does to the whole must in some way affect some of its constituent parts, and vice versa. Just as cutting or adding a piece to a pie affects the conception of the whole pie, so too does manipulating details, in this case, rhythmic elements affect the tempo (i.e., literally the overall time or duration as delineated above).

The difference between rhythm and tempo, in other words, constitute a semantic distinction that illustrate different facets of the listener's perception related to just one element: duration. When rubato is well applied, one wants to have the perception that (1) the rhythm is not affected (which is not possible) and (2) the overall tempo is not affected (this is mathematically not really possible for a non-machine, human being). To sum up, at any given time that a musician is not playing mathematically (which besides being boring is strictly impossible anyway), one is affecting only the one factor, duration, and by definition, therefore, both of its subcategories rhythm and tempo.

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:57 pm 
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Joe your argument is a good one.
Quote:
Scientifically, there are really only two basic elements that the pianist is controlling: force and duration.

However, it is best suited in trying to explain this magic of music to those who have no capacity to understand it from an artistic (i.e. musical) point of view. Yours is perfectly suited to explaining this concept (even using the visual aid of a wave file) to the floundering engineering major who is required to take a Music Appreciation class. The difference I would explore is the very difference between the physics of music and the psychology of music. I would offer that your approach, since admittedly scientific, does not answer using musical arguments. Since you are a man that appreciates logic, I shall try a logical musical argument:

Hypothesis: Rubato affects rhythm.
1. If rhythm is affected by rubato, then the rhythm is necessarily changed.
2. If the rhythm is changed, then it's notation is necessarily changed.
3. To change the notation of the rhythm is not allowed by the canon of performance practice.
4. Rubato is nonetheless realized in music.
Conclusion: Rubato does not affect rhythm.

Or from Performance (as I introduced above)
A conductor only manages tempo (from your duration point of view), yet the orchestra maintains ensemble. The easiest (Occam's Razor) explanation for this reality is that there has been no change in the rhythm of the individual parts. Otherwise, is to believe an enormous amount of coincidences that have a probality approaching zero.

Food for thought,
Eddy

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:28 pm 
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musical-md wrote:
Hypothesis: Rubato affects rhythm.
1. If rhythm is affected by rubato, then the rhythm is necessarily changed.
2. If the rhythm is changed, then it's notation is necessarily changed.
3. To change the notation of the rhythm is not allowed by the canon of performance practice.
4. Rubato is nonetheless realized in music.
Conclusion: Rubato does not affect rhythm.

Or from Performance (as I introduced above)
A conductor only manages tempo (from your duration point of view), yet the orchestra maintains ensemble. The easiest (Occam's Razor) explanation for this reality is that there has been no change in the rhythm of the individual parts. Otherwise, is to believe an enormous amount of coincidences that have a probality approaching zero.


Excuse me butting in, but... not sequitur. One thing is notation, another is how this notation is turned into sound, the same as talking. You will agree that 20 people in the world might read the same word differently, even if the notation of that word does not change. The way you say "rhythm" is different from the way I say "rhythm" and that is again different from the way Joe does and that is different from how Andrew and Chris do, yet the word has not changed in any way nor could it be spelled differently without creating a new word. You probably roll the r and so will Andrew (if he is a Scot), but your r will be different from his, and yet the word remains as it is and not amount of spelling will reproduce your pronunciation or mine, unless, of course, you use phonetic spelling, which no one, apart from Prof. Higgins, can understand.

I would say it is impossible to write any piece of music as it actually is played by anyone. What you are talking about is not rhythm, but its notation. Rubato changes the rhythm so slighly that it would be impossible to notate, yet, when we hear a a piece played with rubato, we are normally able to write it down using the same symbols the composer uses, the same way I can hear you say that word and write "rhythm" and not rheethm" or rhuthm" or rheythum".

You tak of the orchestra. Have you forgotten that the orchestra is no longer a series of individuals, but a gigantic, unitary, instrument in the hands of a master (in the sense of principal) musician? And do you not consider that rehersals exist and that all the orchestra know how the master musician wants them to play? You also do not consider that there is another way to keep ensemble, and that is not to follow a rhythm, but to follow the music. That is, the timanist know when to come in not because he is going upt-da-da, but because he knows he comes in just after the violins have stated the second theme. This does not change, no matter how much rubato the violins have used, because the clue is not the rhytm, but the theme.

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:33 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
musical-md wrote:
Hypothesis: Rubato affects rhythm.
1. If rhythm is affected by rubato, then the rhythm is necessarily changed.
2. If the rhythm is changed, then it's notation is necessarily changed.
3. To change the notation of the rhythm is not allowed by the canon of performance practice.
4. Rubato is nonetheless realized in music.
Conclusion: Rubato does not affect rhythm.

Or from Performance (as I introduced above)
A conductor only manages tempo (from your duration point of view), yet the orchestra maintains ensemble. The easiest (Occam's Razor) explanation for this reality is that there has been no change in the rhythm of the individual parts. Otherwise, is to believe an enormous amount of coincidences that have a probality approaching zero.


Excuse me butting in, but... not sequitur. One thing is notation, another is how this notation is turned into sound, the same as talking. You will agree that 20 people in the world might read the same word differently, even if the notation of that word does not change. The way you say "rhythm" is different from the way I say "rhythm" and that is again different from the way Joe does and that is different from how Andrew and Chris do, yet the word has not changed in any way nor could it be spelled differently without creating a new word. You probably roll the r and so will Andrew (if he is a Scot), but your r will be different from his, and yet the word remains as it is and not amount of spelling will reproduce your pronunciation or mine, unless, of course, you use phonetic spelling, which no one, apart from Prof. Higgins, can understand.

I would say it is impossible to write any piece of music as it actually is played by anyone. What you are talking about is not rhythm, but its notation. Rubato changes the rhythm so slighly that it would be impossible to notate, yet, when we hear a a piece played with rubato, we are normally able to write it down using the same symbols the composer uses, the same way I can hear you say that word and write "rhythm" and not rheethm" or rhuthm" or rheythum".

You tak of the orchestra. Have you forgotten that the orchestra is no longer a series of individuals, but a gigantic, unitary, instrument in the hands of a master (in the sense of principal) musician? And do you not consider that rehersals exist and that all the orchestra know how the master musician wants them to play? You also do not consider that there is another way to keep ensemble, and that is not to follow a rhythm, but to follow the music. That is, the timanist know when to come in not because he is going upt-da-da, but because he knows he comes in just after the violins have stated the second theme. This does not change, no matter how much rubato the violins have used, because the clue is not the rhytm, but the theme.


Richard I think your arguments fail on several accouonts.
A. The analogy from language pronounciation actaually proves my point in that whether you say "shed-jule" or "sked-jule" the spelling (i.e. the notated rhythm) is nonetheless "schedule." More importantly, always and for ever, the rhythm of an 8th followed by two 16ths followed by a 1/4 note is the same, whether played by different players or even different instruments. This is why some have so many comments regarding their performances here on the subject of rhythm (or as some call it "timing" -- an unmusical term). Further there is no distinction between rhythm and notation. One is the visual expression of the abstract other. In music, notation has primarily two domains, pitch and rhythm. For the advanced musician, to see the rhythm is to hear it, and to hear the rhythm is to see it.

B. In many traditional conservatories, part of the musical training of the students is the ability to take increasingly difficult levels of dictation (melodic, harmonic and contrapuntal). There is only one correct answer to such exercises, even to the use of the proper enharmonic spelling of notes. Therefore, music is documentable as the literature amply supports. To make the claim that a score is a representation of an actual execution is spurious; to attempt to do so is to reduce a score to nothing more than a series of input directions for a machine (like the rolls used for pianos). Nobody is arguing this.

C. Have you ever directed an orchestra? I have. Believe me when I say that an orchestra is an assembly of distinct individuals joined in effort to make ensemble. (If you prefer to use a chamber group (who has no conductor) then do so.) The conductor does not "play" a "unitary instrument" anymore than a general fights a war. They both simply lead the affair. The success of an orchestral performance is entirely dependent upon the musical understanding of rhythm (and meter) of every individual musician.

Ultimately my difference with Joe is nothing more than one of perspective: scientific/physical vs psychological/artistic. Both are part of the phenomenon of music making.

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Last edited by musical-md on Thu Apr 12, 2012 12:11 am, edited 7 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:45 pm 
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Quote:
The difference I would explore is the very difference between the physics of music and the psychology of music.


Good, although I would point out that I also (briefly) explored it above in differentiating between (1) scientific principles behind what constitutes a performance of music and (2) a listener's perception of those principles (perception I take to be similar to your use of "psychology"). Mathematical and scientific principles are, in fact, behind every quantitative and qualitative perception that one has. For a second example, consider another artistic medium, such as painting. Painting also has two basic elements that are behind every brush stroke: shape and color. The shape is the summation of the geometric elements that comprise it -- lines, points, etc.; color exists according to a spectrum, affected by light properties as interpreted by the eye. Both of these can be explained through argument. This brings me to your next point:

Quote:
I would offer that your approach, since admittedly scientific, does not answer using musical arguments.


I'm not entirely clear on what you mean by this, but if it's what I think, then I believe it is a mistake, a conflation of two ideas. It isn't possible to make a deductive argument in defense of either psychology (for a discussion of why psychology is not evidence-based and thus has no valid arguments behind it, I would recommend reading Paul Lutus's excellent blog) or a listener's musical perception. This is simply an emotional reaction to what one hears, affects one's appreciation (i.e., liking or disliking) of the music (as you say, "artistic understanding"), and is neither right nor wrong. This is not to say that one cannot examine one's perceptions and use them as the point of departure for developing an argument. But an argument's purpose is, in the end, to discover truth (i.e., distinguish truth from falsehood) and such an exercise is always rooted in the scientific method of investigation, as (largely) developed by Aristotle.

Quote:
2. If the rhythm is changed, then it's notation is necessarily changed.


No, this is a nonsequitur. Notation simply refers to the system a composer uses to mark his score. It exists independent of anything the performer does. The performer, in manipulating tempo and rhythm (i.e. duration), does so on a continuum. Just as musical pitches exist on a continuum (Bartok I believe even wrote a piece in quarter tones), so too does rhythm, and to apply rubato is of necessity to change rhythm within that continuum (e.g., something in between an 8th and a 16th in the example of the Chopin prelude above). This is what can make performances infinitely interesting: since numbers and their variations and divisions can go on infinitely, so too is a performer's ability to manipulate them infinite. I think the best adn most original performers are aware of more degrees of the variations within that continuum.

Quote:
A conductor only manages tempo (from your duration point of view), yet the orchestra maintains ensemble. The easiest (Occam's Razor) explanation for this reality is that there has been no change in the rhythm of the individual parts. Otherwise, is to believe an enormous amount of coincidences that have a probality approaching zero.


I think the conception of Occam's Razor is a philosophical copout. We shouldn't be self-consciously simplifying our assumptions, because in doing so, we might make a mistake or ignore an important piece of evidence. We only want to use just as many assumptions as we need to make our points. I would quote Wikipedia: "The simplest available theory need not be most accurate" and also "However, on many occasions Occam's razor has stifled or delayed scientific progress.[13] For example, appeals to simplicity were used to deny the phenomena of meteorites, ball lightning, continental drift, and reverse transcriptase. It originally rejected DNA as the carrier of genetic information in favor of proteins, since proteins provided the simpler explanation." This is clearly a very harmful way of thinking since it can ignore elements of the evidence solely to try to twist the "available evidence" to one's own ends.

In your example, an orchestra's maintaining of ensemble is a different issue altogether: synchronization. This wouldn't mean that the entire orchestra, playing as one (just as the pianist plays as one), is attempting to follow the instructions of the conductor and in doing so, is attempting to achieve rubato, very difficult to bring off, but possible (within a reasonable margin of error again, since again, perfect synchronization, especially if a mathematical approach to rhythm is deviated from, is never possible for human beings).

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:16 pm 
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Joe,
Rather than accept my gesture of convergence (we treating opposite sides of the same coin) you would rather belabor your point more than I wish to do so mine. I feel that I have made a reasonable (and musical) explanation and distinction, and have welcomed your stimulus to go one level deeper than at first. I'm happy to leave my arguments where they are for others to evaluate. Thanks for the stimulating conversation.

Respectfully,
Eddy

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:33 pm 
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Quote:
you would rather belabor your point


I don't believe I have belabored my point, only pointed out an obvious logical error with the term "musical argument," which is a contradiction in terms. Richard also did similarly on certain points, but you didn't want to listen to him either. I can't tell you how many times I've been disabused of a faulty line of reasoning in my life and accepted it rather than having to beat it down to protect my own ego, but you never seem able to do this and raise all kinds of irrelevancies and straw men that don't respond to people you argue with (just my observation). Oh well, I won't beat a dead horse any longer. Thank you as well for the conversation.

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 10:20 pm 
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Wow, Gentlemen, what an interesting discussion that was.

I'm with Eddy on this one. For any particular extract of notated music, its rhythm is independent of tempo and of rubato (rubato being nothing but a tempo fluctuation). If you don't agree with that, then your understanding of what "rhythm" means must differ from Eddy's (and mine).

This can all be explained in simple mathematical terms without resorting to the psychology of perception.

Let's take as example an extract which is notated as a sequence of note pairs, in which the first note of each pair is a dotted 8th and the other is a 16th. This is generally called a dotted rhythm, so we can already see how inextricably notation and rhythm are linked. But basically rhythm is how the durations of neighbouring notes (or rests) relate to each other. If played at a constant speed, then the duration ratio of successive notes will be 3:1:3:1:... If played at 60 quarter note beats to the minute, then each 16th will last 250ms, and each dotted 8th 750ms. Play it at any other (but still constant) speed, and the durations will change by some factor, but by the same factor for all notes. The duration ratio will be unchanged, it remains 3:1 at any speed. :arrow: Different constant speed, same rhythm.

Where confusion creeps in is when the tempo changes. Sudden instantaneous changes aren't a problem, but smooth gradual changes will cause duration ratios to become distorted. Suppose we are to accelerate from 60bpm at the start of our extract to 120bpm at the end. The acceleration may or may not be linear (and if it is, it might be with respect to time (if it takes you 30 seconds to accelerate from 60 to 120 then after 15s your instantaneous tempo would be 90bpm) or it might be with respect to "distance", i.e. your tempo would be 90bps after you've played half the notes in the extract). But irrespective of whether the acceleration is linear, logarithmic, or something else, partway through the extract a particular 16th note might last 200ms, and while the two dotted 8ths either side of it will then last 600ms approximately, they won't exactly. This is because tempo (and therefore the duration multiplier factor) is changing gradually all the time, and will be a little bit faster (tempo) or smaller (duration multiplier factor) during the 16th note than it was during the preceding dotted 8th, and a little slower/bigger than during the following dotted 8th. One will be a little longer than 600ms, the other a little shorter.

This distortion leads to a different perceived rhythm (that is, the duration ratios are no longer 3:1:3:1), but Eddy's point is, I think, that the underlying rhythm is still unchanged, and it's only the tempo that's changing underneath it. His definition of rhythm isn't what's perceived by the listener at the duration level, it is what the performer "knows" the rhythm to be, and a listener who is parsing the performance properly will intuitively latch onto that "proper" rhythm, and will subconsciously "undo" the distortion and thereby become aware of the nature of the tempo change. :arrow: Different varying speed, same rhythm.

Gentle gradual tempo changes will cause only minimal rhythmic distortion, but tempo changes associated with rubato can at times be quite severe, to the extent that the "real" rhythm can become unrecognisable except by those who are familiar with the piece.

Eddy's example of several players in an orchestra or chamber group staying in sync during rubato is a good one. They succeed because they are still basically playing the same rhythm while independently getting faster or slower at a rate which is easy to agree on, with or without the aid of a conductor.


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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:03 pm 
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Quote:
For any particular extract of notated music, its rhythm is independent of tempo and of rubato (rubato being nothing but a tempo fluctuation). If you don't agree with that, then your understanding of what "rhythm" means must differ from Eddy's (and mine).


Notation is irrelevant to this discussion. Yes, of course notation is independent of tempo and rubato. That's in fact the salient point. This discussion is about performance, not about notation.

Quote:
but Eddy's point is, I think, that the underlying rhythm is still unchanged, and it's only the tempo that's changing underneath it. His definition of rhythm isn't what's perceived by the listener at the duration level, it is what the performer "knows" the rhythm to be,


Again, this is specifically about performance, not the rhythm groupings that the composer wrote in the score or what the performer knows about the score. The only concern is what actually happens in a performance. What is actually happening in the actual performance is that the rhythm is changing by fractions on a numerical continuum. To claim otherwise would be tantamount to saying that there aren't numerous gradations in between fractions like 1/3 and 3/8, which reduced to its most elementary principles, is all rhythm is.

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 12:37 am 
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jlr43 wrote:
Notation is irrelevant to this discussion. Yes, of course notation is independent of tempo and rubato. That's in fact the salient point. This discussion is about performance, not about notation.
I thought the discussion was about rhythm. It seems to me that you and he are simply attaching different meanings to the word "rhythm", and that is why the discussion is doomed to fail to end in agreement.
Quote:
Regarding your point about rubato being nothing but a tempo fluctuation, actually that accords with my understanding but not Eddy's as he has expressed it. If you will carefully read my argument above, I talk about how rhythm and tempo are "inextricably linked." Eddy has on countless occasions stated that rhythm and tempo are fundamentally different and that rubato is principally about tempo, not rhythm.
Well there you go, the two of you are at least agreed that rubato is about tempo. We now just need to understand what we all mean by "rhythm".

There are essentially two kinds of rhythm; there is that which is basically identical with notation, we might call this "raw rhythm", and there is that which comes out in performance, what the listener hears, we can call this "perceived rhythm". The latter is in general a distorted version of the former, except in the absence of rubato - at constant speed the two are the same. The latter is the product of applying the tempo changes/fluctuations to the former. It is obvious that in the presence of rubato, the perceived rhythm changes as the nature of the rubato changes, but the raw rhythm stays the same.

Is it not simply the case that when you talk about rhythm you mean "perceived rhythm" whereas Eddy means "raw rhythm"?
Quote:
What is actually happening in the actual performance is that the rhythm is changing by fractions on a numerical continuum. To claim otherwise would be tantamount to saying that there aren't numerous gradations in between fractions like 1/3 and 3/8, which reduced to its most elementary principles, is all rhythm is.
Ah well, you see, that statement is true only with one of the above definitions of rhythm, and not the other. Eddy cannot fail to agree that in a performance involving rubato the durations of the affected notes, and hence their ratios, change by nuances (or sometimes rather more), but to him that's not what rhythm is. For him the rhythm is fixed, and only its image under the transformation function which applies the rubato, is what changes.


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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 1:02 am 
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I thought the discussion was about rhythm. It seems to me that you and he are simply attaching different meanings to the word "rhythm", and that is why the discussion is doomed to fail to end in agreement.


Yes, exactly, I think you've pinpointed it there. I actually have since come to realize myself that it seems he was defining rhythm specifically as the notation of durations written by the composer. But if that is indeed the case, I think that is obviously too restrictive. In terms of the way the term is used, rhythm is clearly both the notation aspect and the performance aspect. For otherwise, why talk about a performer's "interesting rhythm" or "use of rhythm" at all?

Quote:
Well there you go, the two of you are at least agreed that rubato is about tempo. We now just need to understand what we all mean by "rhythm".


Actually, I edited my above response to take out that portion because I quickly misread "rubato" as "rhythm" in your response, which made what I had originally said incorrect :oops: :P

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Ah well, you see, that statement is true only with one of the above definitions of rhythm, and not the other. Eddy cannot fail to agree that in a performance involving rubato the durations of the affected notes, and hence their ratios, change by nuances (or sometimes rather more), but to him that's not what rhythm is. For him the rhythm is fixed, and only its image under the transformation function which applies the rubato, is what changes.


Yes, your explanation of his argument now makes sense to me. That does seem to be what he's claiming and as I previously stated, I don't think it's right. Of course, there is notated rhythm but in performance that is not the relevant consideration: rather, it is "applied rhythm." Both are essential parts of the definition, but notation doesn't strictly relate to the performance aspect, and thus is not relevant to the particular topic under discussion here, which is performance.

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:21 am 
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musical-md wrote:
richard66 wrote:
musical-md wrote:
Hypothesis: Rubato affects rhythm.
1. If rhythm is affected by rubato, then the rhythm is necessarily changed.
2. If the rhythm is changed, then it's notation is necessarily changed.
3. To change the notation of the rhythm is not allowed by the canon of performance practice.
4. Rubato is nonetheless realized in music.
Conclusion: Rubato does not affect rhythm.

Or from Performance (as I introduced above)
A conductor only manages tempo (from your duration point of view), yet the orchestra maintains ensemble. The easiest (Occam's Razor) explanation for this reality is that there has been no change in the rhythm of the individual parts. Otherwise, is to believe an enormous amount of coincidences that have a probality approaching zero.


Excuse me butting in, but... not sequitur. One thing is notation, another is how this notation is turned into sound, the same as talking. You will agree that 20 people in the world might read the same word differently, even if the notation of that word does not change. The way you say "rhythm" is different from the way I say "rhythm" and that is again different from the way Joe does and that is different from how Andrew and Chris do, yet the word has not changed in any way nor could it be spelled differently without creating a new word. You probably roll the r and so will Andrew (if he is a Scot), but your r will be different from his, and yet the word remains as it is and not amount of spelling will reproduce your pronunciation or mine, unless, of course, you use phonetic spelling, which no one, apart from Prof. Higgins, can understand.

I would say it is impossible to write any piece of music as it actually is played by anyone. What you are talking about is not rhythm, but its notation. Rubato changes the rhythm so slighly that it would be impossible to notate, yet, when we hear a a piece played with rubato, we are normally able to write it down using the same symbols the composer uses, the same way I can hear you say that word and write "rhythm" and not rheethm" or rhuthm" or rheythum".

You tak of the orchestra. Have you forgotten that the orchestra is no longer a series of individuals, but a gigantic, unitary, instrument in the hands of a master (in the sense of principal) musician? And do you not consider that rehersals exist and that all the orchestra know how the master musician wants them to play? You also do not consider that there is another way to keep ensemble, and that is not to follow a rhythm, but to follow the music. That is, the timanist know when to come in not because he is going upt-da-da, but because he knows he comes in just after the violins have stated the second theme. This does not change, no matter how much rubato the violins have used, because the clue is not the rhytm, but the theme.


Richard I think your arguments fail on several accouonts.
A. The analogy from language pronounciation actaually proves my point in that whether you say "shed-jule" or "sked-jule" the spelling (i.e. the notated rhythm) is nonetheless "schedule." More importantly, always and for ever, the rhythm of an 8th followed by two 16ths followed by a 1/4 note is the same, whether played by different players or even different instruments. This is why some have so many comments regarding their performances here on the subject of rhythm (or as some call it "timing" -- an unmusical term). Further there is no distinction between rhythm and notation. One is the visual expression of the abstract other. In music, notation has primarily two domains, pitch and rhythm. For the advanced musician, to see the rhythm is to hear it, and to hear the rhythm is to see it.

B. In many traditional conservatories, part of the musical training of the students is the ability to take increasingly difficult levels of dictation (melodic, harmonic and contrapuntal). There is only one correct answer to such exercises, even to the use of the proper enharmonic spelling of notes. Therefore, music is documentable as the literature amply supports. To make the claim that a score is a representation of an actual execution is spurious; to attempt to do so is to reduce a score to nothing more than a series of input directions for a machine (like the rolls used for pianos). Nobody is arguing this.

C. Have you ever directed an orchestra? I have. Believe me when I say that an orchestra is an assembly of distinct individuals joined in effort to make ensemble. (If you prefer to use a chamber group (who has no conductor) then do so.) The conductor does not "play" a "unitary instrument" anymore than a general fights a war. They both simply lead the affair. The success of an orchestral performance is entirely dependent upon the musical understanding of rhythm (and meter) of every individual musician.

Ultimately my difference with Joe is nothing more than one of perspective: scientific/physical vs psychological/artistic. Both are part of the phenomenon of music making.


It seems you have departed, or so you say further on. How can you say that rhythm (writhm, rithm, rhithm, rythm, wrythm...) and its notation are the same? You mention the advanced musician. But he is like the advanced reader, for whom the notation of a word will bring to mind the word itself, but not because the spelling and the word are a unit, but because he knows the conventions that suround the notation. Of course at a conservatory one can take musical dictation (I have taken it, even if I never went to one), but only because the notation has been taught beforehand. Music, different from language, only has one notation (until such time as someone will invent another). Now, if you were to place in a room an Englishman and a Russian and were to dictate to them the English word for the American "elevator" without telling them which notation to use, you would get... lift in latin and lift in Cyrillic characters. Same word, same meaning, same pronunciation even, but different notations.

As you say, an orchestra is "assembly of distinct individuals joined in effort to make ensemble" but you forget to add, "under the direction" of someone , who is ultimately responsible for the success or not of the performance. This, as noted bellow, is called syncronisation.

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:12 pm 
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Hi Chris,

I liked your interpretation of the first movement. It has a wide range of expression. I like your pedaling and the playing was very clear.

I prefer to hear the second movement played in a more relaxed tempo. You create nice long lines and bring out some very moving small motifs. Your chords in the choral part are nicely contrasted with the left and right hand scale like passages which are played in a very forthright and engaging fashion.

The third movement is amazing from a technical point of view. It is so difficult to play. You put some really elegant spirit into the expression. Perhaps it needs a bit more dynamic shading,

Thank you for an enjoyable listening experience.

Kaila

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:57 pm 
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In order to clarify this interesting terminological question and relate it to some present practical examples: in Für Alina a few items down the list the long notes are not equally long. In your opinion, is this an expression of different rhythm or is it a rubato?

(Sorry Chris, your thread was already hijacked!)


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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:39 pm 
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Replied to in new thread at viewtopic.php?f=21&t=5284&p=53874#p53874

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 8:49 pm 
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musicrecovery wrote:
I liked your interpretation of the first movement. It has a wide range of expression. I like your pedaling and the playing was very clear.

I prefer to hear the second movement played in a more relaxed tempo. You create nice long lines and bring out some very moving small motifs. Your chords in the choral part are nicely contrasted with the left and right hand scale like passages which are played in a very forthright and engaging fashion.

The third movement is amazing from a technical point of view. It is so difficult to play. You put some really elegant spirit into the expression. Perhaps it needs a bit more dynamic shading,

Thank you for an enjoyable listening experience.

Thank you Kaila ! Nice to see someone staying on-topic for a change :D

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 7:31 pm 
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Excellent effort and result, Chris! It's very difficult to record an entire sonata, or at least psychologically you have to learn three pieces for the sake of playing one. If I had to nit pick anything it would be dynamic contrast on the crescendos and decrescendos. Otherwise the rhythmic drive is sustained throughout the piece in true Beethovenesque style.

It seems the piano is very close to nearby walls because I am hearing a definite slap back into the mics and the reverb is only enhancing this. I have the same problem in my room too - a large room, but the piano is close to nearby walls. Try increasing the pre-delay on the reverb setting if there is one. This will delay the onset of the reverb so that the early harsh reflections are not carried into the reverb tail...
Regardless, this is a great achievement - an excellent recording!

George

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 Post subject: Re: Beethoven - Sonata Op.10 No.2
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:54 am 
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A belated thanks for your reply George !

I never have the problem of learning a whole sonata for the sake of one movement. I always seem to like all parts of a sonata equally. Or perhaps willing myself to do so :)

Amazing that you pick up the wall issue. Indeed the left side of my piano is very close (maybe 6 cm) to the wall.
However the recorder is placed parallel to the wall, facing me directly, so I am not sure how it would pick up a slap back - also the open lid would prevent that. Unless we're talking about the other (right) wall which is only 3m from the left (I have a smallish room as you see).

But, I'll play with the pre-delay as you suggest. Because sometimes the reverb plays tricks with sharp staccato notes (on the very rare occasions I actually manage to play those :D )

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