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That 2-layered rubato thingy

Discussion in 'Technique' started by musical-md, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

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

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    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
     
  3. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    Tempo Rubato as described by C.P.E. Bach, Mozart, and Chopin.

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

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

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

    Just a thought.

    Scott
     
  4. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Problem is that any performance starts from the score. Don't you have out of syncs at any suspension, anticipated bass, off-beat syncopation and all kind of rhythmic gimmicks a composer can devise to elude a listener's expectations? The Andante from Bach's Italian Concerto is an effective example of rubato embedded in the score. The LH keeps going and the RH does all kind of out of sync stuff.
     
  6. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

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

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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

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

    musical-md Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Alfonzo,
    With all due respect, you're changing the subject, which is fine to do if you like but the former arguments do not segue. The discussion (or the controversy anyway) on rubato cares nothing about a rhythm indicated in a score. It not about composition, its about performing in a manner not indicated in (contrary to) the score. If the score shows a treble-dominated texture with melody accompanied by simple patterns (Alberti bass for example), the question is, "Is it valid/tasteful/authentic to play the melody not simultaneously with the note(s) indicated in the score that are indicated simultaneously?" (E.g., in Mozart's Sonata facile in C major) We aren't exploring the history of rhythmic development in art music. That would be a fascinating discussion but is seperate and appart. Any reference to a score (anybody's) to argue about the "2-layered (contextually-dissociated) rubato" misses the point/issue entirely.
     
  9. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

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

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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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? The fact that you have never heard that kind of rubato before it doesn't mean that it wasn't practiced by Chopin or others. Have you listened to the Valse nonchalante I posted above?
     
  11. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

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    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.
     
  12. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    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. :|
     
  13. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    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.
     
  14. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

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    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.
     
  15. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    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.
     
  17. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    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!
     
  18. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    :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. :)
     
  19. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I know, it hurts a bit.
     
  20. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

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    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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