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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:32 am 
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alf wrote:
Herculean (mouse wheels sigh at your posts :lol: )! And thank you for those snatches. So, since words cannot really give us back what Chopin really did at the piano, what are the closest aural documents to Chopin's pianism? Saint-Saens's?

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

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:20 am 
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This is a good quantity of reading matter; thank you for your trouble! I shall digest it, but I already have seen things I had arrived at already.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:28 am 
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Terez wrote:
alf wrote:
Herculean (mouse wheels sigh at your posts :lol: )! And thank you for those snatches. So, since words cannot really give us back what Chopin really did at the piano, what are the closest aural documents to Chopin's pianism? Saint-Saens's?

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


Ha, that's always been my point. You're echoing some observations I've made myself in the past! Nevertheless, I believe that Saint-Saens's playing cannot be far from Chopin's. Too bad he didn't record anything by our Freddie.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:47 am 
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alf wrote:
Terez wrote:
alf wrote:
Herculean (mouse wheels sigh at your posts :lol: )! And thank you for those snatches. So, since words cannot really give us back what Chopin really did at the piano, what are the closest aural documents to Chopin's pianism? Saint-Saens's?

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

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

Am I? It's possible. I dug out the emails I had in mind, and what you said there (if you'll forgive me for quoting such a small innocuous bit) is 'I don't know if one should play Chopin in strict or loose tempo (ie: in an agogically more or less free way), and I believe nobody really knows.' I think we know, or at least that we know enough - we just don't necessarily have an accurate model for that type of performance in Mikuli's students (nor would we necessarily have an accurate model in Mikuli himself). To say that we don't know is IMO to take it one step too far; we do know something about it.

Alfie wrote:
Nevertheless, I believe that Saint-Saens's playing cannot be far from Chopin's. Too bad he didn't record anything by our Freddie.

You might be right. I don't believe I've ever heard him play; I'll have to find some recordings.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:40 pm 
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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.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:51 pm 
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I think the whole idea of this type of rubato pertains to, and originates from, singing. Chopin's loved Italian bel canto above all, and he just wanted to emulate it on the piano. Whether it was more wishful thinking than reality, I guess we'll never know. Even with half a ton of quotes we're nowhere nearer a definitive answer. For sure, what would feel natural to any singer (they all do it, from crooners to pop singers) requires almost
superhuman effort from a single player.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 1:19 pm 
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techneut wrote:
I think the whole idea of this type of rubato pertains to, and originates from, singing. Chopin's loved Italian bel canto above all, and he just wanted to emulate it on the piano. Whether it was more wishful thinking than reality, I guess we'll never know. Even with half a ton of quotes we're nowhere nearer a definitive answer.

I think we can definitely say it was reality for Chopin, if not for everyone or even most of us. The reason I say this is the matter of the vehemence on the part of Chopin's pupils and contemporaries in decrying misguided and even vulgar attempts to recreate what Chopin did effortlessly. The only prominent individuals who seem to disagree are Berlioz and perhaps Meyerbeer (Mendelssohn seems a bit wishy-washy to me on the subject) - it's not clear how much distinction should be drawn between the rhythmic irregularities in the mazurkas and the concept of 'stolen time', so it's difficult to say whether Meyerbeer had similar feelings about Chopin's playing in other contexts. Berlioz is easy to understand, mostly because he was primarily an orchestrator, and a conductor. In that context, only the soloist can have any freedom, and individual deviations from the tempo are usually associated with inferior ensembles. Aside from that, Berlioz seems to have been fonder of Chopin in the early days, perhaps before he became aware that Chopin wasn't very fond of him.

Chris wrote:
For sure, what would feel natural to any singer (they all do it, from crooners to pop singers) requires almost superhuman effort from a single player.

I don't think it's necessarily superhuman, any more than being able to memorize music is superhuman. Some people will have a knack for it, and some won't. Like I said (and like Eigeldinger said), it's probably no coincidence that Chopin chose to be represented in the Fétis/Moscheles method by polyrhythmic etudes. Moscheles probably asked Chopin for something that would help players achieve the necessary independence of the hands, or perhaps it was something simply understood between them after their meeting and performance for the royals together (which Moscheles described in some detail - the above quote is an excerpt from that). Obsessing over where exactly each note falls between the other in polyrhythmic etudes will not achieve that independence of the hands, especially when rubato - passionate declamation - is required to make it convincing. Neither will unsteady renderings of either rhythmic figure be convincing. Yes, it's difficult, but whether or not we can execute it, we can conceive of it, and perhaps aspire to it if we are so inclined.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 1:30 pm 
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I don't think this has anything to do with polyrhythm. I believe polyrhythm is basically quite easy to learn for everyone.
But the kind of natural freedom between the hands (and maybe brain halfs ?) required for the 'Chopin rubato' seems to
be given to very few. I don't even hear that in jazz pianists.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 1:35 pm 
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techneut wrote:
I don't think this has anything to do with polyrhythm. I believe polyrhythm is basically quite easy to learn for everyone.

In the way that I described, by parsing it, it is. But there are two ways of approaching polyrhythm, and the other has very much to do with independence of the hands.

Quote:
But the kind of natural freedom between the hands (and maybe brain halfs ?) required for the 'Chopin rubato' seems to be given to very few. I don't even hear that in jazz pianists.

I think this is at least partly because the technique isn't cultivated. I think some can do it naturally, but more could do it with practice (which again should probably be focused on things like polyrhythmic etudes and playing rubato with a metronome).

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 1:53 pm 
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Terez wrote:
I think this is at least partly because the technique isn't cultivated. I think some can do it naturally, but more could do it with practice (which again should probably be focused on things like polyrhythmic etudes and playing rubato with a metronome).

I don't believe this is a 'technique', and if you have to learn it by painstaking practicing, it is probably not meant for you, and might sound terribly contrived. I feel that such a thing should come natural or not at all. Chopin obviously had this knack, I doubt if he had ever 'learnt' it.

Anyway that is just my thought. I'm not a Chopin buff but wanted to throw in my one little cent as well :D

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 1:59 pm 
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techneut wrote:
Terez wrote:
I think this is at least partly because the technique isn't cultivated. I think some can do it naturally, but more could do it with practice (which again should probably be focused on things like polyrhythmic etudes and playing rubato with a metronome).

I don't believe this is a 'technique', and if you have to learn it by painstaking practicing, it is probably not meant for you, and might sound terribly contrived.

I understand what you mean, but I think you take it too far. I think anyone who can conceive of it can learn it by learning independence of the hands. As you agreed, it's easier to pull off with a vocalist and piano accompaniment. If we can conceive of this independence of the melody, then we can probably play it, and the only thing standing between us and the execution of it is independence of the hands in the context of an inexorable pulse. Some few can do this naturally. Probably many more can do it with practice - it's not learning the art of expression (which is innate) but rather learning independence of the hands. Some probably can't do it at all, either because they lack expressive talent or because they can't achieve this independence.

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Last edited by Terez on Fri Aug 19, 2011 2:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 2:00 pm 
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Wow, Terez, that's a lot of great information! I probably have most of those books too, but it's been a long time since I've cracked one open, so it's nice to have a refresher course. Thank you for posting!

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 2:02 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
Wow, Terez, that's a lot of great information! I probably have most of those books too, but it's been a long time since I've cracked one open, so it's nice to have a refresher course. Thank you for posting!

No problem. I have a lot of books that don't get cracked enough as well, and this was a refresher for me also, especially since I hadn't really dug into the footnotes beyond skimming a few of them.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:02 pm 
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Quote:
If we can conceive of this independence of the melody, then we can probably play it, and the only thing standing between us and the execution of it is independence of the hands in the context of an inexorable pulse. Some few can do this naturally. Probably many more can do it with practice - it's not learning the art of expression (which is innate) but rather learning independence of the hands. Some probably can't do it at all, either because they lack expressive talent or because they can't achieve this independence.


Well if this type of "Chopin rubato" exists, I certainly have yet to hear (notice?) it once, even in the many hundreds to thousands of Chopin recordings I've heard over the years, including in Cortot, IMHO the very best Chopin player in recorded history, whom many would agree had a very natural rubato. 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. As someone mentioned earlier, I would question whether it's simply that Chopin gave the illusion that that's what he was doing, simply because he applied rubato so skillfully (and his right hand was so singing), and then his students badly interpreted it. It certainly wouldn't be the first time that false information was propagated and became "common knowledge."

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:12 pm 
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jlr43 wrote:
Quote:
If we can conceive of this independence of the melody, then we can probably play it, and the only thing standing between us and the execution of it is independence of the hands in the context of an inexorable pulse. Some few can do this naturally. Probably many more can do it with practice - it's not learning the art of expression (which is innate) but rather learning independence of the hands. Some probably can't do it at all, either because they lack expressive talent or because they can't achieve this independence.


Well if this type of "Chopin rubato" exists, I certainly have yet to hear (notice?) it once, even in the many hundreds to thousands of Chopin recordings I've heard over the years, including in Cortot, IMHO the very best Chopin player in recorded history, whom many would agree had a very natural rubato. 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. As someone mentioned earlier, I would question whether it's simply that Chopin gave the illusion that that's what he was doing, simply because he applied rubato so skillfully (and his right hand was so singing), and then his students badly interpreted it. It certainly wouldn't be the first time that false information was propagated and became "common knowledge."

I will have to listen to some recordings to find examples of it later on (it's nearing bedtime for me, so I just don't feel like it at the moment). I agree the skill is a rarity, but I believe some people pull it off from time to time. And while it's true that sometimes stories are just urban legends, I don't think that's the case with Chopin because nearly every musician in his company agreed in their descriptions of his playing, and that he possessed a singular ability for this style of playing (though he apparently had some success with some of his students in cultivating the technique). I tend to think that it's a little too easy to dismiss these accounts as being inaccurate, or exaggerated, because the concept and execution of the technique is not easy to grasp, but the idea that this legendary and even definitive aspect of his playing was imagined or exaggerated stretches credulity IMO. Also, the words apparently came from his own mouth (according to many students), so the idea that his students interpreted his playing badly doesn't make any sense, either. (And add that to Mozart's description of the same exact thing, not to mention countless others through the 17th and 18th centuries, aside from the 19th).

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Last edited by Terez on Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


:?: :?: :?:

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Just a thought.

Scott


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

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


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


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

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


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

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


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


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

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

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


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


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

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

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


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

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


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


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

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

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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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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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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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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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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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 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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 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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 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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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 5:02 am 
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IMO, the best examples of this type of rubato are found in the modern pop diva performances, often deriving from melodies that are highly syncopated to begin with. I think this is probably the closest thing we have to the baroque opera diva, though the ornamentation style is entirely different. We don't get into it much because unfortunately the quality of the music is often lacking. There are some really fine singers out there being wasted. For an example of such, with a somewhat old-fashioned setting:

Beyoncé at Obama's inaugural ball

Poor Beyoncé...her musical expression is so limited by that steady accompaniment! :roll: :lol: Shouldn't they have followed her?? (Now that would have been chaos!) If you'll note...they didn't even miss a beat during her short cadenza-like thing. (Not a whole beat anyway.)

If we can conceive of it, we can do it too.

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"Z Czernym poznałem się na panie brat—na dwa fortepiana często z nim u niego grywałem. Dobry człowiek, ale nic więcej..." - Fryderyk Chopin


Last edited by Terez on Sat Aug 20, 2011 5:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 5:06 am 
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Thanks to Terez for that monumental exhibition of typing!
musical-md wrote:
...I have not ever heard this "2-layered rubato thingy" by a concert pianist, whether live or recorded...

musical-md wrote:
Again, show me the money! I want to HEAR a famous pianist doing this, otherwise it is nothing more that arcane myth.

Eddy, it seems that you are trying to win an argument here, rather than learn something. I already gave you an example (especially the passage starting at 0:30) and you said you couldn't tell what was going on. (Naturally it isn't going to be easy to hear: if it were too obvious, it would sound tasteless.) If you tell yourself enough times that something doesn't exist, then of course you won't perceive it.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 5:13 am 
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hanysz wrote:
Eddy, it seems that you are trying to win an argument here, rather than learn something. I already gave you an example (especially the passage starting at 0:30) and you said you couldn't tell what was going on. (Naturally it isn't going to be easy to hear: if it were too obvious, it would sound tasteless.) If you tell yourself enough times that something doesn't exist, then of course you won't perceive it.

I agree with the first part, but not necessarily that it's tasteless if it's too obvious. I think it's tasteless when it's tasteless. Beyoncé's liberties with the melody are very obvious. But are they tasteless? Perhaps they would be in Chopin's music because it's a different ballgame; he wrote the music so that it's appropriate to use it sometimes, sometimes not. But at the same time, the bel canto style in Chopin's music seems to always suggest this style to varying degrees over the course of the line. Sometimes more, sometimes less. It's passionate speech, and the music calls for varying degrees of passion. Lenz says that Chopin often criticized him for being over-declamatory, though. Worth noting is that Lenz was, above all, an admirer of Liszt.

Edit - With a quick search on YouTube, I found at least a few performances of the same song Beyoncé sang that venture into the 'tasteless'.

Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera 2

Both Christina and Beyoncé are 'obvious' with their melodic manipulations. Why is it that I find Beyoncé's performance incredibly tasteful, and Christina's tasteless? Christina does leave the melody a little further behind, indulging more often in ornamentation, and I think that has something to do with it, but it's not quite everything.

The Etta James original is not bad, but I think not as good as Beyoncé. Some of the related videos will take you to some live performances by James in her later years, and they definitely venture into the tasteless.

In other words, if one were to hear Christina Aguilera singing this song, one might find this singing style to be unmusical, but I think it's rather more difficult to come to that conclusion after listening to Beyoncé. Some have a knack for it, some don't, and there is all kinds of in between.

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"Z Czernym poznałem się na panie brat—na dwa fortepiana często z nim u niego grywałem. Dobry człowiek, ale nic więcej..." - Fryderyk Chopin


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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 6:42 am 
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@Terez. I am not trying to be argumentative, but I do feel that you and I are speaking beside one another. I don't see how an ensemble performance applies to this discussion. Any group of musicians can play with one improvising (Beyonce singing, e.g.). What does that prove? As mentioned many times before, this is very common in jazz; but once again this is not the subject. The subject I introduced in this thread was about the famed (or infamous) rubato that Chopin (a single player with a single mind) could reportedly produce, where a composed and rhythmically pre-defined melody (no matter what it's features or complexity) was in some manner adjusted in performance so that it did not have the same rhythmic allignment with the accompaniment as defined in the score. Chris, Joe and David (perhaps others) seem to appreciate this issue, but by showing me a sample of a score to discuss this subject, suggests that you are not getting the issue. It's just not the proper category of argument (I mean friendly argument here). In the passage that you show, all of the fioritura notes could be played within the given time (2nd half of 1st beat) so that the "fixed" 8th notes of the melody occured in proper relation to the accompaniment, whether with or without a ritardando. But this is not the subject.

@Alfonso. The rhythmic complexity of music does not speak to me (maybe others too) with regard to the independent tempo of a pianists hands such that a shift occurs when compared to the written score. This is about interpretation in performance, not composition.

@Alexander. As I said to you before, I really do respect what you have to say. I must admit that I am not in a pursuit to acquire some new ability that I never had before in seeking to be able to play with independent tempos in each hand, however momentarily it might be. I'm just a Doubting Thomas asking for the same evidence that the other Apostles had: I'll believe it when I [hear] it. Like others here, I have heard many great pianists and have even been trained by several too, so why was this not a part of my experience? Why is there no recorded works of Chopin by someone that we can que-up and listen to a pianist do this? (Certainly a free spirit like Lang Lang perhaps, would do this, no? Can anyone recall a spot?) I maintain that if this was some modification that in art music (Romantic for now) was so minute that a highly-trained individual might not appreciate it, then it would never have served as sufficient to gain a reputation and identity, and this is nothing more than a "Tempest in a Tea Cup." Again, what I find to be obvious, is the manner in which Chopin composes irregular groupings against patterend accompaniment, and believe that this effect might be heard as the suggested rubato, but of course it is nothing of the sort.

My impulse in the beginning, and even now still, is to discuss a fascinating and controversial idea of music. Of course I would love to win an argument, but I would rather participate in a lively exchange of ideas with some great people here. I have enjoyed this but I'm ready and willing to happily move on if anyone thinks it is becoming toxic or that we've covered it sufficiently (even exhaustively) already. :) I think I have some Hoffman playing Chopin. I wonder if he does it?

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 7:04 am 
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musical-md wrote:
@Terez. I am not trying to be argumentative, but I do feel that you and I are speaking beside one another. I don't see how an ensemble performance applies to this discussion. Any group of musicians can play with one improvising (Beyonce singing, e.g.). What does that prove?

Many things, having to do with many assertions you have made. It proves that this type of rubato is not tasteless or unmusical, as you asserted here. (And it has already been demonstrated that this type of rubato is not limited to 'one composer', though Chopin indeed made it famous among pianists.) It actually perfectly fits the description the rubato described by Tosi, Mozart, and Chopin's students, though we all know the style is different. The concept of stolen time is, however, the same. It proves that a singer is not necessarily limited in her musical expression by an accompanist who keeps time, which was your assertion in the opening post of this thread. It proves that there is nothing inherently 'disjointed' or 'amateurish' about a melody that goes against the grain of the accompaniment.

Quote:
As mentioned many times before, this is very common in jazz; but once again this is not the subject. The subject I introduced in this thread was about the famed (or infamous) rubato that Chopin (a single player with a single mind) could reportedly produce, where a composed and rhythmically pre-defined melody (no matter what it's features or complexity) was in some manner adjusted in performance so that it did not have the same rhythmic allignment with the accompaniment as defined in the score.

And yet, as your 'proofs' that Chopin could not have possibly played this way (despite multiple accounts agreeing that he did in fact play this way) have been your opinions that this type of rubato is necessarily unmusical, and your assertion that no pianist can do it. I agree it's more difficult for a pianist to do it, and I understand that many pianists such as yourself (conveniently) write it off as impossible for this reason. That's why I brought it up in the first place in Rich's thread; I wonder if pianists even consider trying to develop the technique. If Chopin could do it, then chances are we can too. Just because it was easy for him doesn't mean we shouldn't try because it's difficult for us. It certainly doesn't stop us from spending months working on his pieces that he could likely play without much practice at all.

Quote:
In the passage that you show, all of the fioritura notes could be played within the given time (2nd half of 1st beat) so that the "fixed" 8th notes of the melody occured in proper relation to the accompaniment, whether with or without a ritardando. But this is not the subject.

Oh, but it is. :wink:

Quote:
Like others here, I have heard many great pianists and have even been trained by several too, so why was this not a part of my experience? Why is there no recorded works of Chopin by someone that we can que-up and listen to a pianist do this?

I have addressed this question multiple times. Your continued stubbornness on the subject is yet another example of why the technique isn't cultivated. It's easier to pretend that it's not possible - or worse, that it's unmusical.

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"Z Czernym poznałem się na panie brat—na dwa fortepiana często z nim u niego grywałem. Dobry człowiek, ale nic więcej..." - Fryderyk Chopin


Last edited by Terez on Sat Aug 20, 2011 9:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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