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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 10:27 am 
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hanysz wrote:
Terez wrote:
A lot of people forget that Chopin was an amateur. He never had a piano teacher.

I've never heard of this. I was sure he spent a few years having lessons with Zywny.

And I did not know that the definition of "amateur" was one who had had no teacher. Having had a teacher then I by definition am a concert pianist! Ha! I never thought I would have made it; change the definition and change the result:lol:

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 1:15 pm 
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richard wrote:
hanysz wrote:
Terez wrote:
A lot of people forget that Chopin was an amateur. He never had a piano teacher.

I've never heard of this. I was sure he spent a few years having lessons with Zywny.

And I did not know that the definition of "amateur" was one who had had no teacher. Having had a teacher then I by definition am a concert pianist! Ha! I never thought I would have made it; change the definition and change the result:lol:


:lol: Me too! :lol:

Chopin did have many lessons from Zywny and then went to the Warsaw Conservatory to study with Elsner. Not sure what kind of 'degree' he received, and maybe he was not paid to perform when he was in his youth playing at dinner parties of the Polish aristocracy. But he certainly was a paid performer later when he was Paris (playing to packed audiences), so coupled with that and selling his compositions plus being a highly sought-after teacher, I think it's pretty far-fetched to call Chopin an amateur. If that's the case, then you might as well call Mozart an amateur too. :roll: :? :)

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 7:39 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
richard wrote:
hanysz wrote:
Terez wrote:
A lot of people forget that Chopin was an amateur. He never had a piano teacher.

I've never heard of this. I was sure he spent a few years having lessons with Zywny.

And I did not know that the definition of "amateur" was one who had had no teacher. Having had a teacher then I by definition am a concert pianist! Ha! I never thought I would have made it; change the definition and change the result:lol:


:lol: Me too! :lol:

Chopin did have many lessons from Zywny and then went to the Warsaw Conservatory to study with Elsner. Not sure what kind of 'degree' he received, and maybe he was not paid to perform when he was in his youth playing at dinner parties of the Polish aristocracy. But he certainly was a paid performer later when he was Paris (playing to packed audiences), so coupled with that and selling his compositions plus being a highly sought-after teacher, I think it's pretty far-fetched to call Chopin an amateur. If that's the case, then you might as well call Mozart an amateur too. :roll: :? :)


Let us give a concert, you and I: you do the playing and I will turn th pages. Just remember to nod at the right moments so I do not get lost! :D

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 7:53 pm 
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Now, seriously, I was reflecting the other night, 3am philosophy and I thought thus:

Rubato is when you slacken or speed tempo here and there, making up for it later on. But if both hands do the same slackening or speeding, what need is there to compensate further on? After all, if one sets off alone to go to the station it makes no difference how fast or slow you go; it is only when you are in two. If two set out separately to go to the station and bith must arrive together and if one goes faster than the other, why, yes, he must slow down further onb, or else he will arrive earlier.

If I may give a poor example, I submitted a recording to the site, Camellieri it was, where there is a slow waltz rhythm thoughout the piece, exepting for the last 3 or 4 bars. There is a ritardando there too, but otherwise, I felt the rhythm had to keep steady or else the piece did not hold together. Of course that mean the meledy came out square. I have the impression (I might be very wrong, of course) that I might have applied this type of rubato, always within the beat, so that not all quavers or semi- or demisemiquavers are precisely divided over the crotchets, but that some might be slighly longer than others, in a way that time is precise while the melody still sings.

Might this be rubato to you?

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:50 pm 
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88man wrote:
Rendering any "Musical dissociative disorder" seems a bit stretched, because deviations relating tempo or synchronicity is intentional on part of the pianist, and it is not involuntary, nor pathologic. It's a matter of taste. Synchronicity is mathematical and absolute in written manuscript, but any tempo deviations via rubato really should involve BOTH hands, and not just one hand.
Terez wrote:
This, I disagree with, mostly because I think the pulse is often broken by this type of rubato. I think people use it often because it is by and far the easiest way to execute rubato in Chopin's music, and Chopin's music sounds awful without it (even the most mechanical of the etudes). But I also think that Chopin's music suffers from a loss of pulse, if not so much as from a lack of rubato.

Not really. Pulse is a subjective term. Pulse doesn't have to be broken in the presence of rubato, as music is a dynamic process that can embrace change within the same piece. Even a driving pulse needs a break from time to time to add a degree of contrast, hence different themes, etc. In proper use of rubato, it's the tempo that is interrupted, not the rhythm. In other words the music may slow down, but the elements which define rhythm remain intact - accents, meter, etc. Our sense of pulse is primarily driven by rhythm, so our perception of pulse within a piece doesn't suffer.

Terez wrote:
A lot of people forget that Chopin was an amateur. He never had a piano teacher. Even his most difficult pieces are 'easy' in the sense that he only wrote what came naturally to his hand.

Stated bluntly, but marginally true. He really didn't have the opportunity to delve deeply into the formal tools of composition. This can be seen with the use of awkward enharmonics within a given key signature. Even Józef Elsner allowed a free reign on composition during the "formal years" from 1826-29. Making up for any inadequacies, however, his understanding of form, style, musical creativity equaled or transcended his contemporaries.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:14 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
After all, if one sets off alone to go to the station it makes no difference how fast or slow you go;

Unless it makes you miss your train :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 1:59 am 
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I thought I might see (finally) what the Harvard Dictionary of Music (2nd Ed) has to say on the subject:
Definition: "An elastic, flexible tempo involving slight accelerandos and ritardandos that alternate according to the requirements of musical expression."

Then it identifies "two types of rubato, one that affects the melody only and another that affects the whole musical texture. The first type has become well known through its use in jazz. However it was also used during the second half of the 18th century. Tosi (1723), Quantz (1752), K.P.E. Bach (1753), Leopold Mozart (1756), and D.G. Turk (1789) maintain that rubato applies only to the melody and should not affect the accompaniment. Chopin is reported to have taught this type of rubato, which may extend over several measures, after which the melodic and harmonic accents should again coincide."
<Material on the 2nd type skipped.>

Definition No.2: "About 1800 the term "rubato" was used to indicate modifications of dynamics rather than tempo, e.g., accents on normally weak beats, such as the second and forth in a 4/4 measure. It is possible that Chopin meant this manner of performance when he prescribed 'rubato' in his compositions, since he used the term almost exclusively in mazurkas or melodies in mazurka style (e.g.. F-Minor Concerto, last movement). The strict rhythm of the mazurka would seem to exclude modifications of tempo yet readily admits unexpected accents on the second or third beat."

Then I took a peek at Thurston Dart's The Interpretation of Music, 1954. Melody rubato is mentioned again in reference to Chopin. Beyond that, it is evident that the concept of flexible time has been around for some time as both Caccini, in his preface (1602) to his monodies Dart writes "explains in great detail the exact ways in which rubato, dynamics and phrasing should be used in his music in order to enhance its effects;" and Frescobaldi in the Preface to his first book of Toccatas (1614) writes "Do not keep strict time throughout but, as in modern madrigals, use here a slow tempo, here a fast one, and here one that, as it were, hangs in the air, always in accordance with the expression and meaning of the words," -- plainly demonstrates that the idea has been formaly around for quite some time.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:49 am 
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musical-md wrote:
Definition No.2: "About 1800 the term "rubato" was used to indicate modifications of dynamics rather than tempo, e.g., accents on normally weak beats, such as the second and forth in a 4/4 measure. It is possible that Chopin meant this manner of performance when he prescribed 'rubato' in his compositions, since he used the term almost exclusively in mazurkas or melodies in mazurka style (e.g.. F-Minor Concerto, last movement). The strict rhythm of the mazurka would seem to exclude modifications of tempo yet readily admits unexpected accents on the second or third beat."
Now, that is probably the most interesting thing I've heard in a long time and makes total sense to me regarding Chopin. Great information, Eddy!! :)


@Richard - turning pages is not easy, either! Just look at this article I posted awhile back:

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=1262

:lol:

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:24 am 
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techneut wrote:
richard66 wrote:
After all, if one sets off alone to go to the station it makes no difference how fast or slow you go;

Unless it makes you miss your train :mrgreen:


Yes, but at least both miss the train! Ifd one goes faster and reaches the station on time and the other does not... :) I have seen it happen!

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:28 am 
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pianolady wrote:
musical-md wrote:
@Richard - turning pages is not easy, either! Just look at this article I posted awhile back:

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=1262

:lol:

Come to think of it, we shall need to call the concert off: I am left-handed. :)

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"Please do not shoot the pianist
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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:36 am 
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musical-md wrote:
I thought I might see (finally) what the Harvard Dictionary of Music (2nd Ed) has to say on the subject:
Definition: "An elastic, flexible tempo involving slight accelerandos and ritardandos that alternate according to the requirements of musical expression."

Then it identifies "two types of rubato, one that affects the melody only and another that affects the whole musical texture. The first type has become well known through its use in jazz. However it was also used during the second half of the 18th century. Tosi (1723), Quantz (1752), K.P.E. Bach (1753), Leopold Mozart (1756), and D.G. Turk (1789) maintain that rubato applies only to the melody and should not affect the accompaniment. Chopin is reported to have taught this type of rubato, which may extend over several measures, after which the melodic and harmonic accents should again coincide."
<Material on the 2nd type skipped.>

Definition No.2: "About 1800 the term "rubato" was used to indicate modifications of dynamics rather than tempo, e.g., accents on normally weak beats, such as the second and forth in a 4/4 measure. It is possible that Chopin meant this manner of performance when he prescribed 'rubato' in his compositions, since he used the term almost exclusively in mazurkas or melodies in mazurka style (e.g.. F-Minor Concerto, last movement). The strict rhythm of the mazurka would seem to exclude modifications of tempo yet readily admits unexpected accents on the second or third beat."

Then I took a peek at Thurston Dart's The Interpretation of Music, 1954. Melody rubato is mentioned again in reference to Chopin. Beyond that, it is evident that the concept of flexible time has been around for some time as both Caccini, in his preface (1602) to his monodies Dart writes "explains in great detail the exact ways in which rubato, dynamics and phrasing should be used in his music in order to enhance its effects;" and Frescobaldi in the Preface to his first book of Toccatas (1614) writes "Do not keep strict time throughout but, as in modern madrigals, use here a slow tempo, here a fast one, and here one that, as it were, hangs in the air, always in accordance with the expression and meaning of the words," -- plainly demonstrates that the idea has been formaly around for quite some time.


It just goes to show that all that the wisecracks who affirm Chopin wanted his works to be played as if meter were nonexistent is twaddle. The more I see of "authentic performance" the more I realise this means no more than "performance taking into account all modern prejudices" and that "authentic performances of the 2010s are more authentic than authentic performances of the 1950s."

Thank you Eddy for looking this up!

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 2:29 pm 
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hanysz wrote:
Terez wrote:
A lot of people forget that Chopin was an amateur. He never had a piano teacher.

I've never heard of this. I was sure he spent a few years having lessons with Zywny.

Indeed, but Żynwy was not a pianist, and neither was Elsner. Żynwy had some facility with piano, but he was a violinist, and he mostly guided Chopin by giving him music to play. All accounts agree that little Chopin came up with his own fingerings, and Żynwy didn't object.

For the curious, there's a section in Eigeldinger's 'Chopin: Pianist and Teacher' on what Chopin's students had to say about Chopin's rubato - how he played, and how he taught.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 2:48 pm 
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It is a battle that cannot be won.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 2:58 pm 
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Battle?

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:54 pm 
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Well, I think this has been a fine discussion [thus far]! It was certainly stimulating to me. I think that we can all agree on certain principles:
1. Rubato is intrinsic to human-performed music, and will always be a desired characteristic in music.
2. As per No.1, this is one characteristic that results in unique interpretations of works, which is also a desired result in music.
3. As with any other component of aesthetics, there shall always be differing opinions as to what is beautiful and what is not.
4. The pursuit of beauty is fun :D

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