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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 7:02 pm 
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musical-md wrote:
@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.

Eddy, I cannot boast the loftly biography you have and have not trained with the pianistic gods at whose temples you worship, but I have heard of this very thing which you deny, like Thomas, from my one and only teacher. I am just sorry I did not persue it at the time! May it not come to pass that you be rebuked by the Master himself (and here I mean Chopin)!

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"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
Oscar Wilde: Impressions of America: Leadville


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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 8:35 pm 
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Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
richard66 wrote:
musical-md wrote:
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!

Only a tasteless ignoramus would play that Mozart with rubato and only a boor would play triplets in Beethoven and call it rubato, but that is not because it might not by a strech of the imagination be rubato, but because rubato is uncalled for in Beethoven.


:?: Wow Richard, I really don't think you mean what you said. I dare say that any and every work (even a moto perpetuo by anyone) is subject to rubato. I personally would find any work of any era played without some rubato, to be ... well, unmusical, and unhuman. Just me speaking here, but rubato (the plain-old-one that we all know and love) is used to color emotional content and to help demarcate structure/form in a piece (at least that's how I use it). What piece of music ever composed is devoid of emotional content or structure/form? None. I do agree with you that one would not play that Mozart first movement (KV 545, i) with any "moderate" amounts of rubato, but to play with none at all, so that every beat is metronomically placed from beginning to the end, without regard to the changing elevations and curves and scenery? I think that performer would be criticised quite substantially, and rightly so. However, your reply also seems to suggest that some works or composers are not subject to certain musical parameters, like rubato. This was one of the arguments I made very early on regarding the Chopin rubato (not to be confused with rubato in Chopin), that if it were genuine then it would be a musical parameter suitable for all music (symphonies, string quartets, etc.), just like plain rubato, dynamics, accents, articulations, etc., are.

Wow, we (or I) can add Chopin rubato to religion, politics, evolution and abortion. Never did I imagine I would stimulate such heated debate. It's good that we're all still cyber friends. :D Even Joe and I have been together on this one! :wink:

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


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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 10:28 pm 
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musical-md wrote:
I can't explain myself more clearly; I have really carefully tried to limit the discussion to the kernle of the issue: a 2-layered (composed melody appart from composed accompaniment) tempo disturbance (rubato) performed by a single pianist.

You don't understand the issue so you can't limit it properly.

Quote:
Almost every evidence raised to support this questionable musical performing feature (BTW if you see the post you directed me to you'll see I never said "tasteless", only "unmusical") has been academic. You fail to recognize that I myself provided excellent historic reference early on to the notion that you support.

You provided a questionable entry from the Harvard Dictionary of Music. At music school you learn that this sort of thing is insufficient for research. Most music schools don't even use it; they use Grove's instead, and any research prof will tell you not to ever use Grove's as a source - only use the bibliography for each entry as a starting point. My excerpts from Eigeldinger refute the suggestion that 'rubato' was never meant to indicate tempo fluctuations; even in the sense they use, 'rubato' was always meant to indicate both time and dynamic fluctuations - passionate speech. I suggest reading the Eigeldinger quotes again; it's ridiculous to suggest that a term that means 'stolen time' doesn't refer to stolen time in Chopin's music, especially when his most reliable students attest to the fact that it does in fact refer to stolen time.

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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 11:46 pm 
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Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
Terez wrote:
musical-md wrote:
I can't explain myself more clearly; I have really carefully tried to limit the discussion to the kernle of the issue: a 2-layered (composed melody appart from composed accompaniment) tempo disturbance (rubato) performed by a single pianist.

You don't understand the issue so you can't limit it properly.

Quote:
Almost every evidence raised to support this questionable musical performing feature (BTW if you see the post you directed me to you'll see I never said "tasteless", only "unmusical") has been academic. You fail to recognize that I myself provided excellent historic reference early on to the notion that you support.

You provided a questionable entry from the Harvard Dictionary of Music. At music school you learn that this sort of thing is insufficient for research. Most music schools don't even use it; they use Grove's instead, and any research prof will tell you not to ever use Grove's as a source - only use the bibliography for each entry as a starting point. My excerpts from Eigeldinger refute the suggestion that 'rubato' was never meant to indicate tempo fluctuations; even in the sense they use, 'rubato' was always meant to indicate both time and dynamic fluctuations - passionate speech. I suggest reading the Eigeldinger quotes again; it's ridiculous to suggest that a term that means 'stolen time' doesn't refer to stolen time in Chopin's music, especially when his most reliable students attest to the fact that it does in fact refer to stolen time.

Wow. We must be speaking different languages. Where in the world did you ever get that I made "the suggestion that 'rubato' was never meant to indicate tempo fluctuations"? Terez, I'm saddened that your tone has also taken a turn towards the mean and insulting with: "it's ridiculous to suggest that a term that means 'stolen time' doesn't refer to stolen time in Chopin's music." I never said nor implied such a naive notion. This again makes me feel that you and I haven't communicated a single word to eachother this entire time. I'm curious (given what you've just written): what do you think that I am saying?

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


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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 1:15 am 
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Location: Gulfport, MS, USA
musical-md wrote:
Wow. We must be speaking different languages. Where in the world did you ever get that I made "the suggestion that 'rubato' was never meant to indicate tempo fluctuations"? Terez, I'm saddened that your tone has also taken a turn towards the mean and insulting with: "it's ridiculous to suggest that a term that means 'stolen time' doesn't refer to stolen time in Chopin's music."

Take a step back and examine the tone of your last few posts.

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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: Sun Aug 21, 2011 5:47 am 
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richard66 wrote:
musical-md wrote:
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.

Do I get you, Eddy? If a composer writes it out it cannot be rubato, but rubato is only when the performer does it? strange thatif the results being the same, a technique changes name accordingly if it the composer or the perfomer who applies it.

Hi Richard,
Sorry I missed your question earlier. I'm not sure if you're being rhetorical or not so I will answer this. Though there are compositional devices like rhythmic modulation, rubato is not composed, though it may be indicated by the composer. This is true not only when a composer writes "rubato," but also any of the directions to bend the tempo: meno mosso, piu mosso, poco ritardando, and the like. Another way to consider it is to look at the WTC of Bach as an example. I don't think you will find the instruction "rubato" anywhere (at least I can't think of one off the top of my head in an urtext edition) but the music (all of it) is certainly performed with rubato as part of every artist's interpretation. So my final answer is, a composer may indicate rubato, but rubato is chiefly therefore the domain of the interpreter. (IMO).

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


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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 5:57 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:28 am
Posts: 1250
Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
Terez wrote:
musical-md wrote:
Wow. We must be speaking different languages. Where in the world did you ever get that I made "the suggestion that 'rubato' was never meant to indicate tempo fluctuations"? Terez, I'm saddened that your tone has also taken a turn towards the mean and insulting with: "it's ridiculous to suggest that a term that means 'stolen time' doesn't refer to stolen time in Chopin's music."

Take a step back and examine the tone of your last few posts.

Ok, I did and I think I behaved myself as a gentleman. :)
musical-md wrote:
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 for one think so. :(

My last word to Terez: I think Beyonce is a fine singer, but Christina, IMO, is a vocal virtuoso. Like many virtuosos, she is sometimes not very musical. I find some of her very best artistry to be on the CD that she cut in Spanish, and in her guest spot with Andre Bocelli on his Spanish album Amore. :wink:

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


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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:22 am 
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musical-md wrote:
You fail to recognize that I myself provided excellent historic reference early on to the notion that you support.

I myself - gotta love that :lol:

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Nothing is always absolutely so -- Sturgeon's law
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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 10:02 am 
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Posts: 1418
Location: Gulfport, MS, USA
techneut wrote:
musical-md wrote:
You fail to recognize that I myself provided excellent historic reference early on to the notion that you support.

I myself - gotta love that :lol:

Gotta love Dutchies nitpicking our English, anyway. :wink:

_________________
"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: Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:01 pm 
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Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
Terez wrote:
techneut wrote:
musical-md wrote:
You fail to recognize that I myself provided excellent historic reference early on to the notion that you support.

I myself - gotta love that :lol:

Gotta love Dutchies nitpicking our English, anyway. :wink:

So many words, so few mistakes! :wink: At least I did do a ... whatever.
Redundancy, there was done (unknowingly) with poetic liscense, for purpose of emphasis. :mrgreen:
(I still haven't figured out the Mr. Green thingy)

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


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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:57 pm 
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Posts: 1040
musical-md wrote:
richard66 wrote:
musical-md wrote:
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!

Only a tasteless ignoramus would play that Mozart with rubato and only a boor would play triplets in Beethoven and call it rubato, but that is not because it might not by a strech of the imagination be rubato, but because rubato is uncalled for in Beethoven.


:?: Wow Richard, I really don't think you mean what you said. I dare say that any and every work (even a moto perpetuo by anyone) is subject to rubato. I personally would find any work of any era played without some rubato, to be ... well, unmusical, and unhuman. Just me speaking here, but rubato (the plain-old-one that we all know and love) is used to color emotional content and to help demarcate structure/form in a piece (at least that's how I use it). What piece of music ever composed is devoid of emotional content or structure/form? None. I do agree with you that one would not play that Mozart first movement (KV 545, i) with any "moderate" amounts of rubato, but to play with none at all, so that every beat is metronomically placed from beginning to the end, without regard to the changing elevations and curves and scenery? I think that performer would be criticised quite substantially, and rightly so. However, your reply also seems to suggest that some works or composers are not subject to certain musical parameters, like rubato. This was one of the arguments I made very early on regarding the Chopin rubato (not to be confused with rubato in Chopin), that if it were genuine then it would be a musical parameter suitable for all music (symphonies, string quartets, etc.), just like plain rubato, dynamics, accents, articulations, etc., are.

Wow, we (or I) can add Chopin rubato to religion, politics, evolution and abortion. Never did I imagine I would stimulate such heated debate. It's good that we're all still cyber friends. :D Even Joe and I have been together on this one! :wink:

Yes, Eddy, you stirred a hornet's nest! I have many thoughts on this I would like to share with you, but I want you first to promise that you will not take them personally, because I feel no animosity whatsoever to you!

I would not add rubato to Mozart, but I do add the odd ritenuto at the end of phrases and things like that, of course. I meant playing Mozart as if he were Rachmaninoff!

I have a recording of Chopin's songs, which I quite enjoy. Some are quite lovely:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgYUMOr1 ... re=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVd6NIe9 ... re=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9UYoQ2a ... re=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=204RoKZajTw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dH1xfZYR ... 56C636A0C7

On the record sleeve there was a long article on Polish song and of its importance in order to understand Chopin. Maybe these songs offer a clue?

_________________
Richard Willmer
"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
Oscar Wilde: Impressions of America: Leadville


Last edited by richard66 on Sun Aug 21, 2011 7:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 7:00 pm 
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It's too bad the Schumann wasn't responsible for this "2-layered rubato thingy." If he were it would be totally understandable. Eusebius keeping exact time in his left hand, Floristan doing his own thing in his right, and Master Raro getting the two in sync from time to time.

Scott


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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 7:12 pm 
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RSPIll wrote:
It's too bad the Schumann wasn't responsible for this "2-layered rubato thingy." If he were it would be totally understandable. Eusebius keeping exact time in his left hand, Floristan doing his own thing in his right, and Master Raro getting the two in sync from time to time.

Scott

:lol: :lol: That would have been too easy! We would just assign it to mental imbalance, bipolar disorder and/or schizophrenia.

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


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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 7:45 pm 
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Richard,
Thanks for the links. I listened to them all. I would never have thought these to be Chopin. My knowledge of Polish or slavic tongues in general is nill, except that I understand the Russian alphabet a bit. Chopin's style in these songs, to me, is so different from how I know him as the composer of piano music. BTW, the singer (a lovely brunett) does a great job. I have no idea what these songs are about, but the are most soul-full.

Your having posted songs, has caused me to realize that right from my original post on this thread, with my reference to singing, etc., I wonder if I inadvertently pointed the discussion in the wrong direction, because my intended theme was tempo shifts (rubato) of melody vs accompaniment in composed piano solo works. It is evident that many folks contributed with references to singers and vocal music, etc. which of course meant nothing to me seeking a discussion in application of rubato to piano literature. I'm not wanting to rehash anything, just making the observation that It probably would have been better if I had never made any reference to singers, accompaning singers as analogy, etc.

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


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 Post subject: Re: That 2-layered rubato thingy
PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:10 pm 
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Terez wrote:
Gotta love Dutchies nitpicking our English, anyway. :wink:

I wouldn't dream of nitpicking anyone's English here.
It just struck my funnybone that someone would write "I myself". AFAIK that's a first on this forum. It had to be Eddy of course :P

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