Playing Without Any Pain Or Discomfort: part five

November 08,2017

Second Experiment continued (see part 4 published on 2/16/2017)

2D.

Similar in some ways to 2B, but this time when one finger only plays Middle-C, the other finger moves to an adjacent note and sounds that note at the same time. As always, the goal is to have the feeling that there is one unified action, one unified sound, without internal differentiations.

When it happens that (on a secondary level) the two second fingers separate, think of the famous scene in E.T. where the two species reach out to touch fingers. Or picture a “Jacobs Ladder”, which, as the wires diverge, the current still passes between them. The electrical connection is not lost. This requires imagination reinforced by a keen ear and a keen sense of subtle changes or similarities in the body’s internal, kinesthetic state. Whatever the quality if of this inner state, it prevails unaltered, in spite of any peripheral change in the fingers and the hands.

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My least favorite Brahms Symphony, up till now.

November 08,2017

At last I’ve heard a decent performance of Brahms’ Second Symphony!

I am a Brahms junkie. I live and breathe Brahms. The air he breathes is the air I breathe. His emotions are my emotions. When I was growing up I felt many new emotions for the first time by listening to Brahms rather than from experiences in real life.

Given this enthusiasm, please understand that when I say that I have a “least” favorite Brahms Symphony, it is all relative. My preferences, in descending order, is: #1, #4, #3, and #2. The second had never satisfied me. Every time I hear a new performance of it, I raise my hopes, but they are dashed in short order.

In retrospect I realize that how I esteem a piece has often been dependent more on the quality of the first performance I hear of it, rather than what I come to know of the piece itself as my experiences with the piece grow in number. Let us just say that tonight, I heard for the first performance of the Second Symphony that reached all the standards I impute to Brahms. It was Martin Alsop conducting the London Philharmonic. I missed the first two thirds of the first movement. It took a few minutes to accustom myself to the interpretation, but after that I was sold:

1) Meaningful and intelligent parsing and phrasing (not prefabricated phrasing that approximates but never custom fits the notes, or the orchestration or the harmony). Each phrase came out of the unique meaning of a passage.

2) Pellucid orchestration: clear, harmonious and well balanced as is true of all the great composers when writing for orchestra.

3) Harmonically well-informed playing. So many interpretations skim over, merely summarize the obvious steps in Brahms’s masterful harmonic progressions.

4) Every detail of the harmony had its proper aesthetic sense. No passing tone, no tone of embellishment at all, that didn’t gain meaning from the governing chords.

5) A masterful realization of Brahms’ mastery of counterpoint that made no attempt to avoid difficulties due to texture or orchestration.

I was engaged; I was not bored by what previously had seemed like trite overindulgences in the more superficial emotional aspects of the piece – mixed with ignorance of all that came in between.

So, although my order of preference among the Brahms symphonies remains the same, the Second Symphony is now not as far away from as it was from the firrst symphony.

A caveat to myself. I’ve heard other Brahms performances conducted by Martin Alsop that have engaged me the first time I heard but whose appeal fell off with subsequent hearings. I’m optimistic this time will be different.

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List of today’s 15 “encore” postings

May 09,2017

List of today’s “encore” postings (edited and condensed from their original versions)

{1}   Music, The Art of Time.  The Manipulation of the Conscious Perception of Time

{2}   Magic with Time and Awareness at the Piano

{3}   Sometimes We Think We Are Listening But We Are Actually Feeling a Physical Sensation

{4}   Hearing The Middles Of The Sounds

{5}   There is a Benefit As Well To Remaining Aware of a Physical Motion From Instant to

Instant Through Time.

{6}   The Effectiveness of The Imagination In Executing Motions

{7}   Points of Articulation in the Body Can Be Real or Imaginary

{8}   The Body “Springs” To Action:

{9}   Energy: the Universal Cure

{10} My “Least” Favorite Brahms Symphony – I.E. up to now

{11} The “Mental Landscape” of the student

{12} The “Protean” Hand.

{13} The Full Ambit Of A Motion

{14} “Sonic Glue”

{15} Translation of Spatial Axes

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{1} MUSIC, THE ART OF TIME.  THE MANIPULATION OF CONSCIOUS PERCEPTION TIME.

May 09,2017

{1} MUSIC, THE ART OF TIME.  THE MANIPULATION OF CONSCIOUS PERCEPTION TIME.

Many of music’s most glorious effects stem from the manipulation of time.  The past, the present, and the future are interwoven in a complex fabric in the conscious perception of music.

Time can seem to pass faster.  Time can seem to pass slower.  Something that happens at the present moment can effect how we think something was played just before now.  Memory in time can affect how we perceive something analogous that is occurring now.

Something that occurs simultaneously can be perceived as occurring sequentially.  Something that occurs sequentially can be perceived as if occurring simultaneously.

We can hear all the voices of a fugue separately by following one voice partially into a measure and then “go back” in time in our recent memory, and follow another voice from the beginning of a measure.

I hope to speak a lot about the magic relation of music and time.

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{2} MAGIC WITH TIME AND AWARENESS AT THE PIANO

May 09,2017

{2} MAGIC WITH TIME AND AWARENESS AT THE PIANO

A note that lasts one second can be perceived as one conscious act.  Or it can be perceived and then re-perceived in two or more repeated acts of awareness, each one lasting only a part of a second.  Some of the most beautiful playing comes when the pianist’s conscious awareness is “updated” as often as possible, after the least amount of time.

An entire new world opens up for view as we look more deeply into the instant to instant flow of time.  It is analogous to magnifying our view of a material object until its solidity parts and reveals the vast spaces between the subatomic particles.

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