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Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it? [Re: Pogorelich.] #1482308 07/27/10 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Pogorelich.

Listening to copy interpretation will always, always be something I loathe deeply. (this is only concerning aspiring or 'professional' pianists) If you can't come up with ideas on your own and need to copy someone else, you have no business performing. I think of it as plagiarism.


I've heard this argument several times but usually against the idea of playing classical music...at all. If you are concerned about being "original", write your own music.

Running and ducking.

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Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it? [Re: Damon] #1482333 07/27/10 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Damon
Originally Posted by Pogorelich.

Listening to copy interpretation will always, always be something I loathe deeply. (this is only concerning aspiring or 'professional' pianists) If you can't come up with ideas on your own and need to copy someone else, you have no business performing. I think of it as plagiarism.


I've heard this argument several times but usually against the idea of playing classical music...at all. If you are concerned about being "original", write your own music.

Running and ducking.


I believe there is room to put your own original "voice" to music that someone else wrote. Otherwise, why do people listen to different interpretations of the same pieces.

I can't stand to hear people who closely immitate the interpretations of someone else with little or no thought. On the other hand, you can thoughtfully be influenced by other players, and use that influence in your playing. That's a big part of how you learn. It's one thing to say, "I like the way Glenn Gould uses different articulation to differentiate voices, and emulate other instruments, and I'll try to do some of that in my playing," for example. It's another thing to listen to his playing and simply immitate every way he plays ornaments, rolled chords, tempos, articulation, etc. without thinking about it. I used to hear lots of students do that, and I'd think "geez, why don't you push out the old kitchen chair with the short legs, and put on an overcoat, so you get the full effect."

As to the OP question: "worthy" is probably not the best word. I tend to listen to different recordings to get an idea of how various artist play a piece. Also, it's difficult to find many pieces I haven't heard a recording or performance of at some point. It's an interesting exercise to try to learn something you've never heard before, and see how you do.

Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it? [Re: Pogorelich.] #1482338 07/27/10 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Pogorelich.

What do you think Rubinstein did, as well as Rachmaninoff or Richter?

Listening to copy interpretation will always, always be something I loathe deeply. (this is only concerning aspiring or 'professional' pianists) If you can't come up with ideas on your own and need to copy someone else, you have no business performing. I think of it as plagiarism.

Now, for individuals who are amateurs or play for pleasure, I say do whatever makes you feel/play better..


If it actually were that easy to copy interpretation, I would totally agree with you. However, I think it's only possible to COPY interpretation at extremely obvious levels (well, for me it is). Example: Stretching the ending of L'isle Joyeuse like Horowitz did. If I did that, then yes, that would be copying interpretation. But I don't have the level of technique or musical mind a pianist at the caliber of Horowitz possesses, so it would be very difficult for me to copy their exact interpretation.

OR I may be totally wrong and I'm just not bothering with copying interpretation. If that's the case, I guess that's good. smile

Last edited by Orange Soda King; 07/27/10 08:12 AM.
Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it? [Re: Orange Soda King] #1482367 07/27/10 09:11 AM
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If you listen to really old recordings you'll find a variety of style that you don't hear now. Those players might have heard a piece they were learning once or twice, perhaps several years apart, before learning them, and so they were forced to develop their own interpretations. Even the composers played things ways that aren't the "authoritative" contemporary versions. Now I'd ask you, who's right--the composer, or 100 modern guys who all sound completely the same, and different from the composer's own version by a mile?

Now everyone sounds pretty much the same, relatively. I saw a masterclass video the other day where the teacher was trying to get someone to play a crescendo differently because "that's the way it's played," stamping out the tiniest piece of individuality in the student's playing.

If you want to sound like everyone else, and that's what people seem to want these days, listen to a lot of examples before you try to learn a piece. If you don't, try it on your own. It's really your choice.

Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it? [Re: Orange Soda King] #1482379 07/27/10 09:24 AM
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Knowing how a piece is supposed to sound is very helpful in learning. However....one problem is the conflict that develops when you haven't yet aquired the ability to play what your mind hears. This can lead to poor practicing (rushing, etc.)

It is good to play obscure pieces...no one knows how it is "supposed" to sound!

As an aside, on "American Idol" the judges rip the singers if they are not original...leveling accusations of bad karaoke.

Are we guilty of pianistic karaoke when we try to play pieces like we hear them on recordings?


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Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it? [Re: Stanza] #1482389 07/27/10 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Stanza
As an aside, on "American Idol" the judges rip the singers if they are not original...leveling accusations of bad karaoke.

Are we guilty of pianistic karaoke when we try to play pieces like we hear them on recordings?
I think there is a far greater freedom allowed in pop songs than classical. It's completely acceptable to totally change the tempo, sometimes the meter, the notes, the phrasing, the accompanying instruments, etc. Plus the human voice, I think, varies a lot more than the tone of concert pianos.

All this leads one to expect that each singer's version will be quite different from everyone else's.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 07/27/10 10:06 AM.
Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it? [Re: Stanza] #1482391 07/27/10 09:51 AM
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When I was first learning piano, my teacher insisted ardently that I do not listen to recordings of the pieces I was learning. I was very interested in music though, and decided to go against her wishes and get the recordings that accompany my graded piano repertoire books.

Now when learnng standard-rep stuff, I usually hear the piece at least once before I play it. I try not to listen to the recording while im working out my interpretation, but I usually go back to recordings later on because I find that I get a couple small ideas about interpretive details I havent thought of. I dont personally have a problem with doing this.

Just because I heard something in someone elses playing, doesnt mean Its anti-individualistic for me to use it in my own! Composers have "borrowed" musical bits and pieces, and even entire themes, as long as music has existed! If we choose to use other people's music, that music must have had a personal effect on us, and so it really is part of our personal artistic expression!

Of course, copying for the sake of copying is of no use.

Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it? [Re: pianoloverus] #1482395 07/27/10 09:55 AM
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PianoL:

Don't you think Rubinstien or Rachmaninov had heard many of the pieces they played before they ever learned them?

- As much as we hear in recordings today? Doubt it. The occasional concert or masterclass. They did not listen for interpretation ideas, that's for sure, and if you think that - then you're greatly misguided.

And didn't they all study extensively with teachers before they became full time performing pianists?
- didn't everybody?

What about everything the teachers told them? I'd guess more was about musical understanding and interpretation than technique.
- If you've ever had a good (and I mean really good) teacher, you wouldn't ask me this.

Isn't there a very fine line between listening to copy interpretation and listening to a recording or a teacher during a lesson or using a specific pianist's edition... any of these to learn both general musicality and specific ideas about a piece?
- Yes but that's completely different than taking say, a Chopin ballade, hearing some unique voicing by the pianist and immediately pasting it onto your own interpretation. Or unique rubato which you just MUST play the same way. It will never sound good. Because first of all, you will not completely understand WHY they did what they did - and usually there is a reason for everything. You have to know what you're playing and why. Believe me it comes through.

And I've heard the same old: how do you suddenly gain ideas out of nothing. We don't, obviously. You should listen to as much music as you can. Of course you should - I'm not for a second preaching against it. That would be retarded, wouldn't it? I listen to tons of music and most of it is orchestral actually. After a while, you learn to develop ideas - and that starts with listening to both music AND your own playing. And studying the score.

Consider Horowitz when he performed many of Rachmaninoff's works. Hmm I wonder if he had heard them a lot........ I would guess not, since HE was premiering them.

Last edited by Pogorelich.; 07/27/10 09:58 AM.


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Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it? [Re: Damon] #1482396 07/27/10 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Damon
Originally Posted by Pogorelich.

Listening to copy interpretation will always, always be something I loathe deeply. (this is only concerning aspiring or 'professional' pianists) If you can't come up with ideas on your own and need to copy someone else, you have no business performing. I think of it as plagiarism.


I've heard this argument several times but usually against the idea of playing classical music...at all. If you are concerned about being "original", write your own music.

Running and ducking.


I'm not concerned about being original. I'm concerned about being sincere and doing my homework before I play something. I hope your statement doesn't say much about your playing. Because to me, it kind of does..

Last edited by Pogorelich.; 07/27/10 10:14 AM.


"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it? [Re: Stanza] #1482397 07/27/10 09:57 AM
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We've been down this road several times in recent years and my take on the question has always remained the same.

I don't think that a beginning/intermediate student should listen to and diligently study a recording to find out "how a piece should sound," that is, how to play it. A student should be able to read a score and correctly interpret note-values and dynamics, all at a relatively steady tempo, however slow that initial tempo might be. The extreme case is the student who says that s/he can't learn to play the piece until s/he's heard it is also the student who shouldn't be listening to recordings until s/he learns to read.

This doesn't preclude, in my view, students looking for interpretive ideas from master pianists, whether that be a teacher or a pianist on a recording, once they have learned the notes. Nor does it imply that doing so necessarily diminishes one's own ability to make the piece one's own from an interpretive standpoint.

I think it's rather naive to think that advanced piano students should learn only pieces that they have never heard. Advanced students or simply avid music lovers will have heard many pieces over a period of time that they may eventually want to add to their repertoire. Having heard them before doesn't make their study of them any less worthy. However, slavish copying of someone else's performance would make that effort less "worthy" - if "worthy" is the operative word here.

Regards,


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Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it? [Re: Michael Darnton] #1482399 07/27/10 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Michael Darnton
If you listen to really old recordings you'll find a variety of style that you don't hear now. Those players might have heard a piece they were learning once or twice, perhaps several years apart, before learning them, and so they were forced to develop their own interpretations. Even the composers played things ways that aren't the "authoritative" contemporary versions. Now I'd ask you, who's right--the composer, or 100 modern guys who all sound completely the same, and different from the composer's own version by a mile?

Now everyone sounds pretty much the same, relatively. I saw a masterclass video the other day where the teacher was trying to get someone to play a crescendo differently because "that's the way it's played," stamping out the tiniest piece of individuality in the student's playing.
If the teacher said to do it a certain way and gave "that's the way it's played"as the only reason, I think that was a poor teacher.

I think even before the advent of recorded sound, pianists were more familiar with the basic repertoire more than you say. They would have heard these pieces many times in master classes or concerts.

I think the "variety of style" you mention was partly due to the piano playing philisophy of the times, where the performer was considered as important or more important than the composer and the score was less sancrosanct than it is today. I don't think that the newer philosophy is a bad thing. I think present day performances don't all sound the same, although it's possible that the differences in performances today are more subtle.

Another point to consider is that we mostly have recordings from the distant past by a relatively small number of great pianists. It's possible that if we had recordings from a much larger numer of pianists from 80 or 100 years ago, they wouldn't all sound so unique.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 07/27/10 04:35 PM.
Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it? [Re: pianoloverus] #1482410 07/27/10 10:24 AM
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"I think the "variety of style" you mention was partly due to the piano playing philisophy of the times, where the performer was considered as important or more important than the composer and the score was less sancrosanct than it is today."

An easy comment to make with a lack of evidence, but we have plenty of evidence, so I'll repeat myself:

Even the composers played things ways that aren't the "authoritative" contemporary versions. Now I'd ask you, who's right--the composer, or 100 modern guys who all sound completely the same, and different from the composer's own version by a mile?

Last edited by Michael Darnton; 07/27/10 10:33 AM.
Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it? [Re: Pogorelich.] #1482510 07/27/10 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Pogorelich


And didn't they all study extensively with teachers before they became full time performing pianists?
- didn't everybody?

What about everything the teachers told them? I'd guess more was about musical understanding and interpretation than technique.
- If you've ever had a good (and I mean really good) teacher, you wouldn't ask me this.

I think these two questions and your answers(and maybe all my questions and your answers) go together because my point about having teachers was that I think good teachers spend a lot of time on interpretation and musical understanding. That is not IMO the same as saying to the student you must play this passage a certain way. But it could involve a teacher explaining why they think a passage should be played a certain way and expecting the student to try it out at least during the lesson.And the best teachers would make it clear which things were just musical "mistakes" by the student and which were much more optional suggestions by the teacher.

That has been my experience in watching 100's of master classes mostly at Mannes. There have been almost none where the teacher didn't spend the huge majority of the time, i.e. 80+ %, on non technical matters (which I would call musicality and/or interpretaion).

Maybe we have different ideas about the meaning of "interpretation"?




Last edited by pianoloverus; 07/27/10 01:50 PM.
Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it? [Re: pianoloverus] #1482531 07/27/10 02:18 PM
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I understand the Angelina's argument, my teacher always make the same argument and she thinks exactly like Angelina.

But I think the major problem is not the originality issue. The real problem is to learn the score by ear, because you do not develop your reading skills, and you tend to play exactly the way you heard. It is, indeed, a bad thing to originality matters.

BUT, if even the Composers themselves used to study other composers works, so why not listening to different renditions to come out with yours? You can make your own the same way, don't you?





Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it? [Re: Michael Darnton] #1482551 07/27/10 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael Darnton
"I think the "variety of style" you mention was partly due to the piano playing philisophy of the times, where the performer was considered as important or more important than the composer and the score was less sancrosanct than it is today."

An easy comment to make with a lack of evidence, but we have plenty of evidence, so I'll repeat myself:

Even the composers played things ways that aren't the "authoritative" contemporary versions. Now I'd ask you, who's right--the composer, or 100 modern guys who all sound completely the same, and different from the composer's own version by a mile?
I don't see what the question in your last paragraph has to do with what I said in the paragraph you quoted. I also don't think 100 modern guys all sound the same.

I think the answer to your question a composer's performance being authoritative would depend on factors like the composer's skill as a pianist and whether the composer tended to play his music in a similar way all the time. If the composer was a great pianist and tended to play his works similarly all the time, then I would say his performance was "authoritative" in the sense it was what the composer intended the music to sound like.

When you say "lack of evidence" are you talking about:

1.my statement about the changing philosophy of piano playing or
2.the conclusion I made(using that philosophy as a possible reason why there was "more variety of style"?

I think the evidence for the change in philosophy is just common knowledge. I think that the earlier greater emphasis on the pianist's personality would logically lead to greater interpretive freedom and more or greater degrees of "variety".

Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it? [Re: BruceD] #1482592 07/27/10 03:46 PM
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Musical interpretation is an art, and as such it is a creative process, but that doesn't mean it has to arise out of a vacuum. Did Olivier never watch a Shakespeare play? If your effort is directed at listening to others, copying their interpretations, and calling them your own, then I think it's misdirected. If you're listening for inspiration, to have other possibilities revealed to you, or just to compare your ideas with others, then I think the more you hear of others' playing, even playing your pieces, the better.

I don't see how you can play anyone's interpretation but your own. Or maybe I should say, I can't play anyone's interpretation but my own. I listen to another performance, I'm fed by what I hear, it goes in and takes hold somewhere, but when it comes back out it's still me. Maybe it's just that my technique and my memory aren't up to replicating someone else's performances, but by the time I've played a piece a few hundred times to learn it, anything I've heard anyone else do with it is just part of the mix of possibilities that I draw on when I play. And what I draw out is different every time; I seldom play a piece the same way twice.

David


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Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it? [Re: David T] #1482594 07/27/10 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by David T
Musical interpretation is an art, and as such it is a creative process, but that doesn't mean it has to arise out of a vacuum. Did Olivier never watch a Shakespeare play? If your effort is directed at listening to others, copying their interpretations, and calling them your own, then I think it's misdirected. If you're listening for inspiration, to have other possibilities revealed to you, or just to compare your ideas with others, then I think the more you hear of others' playing, even playing your pieces, the better.


Originally Posted by BruceD
This doesn't preclude, in my view, students looking for interpretive ideas from master pianists, whether that be a teacher or a pianist on a recording, once they have learned the notes. Nor does it imply that doing so necessarily diminishes one's own ability to make the piece one's own from an interpretive standpoint.


What I think but expressed better.

Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it? [Re: pianoloverus] #1482605 07/27/10 04:18 PM
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I think what Al-mahed is saying is:
An original interpretation is possible,
even if informed by another pianist's interpretation -
because nothing exists in a vacuum.

"Nothing exists in a vacuum" applies to musical interpretation because there are many things that already influence, such as:
- Personal experience
- Specific Piano Schools
- General piano techniques
- Country-based techniques
- Musical Era techniques
- Specific instructions from a composer
- Advice from music analysts, writers
- Hearing a live performance, or a recorded one
- The music itself
- A composer's distinct style
- Etc - more examples could be provided, I imagine.

Basically, nobody is approaching a piece of music in a vacuum, so any claim to an original interpretation simply because they refuse to hear another performance of it, is a questionable claim to originality when so many other influences constantly inform us.

As the wise old baby-threatening King Solomon (or whoever wrote Ecclesiastes) said: "There is nothing new under the Sun". It's difficult to be a classical pianist and try to retain originality, while remaining true to the composer and his music. I suppose it's forgiveable on both sides. There are some composers I try to remain more true to than others.

David T summed it up nicely, as well.

Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it? [Re: ChopinAddict] #1482643 07/27/10 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ChopinAddict
I don't think there is anything bad in listening to great performances.
After all, teachers often play a piece too to show students how it should be, and they are not as great as the great performers... :)that's some gruesome opinion...
Of course this doesn't mean you have to copy (don't!), but you do get a better feel for a piece if you hear a good performance and then you can make it your own interpretation.


Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure, but not anymore!
Re: Is it less "worthy" to learn a piece only after hearing it? [Re: Pogorelich.] #1482663 07/27/10 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Pogorelich.
Originally Posted by Damon
Originally Posted by Pogorelich.

Listening to copy interpretation will always, always be something I loathe deeply. (this is only concerning aspiring or 'professional' pianists) If you can't come up with ideas on your own and need to copy someone else, you have no business performing. I think of it as plagiarism.


I've heard this argument several times but usually against the idea of playing classical music...at all. If you are concerned about being "original", write your own music.

Running and ducking.


I'm not concerned about being original. I'm concerned about being sincere and doing my homework before I play something. I hope your statement doesn't say much about your playing. Because to me, it kind of does..


It couldn't possibly say anything about my playing.

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