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#1974693 - 10/17/12 04:25 PM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: Bluoh]  
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LadyChen Offline
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I think the second part of the question could almost be it's own thread -- it's a very big question and goes way beyond rubato.

The part about question b that makes me really think is the word "beginner". Take that out and I feel I could give a confident answer, but the beginner part throws me off. We have different shapes and sizes of beginners too, which complicates this further.

I'm trying to think about how much interpretation I teach my beginners, and it's making me realize that I need to do more. I probably throw too much of my effort behind getting them READING instead of making MUSIC.

My feeling is that yes, a beginner can interpret a piece on their own, but they need to be given the tools to do so first. They also need to be given the encouragement necessary to build enough confidence to try doing their own thing with a piece. Plus they need the technique to bring the interpretation out of their head and onto the keys.

A nice beginning interpretation activity is to hand a student a blank score (blank as in nothing but the notes) and have them add their own markings. At this level, it can be simply an exercise in creativity -- they can add whatever markings they want without worrying about being stylistically appropriate. And then the next part of the exercise, obviously, is playing the piece and following their own markings.

The follow-up to this first activity could be listening to the teacher play the same blank score used above, and have the student mark up the score to reflect how the teacher plays.

I think both these activities are important for teaching a student about interpretation. So I guess that means my answer to the question, is Yes, it's possible, and a good skill to have, but I also think learning from other musician's interpretations is valuable as well.

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#1974940 - 10/17/12 11:59 PM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: keystring]  
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by LoPresti
Except for KeyString, you folks are steering clear of the second, potentially more interesting part, of Bluoh's oroginal question:
Originally Posted by Bluoh
(b) Is it possible for a beginner to interpret a piece of music entirely on his or her own? (I.e. No demonstrations of the piece, no videos, etc.?) Why or why not?

Any particular reason?

I don't think that this is a simple thing, with simple answers.

That is precisely what makes it the more intriguing part of the query.


In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.
#1974960 - 10/18/12 12:56 AM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: Bluoh]  
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I think I wrote more than that one line, and in this case that "more" probably matters. smile

#1974962 - 10/18/12 01:06 AM Learning Rubato [Re: keystring]  
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LoPresti Offline
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Milano, 7 Aprile 1924

Dear Giacomo,

I would like to start by thanking you for sending along the score to that new opera - the one set in China. I had to tip the delivery boy a few extra lire because it was so heavy and cumbersome. As usual, your manuscript is a delight to behold! Even the corrections have a certain << je ne sais quoi >> that is your trademark. Over the last few evenings, I have read through the Adami and Simoni libretto. (I didn’t realize those two were ever in China!) Anyway, I doubt that our heavily-romanced language can adequately express those complex Oriental sentiments. But, that really is not my “department”, is it? (Ha, ha)

I have also been looking carefully at the notes on the staves - so many, many notes - and so many instruments! Page after page after page, with different instruments and voices entering here and there. I also noticed several - uh, actually countless - key changes and stuff. And, even though I asked you not to, once again the violincelli in the tenor clef! You have it all very neat, and well organized, of course.

This brings us to sort of an awkward moment, Giac. I was wondering if, in the next few days, you might stop over, and kind of tell me how this goes. I mean, you wouldn’t have to play it ALL on my piano - just some of the harder parts to get me started. Oh, and I am hoping you could sing for me at least the tenor and the soprano solos. Again, not every single measure (there are so many of them!), but just the main themes, and just until I learn them.

Once I start to learn most of it, I’ll see if we can get La Scala for the debut.

Oh, and I am certain I can still trust you to keep these little “coaching” sessions just between us, the same as when we worked on that Japanese Butterfly thing.

Your friend with kind regards,
Arturo


In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.
#1975003 - 10/18/12 03:41 AM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: keystring]  
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Originally Posted by keystring
Some teachers may start with freedom, and bring in the accuracy later.

Yikes! Talk about playing with fire. No no no no no!!!

You can't play with rubato until you can play the entire piece precisely with the metronome. On the scale of grossly over-rubato to strictly in time, I'd err on the side of strictly in time. Even for Chopin. In fact, Chopin showed tremendous restraint as a performer and he disdained over-rubato.

It's easy to fool untrained ears with "expressive" rubato (plus ultra-choreographed movements to match). Rubato cannot be a substitute for lack of technique and rhythmic accuracy.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
#1975005 - 10/18/12 03:48 AM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: LadyChen]  
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Originally Posted by LadyChen
My feeling is that yes, a beginner can interpret a piece on their own, but they need to be given the tools to do so first. They also need to be given the encouragement necessary to build enough confidence to try doing their own thing with a piece. Plus they need the technique to bring the interpretation out of their head and onto the keys.


I'm going to assume "beginner" in this case has had lessons for one to two years, and is somewhere in book 3 or 4 of method books. Your ideas are very good.

I ask my students to notice patterns first. Imitation, repetition, sequence, and motive give clue to phrasing. Once we identify all the phrases, we mark up the "climax" of each phrase by feeling or hearing. This will give a general clue about whether to move forward in time or relax/slow down. The more advanced students will apply theory (harmonic analysis) to justify their rubato choices.

In the process of studying the music in-depth, the student gains the ability to form his/her own opinion on how the piece should sound. However, I seriously doubt the beginner-beginners (i.e., kids in Preparatory of Book 1 of a method book) can do this on their own.


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#1975041 - 10/18/12 06:58 AM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: LoPresti]  
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landorrano Offline
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Originally Posted by LoPresti
I mean, you wouldn’t have to play it ALL on my piano - just some of the harder parts to get me started.


Originally Posted by LoPresti
Oh, and I am hoping you could sing for me at least the tenor and the soprano solos. Again, not every single measure (there are so many of them!), but just the main themes, and just until I learn them.


Great stuff. And the response:

My dear Art, old and faithful friend, please read the darn score yourself. I believe in you, you have so much creative impulse in you that is just waiting to be expressed, I don't want to box you in and stifle all of that with my preconception of how it should sound ... as if there is one right way! Let it all hang out, old chum.

Text me about la Scala lol!


Last edited by landorrano; 10/18/12 08:22 AM.
#1975075 - 10/18/12 08:37 AM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: AZNpiano]  
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by keystring
Some teachers may start with freedom, and bring in the accuracy later.


You can't play with rubato until you can play the entire piece precisely with the metronome.


I agree 100%, as did Abby Whiteside and Carmine Caruso.

I go even further. I think that playing in strict time, as slow as necessary, enhances the learning process. One should not detach from time even when working out a difficulty.

There are many who disagree, including the rather vehement N who's no longer with us. And a lot of them get good results. So there seem to be other approaches that work.


gotta go practice
#1975120 - 10/18/12 11:23 AM Learning Rubato [Re: landorrano]  
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Originally Posted by landorrano
My dear Art, old and faithful friend, please read the darn score yourself. I believe in you, you have so much creative impulse in you that is just waiting to be expressed, I don't want to box you in and stifle all of that with my preconception of how it should sound ... as if there is one right way! Let it all hang out, old chum.

Text me about la Scala


Va bene, má ~ acceto la responsabilità – No! Ben ricorda che successo al’ultima volta . . .

As you wish, Giaco, but ~ I can not be responsible for how this comes out. Remember what happened last time . . .

At least stop over, and review with me about that stupid C-clef thing. I got spoiled because Giuseppe used to pencil-in the names of the notes into his score for me. That way, when we are rehearsing, I don’t have to stop and say, ”Violas, I want you to emphasize that -- well -- you know -- that note -- in measure 497 -- the one that has the -- the sharp in front of it.
I lose a lot of credibility with the players that way . . . . .

I am taking “steps” to secure La Scala for the premier.
Art


I am glad you found it amusing, and have joined in the "conversation". It is fun to project where certain learning deficiencies might lead.


In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.
#1975125 - 10/18/12 11:35 AM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: Bluoh]  
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keystring Offline
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If this is still about teaching rubato, can you link this flight of fantasy to the issue of teaching rubato? I'm probably being dense, but I'm not seeing the connection. You have two hypothetical people, neither of whom is a student or teacher. How does this come together for the topic at hand?

#1975134 - 10/18/12 11:47 AM Learning Rubato [Re: keystring]  
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LoPresti Offline
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Come on - we have lots of smart individuals here. Spelling it out spoils it. Anyway, landorrano and I are enjoying ourselves.



In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.
#1975152 - 10/18/12 12:16 PM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: keystring]  
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Originally Posted by keystring
If this is still about teaching rubato,


I admit it. It has not been proven to me that rubato needs to be taught at all.


gotta go practice
#1975319 - 10/18/12 05:26 PM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: landorrano]  
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Originally Posted by landorrano
Originally Posted by LadyChen
Actually, the translation is correct. The word literally means "robbed".


Look in an italian dictionary and see whether it says anything about stealing time ... or about giving it back.

part. pass. di rubare ¨ agg. [f. -a; pl.m. -i, f. -e] nei sign. del verbo ||| agg. e n.m. [f. -a; pl.m. -i, f. -e] ( mus.) indicazione sul testo musicale con la quale si prescrive un’esecuzione svincolata dalla rigidità del tempo: eseguire un rubato; una battuta in tempo rubato.

I see you answering a different question. One person gave a literal translation of the verb form, with no context.

You are giving the specific musical definition, and that is going to be roughly the same in any language. )



Piano Teacher
#1975506 - 10/19/12 03:32 AM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: Bluoh]  
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landorrano Offline
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True enough.

Still, one can say that he thinks of rubato as stealing time and then giving it back; that is one way to conceive of it, an interpretation or a metaphore, no problem. But he can't say that rubato is translated or defined as stealing time and then giving it back. Well, one can say it, but it is simply not so and, in my opinion, leaves the question on a very shallow level.


#1975516 - 10/19/12 04:48 AM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: landorrano]  
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keystring Offline
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I didn't see this before. LadyChen's literal translation is correct. Meanwhile:
Originally Posted by landorrano
Originally Posted by LadyChen
Actually, the translation is correct. The word literally means "robbed".


Look in an italian dictionary and see whether it says anything about stealing time ... or about giving it back.

part. pass. di rubare ¨ agg. [f. -a; pl.m. -i, f. -e] nei sign. del verbo ||| agg. e n.m. [f. -a; pl.m. -i, f. -e] ( mus.) indicazione sul testo musicale con la quale si prescrive un’esecuzione svincolata dalla rigidità del tempo: eseguire un rubato; una battuta in tempo rubato.


In what way is it helpful to quote a definition in a language that most people in the forum do not understand? I've passed your definition through Google Translate and get:
"indication of the musical text with which prescribes execution released by the rigidity of time to perform a steal, steal a line in time." Someone else can turn this into proper English. I see the word "steal" which is a synonym of "rob".

Here is a definition from my musical dictionary:
Quote
Rubato [It. tempo rubato stolen time]
In performance, the practice of altering the relationship among written note-values and making the established pulse flexible by accelerating and slowing down the tempo; such flexibility has long been an expressive device.
Two varieties of rubato are usually discussed. In the first, the underlying pulse remains constant while the rhythmic values are minutely inflected. This was extensively done as an expressive nuance in the 18th century, especially in the solo part or melody of slow movements (the instrumental adagio and vocal cantabile) while the accompaniment held the beat steady.
The second type is the more common, present-day understanding of rubato. Changes in tempo and rhythmic figuration (accelerando and ritardando) are mode in all parts at the same time without any compensation; the original tempo is simply resumed at the performer's discretion. Even though this expressive rhythmic freedom is frequently associated with the playing styles of 19th century virtuosos such as Liszt, it is discussed by 17th- and 18th- century writers.**


** Source: Harvard Concise Dictionary of Music and Musicians

#1975665 - 10/19/12 11:45 AM Re: Learning Rubato [Re: AZNpiano]  
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by keystring
Some teachers may start with freedom, and bring in the accuracy later.

Yikes! Talk about playing with fire. No no no no no!!!

You can't play with rubato until you can play the entire piece precisely with the metronome. On the scale of grossly over-rubato to strictly in time, I'd err on the side of strictly in time. Even for Chopin. In fact, Chopin showed tremendous restraint as a performer and he disdained over-rubato.

It's easy to fool untrained ears with "expressive" rubato (plus ultra-choreographed movements to match). Rubato cannot be a substitute for lack of technique and rhythmic accuracy.


That's how we've all been taught, but is that the right way to do it? Are you killing something inside the pianist by suppressing that type of freedom right off the bat?

For the record, I also get my students to play evenly before adding rubato.

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