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Re: rhythm vs beautiful sound/overall effect.
pianoloverus #3011859 08/09/20 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by wszxbcl
With rubato, the duration of the whole piece is not changed. The listener "keeps score": if you alter the rhythm by slowing here, you need to speed up there, to make up for it and make the listener whole.
I don't consider this idea valid at all. The simplest example would be a piece where one has very little or no rubato until the end where one slow down. There's no place to make up the lost time. IMO it's not reasonable to think that a pianist is keeping track of how much time he has added or subtracted and must make up the time gained or lost by the end of the piece.

I didn't think ritardando was considered rubato. The pianist is of course not consciously keeping track. I didn't just dream it up on the spot. Anyway, let's just say I am wrong and forget it.

Re: rhythm vs beautiful sound/overall effect.
wszxbcl #3011904 08/09/20 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by wszxbcl
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by wszxbcl
With rubato, the duration of the whole piece is not changed. The listener "keeps score": if you alter the rhythm by slowing here, you need to speed up there, to make up for it and make the listener whole.
I don't consider this idea valid at all. The simplest example would be a piece where one has very little or no rubato until the end where one slow down. There's no place to make up the lost time. IMO it's not reasonable to think that a pianist is keeping track of how much time he has added or subtracted and must make up the time gained or lost by the end of the piece.

I didn't think ritardando was considered rubato. The pianist is of course not consciously keeping track. I didn't just dream it up on the spot. Anyway, let's just say I am wrong and forget it.


I don’t consider that you are wrong, at all. Rubato is not just slowing down: it can also be intermittent speeding up to provide color and forward movement to a piece: like an ebb and flow of the tide. The total impact on the score ‘timeline’ is approx where you would be if none of this occurred.

Last edited by dogperson; 08/09/20 11:57 AM.
Re: rhythm vs beautiful sound/overall effect.
dogperson #3011916 08/09/20 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by wszxbcl
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by wszxbcl
With rubato, the duration of the whole piece is not changed. The listener "keeps score": if you alter the rhythm by slowing here, you need to speed up there, to make up for it and make the listener whole.
I don't consider this idea valid at all. The simplest example would be a piece where one has very little or no rubato until the end where one slow down. There's no place to make up the lost time. IMO it's not reasonable to think that a pianist is keeping track of how much time he has added or subtracted and must make up the time gained or lost by the end of the piece.

I didn't think ritardando was considered rubato. The pianist is of course not consciously keeping track. I didn't just dream it up on the spot. Anyway, let's just say I am wrong and forget it.


I don’t consider that you are wrong, at all. Rubato is not just slowing down: it can also be intermittent speeding up to provide color and forward movement to a piece: like an ebb and flow of the tide. The total impact on the score ‘timeline’ is approx where you would be if none of this occurred.
No one said that rubato means just slowing down. And no one said that that the slowing downs and speeding ups might end up cancelling each other out at least partially/mostly.

But the idea that one must consciously try and make up lost time and/or do that in some precise way is not correct. I think this is a common misconception. Some say since rubato means stolen time that any time stolen must be given back, but my response would be "Why, rubato is not like stealing money?"

Re: rhythm vs beautiful sound/overall effect.
wszxbcl #3012141 08/10/20 01:32 AM
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Originally Posted by daoc2009
a performance where the rhythm is 100 percent spot on but the overall playing is dull and uninspiring, sound is plain and lifeless.
It is simply impossible for a human to achieve 100 percent rhythmic precision, only a computer can do it. Subtle rhythmic inaccuracies is what makes music feel alive. Music played with 100 percent rhythmic accuracy will always feel lifeless, even if it is played with great dynamics. I'd never prefer music played like that.

Originally Posted by wszxbcl
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by wszxbcl
With rubato, the duration of the whole piece is not changed. The listener "keeps score": if you alter the rhythm by slowing here, you need to speed up there, to make up for it and make the listener whole.
I don't consider this idea valid at all. The simplest example would be a piece where one has very little or no rubato until the end where one slow down. There's no place to make up the lost time. IMO it's not reasonable to think that a pianist is keeping track of how much time he has added or subtracted and must make up the time gained or lost by the end of the piece.

I didn't think ritardando was considered rubato. The pianist is of course not consciously keeping track. I didn't just dream it up on the spot. Anyway, let's just say I am wrong and forget it.
You are not wrong at all. It's the way I was taught, this is one of fundamental principles of interpretation, and I think every good pianist knows it and follows it. The thing is that if you tend to only make speed bursts in your interpretation it will soon start irritating audience, and if you tend to only slow down in your interpretation it will also start to irritate people. You need to find balance between slowing down's and speeding up's in order to make good interpretation.

Certainly no pianist sits with a calculator counting beats as pianoloverus might have thought. Mathematical precision is not required in this. To a great extent it's a matter of good taste and pianists with good taste just feel it naturally. And others need to consider this principle when making their interpretations.

Re: rhythm vs beautiful sound/overall effect.
Iaroslav Vasiliev #3012144 08/10/20 02:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Originally Posted by wszxbcl
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by wszxbcl
With rubato, the duration of the whole piece is not changed. The listener "keeps score": if you alter the rhythm by slowing here, you need to speed up there, to make up for it and make the listener whole.
I don't consider this idea valid at all. The simplest example would be a piece where one has very little or no rubato until the end where one slow down. There's no place to make up the lost time. IMO it's not reasonable to think that a pianist is keeping track of how much time he has added or subtracted and must make up the time gained or lost by the end of the piece.

I didn't think ritardando was considered rubato. The pianist is of course not consciously keeping track. I didn't just dream it up on the spot. Anyway, let's just say I am wrong and forget it.
You are not wrong at all. It's the way I was taught, this is one of fundamental principles of interpretation, and I think every good pianist knows it and follows it. The thing is that if you tend to only make speed bursts in your interpretation it will soon start irritating audience, and if you tend to only slow down in your interpretation it will also start to irritate people. You need to find balance between slowing down's and speeding up's in order to make good interpretation.

Certainly no pianist sits with a calculator counting beats as pianoloverus might have thought. Mathematical precision is not required in this. To a great extent it's a matter of good taste and pianists with good taste just feel it naturally. And others need to consider this principle when making their interpretations.
As you can see in the part I bolded it wasn't my idea that the "pianist sits with the calculator counting beats", i.e must exactly balance any time lost with time gained, but it was the idea of the person whose post I commented on. And it's not a correct idea. In the normal course of playing a piece with appropriate rubato any speeding up might be mostly be balanced by slowing down but not necessarily so. In a very short piece a small number of added ritards would not have to be balanced by some accelerandos to be played with good rubato.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 08/10/20 02:30 AM.
Re: rhythm vs beautiful sound/overall effect.
pianoloverus #3012185 08/10/20 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I don’t consider that you are wrong, at all. Rubato is not just slowing down: it can also be intermittent speeding up to provide color and forward movement to a piece: like an ebb and flow of the tide. The total impact on the score ‘timeline’ is approx where you would be if none of this occurred.
No one said that rubato means just slowing down. And no one said that that the slowing downs and speeding ups might end up cancelling each other out at least partially/mostly.

But the idea that one must consciously try and make up lost time and/or do that in some precise way is not correct. I think this is a common misconception. Some say since rubato means stolen time that any time stolen must be given back, but my response would be "Why, rubato is not like stealing money?"[/quote]

I agree wholeheartedly with this statement. I was tutored in my Masters year by a Professor who had a PhD in baroque music - her husband, also a Professor, had his PhD in voice, focusing on the whole spectrum of vocal repertoire.

One afternoon we were preparing for my final recital performance - and during those sessions they both participated and offered comments and critique. We were doing final touches to the Escenas Romanticas by Granados. Her comments: You have to keep time. His comments: You understand the architecture of the music - nothing wrong. Arguments ensued and finally the drama of opera vs. the purity of a keyboard work was decided as the difference in interpretation and architecture was not mentioned again for the duration of the lesson.

And I think that is where we tend to go wrong sometimes - the architecture of a composition by Granados is much different from that of Bach or Scarlatti. It is chalk and cheese - but it is still music. And Scarlatti is again different from Bach, allowing for more freedom of expression in the interpretation of his sonatas. Of course, the good doctor did not like my playing very much, but it was at least accurate according to the score - I hit all the correct notes.

Bach - by necessity need to be "almost" strictly in time - that is the architecture of the music. There is almost no room for rubato, at least very few of his keyboard compositions. But, Wolgang Rubsam has a very different idea of Bach interpretation, which I quite like but cannot seem to comprehend, at least in my playing. It is worth listening to.

I mostly hear pianists play Erik Satie's music in very strict rhythmic fashion, almost like satire. Yet everyone always associate (some) of his music with Oriental mysticism. By that association alone - and given his exact instructions as to how it should be played, pianists are making a grave mistake by playing without compassion when he instructs "with the utmost of compassion". The same with the music of Debussy, and almost any other composer that I can think of, sans the instructions. One simply feels the way it should be played - it is all in the score.

We have anecdotal references to their playing in literature - but we still do not know. Scriabin is famous for that - he almost never played any work the same during performances and often changed it altogether during a performance.

So for me - rubato, interpretation and all those devises we use to enhance our performance of a work - relies very much on the architecture of the work. In that lies the secret of performance parameters, which include rhythm and rubato to name but a few. The construction, for instance of Chopin's nocturne Op. 48 no 1 is quite alien to the construction of the other nocturnes. How do we interpret that, given 99% of pianists play a very florid version of the nocturnes. It is like comparing the Bastille to Buckingham palace. It is Chopin in his most masculine iteration.

Deon

Re: rhythm vs beautiful sound/overall effect.
manykeys #3012191 08/10/20 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by manykeys
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I don’t consider that you are wrong, at all. Rubato is not just slowing down: it can also be intermittent speeding up to provide color and forward movement to a piece: like an ebb and flow of the tide. The total impact on the score ‘timeline’ is approx where you would be if none of this occurred.
No one said that rubato means just slowing down. And no one said that that the slowing downs and speeding ups might end up cancelling each other out at least partially/mostly.

But the idea that one must consciously try and make up lost time and/or do that in some precise way is not correct. I think this is a common misconception. Some say since rubato means stolen time that any time stolen must be given back, but my response would be "Why, rubato is not like stealing money?"

I agree wholeheartedly with this statement. I was tutored in my Masters year by a Professor who had a PhD in baroque music - her husband, also a Professor, had his PhD in voice, focusing on the whole spectrum of vocal repertoire.

One afternoon we were preparing for my final recital performance - and during those sessions they both participated and offered
comments and critique. We were doing final touches to the Escenas Romanticas by Granados. Her comments: You have to keep time. His comments: You understand the architecture of the music - nothing wrong. Arguments ensued and finally the drama of opera vs. the purity of a keyboard work was decided as the difference in interpretation and architecture was not mentioned again for the duration of the lesson.

And I think that is where we tend to go wrong sometimes - the architecture of a composition by Granados is much different from that of Bach or Scarlatti. It is chalk and cheese - but it is still music. And Scarlatti is again different from Bach, allowing for more freedom of expression in the interpretation of his sonatas. Of course, the good doctor did not like my playing very much, but it was at least accurate according to the score - I hit all the correct notes.

Bach - by necessity need to be "almost" strictly in time - that is the architecture of the music. There is almost no room for rubato, at least very few of his keyboard compositions. But, Wolgang Rubsam has a very different idea of Bach interpretation, which I quite like but cannot seem to comprehend, at least in my playing. It is worth listening to.

I mostly hear pianists play Erik Satie's music in very strict rhythmic fashion, almost like satire. Yet everyone always associate (some) of his music with Oriental mysticism. By that association alone - and given his exact instructions as to how it should be played, pianists are making a grave mistake by playing without compassion when he instructs "with the utmost of compassion". The same with the music of Debussy, and almost any other composer that I can think of, sans the instructions. One simply feels the way it should be played - it is all in the score.

We have anecdotal references to their playing in literature - but we still do not know. Scriabin is famous for that - he almost never played any work the same during performances and often changed it altogether during a performance.

So for me - rubato, interpretation and all those devises we use to enhance our performance of a work - relies very much on the architecture of the work. In that lies the secret of performance parameters, which include rhythm and rubato to name but a few. The construction, for instance of Chopin's nocturne Op. 48 no 1 is quite alien to the construction of the other nocturnes. How do we interpret that, given 99% of pianists play a very florid version of the nocturnes. It is like comparing the Bastille to Buckingham palace. It is Chopin in his most masculine iteration.

Deon[/quote]The first paragraph of the what you quoted at the beginning of your post as by me was actually by poster dogperson. The next two paragraphs in the quoted part were my reply, This may have happened due to an earlier post by me where I made an error with all the quotes and sub quotes.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 08/10/20 06:22 AM.
Re: rhythm vs beautiful sound/overall effect.
daoc2009 #3012209 08/10/20 08:04 AM
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Still trying to navigate this site. Apologies

Re: rhythm vs beautiful sound/overall effect.
manykeys #3012270 08/10/20 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by manykeys
Still trying to navigate this site.Apologies
No apologies necessary. I think I was the one who originally messed this up with an earlier post with many embedded quotes.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 08/10/20 11:04 AM.
Re: rhythm vs beautiful sound/overall effect.
wszxbcl #3012306 08/10/20 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by wszxbcl
Originally Posted by dogperson
Making a conscious decision that rubato is appropriate based on the score is one thing; to not know how to count and assuming it won’t be noticeable is quite another. Knowing how to count and maintaining the pulse of the music is critical and failures will always be noticeable. You can’t hide it.

Agree 100%.
I agree 81.4%: I agree 100% that Knowing how to count and maintaining the pulse of the music is critical...
...but it seems that it's not noticeable all the time or, perhaps more to the point of this thread, people just don't care when it's not maintained if there's some other "spellbinding magic" happening.

I can't stand trash like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4ANi8CmHDI

There's no way you can discern Scriabin's op. 11 no. 24 was 6/8+5/8 from this performance. This pianist betrays nuanced, rhythmically interesting music by presenting it as mush.

Many modern classical pianists have just no clue about rhythm.

Re: rhythm vs beautiful sound/overall effect.
daoc2009 #3012331 08/10/20 02:33 PM
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How do we know people don’t care if the pulse is not maintained if there is some other magic? Purely rhetorical. Since I can’t guarantee I will have magic that disguises my sins, I’ll assume rhythm lapses will be noticed.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Re: rhythm vs beautiful sound/overall effect.
dogperson #3012340 08/10/20 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
How do we know people don’t care if the pulse is not maintained if there is some other magic? Purely rhetorical. Since I can’t guarantee I will have magic that disguises my sins, I’ll assume rhythm lapses will be noticed.

I was only using (perhaps faulty) deductive reasoning. The YouTube and concertizing landscape is, in to my ear, rife with performances that don't reflect a pulse. The guilty performers nevertheless persist in sales, concert bookings, thousands upon millions of online "followers", "likes" and "upvotes", and general approval.

Re: rhythm vs beautiful sound/overall effect.
daoc2009 #3012557 08/11/20 05:25 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
As you can see in the part I bolded it wasn't my idea that the "pianist sits with the calculator counting beats", i.e must exactly balance any time lost with time gained, but it was the idea of the person whose post I commented on. And it's not a correct idea. In the normal course of playing a piece with appropriate rubato any speeding up might be mostly be balanced by slowing down but not necessarily so. In a very short piece a small number of added ritards would not have to be balanced by some accelerandos to be played with good rubato.
I can't understand your point of view precisely. Do you deny the principle of balance as a whole, or do you mean that the principle is generally correct but there may be some exceptions among very short pieces?

Re: rhythm vs beautiful sound/overall effect.
mcontraveos #3012558 08/11/20 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by mcontraveos
Many modern classical pianists have just no clue about rhythm.
If we were discussing modern pianists in total I'd not agree. I think the average level of rhythmical accuracy among modern pianists is higher than that of pianists of the past. Probably it's because of the influence of rock 'n' roll and other modern genres that are based on very steady rhythm.

But it also may be that I've got wrong impression because of poor quality of old recordings. It's frequently discussed that old recordings are not precise concerning the rhythm, because the revolving mechanisms on old audio devices were not precise.

Last edited by Iaroslav Vasiliev; 08/11/20 05:41 AM.
Re: rhythm vs beautiful sound/overall effect.
Iaroslav Vasiliev #3012638 08/11/20 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Originally Posted by mcontraveos
Many modern classical pianists have just no clue about rhythm.
If we were discussing modern pianists in total I'd not agree. I think the average level of rhythmical accuracy among modern pianists is higher than that of pianists of the past. Probably it's because of the influence of rock 'n' roll and other modern genres that are based on very steady rhythm.

By modern, I especially mean pianists that have come to prominence since the dawn of YouTube...for argument's sake, call it the last ten years.


Quote
But it also may be that I've got wrong impression because of poor quality of old recordings. It's frequently discussed that old recordings are not precise concerning the rhythm, because the revolving mechanisms on old audio devices were not precise.

I should be more clear -- what you're getting at is not the kind of imprecision I was referring to. It's not the sort of thing that can be explained with inconsistent playback mechanisms. It's when pianists don't understand that there is a time signature for their piece, and that it means something that should be conveyed. In that clip above, the listener needs to be able to feel 6 beats followed by 5 beats in that clip -- I just don't think that's possible because the pianist simply didn't care. And she appears to have been born well after the advent of rock 'n' roll. She is also by no means alone.

Re: rhythm vs beautiful sound/overall effect.
Iaroslav Vasiliev #3012676 08/11/20 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
As you can see in the part I bolded it wasn't my idea that the "pianist sits with the calculator counting beats", i.e must exactly balance any time lost with time gained, but it was the idea of the person whose post I commented on. And it's not a correct idea. In the normal course of playing a piece with appropriate rubato any speeding up might be mostly be balanced by slowing down but not necessarily so. In a very short piece a small number of added ritards would not have to be balanced by some accelerandos to be played with good rubato.
I can't understand your point of view precisely. Do you deny the principle of balance as a whole, or do you mean that the principle is generally correct but there may be some exceptions among very short pieces?
In the course of a long piece with many moods(a Chopin Ballade, for example) it seems reasonable that any rubato would include some slowing down and some speeding up but not because the pianist was trying to balance things out. In a shorter, less varied or less complex piece it's reasonable that there might be just a few instances of rubato that were just slowing down or just speeding up or at least didn't balance out. I gave one simple example where a piece could be played with little rubato except a slowing down at the end.

In any event, I don't think rubato should be determined by any need to balance things out. It should be determined by the music. I don''t agree with any principle of balance, and I've never heard it mentioned or hinted at even once in the over 100 master classes I've heard.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 08/11/20 12:23 PM.
Re: rhythm vs beautiful sound/overall effect.
daoc2009 #3012748 08/11/20 03:52 PM
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The literal interpretation of rubato and the supposed extension of that interpretation suggests that whatever amount you slow down in a phrase of a piece somehow must be made up by an appreciative amount of speeding up elsewhere to "reset the clock," as it were. This idea has surfaced from time to time in this forum. Such a notion seems totally preposterous to me and out of all sense of attention to what the music may require.

Eleanor Bailie* devotes two long pages (pp. 24-26) on the idea of rubato in Chopin which is worth reading. Her opening sentences give the gist:

Tempo rubato is a ticklish subject at the best of times - the pity is that instead of being understood as a naturally arising slight rhythmic elasticity, it has been placed in a separate box - ground for endless discussion among professionals, and the cause of a kind of bewildered embarrassment among 'ordinary' players. In the case of Chopin, the whole matter has got out of proportion. We know that Chopin was a stickler for rhythmic exactitude, but we also have numerous and often poetic accounts of his own tempo rubato, which have been interpreted by generations of pianists as a licence for a rhythmic free-for-all - the most sentimentalising and vulgarising of all the falsification to which the spirit of his music has been subjected. Players are thus left floundering in a mire of learned controversy.

"Learned controversy" indeed! The remaining paragraphs are well worth reading by anyone who is interested in the question of rubato, particularly in - but not limited to - the music of Chopin.

* Bailie, Eleanor. The Pianist's Repertoire. Chopin, A Graded Practical Guide. Kahn & Averill, London, 1998.

Regards,


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Re: rhythm vs beautiful sound/overall effect.
daoc2009 #3012770 08/11/20 04:54 PM
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Although playing rubato seems quite natural at times, I believe it is quite a complicated subject and does not always indicate a change in the overall speed / timing of the piece. For example, the right hand can be played rubato over a fixed tempo left hand - quite a common technique, I believe, and of course the parts of a bar can be speeded up and slowed to retain the overall timing, the latter of course does interrupt the 'pulse' but not the overall timing of the piece.
I must admit, unless of course it is for dancing to, I'm happier with 'beautiful sound and overall effect' than 'perfect rhythm' provided, of course, the lack of perfect rhythm doesn't detract from the piece - which, if the piece has 'beautiful sound and overall effect ,' logically it shouldn't.
It is annoying, though, when pieces slow down / accelerate / pause for dramatic effect where the music really doesn't warrant it. That really ruins the flow.


regards
Pete
Re: rhythm vs beautiful sound/overall effect.
petebfrance #3012815 08/11/20 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by petebfrance
Although playing rubato seems quite natural at times, I believe it is quite a complicated subject and does not always indicate a change in the overall speed / timing of the piece. For example, the right hand can be played rubato over a fixed tempo left hand - quite a common technique, I believe, and of course the parts of a bar can be speeded up and slowed to retain the overall timing, the latter of course does interrupt the 'pulse' but not the overall timing of the piece.
About the only time I think what you talk about might be done is in some brief fioritura passage in Chopin or Liszt. Something like a few passages in Chopin Nocturnes Op. 15 No.2. Even there it's more a function of the fact that it would be silly or impossible to play the RH fioritura in perfect time.

I think in more than 99% of the examples of rubato by top pianists, both hands slow down or speed up together.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 08/11/20 07:27 PM.
Re: rhythm vs beautiful sound/overall effect.
daoc2009 #3012917 08/12/20 03:20 AM
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I must add regarding the rubato, that I dislike when there is too much of it. I think there is a rhythmical tension in music that is somewhat similar to harmonic tension. If you establish a key firmly, there is a greater craving for tonic than when you modulate all the time. It seems the same with rubato, if you hold a steady rhythm most of the time, there is a greater craving for it and the effect of rhytmical tension of rubato is stronger.

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