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Rubato can be used in anything....and I think we all do even in stuff like Bach. Never to the extent we do in composers like Chopin. My view on rubato is that it is borrowed time. It has to be made up somewhere else.

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Originally Posted by Wood-demon
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by Barb860
My teacher insisted that I play Chopin Nocturne 9/2 with a metronome and scolded me profusely for any freedom with the tempo whatsoever.


If I remember correctly, Chopin himself wanted the accompaniment part to be metronomically steady and unwavering, with rubato only taking place in the right hand part. Learning to separate the hands in that way, almost as if you have two brains, with one keeping a completely steady beat and the other freely rhapsodizing over it, is a difficult skill to acquire.


Although this idea is often mentioned, I don't think I've ever heard a single pianist play this way. In the three recordings posted by Kreisler, the left hand follows the right hand's rubato. It seems to me that if the left hand remained completely steady while the right hand played rubato, then the two hands would often not play together when it was indicated to do so in the score.

I'd be interested if you can find a Youtube recording where you think the pianist uses the type of rubato you mention.


I don't think it's on YouTube but there is an early vinyl recording of Mozart's K 467 by Friedrich Gulda conducted by Hans Swarowsky in which he treats the slow movement in this way with remarkable results. When he recorded the concerto again, years later for DG with Abbado conducting, he obviously thought better of it and put his two hands closer together that time round.


Well there are 100's of thousands of Youtube piano videos including at least sound videos of pianists from long ago. So if anyone actually ever played this way some should be some available.

I think virtually 100% of the time the left hand follows the right hand(or whichever hand is playing the melody)rubato. I also think that the idea of whatever time is lost has to be made up is a myth. Pianists don't usually start playing faster than the basic tempo(in order to "make up the lost time") after they've decided to stretch out a phrase by some slowing down.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 04/15/09 03:19 PM.
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Very interesting posts, i must say. I really appreciate all those thoughts.

I have realised that Raindrop actually sounds quite boring without rubato. I recorded myself and i realized that i have to add some rubato. I was already experimenting today, and it does sounds much better. However, i don't feel that rubato suit in second theme, except "delaying" some chords...

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Wood-demon
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by Barb860
My teacher insisted that I play Chopin Nocturne 9/2 with a metronome and scolded me profusely for any freedom with the tempo whatsoever.


If I remember correctly, Chopin himself wanted the accompaniment part to be metronomically steady and unwavering, with rubato only taking place in the right hand part. Learning to separate the hands in that way, almost as if you have two brains, with one keeping a completely steady beat and the other freely rhapsodizing over it, is a difficult skill to acquire.


Although this idea is often mentioned, I don't think I've ever heard a single pianist play this way. In the three recordings posted by Kreisler, the left hand follows the right hand's rubato. It seems to me that if the left hand remained completely steady while the right hand played rubato, then the two hands would often not play together when it was indicated to do so in the score.

I'd be interested if you can find a Youtube recording where you think the pianist uses the type of rubato you mention.


I don't think it's on YouTube but there is an early vinyl recording of Mozart's K 467 by Friedrich Gulda conducted by Hans Swarowsky in which he treats the slow movement in this way with remarkable results. When he recorded the concerto again, years later for DG with Abbado conducting, he obviously thought better of it and put his two hands closer together that time round.


Well there are 100's of thousands of Youtube piano videos including at least sound videos of pianists from long ago. So if anyone actually ever played this way some should be some available.

I think virtually 100% of the time the left hand follows the right hand(or whichever hand is playing the melody)rubato. I also think that the idea of whatever time is lost has to be made up is a myth. Pianists don't usually start playing faster than the basic tempo(in order to "make up the lost time") after they've decided to stretch out a phrase by some slowing down.


I've just mentioned the one instance I know where an artist has deliberately adopted the type of rubato you mention, with the left hand steady and the melody part free. I don't know what else is available on Youtube, but I've often thought the style of playing where the hands don't quite synchronize (Paderewski's recordings have examples of this) might be, in part, a reflection of the way rubato used to be thought of rather than the general elasticity with the tempo which musicians adopt today.
I agree with you about the "myth" of making up lost time.

Last edited by Wood-demon; 04/15/09 04:35 PM.
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The Gulda performance I mentioned is available on this album:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B001N0HFUE/ref=dm_sp_alb?ie=UTF8&qid=1239829517&sr=8-1

The track is available to download...for a small payment!

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Originally Posted by Wood-demon
I've just mentioned the one instance I know where an artist has deliberately adopted the type of rubato you mention, with the left hand steady and the melody part free. I don't know what else is available on Youtube, but I've often thought the style of playing where the hands don't quite synchronize (Paderewski's recordings have examples of this) might be, in part, a reflection of the way rubato used to be thought of rather than the general elasticity with the tempo which musicians adopt today.
I agree with you about the "myth" of making up lost time.


The playing of the left hand before the right is IMHO a separate technique and can occur anywhere. It has little to do with the idea of keeping the left hand steady and "rubatoing" the right hand. The stretching of time in what I would consider rubato can be far more than the fractionof a second difference when the LH is played before the RH a la Padarewski(see the Rachmaninov example in this thread) and many others of that era and before.

I think the Rachmaninov recording posted in this thread is a good example of very liberal(but effective IMO)rubato in the RH while the LH follows the RH religiously.

Suppose the RH is playing two eighths and then a quarter note and the LH is playing two quarter notes. If someone decided to hold either or both of the RH eighths for a long time while keeping the LH steady, the second quarter in the LH would come in way before the quarter in the RH. That is why I think this idea really doesn't occur and is another myth. And,of course, if one did this throughout the piece, the LH could stay far behind the RH(or possibly get even further behind!)from that point on.

(But to prove me wrong, one needs only to find a YouTube example.)

Last edited by pianoloverus; 04/15/09 05:40 PM.
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From Nikolai Medtner's GUIDE TO THE DAILY WORK OF THE PIANIST - Excerpts from a Russian Diary:

3.Rubato consists of a gradual accelerando or a ritardando in scarcely noticeable proportions, without breaking the relationship of the lengths of neighboring notes. Such a rubato retains the general pulse of the tempo. (see http://mysite.verizon.net/mlrobert2/medtner/diary.html)

While this doesn't apply in all cases (like the Rachmaninoff performance above), I think it's the most generally applicable definition of rubato to all eras of classical music. A master of this is Glenn Gould. Except when he was being facetious, like in the silly recording of Chopin's 3rd Sonata, and especially in his Bach, I really admire his rubato. You don't notice it's there at all unless you listen for it and try to count along or move to the music, but once you do that, you realize that there ARE rubati at cadences, but they just come so naturally that they're almost imperceptible.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by Barb860
My teacher insisted that I play Chopin Nocturne 9/2 with a metronome and scolded me profusely for any freedom with the tempo whatsoever.


If I remember correctly, Chopin himself wanted the accompaniment part to be metronomically steady and unwavering, with rubato only taking place in the right hand part. Learning to separate the hands in that way, almost as if you have two brains, with one keeping a completely steady beat and the other freely rhapsodizing over it, is a difficult skill to acquire.


Although this idea is often mentioned, I don't think I've ever heard a single pianist play this way. In the three recordings posted by Kreisler, the left hand follows the right hand's rubato. It seems to me that if the left hand remained completely steady while the right hand played rubato, then the two hands would often not play together when it was indicated to do so in the score.

I'd be interested if you can find a Youtube recording where you think the pianist uses the type of rubato you mention.


Unfortunately, Chopin died before the era of recordings, so we can't hear exactly what he was talking about. I am relying on my unreliable memory, but I believe it was said at the time by those who had heard it that his kind of rubato was not something he could successfully pass on to his students, although apparently at least one Polish woman did it fairly well. But just because there are no good recorded examples that I can point to as of right now doesn't mean that Chopin was lying, does it?

I also think that you can hear it when listening to some singers - for some reason, the first movement of that Villa-Lobos piece for soprano and eight cellos comes to mind as an example of where I've heard it. Plus, any number of jazz and some pop musicians do something like it when soloing over a steady background accompaniment.






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My own belief is that rubato is a rule in all pieces. The question is how much.


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Those stuffy teachers who insist on no liberties remind me of some sort of religious fundamentalists. They are so rigid with rules that they allow almost no room for creativity and expression.

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When Rachmaninoff plays Chopin Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2 he shows us how wrong those who say no rubato are!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kj3CHx3TDzw

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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by Barb860
My teacher insisted that I play Chopin Nocturne 9/2 with a metronome and scolded me profusely for any freedom with the tempo whatsoever.


If I remember correctly, Chopin himself wanted the accompaniment part to be metronomically steady and unwavering, with rubato only taking place in the right hand part. Learning to separate the hands in that way, almost as if you have two brains, with one keeping a completely steady beat and the other freely rhapsodizing over it, is a difficult skill to acquire.


Although this idea is often mentioned, I don't think I've ever heard a single pianist play this way. In the three recordings posted by Kreisler, the left hand follows the right hand's rubato. It seems to me that if the left hand remained completely steady while the right hand played rubato, then the two hands would often not play together when it was indicated to do so in the score.

I'd be interested if you can find a Youtube recording where you think the pianist uses the type of rubato you mention.


Unfortunately, Chopin died before the era of recordings, so we can't hear exactly what he was talking about. I am relying on my unreliable memory, but I believe it was said at the time by those who had heard it that his kind of rubato was not something he could successfully pass on to his students, although apparently at least one Polish woman did it fairly well. But just because there are no good recorded examples that I can point to as of right now doesn't mean that Chopin was lying, does it?

I also think that you can hear it when listening to some singers - for some reason, the first movement of that Villa-Lobos piece for soprano and eight cellos comes to mind as an example of where I've heard it. Plus, any number of jazz and some pop musicians do something like it when soloing over a steady background accompaniment.


I'm not saying that Chopin was lying but we may not know what he really meant(it's possible he meant over a few measures the LH remains steady while the RH rubatos) or the oft quoted quote(by whom?) could be wrong. It seems unlikely "he couldn't pass it on" to his students because what reason could there be for this? One polish woman?did it fairly well also sounds strange to say the least.

The fact seems to remain that virtually no one(unless you can find examples)who has recorded plays Chopin this way and that includes numerous old recording avaialble on YouTube. In my last post I also gave reasons why logically this could not occur.

I would need a Youtube example of singers doing this kind of rubato to see if we're talking about the same thing. Unless the singer made up lost time immediately after slowing down he/she would remain continuallybehind his acoomapnist.

I really think Chopin meant something like(assuming the melody is in the RH)the RH does the rubatoing while the LH follows along. This is what Rachmaninov does in his I think excellent but highly rubatod performance.

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Originally Posted by sotto voce
GreenRain,

There must be a tremendous number of recordings of such a popular piece on YouTube. I recommend you listen to a variety of them, both professional and amateur, to get an idea of the parameters of what's appropriate, and then let your own good taste be your guide.

Steven


But then you will end up copying what other people are doing. Why not just use your own musicality and play the piece with your own ideas, the way YOU want it to sound?



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Perhaps being a bit influenced by watching the others, but not copying. Copying would take effort.

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Originally Posted by Jazz+
Perhaps being a bit influenced by watching the others, but not copying. Copying would take effort.


I like this, and I think there is something useful to copying. It seems to happen in jazz all the time. There are elements of harmony that Joe Henderson might steal from Charlie Parker, or ideas about voicing and style that someone might copy, but when the effort is made and the copy is assimilated and made one's own, the results can be very nice.

(For example, Marcus Roberts copying Oscar Peterson copying Art Tatum; or in the classical world, Valery Kuleshov aspiring to Horowitz's example.)


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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Originally Posted by Jazz+
Perhaps being a bit influenced by watching the others, but not copying. Copying would take effort.


I agree. I am often influenced by other artists, but i never copy the entire interpretation, or try to play in their style.

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I guess the rule of rubato is pretty much subjective. Some like it and others don't. At the end of the day, music is meant to be interpreted, not copied.


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Understand, all human music has some degree of rubato in it. Only computers play without any rubato.

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IMHO The fact that no two people play the same piece identically ... means that both are using rubato (musical license which makes us all different) ... this artistic spreading of certain notes is essential to the quality flavour of the music ... any daft idea of sticking strictly to the metronome is not possible because of individual passion to be artistic.

I have just been playing the Gershwin classic "Summertime" ... the opening Eb needs instant rubato ( to convey the lazy mid-summer "an’ the livin’ is easy" Southern time of year) ... before the well known sequence of 8th-notes C, Eb, D, C, A, C, D ... E .

In the case of the Chopin Prelude 28-15 (known as The Raindrop?) ... it is imperative to contrast the rhythmic drip of rain with the occasional lull ... eg. the 4th beat RH "flourish" to measure 4 ... a slight spread of this beat (remembering there are 8 racy grace notes) tells of a slight calm ... before the rhythmic return of raindrops.


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Originally Posted by Kreisler
Originally Posted by Jazz+
Perhaps being a bit influenced by watching the others, but not copying. Copying would take effort.


I like this, and I think there is something useful to copying.


I completely disagree, unless you're purely talking about jazz. Copying someone else's interpretation is the same thing as plagiarism.. Who do you think Richter listened to? Or Rubinstein? Maybe the occasional live concert. They didn't have recordings of other pianists that they listened to, yet they were still such geniuses and I think that's so great! I try to stay away from recordings of my current rep and I listen to mostly orchestral music anyway. But that's just me..

I mean even if you don't want to copy necessarily, you are likely to still be influenced by it subconsciously. A lot of people disagree with me, though, so it's ok =) I just never liked the idea of looking for ideas in a recording.



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