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A nice series, and I guess it is appropriate to end it with the concepts of start and stop.

As usually, a couple of other points.
In addition to the notated rests there is the fermata:

which is placed over a note that is to be held until the performer feels like going on.  This leads to the area of non-notated performance issues.

The most important of these is the concept of rubato. Which means slightly speeding up or slowing down notes within a piece while keeping the basic beat constant. Chopin's music is usually cited as a good example of the use of this expressive technique.

In jazz musicians speak of playing "ahead" or "behind" the beat. Most good singers use this technique instinctively. By delaying the start of a note slightly it gets more emphasis since the listener (subconsciously) hears the delay as a focus of attention.

One of the problems with performing music from earlier eras and cultures is that the notation always leaves many details out and it is the oral (aural?) tradition that explains how to fill in the missing information. Perhaps recorded sound will make up for this lack and future generations will be able to understand earlier performance practices more clearly.

On the other hand, the use of studio techniques now means that much music can't be "performed", only created and the electronic version is all there is. The concept of recreating a piece with a new interpretation has been degraded. Now new performances are dismissed as a "cover" rather than being seen as a new artistic effort.

There are now tools available which allow any sound desired to be created, but musicians are still learning how to use them. The future should be interesting.

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Thu Jun 5th, 2008 at 10:27:35 AM EST

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