Thursday, September 24, 2009

A friend has come out with a a new book "Inside a Dog," in which she maintains that every dog has to be approached with respect and attentiveness. This applies equally well to tones. I often compare tones to dogs. If you are wise you don't assume anything about a dog until you give it a chance to respond to you.

In a very real way Classical sonatas are treatments of the vibrant life of individual tones on specific instruments.

Just this morning a student playing Mozart's only Sonata in G came to a passage in which F# sounds perfectly fine one instant, but when a bizarre interval is added into it, the same F# sounds out of tune. It is a fleeting effect: one that might throw an inexperienced player off balance but, at the same time, one that might invite an accomplished artist to inflect the line to make room for this extraordinary acoustical shiver--what in French is called a frisson.