Monday, May 24, 2010

One notable exception to the observation that musicians do not like to talk about tone: An eminent cellist came to rehearse Dvorak's Dumky Trio, a work he had recorded several times and performed hundreds of times. He began the rehearsal by drawing attention to one note that never came out in tune. As we worked that moment through, right then and there, many options came to mind about how to handle it: it was a moment of collision between the cello and the piano's black keys. As soon as we took our ears out of conventional tonal thinking in which the 6th degree of the minor scale resolves on the 5th degree, everything fell into place.

Just because one tone follows another does not mean they "go" together in any conventional sense of the term.