Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Questions of intonation are among the most difficult to address. It is as if string players, already facing intonation challenges when playing together, cannot imagine that the difficulties they have playing in tune with winds or with the piano might signal details of passionate importance in the composer's mind.

Yesterday I had a remarkable conversation with an eminent bassoonist who told me about specific difficult-to-manage pitches on the bassoon. I was astounded, having played often with bassoon, one of my favorite duo instruments. How differently I would listen knowing what I now know! I should think such information would be critical to an understanding of specific sounds in all music.