Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dvorak Teaches Me to Understand Schubert

There are many parallels between the writing of Dvorak and Schubert, among them the striking use of articulation to achieve rhythmic variation. 

When, in a 3/4 bar Dvorak used repeated eighth notes on every other beat, always on the same tone, it creates a fascination counter pulse, and adds orchestral depth to the sound.  Today I found in Schubert's A minor Sonata, Op. 42 a similar repeated two-eighth-note pattern within a 3/4 meter, though not on every other beat.  In the Schubert these notes are most often detached from the notes around them, yet at times he clearly indicates that that the 2nd eighth is an upbeat to the note that follows. 

Repeated notes are always difficult on the piano: they generate more sound than we usually quite know how to handle.  It changed the Schubert to play as if Dvorak had written it.