Thursday, October 3, 2013

Reading Inside of the Sound: Schumann Once Again

The Album for the Young contains some of the most masterful insights into reading music -- properly reading music -- at the piano.  When reading is strictly a matter of eye / motor response much of this music makes no sense or quickly palls.

Already in the interaction of the quarter notes and eighth notes in Melodie (piece #1) the essential sound is either utterly boring or completely compelling, depending on whether or not the ear is activated.  Trallerlied, of a similar texture, makes an even stronger case for the necessity of attentive listening by the insertion of some subtly discordant measures that I never liked until I learned to quiet myself down sufficiently to pay them heed on behalf of an adult student who is quite determined to get to, as she puts it, "the music part."

Determined to explore the actions and reactions involved in sight-reading I turned to Scheherezade in whose rolled chords and meandering eighth-notes Schumann stops time to spin out every sound.  According to the story it is a matter of life and death.

Fascination vs. boredom.