Thursday, December 26, 2013

Listening for Intention

Playing someone else's music is a doubly difficult enterprise.  First, it is difficult to discern from the printed page what sounds the composer had in mind.  Theoretical analysis does not help this endeavor one bit; rather it tends to obscure it.

Second, one has to account for one's own internal life of tone and of timing.  For the fast-paced, like myself, Adagio might as well read Impossible.  For the tone sensitive, like myself, certain tonalities, like A major, should be called Your Teeth will Hurt When You Hear This.

I have begun teaching people how to read sonatas based on their internal organization, rather than on the sonata as a thing with an existence independent of their personal experience.  It makes all the difference.  At first reading I see the eyes light up: "I get it!"