Thursday, February 20, 2014

Going With the Flow

I am always surprised at how much music depends on sounds that cannot be written down, i.e., on resonance, which you might say is the subject of Tonal Refraction.

This element is often disregarded in training children, though it is arguably the dimension of sound that most intrigues them: just tap on a tiny bell or other reverberant object and see the infant's eyes light up.

This aspect of Chopin's music, properly brought to life, makes an indelible impression.  I will never forget hearing for the first time Rubinstein in Carnegie Hall stopping time with the opening sound of the D-flat Major Nocturne.  It stays with me as the model of how the piano works, and of how music written for the piano works.

Once having learned to ignore this element it is wondrously difficult to bring it to the fore.  To do this I recommend playing pianissimo with half-pedal, never changing the pedal through mistakes and all.  As you feel the vibrations accumulate they begin to make a kind of sense that analyzable harmonies simply cannot achieve.