Saturday, September 27, 2014

Too Many Right Notes!

I am all in favor of wrong notes!  Today I saw a perfect example of how much more revealing a wrong note can be than all the right notes in the world.

The student, a young woman whose ear is incredibly sensitive; not a facile reader, she has the advantage of actually hearing before she puts her finger on a key what it will sound like.  And she knows perfectly well that, if playing an E-flat with her left hand, she will not like what the right note, in this case, A, will sound like in the right hand.  So she changes it to a more palatable sound, G.

Who could argue with this?  Only a piano teacher fixated on the right notes.  But the note she chose to play was clearly more correct in sound that the one indicated by Clementi.

It is a matter of spices, I told her.  Clementi lived in an era when a certain kind of musical hot pepper we call dissonance was all the vogue.  Put the hot pepper on the beat and everybody has more fun.

Many good things happen when music is approached this way.