Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Odd Numbers Within Even Bars

It fascinates me that Beethoven goes to so much trouble to indicate the tension between passages based on three's and five's within squarely symmetrical meters:  15 unslurred sixteenths within a 2/4 bar followed by a clearly slurred run of the expected 16 sixteenths.  Why do we not get it?

Because it's hard. 

Is that a good reason?  Test it once.  See how much more fun it is to play this way, despite the risk that you will fumble.  See how much more interested your audience will be in the results you achieve, whether or not they are 100% "accurate."  What is the point of accuracy if the results are dull?

I have been working Beethoven this way for years now and am always astonished that people notice the difference - ordinary people, not just musicians.