Discussion:
Playing Bach Well
(too old to reply)
David Kotschessa
2004-08-14 14:25:20 UTC
Permalink
Can you have too much Bach in your repertoire? For some reason I think
not.

What do you think are the keys to really playing back *WELL*? I mean,
when I hear somebody say "He really understands Bach," what is it that
they really understand that I perhaps don't?

One thing I know for certain in my own playing is that I tend to neglect
the bass as an independent voice. I'm sure I do not need to go into too
much detail explaining the remedy for this which involves exgaggerating
the bassline for awhile, sometimes even practicing it separately.

Who do you think are some of the best (CG) players of Bach are?

Besides practice, what are some things it would behoove me to understand,
maybe historically, theoretically or otherwise?

Basically I hear about those that can play Bach well and I hear about
those who don't, and I want to be in the former category if at all
possible!

Thanks,
-D
John Oster
2004-08-14 17:23:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kotschessa
Can you have too much Bach in your repertoire? For some reason I think
not.
What do you think are the keys to really playing back *WELL*? I mean,
when I hear somebody say "He really understands Bach," what is it that
they really understand that I perhaps don't?
One thing I know for certain in my own playing is that I tend to neglect
the bass as an independent voice. I'm sure I do not need to go into too
much detail explaining the remedy for this which involves exgaggerating
the bassline for awhile, sometimes even practicing it separately.
Who do you think are some of the best (CG) players of Bach are?
Besides practice, what are some things it would behoove me to understand,
maybe historically, theoretically or otherwise?
Basically I hear about those that can play Bach well and I hear about
those who don't, and I want to be in the former category if at all
possible!
Thanks,
-D
I enjoy Paul Galbraith's Bach. Wonderful clarity, tone, elegant phrasing,
etc. For more visceral thrills, Eliot Fisk is hard to beat! His latest set
of Bach's Sonatas/Partitas is amazing--too bad his tone is not as warm as
Galbraith's.
--
To e-mail me, make nets singular
Paolo
2004-08-14 19:03:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kotschessa
Who do you think are some of the best (CG) players of Bach are?
This might not be a very popular post, but I
think John Williams' recording of the 4 lute suites is a classic. I have
always really liked Williams' rugged tone, and I think his no-nonsense,
motoristic interpretation really works on some of the fast dances. I
think a lot of guitarists get way too fussy with ornamentation on the
repeats. The fact that Bach wrote out a lot of his ornaments, rather than
leaving it up to the discretion of the performer, suggests that he himself
wasn't too keen on a heavily-ornamented, ostentatious approach to his
music. Williams also handles some of the really difficult movements with
consummate ease (as usual).

I also really like Fabio Zanon's recording of
the violin sonata (BWV 1003) on his Naxos recital cd (its the only Bach on
the recording, though).
Tom Sacold
2004-08-15 18:21:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paolo
Post by David Kotschessa
Who do you think are some of the best (CG) players of Bach are?
This might not be a very popular post, but I
think John Williams' recording of the 4 lute suites is a classic. I have
always really liked Williams' rugged tone, and I think his no-nonsense,
motoristic interpretation really works on some of the fast dances. I
think a lot of guitarists get way too fussy with ornamentation on the
YES YES YES
Post by Paolo
repeats. The fact that Bach wrote out a lot of his ornaments, rather than
leaving it up to the discretion of the performer, suggests that he himself
wasn't too keen on a heavily-ornamented, ostentatious approach to his
music. Williams also handles some of the really difficult movements with
consummate ease (as usual).
Agreed.
sycochkn
2004-08-14 17:51:40 UTC
Permalink
Did Bach ever write any music for the guitar?

Bob
Post by David Kotschessa
Can you have too much Bach in your repertoire? For some reason I think
not.
What do you think are the keys to really playing back *WELL*? I mean,
when I hear somebody say "He really understands Bach," what is it that
they really understand that I perhaps don't?
One thing I know for certain in my own playing is that I tend to neglect
the bass as an independent voice. I'm sure I do not need to go into too
much detail explaining the remedy for this which involves exgaggerating
the bassline for awhile, sometimes even practicing it separately.
Who do you think are some of the best (CG) players of Bach are?
Besides practice, what are some things it would behoove me to understand,
maybe historically, theoretically or otherwise?
Basically I hear about those that can play Bach well and I hear about
those who don't, and I want to be in the former category if at all
possible!
Thanks,
-D
John Oster
2004-08-14 19:57:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by sycochkn
Did Bach ever write any music for the guitar?
Not as we know it...he did write for the lute or the lautenklavier.
--
To e-mail me, make nets singular
Tom Sacold
2004-08-15 18:24:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Oster
Post by sycochkn
Did Bach ever write any music for the guitar?
Not as we know it...he did write for the lute or the lautenklavier.
--
Not an issue.

Bach is played on pianos, modern strings, modern orchestras. In most cases,
in my opinion, sounds much better on modern instuments. Eg Angela Hewitts
performance of the keyboard music on the piano.
Jim A
2004-08-15 00:30:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by sycochkn
Did Bach ever write any music for the guitar?
Bob
Nope. Closest he came was composing for lute. There are four Bach
lute suites (although even here there is some debate if all four were
really written for the lute).

The Bach works played on guitar come from these lute suites, as well
as Bach's music written for unaccompanied cello, works for
unaccompanied violin, and some of his keyboard pieces.

--Jim
Stanley Yates
2004-08-15 02:29:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jim A
Post by sycochkn
Did Bach ever write any music for the guitar?
Bob
Nope. Closest he came was composing for lute. There are four Bach
lute suites (although even here there is some debate if all four were
really written for the lute).
There's even doubt that any them were written for the lute...
--
Stanley Yates
http://www.StanleyYates.com
Richard Yates
2004-08-15 02:49:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Stanley Yates
There's even doubt that any them were written for the lute...
Stanley Yates
And certainly none of them were written ON the lute.

Richard Yates
Howard Posner
2004-08-16 00:14:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Yates
And certainly none of them were written ON the lute.
What makes you so certain? Is it so obvious that Bach did not become
proficient on the lute he owned?
Richard F. Sayage
2004-08-16 02:01:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Howard Posner
Post by Richard Yates
And certainly none of them were written ON the lute.
What makes you so certain? Is it so obvious that Bach did not become
proficient on the lute he owned?
This is possible! Bach was known as a quick study, as well as a
collector and purveyor of instruments. Records show that his home was
filled with various instruments. As for the Lute works, it is a matter of
conjecture as to what he wrote them for, but the obvious is that they are
playable on both the lute and the lute clavier. Leave it Bach to be so
flexible. Also, Bach did the majority of his writing away from his
instruments (actually his keyboards) in the latter part of his career, as
documented by his sons, I think it was Carl, so writing ON the instrument
may not be an issue in this case.

Rich
--
Richard F. Sayage
www.savageclassical.com

Remove ZEROSPAM to reply...thx

http://www.orphee.com/rmcg/album-rmcg/album.html
http://www.savageclassical.com/rmcg/album-rmcg/album.html
John Wasak
2004-08-15 03:24:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jim A
The Bach works played on guitar come from these lute suites, as well
as Bach's music written for unaccompanied cello, works for
unaccompanied violin, and some of his keyboard pieces.
--Jim
And what about "Jesu" and those grazing sheep and those awakening
sleepers?....


jw
Jim A
2004-08-15 23:35:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Wasak
Post by Jim A
The Bach works played on guitar come from these lute suites, as well
as Bach's music written for unaccompanied cello, works for
unaccompanied violin, and some of his keyboard pieces.
--Jim
And what about "Jesu" and those grazing sheep and those awakening
sleepers?....
jw
OK... and the occasional cantata and even an orchestral piece or two
(lest someone brings up "G String" or some similar piece), though not
without substantial arranging...

--Jim
John Wasak
2004-08-15 03:19:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by sycochkn
Did Bach ever write any music for the guitar?
Bob
Well, I could tell you all about it, but then some folks'll get their dander
up and tell me I'm gonna' drive you away, Bob.

And I wouldn't want to do that.


jw
Post by sycochkn
Post by David Kotschessa
Can you have too much Bach in your repertoire? For some reason I think
not.
What do you think are the keys to really playing back *WELL*? I mean,
when I hear somebody say "He really understands Bach," what is it that
they really understand that I perhaps don't?
One thing I know for certain in my own playing is that I tend to neglect
the bass as an independent voice. I'm sure I do not need to go into too
much detail explaining the remedy for this which involves exgaggerating
the bassline for awhile, sometimes even practicing it separately.
Who do you think are some of the best (CG) players of Bach are?
Besides practice, what are some things it would behoove me to understand,
maybe historically, theoretically or otherwise?
Basically I hear about those that can play Bach well and I hear about
those who don't, and I want to be in the former category if at all
possible!
Thanks,
-D
unknown
2004-08-14 20:08:09 UTC
Permalink
On Sat, 14 Aug 2004 10:25:20 -0400, David Kotschessa
Post by David Kotschessa
What do you think are the keys to really playing back *WELL*?
I don't claim to know all the keys to playing Bach well, but I do know
that one of the keys is to be able to "hear" it in your head. If you
can whistle or sing every note of a piece by Bach away from the
guitar, you will be able to play it quite well on the instrument
(assuming adequate technique).

One of the things often said of Glenn Gould's performances of Bach is
that he knew absolutely where every note fit into the piece -- where
every voice led and how each voice fit in with the others. There was
no doubt as to how each note should be played because he could hear it
in his head so clearly.

Here's an interesting test for anyone who is working on a piece by
Bach right now: Play the first note on your guitar, then sing or hum
or whistle the rest of the piece. When you get to various points in
the piece, check what your ears think the next note should be compared
to what it really is on your guitar.

Tim





http://timberens.com
A Website for Guitarists
Learn something...Have some fun
timb at erinet dot com
Jasper Riedel
2004-08-14 21:31:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by unknown
...
One of the things often said of Glenn Gould's performances of Bach is
that he knew absolutely where every note fit into the piece -- where
every voice led and how each voice fit in with the others.
Of course is a soloist to know every piece of the pieces he plays
absolutly perfect. In terms of Bach this is especially easy as every
voice of his pieces are always easily cantable and make perfect
music-logical sense. It is even hard to try to modify them.
Post by unknown
There was
no doubt as to how each note should be played because
he could hear it in his head so clearly.
Nearly every professional musician can imagine -that is hear-
music in his head at will. This comes with early childhood or it
comes by time.

What comes or does not come is an absolute pitch, which
makes things absolutely easy! Glenn Gould was that happy
and owned an absolute pitch.


Regards
Larry Deack
2004-08-14 22:56:23 UTC
Permalink
<Tim Berens>
Post by unknown
I don't claim to know all the keys to playing Bach well,
but I do know that one of the keys is to be able to "hear"
it in your head.
By the time I understand the musical meaning in depth on the guitar I can
pretty much recall the parts, so in a way I agree with you.

I think one thing that makes Bach difficult for most guitarists is that the
patterns are not so easy to understand and not well related to the standard
chord melody approach of so much of the music we play.

With a lot of guitar music the chord pattern is also a RH pattern so the
music is the happy result of the interaction of 2 patterns. HVL's study #1
is a perfect example of how we can chunk the patterns into LH & RH parts
with the RH part repeating for most of the piece. This is a very common
texture in guitar playing. Contrast that with Bach where few guitar players
would find many patterns that can be thought of in familiar block patterns
on the guitar.

Ultimately, to play Bach's music well you must travel down the same path as
the composer and study harmony and counterpoint. I think for students
counterpoint is the musical equivalent of calculus in math in that is seems
to be a confusing barrier for many students. Counterpoint and calculus are
also indispensable tools for the professionals in their respective fields
who do their work well.

Can anybody name any recording of Bach played well where the performer did
not know harmony and counterpoint well?
Jasper Riedel
2004-08-14 23:58:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Larry Deack
<Tim Berens>
Post by unknown
I don't claim to know all the keys to playing Bach well,
but I do know that one of the keys is to be able to "hear"
it in your head.
By the time I understand the musical meaning in depth on the guitar I can
pretty much recall the parts, so in a way I agree with you.
I think one thing that makes Bach difficult for most guitarists is that the
patterns are not so easy to understand and not well related to the standard
chord melody approach of so much of the music we play.
With a lot of guitar music the chord pattern is also a RH pattern so the
music is the happy result of the interaction of 2 patterns. HVL's study #1
is a perfect example of how we can chunk the patterns into LH & RH parts
with the RH part repeating for most of the piece. This is a very common
texture in guitar playing. Contrast that with Bach where few guitar players
would find many patterns that can be thought of in familiar block patterns
on the guitar.
Ultimately, to play Bach's music well you must travel down the same path as
the composer and study harmony and counterpoint. I think for students
counterpoint is the musical equivalent of calculus in math in that is seems
to be a confusing barrier for many students. Counterpoint and calculus are
also indispensable tools for the professionals in their respective fields
who do their work well.
Can anybody name any recording of Bach played well where the performer did
not know harmony and counterpoint well?
Sure, my pleasure, don't "travel down" til governement.
Lets add and divide --- get us my optimized music ...
Stanley Yates
2004-08-15 02:26:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Larry Deack
I think one thing that makes Bach difficult for most guitarists is that the
patterns are not so easy to understand and not well related to the standard
chord melody approach of so much of the music we play.
Absolutely Larry, this is certainly one of the major difficulties. Within
any contrapuntal strand (in fact within almost any recurring musical
element) Bach relentlessly sets up and defies our expectations, from phrase
to phrase, measure to measure, and beat to beat. Lawrence Dreyfus, in his
"Bach and the Patterns of Invention" refers to this as "composing agaonst
the grain" - a great term for it. The degree to which Bach does this was,
unique for his period. So, one thing required to play Bach well is the
abilility to repsond to a constantly changing accentual hierarchy. What is
common in much Bach playing however (something which has even appeared in
print as an interpretive "idea"), is the notion of an opening generative
cell - whose accentuation structure is then imposed on all that follows.

Stanley
--
Stanley Yates
http://www.StanleyYates.com
Carlos Barrientos
2004-08-15 02:53:25 UTC
Permalink
On Sat, 14 Aug 2004 21:26:57 -0500, "Stanley Yates"
Post by Larry Deack
Post by Larry Deack
I think one thing that makes Bach difficult for most guitarists is that
the
Post by Larry Deack
patterns are not so easy to understand and not well related to the
standard
Post by Larry Deack
chord melody approach of so much of the music we play.
Absolutely Larry, this is certainly one of the major difficulties. Within
any contrapuntal strand (in fact within almost any recurring musical
element) Bach relentlessly sets up and defies our expectations, from phrase
to phrase, measure to measure, and beat to beat. Lawrence Dreyfus, in his
"Bach and the Patterns of Invention" refers to this as "composing agaonst
the grain" - a great term for it. The degree to which Bach does this was,
unique for his period. So, one thing required to play Bach well is the
abilility to repsond to a constantly changing accentual hierarchy. What is
common in much Bach playing however (something which has even appeared in
print as an interpretive "idea"), is the notion of an opening generative
cell - whose accentuation structure is then imposed on all that follows.
Stanley
So that's what I've been doing wrong all along!

(;-)

(This is actually a VERY important interpretative post!)

Carlos Barrientos
"mailto:***@sprintmail.com"
Phone: (229)-438-1087

"The guitar is the ideal instrument for anyone who
is able to love loneliness." -- Angelo Gilardino
Jasper Riedel
2004-08-15 11:14:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Carlos Barrientos
...
"The guitar is the ideal instrument for anyone who
is able to love loneliness." -- Angelo Gilardino
One might add - an ideal for anyone who is tired to
carry that pianoforte around with em all day.
Larry Deack
2004-08-15 05:34:33 UTC
Permalink
"Stanley Yates"
Post by Stanley Yates
So, one thing required to play Bach well is the
abilility to repsond to a constantly changing accentual hierarchy. What is
common in much Bach playing however (something which has even appeared in
print as an interpretive "idea"), is the notion of an opening generative
cell - whose accentuation structure is then imposed on all that follows.
It seems to me if I understand what you are saying, and that is not at all
clear to me, you are comparing 2 approaches to the same end.

As I see it the structures of Bach's music have a lot of interlocking
symmetrical patterns from the smallest bits to the overall form. There is
symmetry in linear time and also if we look at the way the bits are put
together using transformations of the geometry on both the bits and the
resultant combinations. It's not just the crab cannons that are organized in
patterns that restrict the possible solutions while maintaining all the
other constraints of so much symmetry. Much of Bach can be viewed in
non-linear time like a frozen 3D crystal matrix with every facet set at
just the right angle relative to the others so they sparkle like a diamond
as we view the patterns from different temporal angles. It's this composing
in 3D where every note must be justified by multiple relationships to the
other parts that makes it so hard for most of us to form a clear mental
image of where we are at any given moment in the linear view the music.
Stanley Yates
2004-08-15 14:57:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Carlos Barrientos
"Stanley Yates"
Post by Stanley Yates
So, one thing required to play Bach well is the
abilility to repsond to a constantly changing accentual hierarchy. What is
common in much Bach playing however (something which has even appeared in
print as an interpretive "idea"), is the notion of an opening
generative
Post by Carlos Barrientos
Post by Stanley Yates
cell - whose accentuation structure is then imposed on all that follows.
It seems to me if I understand what you are saying, and that is not at all
clear to me, you are comparing 2 approaches to the same end.
Actaully I'm advocating the hierarchal, constantly varied accentuation
approach, and arguing againt the idea
of applying an opening generative idea across the piece. (Thsi is not always
the case, of course: dance movements are usually - though not alwats -
rigourous in maintaining their opening beat/pickup structure, but even these
pieces will then use heavly varied secondary acentuation.
Post by Carlos Barrientos
As I see it the structures of Bach's music have a lot of interlocking
symmetrical patterns from the smallest bits to the overall form. There is
symmetry in linear time and also if we look at the way the bits are put
together using transformations of the geometry on both the bits and the
resultant combinations. It's not just the crab cannons that are organized in
patterns that restrict the possible solutions while maintaining all the
other constraints of so much symmetry. Much of Bach can be viewed in
non-linear time like a frozen 3D crystal matrix with every facet set at
just the right angle relative to the others so they sparkle like a diamond
as we view the patterns from different temporal angles. It's this composing
in 3D where every note must be justified by multiple relationships to the
other parts that makes it so hard for most of us to form a clear mental
image of where we are at any given moment in the linear view the music.
Well, I think there might be a more direct way to put this. Setting aside
the concept of non-linear time (which is probably part of our perption of
any music (as a response the varying densities of expressive activity), and
focussign only on pitch, most pitches in Bach (and in many other composers
too) function on more than one level simultaneously, depending on the
"time-scale" one applies, At the simplest level, notes function simply from
one to the next, at a deeper level, the highest/lowest pitches of a piece
connect only every so many measures, and so on. This is the reason that the
music can sound and feel so different depending on the tempo chosen. The
reason that Bach's music nevertheless sounds interesting at widely dirvegent
tempos is that these realtionships are so rigorously worked. So much for
pitch - sinmilar relationships exist regarding rhythmic intensity, larger
pulse, texture, harmony, etc. I do believe though, that one must first have
the surface sorted out (since that's what is most directly heard) before any
of the larger stuff can work.

Stanley
--
Dr. Stanley Yates
http://www.StanleyYates.com
Larry Deack
2004-08-15 19:13:17 UTC
Permalink
"Stanley Yates"
Post by Stanley Yates
Actaully I'm advocating the hierarchal, constantly varied accentuation
approach, and arguing againt the idea
of applying an opening generative idea across the piece. (Thsi is not always
the case, of course: dance movements are usually - though not alwats -
rigourous in maintaining their opening beat/pickup structure, but even these
pieces will then use heavly varied secondary acentuation.
I see, my mistake. I see the distinction you are making now although I'd
say that looking at how the piece works when generative ideas are applied to
the whole is a good way to explore the huge number of ideas we are juggling
when we perform the music in real time. Not a good idea if rigidly applied
in performance but interesting as a tool for looking at structure.
Post by Stanley Yates
Well, I think there might be a more direct way to put this.
I'm SURE there is.
Post by Stanley Yates
Setting aside the concept of non-linear time (which is probably part of
our perception of
Post by Stanley Yates
any music (as a response the varying densities of expressive activity), and
focussign only on pitch, most pitches in Bach (and in many other composers
too) function on more than one level simultaneously, depending on the
"time-scale" one applies, At the simplest level, notes function simply from
one to the next, at a deeper level, the highest/lowest pitches of a piece
connect only every so many measures, and so on. This is the reason that the
music can sound and feel so different depending on the tempo chosen.
Very nicely said. I think I was trying to bite off too much.
Post by Stanley Yates
The reason that Bach's music nevertheless
sounds interesting at widely dirvegent
tempos is that these realtionships are so rigorously worked.
I was pointing to the non-linear part to explain how that working out is
about creating multiple connections for each part in the structure and that
seems to make the structure very strong and resilient to manipulation.
Post by Stanley Yates
So much for
pitch - sinmilar relationships exist regarding rhythmic intensity, larger
pulse, texture, harmony, etc. I do believe though, that one must first have
the surface sorted out (since that's what is most directly heard) before any
of the larger stuff can work.
I see it as and process of using my zoom to move into the micro parts and
then to the macro view of the whole piece adjusting each with its neighbor
and the whole. Not sure what you mean by the surface.

I like to start by finding views where I can scope out the whole structure
then fill in details as I run over the various patterns If I find a bit that
ties to another bit I would make sure that how I play those bits is related
in some way even if they are at very different places in the score. The most
obvious way to create a relation is imitation of the articulation. Finding
guitar fingering solutions for such imitative parts can be a real pain when
the line has many offset patterns like we find in much of what we like about
Bach. I'm sure this is one of the issues with playing Bach that is most
frustrating since our solutions are too often where to chop the bits and do
the least damage to the symmetry.
Aryeh Eller
2004-08-16 15:30:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Larry Deack
It's this composing
in 3D where every note must be justified by multiple relationships to the
other parts that makes it so hard for most of us to form a clear mental
image of where we are at any given moment in the linear view the music.
It's not that hard and really depends on how it is explained and first
introduced when first encountering this music. I teach counterpoint to
inner-city kids in NYC every semester as part of a chapter on
melody/harmony and how they are woven together to create different
textures - monophonic, homophonic and polyphonic. The important thing in
music with two or more melodic lines simultaneously is to identify the
individual melodies first by themselves - sing or play only one melodic
line at a time until that melody becomes ingrained in the mind before
going on to the next melody. The next step is showing how they are all
played together and how each melody "fits" with each other. I usually
start with a very simple two or three voice counterpoint texture. Some
children's songs, classical pieces and pop songs that illustrate this in
a simple, not too complicated way are rounds like Row, Row Your Boat,
Dona Nobis Pacem, Bach's Bouree from the 1st Lute Suite in E min., "One"
from A Chorus Line and McCartney's "Silly Love Songs". The McCartney
song is especially good in showing counterpoint and kids really like the
song, it's got a good funky beat and bass line. I usually get some
volunteers to sing the 3 parts (usually 3 groups of 3 or 4 students in
each) which are based on these lyrics:

1. I love you
2. How can I tell you about my loved one
3. I can't explain this feeling's plain to me

At first they sing the melodies without the lyrics on a syllable like
"La" and then I add the lyrics later. This is a great basis for when you
introduce a bit later a more complicated classical or jazz piece that
uses words to convey the counterpoint)


The point of "getting" and enjoying the intertwining melodic lines is
not to be confused by all of them at once but to focus on one particular
part and follow that part all the way through the piece/song. To
demonstrate the idea of focusing on one point I usually have one of the
groups sing they're part louder than the other two parts- it's easy to
follow a melodic line when it is brought out to the fore by volume.

Another useful tool is a synthesizer with memory and a sequencer which
you can program ahead of time that can bring out the various melodic
lines in counterpoint with various different sounds and timbre - you can
have the class listen for a particular sound if they're having trouble
with all of the lines sounding in the same timbre.

Now of course this is not music on the level of the awesome fugues that
Bach writes but it is a small beginning - kids learn to at least
identify if a piece of music has polyphony and counterpoint once they've
been introduced however simply to the concept.

So yes there is a 2D or 3D or even 4D or more aspect to
counterpoint/polyphonic music and if you take it all in at once can be
very hard to grasp, but my experience with people learning this type of
music for the first time is to concentrate on one dimension at a time -
the realization that there are other parts sounding beside the dimension
you're concentrating on is one of the great pleasures of this music.
Steve Perry
2004-08-16 17:13:43 UTC
Permalink
In article
<bandoneon1800-***@nyctyp01-ge0.rdc-nyc.rr.com>,
Aryeh Eller <***@nyc.rr.com> wrote:

(snipped)
Post by Aryeh Eller
So yes there is a 2D or 3D or even 4D or more aspect to
counterpoint/polyphonic music and if you take it all in at once can be
very hard to grasp, but my experience with people learning this type of
music for the first time is to concentrate on one dimension at a time -
the realization that there are other parts sounding beside the dimension
you're concentrating on is one of the great pleasures of this music.
Being largely ignorant musically, maybe I'm not the guy to ask, but
this thread seems a good example of more signal than noise -- and one
of the reasons I find this group both interesting and useful.

What I don't know about Bach will fill all the books ever written about
him -- and this kind of information from those who know is great.

Thanks, folks.
--
Steve
David Kotschessa
2004-08-16 20:24:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve Perry
In article
(snipped)
Post by Aryeh Eller
So yes there is a 2D or 3D or even 4D or more aspect to
counterpoint/polyphonic music and if you take it all in at once can be
very hard to grasp, but my experience with people learning this type of
music for the first time is to concentrate on one dimension at a time -
the realization that there are other parts sounding beside the dimension
you're concentrating on is one of the great pleasures of this music.
Being largely ignorant musically, maybe I'm not the guy to ask, but
this thread seems a good example of more signal than noise -- and one
of the reasons I find this group both interesting and useful.
One need only to ask the right questions.

You're welcome. hehe ;)
Post by Steve Perry
What I don't know about Bach will fill all the books ever written about
him -- and this kind of information from those who know is great.
Thanks, folks.
--
Steve
Aryeh Eller
2004-08-17 16:24:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve Perry
In article
(snipped)
Post by Aryeh Eller
So yes there is a 2D or 3D or even 4D or more aspect to
counterpoint/polyphonic music and if you take it all in at once can be
very hard to grasp, but my experience with people learning this type of
music for the first time is to concentrate on one dimension at a time -
the realization that there are other parts sounding beside the dimension
you're concentrating on is one of the great pleasures of this music.
Being largely ignorant musically, maybe I'm not the guy to ask, but
this thread seems a good example of more signal than noise -- and one
of the reasons I find this group both interesting and useful.
What I don't know about Bach will fill all the books ever written about
him -- and this kind of information from those who know is great.
Thanks, folks.
Hi Steve, I found a very informative page on the internet about
counterpoint that will surely explain this to you very clearly.

Check out this link:

http://cnx.rice.edu/content/m11634/latest/
David Kotschessa
2004-08-16 21:27:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Aryeh Eller
Post by Larry Deack
It's this composing
in 3D where every note must be justified by multiple relationships to the
other parts that makes it so hard for most of us to form a clear mental
image of where we are at any given moment in the linear view the music.
It's not that hard and really depends on how it is explained and first
introduced when first encountering this music. I teach counterpoint to
inner-city kids in NYC every semester as part of a chapter on
melody/harmony and how they are woven together to create different
textures - monophonic, homophonic and polyphonic. The important thing in
music with two or more melodic lines simultaneously is to identify the
individual melodies first by themselves - sing or play only one melodic
line at a time until that melody becomes ingrained in the mind before
going on to the next melody. The next step is showing how they are all
played together and how each melody "fits" with each other. I usually
start with a very simple two or three voice counterpoint texture. Some
children's songs, classical pieces and pop songs that illustrate this in
a simple, not too complicated way are rounds like Row, Row Your Boat,
Dona Nobis Pacem, Bach's Bouree from the 1st Lute Suite in E min., "One"
from A Chorus Line and McCartney's "Silly Love Songs". The McCartney
song is especially good in showing counterpoint and kids really like the
song, it's got a good funky beat and bass line. I usually get some
volunteers to sing the 3 parts (usually 3 groups of 3 or 4 students in
1. I love you
2. How can I tell you about my loved one
3. I can't explain this feeling's plain to me
At first they sing the melodies without the lyrics on a syllable like
"La" and then I add the lyrics later. This is a great basis for when you
introduce a bit later a more complicated classical or jazz piece that
uses words to convey the counterpoint)
The point of "getting" and enjoying the intertwining melodic lines is
not to be confused by all of them at once but to focus on one particular
part and follow that part all the way through the piece/song. To
demonstrate the idea of focusing on one point I usually have one of the
groups sing they're part louder than the other two parts- it's easy to
follow a melodic line when it is brought out to the fore by volume.
Another useful tool is a synthesizer with memory and a sequencer which
you can program ahead of time that can bring out the various melodic
lines in counterpoint with various different sounds and timbre - you can
have the class listen for a particular sound if they're having trouble
with all of the lines sounding in the same timbre.
Now of course this is not music on the level of the awesome fugues that
Bach writes but it is a small beginning - kids learn to at least
identify if a piece of music has polyphony and counterpoint once they've
been introduced however simply to the concept.
So yes there is a 2D or 3D or even 4D or more aspect to
counterpoint/polyphonic music and if you take it all in at once can be
very hard to grasp, but my experience with people learning this type of
music for the first time is to concentrate on one dimension at a time -
the realization that there are other parts sounding beside the dimension
you're concentrating on is one of the great pleasures of this music.
I have been spending a lot of time isolating the lines in some of the Bach
I am playing. The first way is just to play that line by itself. This
actually is very difficult, becuase I want to keep the fingerings as if I
am playing both parts. The other thing I do is simply to grossly
exaggerate that particular line, and try to make it melodic.

I am having a blast with Gigue and Double in A minor right now, which is
what prompted this post. It was hell to work through at first but it is
becoming more and more important to me all the time. I've given special
treatment to the lower melody notes now becuase those are the ones that I
most frequently ignore. Working on this piece though has prompted me to go
through ALL of my previous Bach pieces.
Olof Johansson
2004-08-16 22:09:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kotschessa
Post by Aryeh Eller
Post by Larry Deack
It's this composing
in 3D where every note must be justified by multiple relationships to the
other parts that makes it so hard for most of us to form a clear mental
image of where we are at any given moment in the linear view the music.
It's not that hard and really depends on how it is explained and first
introduced when first encountering this music. I teach counterpoint to
inner-city kids in NYC every semester as part of a chapter on
melody/harmony and how they are woven together to create different
textures - monophonic, homophonic and polyphonic. The important thing in
music with two or more melodic lines simultaneously is to identify the
individual melodies first by themselves - sing or play only one melodic
line at a time until that melody becomes ingrained in the mind before
going on to the next melody. The next step is showing how they are all
played together and how each melody "fits" with each other. I usually
start with a very simple two or three voice counterpoint texture. Some
children's songs, classical pieces and pop songs that illustrate this in
a simple, not too complicated way are rounds like Row, Row Your Boat,
Dona Nobis Pacem, Bach's Bouree from the 1st Lute Suite in E min., "One"
from A Chorus Line and McCartney's "Silly Love Songs". The McCartney
song is especially good in showing counterpoint and kids really like the
song, it's got a good funky beat and bass line. I usually get some
volunteers to sing the 3 parts (usually 3 groups of 3 or 4 students in
1. I love you
2. How can I tell you about my loved one
3. I can't explain this feeling's plain to me
At first they sing the melodies without the lyrics on a syllable like
"La" and then I add the lyrics later. This is a great basis for when you
introduce a bit later a more complicated classical or jazz piece that
uses words to convey the counterpoint)
The point of "getting" and enjoying the intertwining melodic lines is
not to be confused by all of them at once but to focus on one particular
part and follow that part all the way through the piece/song. To
demonstrate the idea of focusing on one point I usually have one of the
groups sing they're part louder than the other two parts- it's easy to
follow a melodic line when it is brought out to the fore by volume.
Another useful tool is a synthesizer with memory and a sequencer which
you can program ahead of time that can bring out the various melodic
lines in counterpoint with various different sounds and timbre - you can
have the class listen for a particular sound if they're having trouble
with all of the lines sounding in the same timbre.
Now of course this is not music on the level of the awesome fugues that
Bach writes but it is a small beginning - kids learn to at least
identify if a piece of music has polyphony and counterpoint once they've
been introduced however simply to the concept.
So yes there is a 2D or 3D or even 4D or more aspect to
counterpoint/polyphonic music and if you take it all in at once can be
very hard to grasp, but my experience with people learning this type of
music for the first time is to concentrate on one dimension at a time -
the realization that there are other parts sounding beside the dimension
you're concentrating on is one of the great pleasures of this music.
I have been spending a lot of time isolating the lines in some of the
Bach I am playing. The first way is just to play that line by itself.
This actually is very difficult, becuase I want to keep the fingerings
as if I am playing both parts. The other thing I do is simply to
grossly exaggerate that particular line, and try to make it melodic.
I am having a blast with Gigue and Double in A minor right now, which is
what prompted this post. It was hell to work through at first but it is
becoming more and more important to me all the time. I've given special
treatment to the lower melody notes now becuase those are the ones that
I most frequently ignore. Working on this piece though has prompted me
to go through ALL of my previous Bach pieces.
When playing Bach, I've considered using the isolating-lines-method of
practicing, but it has always put me off a little because of the
seemingly high time cost. So I've ended up just playing over and over
again, and over time the piece is ironed in. Then, when engulfed in the
music, I just seem to visit the different phrases that I've come to
know, walking the way of Christ tending to his lambs, I'm still here,
this is cool, are you here, I'm here, me too, we're all here together,
nice, we'll go on, it's this way. I think I like that "on your toes"
attitude, thanks Stanley and David. Someone said that Bach is like the
universe and Mozart is like the earth. This rings true to me. The cello
music sounds to me like breathing chords, the music is so strong you
can't help but to put your soul into it.
Now this looks like a really pretentious post, sorry about that, Bach
has that effect on me.
--
Olof
David Kotschessa
2004-08-17 00:01:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Olof Johansson
When playing Bach, I've considered using the isolating-lines-method of
practicing, but it has always put me off a little because of the seemingly
high time cost.
Ah, the joys of being a bachelor with too mine time on his hands...


So I've ended up just playing over and over again, and over
Post by Olof Johansson
time the piece is ironed in. Then, when engulfed in the music, I just seem to
visit the different phrases that I've come to know, walking the way of Christ
tending to his lambs, I'm still here, this is cool, are you here, I'm here,
me too, we're all here together, nice, we'll go on, it's this way. I think I
like that "on your toes" attitude, thanks Stanley and David. Someone said
that Bach is like the universe and Mozart is like the earth. This rings true
to me. The cello music sounds to me like breathing chords, the music is so
strong you can't help but to put your soul into it.
Now this looks like a really pretentious post, sorry about that, Bach has
that effect on me.
That's allowed. I raise my $5.00 latte to you sir.
Larry Deack
2004-08-16 23:32:45 UTC
Permalink
"Aryeh Eller"
Post by Aryeh Eller
The point of "getting" and enjoying the intertwining melodic lines is
not to be confused by all of them at once but to focus on one particular
part and follow that part all the way through the piece/song.
That is a great first step in learning to listen _between_ the lines while
juggling them in real time to create the whole cloth. Singing parts and
especially singing pieces like row your boat are a great way to learn to
hear independent parts. Singing in a choir is such a great way to learn and
I often suggest it to students since I think singing is pretty much
something all musicians should be able to do even if their technique sucks
like mine.

If the guitar player it too focused on one part then the music tends to
lean that way too. Finding that space where we can hear as much as possible
all at once is a matter of balancing our ear between musical lines and also
a matter of hearing the other relations stitching it all together over time.

I think these other relations may matter more than the voice separations
since they are the major points of what carries the music forward with
anticipation. Those notes at each crest and valley must make sense as shapes
even with the other notes extracted. Then, as Stanley said, that fits with
phrases that fit with each other and those fit into sections, and so on.
This structure is what I mean about 3D. It's not so much the voice
separation I see as making it 3D as multiple hierarchal layers of pitch,
rhythm, etc that make the piece work every way we turn it or slice it in
time or zoom in and out... it all works!
Aryeh Eller
2004-08-19 00:03:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Larry Deack
"Aryeh Eller"
Post by Aryeh Eller
The point of "getting" and enjoying the intertwining melodic lines is
not to be confused by all of them at once but to focus on one particular
part and follow that part all the way through the piece/song.
If the guitar player it too focused on one part then the music tends to
lean that way too. Finding that space where we can hear as much as possible
all at once is a matter of balancing our ear between musical lines and also
a matter of hearing the other relations stitching it all together over time.
It's impossible to hear or track or follow every independent line at
once, you really can only follow one line at a time clearly - the other
notes you are hearing at any given moment of the piece are harmonies,
intervals and chords lining up from the other melodic lines that have
color and create or release harmonic tension and interest.
Post by Larry Deack
I think these other relations may matter more than the voice separations
since they are the major points of what carries the music forward with
anticipation. Those notes at each crest and valley must make sense as shapes
even with the other notes extracted. Then, as Stanley said, that fits with
phrases that fit with each other and those fit into sections, and so on.
This structure is what I mean about 3D. It's not so much the voice
separation I see as making it 3D as multiple hierarchal layers of pitch,
rhythm, etc that make the piece work every way we turn it or slice it in
time or zoom in and out... it all works!
That sounds good in theory but music isn't 3D like a painting or an
object that you see with your eyes - When you look at a painting you can
literally take in every piece of information about that painting
immediately, not so with music - With music you must hear the
composition unfold moment by moment in time to grasp its structure. You
can listen to a polyphonic/counterpoint piece and you can follow one
independent line at a time clearly all the way through the work - the
other notes you're hearing are harmonic events occurring at any given
moment as a result of putting all the independent lines together. That's
just plain old 2D homophony (melody and harmony). The beauty of
counterpoint is that one can focus on one particular line in the piece
and experience the harmonic interest that gathers around it or focus on
any another line that you choose as the music is moving forward to get a
different perspective. It's very much like an optical illusion and gives
the impression of being 3D but it isn't in practice because the ear just
can't navigate all that at once.

The music may be 3D on paper in sheet music because you're looking at it
from a visual point of view but I don't think it plays out that way when
you hear it.

I suggest an excellent book on this subject, Douglas Hofstadter's
Pulitzer Prize-winning

Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%f6del,_Escher,_Bach

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?isbn=04650265
67

http://tinyurl.com/4soma

The book discusses Bach's music and compares it to the master graphic
spatial art illusionist Max Escher as well as mathematician Kurt Gödel .

Escher's drawings appear to be 3 dimensional but they're not, they're
drawn on flat paper.

Bach's music sounds like you're able to hear multiple independent lines
at once but you can only really follow one fully and completely at any
given time - the awareness of other independent lines that are in the
music forming harmonic interest is the aural illusion that makes you
think you're really taking all this independent motion at once but
you're really not. That's the one of the great beauties of counterpoint.
Larry Deack
2004-08-19 01:48:11 UTC
Permalink
"Aryeh Eller"
Post by Aryeh Eller
I suggest an excellent book on this subject, Douglas Hofstadter's
Pulitzer Prize-winning
Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
I read it long ago and it has led me to some of the ideas I posted here.

Evidently we came away from that book with very different ideas about Bach
and what Hofstadter was saying since it seems to me I should be suggesting
the same book to you if you wish to understand my post better.

Bach's structure is recursive.
Post by Aryeh Eller
Bach's music sounds like you're able to hear multiple
independent lines at once but you can only really follow
one fully and completely at any given time
I can follow more than one line and in fact that is what I was advocating
others try. It feels like holding your focus between the lines but I
certainly agree one must first learn to follow the lines easily.
Post by Aryeh Eller
When you look at a painting you can literally take
in every piece of information about that painting
immediately
I think you are incorrect on this point. Visual perception is much more
complicated and so is how we hear music.
Greg M. Silverman
2004-08-19 01:58:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Larry Deack
"Aryeh Eller"
Okay, so you're the "someone" that Aryeh was quoting.

Haven't read this book, but it is sitting on my shelf. Thanks for the
impetus.

Oh yes, and I agree with you about following more than one line at a
time. It's not impossible, but it does take concentration.

Oh, and about visual perception and art, I recommend David Perkins' book
"The Intelligent Eye: Learning to Think by Looking at Art." See
http://www.pz.harvard.edu/PIs/DP.htm ... I think he would agree with you.

Interesting side-thread BTW.

Peace out!

gms--
Post by Larry Deack
Post by Aryeh Eller
I suggest an excellent book on this subject, Douglas Hofstadter's
Pulitzer Prize-winning
Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
I read it long ago and it has led me to some of the ideas I posted here.
Evidently we came away from that book with very different ideas about Bach
and what Hofstadter was saying since it seems to me I should be suggesting
the same book to you if you wish to understand my post better.
Bach's structure is recursive.
Post by Aryeh Eller
Bach's music sounds like you're able to hear multiple
independent lines at once but you can only really follow
one fully and completely at any given time
I can follow more than one line and in fact that is what I was advocating
others try. It feels like holding your focus between the lines but I
certainly agree one must first learn to follow the lines easily.
Post by Aryeh Eller
When you look at a painting you can literally take
in every piece of information about that painting
immediately
I think you are incorrect on this point. Visual perception is much more
complicated and so is how we hear music.
Larry Deack
2004-08-19 07:00:48 UTC
Permalink
"Greg M. Silverman"
Post by Greg M. Silverman
Oh, and about visual perception and art, I recommend David Perkins' book
"The Intelligent Eye: Learning to Think by Looking at Art." See
http://www.pz.harvard.edu/PIs/DP.htm ... I think he would agree with you.
Looks like an interesting book and author. Thanks for the lead. Over the
years I've done a bit of study of visual perception and read more than a few
books including a lot of technical documents on the subject. I learned a ton
about things like paper, light, inks and color after 13 years at
Zenographics. The other engineers all had great books on computer graphics
and software engineering that they freely shared with me. They were also
generous at the impromptu whiteboard gatherings we often had in our offices
since that was one mode of technical talk we seemed to use a lot. The owner
and CEO was great to work and a brilliant programmer who shared many hours
of his time helping me learn the subject.
David Kotschessa
2004-08-19 07:19:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Larry Deack
"Greg M. Silverman"
Post by Greg M. Silverman
Oh, and about visual perception and art, I recommend David Perkins' book
"The Intelligent Eye: Learning to Think by Looking at Art." See
http://www.pz.harvard.edu/PIs/DP.htm ... I think he would agree with you.
Looks like an interesting book and author. Thanks for the lead. Over the
years I've done a bit of study of visual perception and read more than a few
books including a lot of technical documents on the subject. I learned a ton
about things like paper, light, inks and color after 13 years at
Zenographics. The other engineers all had great books on computer graphics
and software engineering that they freely shared with me. They were also
generous at the impromptu whiteboard gatherings we often had in our offices
since that was one mode of technical talk we seemed to use a lot. The owner
and CEO was great to work and a brilliant programmer who shared many hours
of his time helping me learn the subject.
To throw another monkey into the wrenchworks here... Have either of you
heard of James Turrell? He does some amazing things with light.
Larry Deack
2004-08-19 07:46:30 UTC
Permalink
"David Kotschessa"
Post by David Kotschessa
To throw another monkey into the wrenchworks here... Have either of you
heard of James Turrell? He does some amazing things with light.
Roden Crater, right? Very interesting stuff but I think we have now moved
OT... sooo...

The article Paolo posted about has this interesting quote:

"Limitations in the perception of auditory numerosity may be symptomatic of
a broader perceptual limitation, since the results of these studies parallel
the results of similar studies in vision."

A connection between vision and hearing that can lead us back to Bach
perhaps?

There is still the interesting fretboard geometry of Bach where it seems
there are an endless number of fingering possibilities in some of his pieces
like the Prelude to the 4th lute suite where it seem nobody uses the same
fingerings more than a few measures.
David Kotschessa
2004-08-19 08:13:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Larry Deack
"David Kotschessa"
Post by David Kotschessa
To throw another monkey into the wrenchworks here... Have either of you
heard of James Turrell? He does some amazing things with light.
Roden Crater, right? Very interesting stuff but I think we have now moved
OT... sooo...
That's the one.

4:00am does that to me...
Post by Larry Deack
"Limitations in the perception of auditory numerosity may be symptomatic of
a broader perceptual limitation, since the results of these studies parallel
the results of similar studies in vision."
A connection between vision and hearing that can lead us back to Bach
perhaps?
There is still the interesting fretboard geometry of Bach where it seems
there are an endless number of fingering possibilities in some of his pieces
like the Prelude to the 4th lute suite where it seem nobody uses the same
fingerings more than a few measures.
The piece I am obsessing over now, (Gigue and Double, A minor) is a bit
like this. It is also a very "notey" piece and is very long so the
fingering possibilities are great. But I love the geometry of it. There
is a sort of constant cat-and-mouse game going on with the left hand
fingers all across the fretboard, with positions shifting frequently,
sometimes in the middle of a phase. It probably even looks very
impressive at tempo and I'm starting to realize what a showoff piece this
is - not something I normally associate with Bach. But it's almost as
pretty to look at as to listen to. almost...

I found a neat recording of this piece, recorded by Paul Galbraith on a 7
string. http://www.delosmus.com/item/de32/de3258.html

Surprised this Gigue isn't more popular. I don't see it in discussions
here. It's been a beast, but well worth the effort.
Larry Deack
2004-08-19 09:11:40 UTC
Permalink
"David Kotschessa"
Post by David Kotschessa
The piece I am obsessing over now, (Gigue and Double, A minor)
-snip-
Post by David Kotschessa
I found a neat recording of this piece, recorded by Paul Galbraith on a 7
string. http://www.delosmus.com/item/de32/de3258.html
Surprised this Gigue isn't more popular. I don't see it in discussions
here. It's been a beast, but well worth the effort.
The suite has been with me for long time now. I'm listening to Galbraith
now and it's nice. Slower but very nice. The whole suite is worth the work
and I had a great teacher for it. I am lucky that such music has been part
of me now for more than half of my time here so far and that I can share it
with others. I play at least 2 of the movements every Friday night with the
Prelude and Saraband getting more time than the others and the fugue rarely
play but sometimes it works great for the right listeners.
Greg M Silverman
2004-08-19 15:35:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Larry Deack
"Greg M. Silverman"
Post by Greg M. Silverman
Oh, and about visual perception and art, I recommend David Perkins' book
"The Intelligent Eye: Learning to Think by Looking at Art." See
http://www.pz.harvard.edu/PIs/DP.htm ... I think he would agree with you.
Looks like an interesting book and author. Thanks for the lead. Over the
years I've done a bit of study of visual perception and read more than a few
books including a lot of technical documents on the subject. I learned a ton
about things like paper, light, inks and color after 13 years at
Zenographics. The other engineers all had great books on computer graphics
and software engineering that they freely shared with me. They were also
generous at the impromptu whiteboard gatherings we often had in our offices
since that was one mode of technical talk we seemed to use a lot. The owner
and CEO was great to work and a brilliant programmer who shared many hours
of his time helping me learn the subject.
"Greg M. Silverman"
Post by Greg M. Silverman
Oh, and about visual perception and art, I recommend David Perkins' book
"The Intelligent Eye: Learning to Think by Looking at Art." See
http://www.pz.harvard.edu/PIs/DP.htm ... I think he would agree with you.
Looks like an interesting book and author. Thanks for the lead. Over the
years I've done a bit of study of visual perception and read more than a few
books including a lot of technical documents on the subject. I learned a ton
about things like paper, light, inks and color after 13 years at
Zenographics. The other engineers all had great books on computer graphics
and software engineering that they freely shared with me. They were also
generous at the impromptu whiteboard gatherings we often had in our offices
since that was one mode of technical talk we seemed to use a lot. The owner
and CEO was great to work and a brilliant programmer who shared many hours
of his time helping me learn the subject.
Visual and aural perception are definitely neat phenomena. I really
got into the visual stuff when I was heavily into photography. You're
lucky to have worked with experienced scientists that did it for a
living.

Another cool book on visual perception, specifically viusal illusions
is published by Dover:
http://store.yahoo.com/doverpublications/048621530x.html

Anyway, yes, this is starting to get WAY OT. But, hey, so what! So,
back to topic, this one looks interesting, "Psychology of Music"
http://store.yahoo.com/doverpublications/0486218511.html

And then there the book that JW recommended on the same subject,
"Music, The Brain, And Ecstasy : How Music Captures Our Imagination."
This is another one on my shelf that I need to read.


gms--
Larry Deack
2004-08-19 16:08:09 UTC
Permalink
"Greg M Silverman"
Post by Greg M Silverman
And then there the book that JW recommended on the same subject,
"Music, The Brain, And Ecstasy : How Music Captures Our Imagination."
This is another one on my shelf that I need to read.
Read that one a few years ago and liked it though its a bit less technical
reading. I really liked the article Paolo posted and think it is definitely
on topic and worth the read.
Paolo
2004-08-19 16:36:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Larry Deack
"Greg M Silverman"
Post by Greg M Silverman
And then there the book that JW recommended on the same subject,
"Music, The Brain, And Ecstasy : How Music Captures Our Imagination."
This is another one on my shelf that I need to read.
Read that one a few years ago and liked it though its a bit less technical
reading. I really liked the article Paolo posted and think it is definitely
on topic and worth the read.
I hope this doesn't sound too insistent, but I do research in music
perception and I know that Huron's article is really important work in the
music perception literature. Another book to check out is Bregman's
Auditory Stream Analysis - in fact, I think auditory stream analysis is
ultimately what is being discussed here. The really remarkable thing
about listening to polyphony (or, for that matter, carrying on a
conversation at a noisy party) is that we are even able to even pick out a
single voice from a dense, thorny texture. It is amazing when you
think about it! Huron's article, outlines what he and many others agree
to be the constraints to pitch, rhythm, and timbre perception which allow
for this remarkable feat to take place - many of these principles have
analogues in the visual domain.

Here is the link again for anyone who is interested:

http://www.music-cog.ohio-state.edu/Huron/Publications/huron.voice.leading.html
Larry Deack
2004-08-19 17:16:34 UTC
Permalink
"Paolo"
Post by Paolo
I hope this doesn't sound too insistent, but I do research in music
perception and I know that Huron's article is really important work in the
music perception literature.
Thank you Paolo for posting to this thread.

Are you familiar with Williams Syndrome? I posted some things about the
research that one professor and University of California Irvine had done
with this interesting group of people.

Sensory gaiting is very interesting. A while back I posted about a book I
read on multisensory teaching that was a collection of articles on the
subject but I'm 2L2G ( too lazy to google) right now.

BTW, you do research in this? Any more details on your work? I'm very
interested in the subject as you might guess from my awkward posts to this
thread.

Is this OT?
Larry Deack
2004-08-19 21:47:02 UTC
Permalink
"Paolo"
Post by Paolo
I hope this doesn't sound too insistent, but I do research in music
perception and I know that Huron's article is really important work in the
music perception literature.
Huron is an interesting guy, no doubt. Lots of nice reading. Here is a link
to his home page with more good stuff to read on the subject of musical
perception.

http://www.music-cog.ohio-state.edu/Huron/Huron.html

Nice contact. Thanks. RMCG is once again very educational for me.
Larry Deack
2004-08-19 19:19:51 UTC
Permalink
"Greg M Silverman"
Post by Greg M Silverman
Visual and aural perception are definitely neat phenomena.
I really got into the visual stuff when I was heavily into photography.
I worked for Fotomat, Berkee Photo and Fox photo and took tons of pictures
with my Lica when I was attending music classes at my local college. I've
been interested in vision and sound for most of my life but luck certainly
was on my side in finding people who shared their ideas with me only asking
for my sincere interest in return for their help.
Post by Greg M Silverman
You're lucky to have worked with experienced
scientists that did it for a living.
I've lucked out on having many great teachers in many subjects. You should
meet the guy who taught me something about ferns. He was high up in the
space program before he quit to focus his work on begonias :-)

I think this post is definitely too far off topic to get back but the
photography/CG connections in this group is interesting and perhaps leads us
back to a certain synergy between visual and aural perception.
John Wasak
2004-08-19 03:37:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Larry Deack
"Aryeh Eller"
Post by Aryeh Eller
When you look at a painting you can literally take
in every piece of information about that painting
immediately
I think you are incorrect on this point. Visual perception is much more
complicated and so is how we hear music.
I think Aryeh is just simplifying things here to make himself understood.
His basic premise is correct. If you look at a painting your vision will
take it in all at once. I don't believe Aryeh is saying that you will take
in every single detail in the first glance but that one will "know" the
painting more or less immediately. This is not at all possible with music.
Music is a developing Art form. It reveals itself over the space of time.

That is what I'm quite sure Aryeh had in mind when making his statement
here.


Why do we so complcate the simple?


jw
Larry Deack
2004-08-19 03:48:05 UTC
Permalink
"John Wasak"
Post by John Wasak
If you look at a painting your vision will
take it in all at once.
Please explain how. I did not understand that visual perceptions works this
way.
John Wasak
2004-08-19 03:53:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Larry Deack
"John Wasak"
Post by John Wasak
If you look at a painting your vision will
take it in all at once.
Please explain how. I did not understand that visual perceptions works this
way.
Larry, you will grasp what it is you are looking at in the initial look. A
painting, or a photograph , or a sculpture is a frozen thing.

Music unfolds over time. It is no different in that sense from reading a
novel, or a poem, or watching a movie. Or even a baseball game. There is no
way way you can know any of these things in single look.


jw
Larry Deack
2004-08-19 03:57:36 UTC
Permalink
"John Wasak"
Post by John Wasak
Music unfolds over time.
So does visual perception. Same thing different time scale. It take our eye
time to see the whole painting and that is very important.
John Wasak
2004-08-19 04:01:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Larry Deack
"John Wasak"
Post by John Wasak
Music unfolds over time.
So does visual perception. Same thing different time scale. It take our eye
time to see the whole painting and that is very important.
Larry, take out your favorite novel and read a page from it. Now take a
quick look at your hand. Which one has revealed itself to you as to it's
basic essence in the least amount of time?


jw
Larry Deack
2004-08-19 04:13:42 UTC
Permalink
"John Wasak"
Post by John Wasak
Larry, take out your favorite novel and read a page from it. Now take a
quick look at your hand. Which one has revealed itself to you as to it's
basic essence in the least amount of time?
??????????????????
John Wasak
2004-08-19 04:16:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Larry Deack
"John Wasak"
Post by John Wasak
Larry, take out your favorite novel and read a page from it. Now take a
quick look at your hand. Which one has revealed itself to you as to it's
basic essence in the least amount of time?
??????????????????
???????????????????????
David Kotschessa
2004-08-19 05:38:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Wasak
Post by Larry Deack
"John Wasak"
Post by John Wasak
Larry, take out your favorite novel and read a page from it. Now take a
quick look at your hand. Which one has revealed itself to you as to
it's
Post by Larry Deack
Post by John Wasak
basic essence in the least amount of time?
??????????????????
???????????????????????
Great Scott people!

I got yer essense of a hand right here... {thwap!}

;-)

I think we had a similar discussion in one of the zen or buddhist
newsgroups or something, where we spend a lot of time talking about
nothing, literally. How the attention is divided, whether it is divided
at all... The discussion is still unresolved.

Polyphony is beautiful because it is greater than the sum of it's parts.
I work on those parts individually and the whole gets greater still.
That's all I really care about. Hope this makes sense and that I'm saying
what I mean. It's a little late for me brain and my attention
is...divided.

"I used to think the brain was the most fascinating part of the body.
Then I realized, well, look what's telling me that." - EMO PHILLIPS

-D
John Wasak
2004-08-19 05:47:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kotschessa
Post by John Wasak
Post by Larry Deack
"John Wasak"
Post by John Wasak
Larry, take out your favorite novel and read a page from it. Now take a
quick look at your hand. Which one has revealed itself to you as to
it's
Post by Larry Deack
Post by John Wasak
basic essence in the least amount of time?
??????????????????
???????????????????????
Great Scott people!
I got yer essense of a hand right here... {thwap!}
;-)
Exactly. "thwap!" A slap across the face. Immediate vision
Post by David Kotschessa
I think we had a similar discussion in one of the zen or buddhist
newsgroups or something, where we spend a lot of time talking about
nothing, literally. How the attention is divided, whether it is divided
at all... The discussion is still unresolved.
Yeah, plenty and many years ago I found great intrigue in the ideas of Zen.
Post by David Kotschessa
Polyphony is beautiful because it is greater than the sum of it's parts.
That's not only true, but also a succinct summation.
Post by David Kotschessa
I work on those parts individually and the whole gets greater still.
That's all I really care about. Hope this makes sense and that I'm saying
what I mean.
I think I got it.
Post by David Kotschessa
It's a little late for me brain and my attention
is...divided.
Be here NOW!



jw
Post by David Kotschessa
"I used to think the brain was the most fascinating part of the body.
Then I realized, well, look what's telling me that." - EMO PHILLIPS
-D
Aryeh Eller
2004-08-19 17:18:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Wasak
Post by Larry Deack
"John Wasak"
Post by John Wasak
Larry, take out your favorite novel and read a page from it. Now take a
quick look at your hand. Which one has revealed itself to you as to
it's
Post by Larry Deack
Post by John Wasak
basic essence in the least amount of time?
??????????????????
???????????????????????
Exactly John,

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
Aryeh Eller
2004-08-19 17:17:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Larry Deack
"John Wasak"
Post by John Wasak
Larry, take out your favorite novel and read a page from it. Now take a
quick look at your hand. Which one has revealed itself to you as to it's
basic essence in the least amount of time?
??????????????????
Oh boy.....


?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
Aryeh Eller
2004-08-19 17:16:06 UTC
Permalink
Someone wrote in message
Post by Larry Deack
"John Wasak"
Post by John Wasak
Music unfolds over time.
So does visual perception. Same thing different time scale. It take our
eye
Post by Larry Deack
time to see the whole painting and that is very important.
Larry, take out your favorite novel and read a page from it. Now take a
quick look at your hand. Which one has revealed itself to you as to it's
basic essence in the least amount of time?
jw
Thanks for trying to explain this once again! I appreciate it.
Aryeh Eller
2004-08-19 17:14:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Wasak
Post by Larry Deack
"John Wasak"
Post by John Wasak
If you look at a painting your vision will
take it in all at once.
Please explain how. I did not understand that visual perceptions works
this
Post by Larry Deack
way.
Larry, you will grasp what it is you are looking at in the initial look. A
painting, or a photograph , or a sculpture is a frozen thing.
Music unfolds over time. It is no different in that sense from reading a
novel, or a poem, or watching a movie. Or even a baseball game. There is no
way way you can know any of these things in single look.
jw
Thanks John for explaining clearly my point. I like the idea of an
object that you see being frozen in time compared to music that unfolds
over time.

Speaking of time, I always teach my students that there's a difference
between Real Time (the actual duration on a clock or watch of the piece
of music) and Felt Time (the time we perceive as having gone by). I
usually take a minute and a half excerpt from a lively up tempo piece
and then play a minute and half excerpt from a slow tempo piece like
Barber's Adagio for Strings or a mvmt. from a Mahler Symphony. They
slower piece of music always seems to be taking up more time that it
actually is and the fast lively one perhaps even less than its actual
Real Time duration.
Aryeh Eller
2004-08-19 17:28:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Wasak
Post by Larry Deack
"Aryeh Eller"
Post by Aryeh Eller
When you look at a painting you can literally take
in every piece of information about that painting
immediately
I think you are incorrect on this point. Visual perception is much more
complicated and so is how we hear music.
I think Aryeh is just simplifying things here to make himself understood.
His basic premise is correct. If you look at a painting your vision will
take it in all at once. I don't believe Aryeh is saying that you will take
in every single detail in the first glance but that one will "know" the
painting more or less immediately. This is not at all possible with music.
Music is a developing Art form. It reveals itself over the space of time.
That is what I'm quite sure Aryeh had in mind when making his statement
here.
Exactly John, you explained what I meant simply and perfectly.
Post by John Wasak
Why do we so complicate the simple?
Maybe 'cause the complicated sounds more impressive when you want
disagree with someone making a simple point? ;-)
Post by John Wasak
jw
Larry Deack
2004-08-19 18:34:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Aryeh Eller
Post by John Wasak
Why do we so complicate the simple?
jw
"Aryeh Eller"
Post by Aryeh Eller
Maybe 'cause the complicated sounds more impressive
when you want disagree with someone making
a simple point? ;-)
That is certainly one possible way to see my posts. There is perhaps a
more charitable way to read what I posted also and I am rather fond of that
view of my motives. Please read what Paolo posted if this subject is
important to you and perhaps you can see another view of my posts on this
subject through my poor writing.
Aryeh Eller
2004-08-20 04:36:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Larry Deack
Post by Aryeh Eller
Post by John Wasak
Why do we so complicate the simple?
jw
"Aryeh Eller"
Post by Aryeh Eller
Maybe 'cause the complicated sounds more impressive
when you want disagree with someone making
a simple point? ;-)
That is certainly one possible way to see my posts. There is perhaps a
more charitable way to read what I posted also and I am rather fond of that
view of my motives.
No problem, I can certainly be charitable but being charitable goes both
ways in human relations even here in cyberspace, a little while ago here
on this NG you were offended by something I said and I apologized many
times to you here and in private email. You didn't even have the
courtesy to give me a response accepting the apology or not or even
acknowledging it or whatever . Now I will certainly be charitable here
but maybe you'd like to do the same.
Post by Larry Deack
Please read what Paolo posted if this subject is
important to you and perhaps you can see another view of my posts on this
subject through my poor writing.
I don't mind the poor writing, it's really not so poor but the way you
have been behaving towards me is very poor. You don't acknowledge a
sincere apology but you continue to comment on things that I've said
here on this NG - Honestly I don't appreciate you saying anything about
my words if you can't at least acknowledge the human aspect of who I am
and what I've asked from you in the past. You're not talking to a robot,
you're talking to a real person.
elmcmeen
2004-08-20 12:57:01 UTC
Permalink
"Aryeh Eller" <***@nyc.rr.com> wrote in message
news:bandoneon1800-
Post by Aryeh Eller
I don't mind the poor writing, it's really not so poor but the way you
have been behaving towards me is very poor. You don't acknowledge a
sincere apology but you continue to comment on things that I've said
here on this NG -
Maybe he realizes that there was nothing for which you had to apologize.

EM
Aryeh Eller
2004-08-20 14:10:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by elmcmeen
news:bandoneon1800-
Post by Aryeh Eller
I don't mind the poor writing, it's really not so poor but the way you
have been behaving towards me is very poor. You don't acknowledge a
sincere apology but you continue to comment on things that I've said
here on this NG -
Maybe he realizes that there was nothing for which you had to apologize.
EM
Hi El,

Well if that is the case here then simply say so, is that so hard?
Greg M Silverman
2004-08-20 19:23:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Aryeh Eller
Post by elmcmeen
news:bandoneon1800-
Post by Aryeh Eller
I don't mind the poor writing, it's really not so poor but the way you
have been behaving towards me is very poor. You don't acknowledge a
sincere apology but you continue to comment on things that I've said
here on this NG -
Maybe he realizes that there was nothing for which you had to apologize.
EM
Hi El,
Well if that is the case here then simply say so, is that so hard?
Aryeh,
Well, honestly, for a while, it almost seemed like you were
cyber-stalking him in this forum.

Why not just drop it and move on with it? I think you'll be a lot
happier in the end as oppossed to obsessing over something so trivial.

Shalom!

gms--
Aryeh Eller
2004-08-20 19:59:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Greg M Silverman
Post by Aryeh Eller
Post by elmcmeen
news:bandoneon1800-
Post by Aryeh Eller
I don't mind the poor writing, it's really not so poor but the way you
have been behaving towards me is very poor. You don't acknowledge a
sincere apology but you continue to comment on things that I've said
here on this NG -
Maybe he realizes that there was nothing for which you had to apologize.
EM
Hi El,
Well if that is the case here then simply say so, is that so hard?
Aryeh,
Well, honestly, for a while, it almost seemed like you were
cyber-stalking him in this forum.
How so? You mean the multiple post apologies? Well I was just trying to
get his attention and was pretty mad that he kept ignoring me on a human
level. And if indeed I was stalking him why's he still commenting on
things that I've said here? He's gotta know by now that I think he's not
a mentsch.
Post by Greg M Silverman
Why not just drop it and move on with it? I think you'll be a lot
happier in the end as opposed to obsessing over something so trivial.
Maybe to you but I don't think it's trivial at all. I'll be happier if
he just leaves me alone from now on because I don't have an ounce of
respect for him or anything he says.

Aryeh Eller
2004-08-19 14:06:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Larry Deack
"Aryeh Eller"
Post by Aryeh Eller
I suggest an excellent book on this subject, Douglas Hofstadter's
Pulitzer Prize-winning
Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
I read it long ago and it has led me to some of the ideas I posted here.
Really? And where exactly in the book are you basing these ideas on?
Post by Larry Deack
Evidently we came away from that book with very different ideas about Bach
and what Hofstadter was saying since it seems to me I should be suggesting
the same book to you if you wish to understand my post better.
I understood your post, I've quoted the relevant text from Hofstadter's
book below so that other readers can judge for themselves if there are
indeed multiple ways of understanding his words - I don't think there
are, Hofstadter is very clearly saying what I'm saying - see below.
Post by Larry Deack
Bach's structure is recursive.
What's your point here? I don't disagree with you, here's what
Hofstadter says what recursive means:

Figure and Ground in Music

(Godel, Escher Bach - An Eternal Golden Braid pg. 70)

"One may look for figures and grounds in music. One analogue is the
distinction between melody and accompaniment - for the melody is always
in the forefront of our attention, and the accompaniment is subsidiary,
in some sense. Therefore it is surprising when we find, in the lower
lines of a piece of music, recognizable melodies. This does not happen
too often in post-baroque music. Usually the harmonies are not thought
of as foreground. But in baroque music---in Bach above all---the
distinct lines, whether high or low or in between, all act as "figures".
In this sense, pieces by Bach can be called "recursive"
Post by Larry Deack
Post by Aryeh Eller
Bach's music sounds like you're able to hear multiple
independent lines at once but you can only really follow
one fully and completely at any given time
I can follow more than one line and in fact that is what I was advocating
others try. It feels like holding your focus between the lines but I
certainly agree one must first learn to follow the lines easily.
I don't think Hofstadter says you can follow more than one line fully
and completely without shutting out or taking away from your full
perception of another independent line - There are two modes of
listening, one can follow one line completely or one can take in the
whole thing - but once you take in the whole thing you've lost the
following of the complete independence of each line. The brain does not
allow for both.

Here's the relevant text about that from Hofstadter, a dialogue between
Achilles, the Tortoise, the Crab and the Anteater. (pgs. 281-84)


Achilles: I have a question about fugues which I feel a little
embarrassed about asking, but as I am just a novice at fugue-listening,
I was wondering if perhaps one of you seasoned fugue-listeners might
help me in learning....?

Tortoise: I'd certainly like to offer my own meager knowledge, if I
might prove of some assistance.

Achilles: Oh thank you. Let me come at the question from an angle. Are
you familiar with the print called "Cube with Magic Ribbons" by M.C.
Escher?

(Here's a picture of the print, follow this URL)

http://www.edu-negev.gov.il/oded/mc24.htm

Tortoise: In which there are circular bands having bubble-like
distortions which, as soon as you've decided that they are bumps, seem
to turn in dents--and vice versa?

Achilles: Exactly.

Crab: I remember that picture. Those little bubbles always seem to flip
back and forth between being concave and convex, depending on the
direction you approach them from. There's no way to see them as concave
AND convex----somehow one's brain doesn't allow that. There are two
mutually exclusive "modes" in which one can perceive the bubbles.

Achilles: Just so. Well, I seem to have discovered two somewhat
analogous modes in which I can listen to a fugue. The modes are these:
either to follow one individual voice at a time, or to listen to the
total effect of all of them together, without trying to disentangle one
from another. I have tried out both of these modes, and, much to my
frustration, each of them shuts the other. It's simply not in my power
to follow the paths of individual voices and at the same time to hear
the whole effect. I find that I flip back and forth between one mode and
the other, more or less spontaneously and involuntarily.

Anteater: Just as when you look at the magic bands, eh?

Achilles: Yes. I was just wondering...does my description of these two
modes of fugue-listening brand me unmistakably as a naive, inexperienced
listener, who couldn't even begin to grasp the deeper modes of
perception which exist beyond his ken?

Tortoise: No, not at all, Achilles. I can only speak for myself, but I
too find myself shifting back and forth from one mode to another without
exerting any conscious control over which should be dominant. I don't
know if our other companions here have also experienced anything similar.

Crab: Most definitely, It's quite a tantalizing phenomenon, since you
feel that the eesence of the fugue is flitting about you, and you can't
quite make yourself function both ways at once.

Anteater: Fugues have that interesting property, that each of their
voices is a piece of music in itself; and thus a fugue might be thought
of as a collection of several distinct pieces of music, all based on one
single theme, all played simultaneously. And it is up to the listener
(or his subconscious) to decide whether it should be perceived as a
unit, or as a collection of independent parts, all of which harmonize.

Achilles: You say that the parts are "independent", yet that can't be
literally true. There has to be some coordination between them,
otherwise when they were put together one would just have an
unsystematic clashing of tones---and that is as far from the truth as
could be.

Anteater: A better way to state it might be this: if you listened to
each voice on its own, you would find that it seemed to make sense all
by itself. It could stand alone, and that is the sense in which I meant
that it is independent. But you are quite right in pointing out that
each of these individually meaningful lines fuses with the others in a
highly nonrandom way, to make a graceful totality. The art of writing a
beautiful fugue lies precisely in this ability, to manufacture several
different lines, each one of which gives the illusion of having been
written for its own beauty, and yet which when taken together form a
whole, which does not feel forced in any way. Now this dichotomy between
hearing the fugue as a whole, and hearing its component voices, is a
particular example of a very general dichotomy, which applies to many
kinds of structures built up from lower levels.

Achilles: Oh really? You mean that my two "modes" may have some more
general type of applicability, in situations other than
fugue--listening?

Anteater: Absolutely.

Achilles: I wonder how this could be. I guess it has to do with
alternating between perceiving something as a whole, and perceiving it
as a collection of parts. But the only place I ever run into that
dichotomy is in listening to fugues.

Tortoise: Oh my, look at this! I just turned the page while following
the music, and came across this magnificent illustration facing the
first page of the fugue.

Crab: I have never seen that illustration before, Why don't you pass it
'round?

(The Tortoise passes the book around. Each of the foursome looks at it
in a characteristic way--this one from afar, that one from close up,
everyone tipping his head this way and that way in puzzlement. Finally
it has made the rounds, and returns to the Tortoise, who peers at it
rather intently.)

Achilles: Well I guess the prelude is just about over. I wonder if, as
I listen to this fugue, I will gain any more insight into the question,
"What is the right way to listen to a fugue: as a whole, or as the sum
of its parts?"

Tortoise: Listen carefully, and you will!
Post by Larry Deack
I can follow more than one line and in fact that is what I was
advocating others try. It feels like holding your focus between the
lines but I certainly agree one must first learn to follow the lines
easily.

What you're describing here is moving between the two modes of
perception that Hofstadter talks about -- one can move extremely quickly
like a strobe light between the two but it is still an aural illusion
that makes you feel as if you're following and taking in multiple
independent lines in their completeness at once.
Post by Larry Deack
Post by Aryeh Eller
When you look at a painting you can literally take
in every piece of information about that painting
immediately
I think you are incorrect on this point. Visual perception is much more
complicated and so is how we hear music.
I'm not talking about complexity, they both can be very complex in their
own way, I'm talking about the time factor, music unfolds through time,
the structure and form is not immediately apparent. I use the difference
between the visual and music when I teach the concept of Form in music
to my HS students. Basic shapes are immediately recognized by the eye
because we have been taught what they are before hand - If one listens
to music one can also assess its form but you have to wait as it unfolds
through time to do so - You can then compare what you've heard to a
pre-established and explained form like Binary, Ternary, Rondo,
Sonata-Form, Theme and Variations, etc.
Larry Deack
2004-08-19 16:22:07 UTC
Permalink
"Aryeh Eller"
Post by Aryeh Eller
I've quoted the relevant text from Hofstadter's
book below so that other readers can judge for themselves if there are
indeed multiple ways of understanding his words - I don't think there
are, Hofstadter is very clearly saying what I'm saying - see below.
Perhaps others who are interested should read the whole book. I'd also
strongly suggest reading the article Paolo posted. others may also wish to
consider what Sarn posted before they assume anything about how we hear
polyphony.
Aryeh Eller
2004-08-19 17:41:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Larry Deack
"Aryeh Eller"
Post by Aryeh Eller
I've quoted the relevant text from Hofstadter's
book below so that other readers can judge for themselves if there are
indeed multiple ways of understanding his words - I don't think there
are, Hofstadter is very clearly saying what I'm saying - see below.
Perhaps others who are interested should read the whole book. I'd also
strongly suggest reading the article Paolo posted.
I disagree, no need to read the whole book, the part of the book that's
relevant to what we were discussing I quoted in full and you cut it off
so I'm going to quote it again. You seem to be backing off of what you
initially posited for some reason - there's a feeling of Deja Vu
happening here to me.
Post by Larry Deack
Others may also wish to
consider what Sarn posted before they assume anything about how we hear
polyphony.
Sure you can consider what Sarn posted and you can consult tons of other
books and articles. Hofstadter is certainly not the last word but It's
what we were talking about, you didn't bother to answer the questions I
posed to you in order for me to assess your opinion in a clearer manner.

Once again, here's the part of the book relevant to listening to a piece
of music with multiple voices in counterpoint - Let readers decide for
themselves.


A dialogue between Achilles, the Tortoise, the Crab and the Anteater.
(pgs. 281-84 from Godel, Escher, Bach - An Eternal Golden Braid by
Douglad Hofstadter)


Achilles: I have a question about fugues which I feel a little
embarrassed about asking, but as I am just a novice at fugue-listening,
I was wondering if perhaps one of you seasoned fugue-listeners might
help me in learning....?

Tortoise: I'd certainly like to offer my own meager knowledge, if I
might prove of some assistance.

Achilles: Oh thank you. Let me come at the question from an angle. Are
you familiar with the print called "Cube with Magic Ribbons" by M.C.
Escher?

(Here's a picture of the print, follow this URL)

http://www.edu-negev.gov.il/oded/mc24.htm

Tortoise: In which there are circular bands having bubble-like
distortions which, as soon as you've decided that they are bumps, seem
to turn in dents--and vice versa?

Achilles: Exactly.

Crab: I remember that picture. Those little bubbles always seem to flip
back and forth between being concave and convex, depending on the
direction you approach them from. There's no way to see them as concave
AND convex----somehow one's brain doesn't allow that. There are two
mutually exclusive "modes" in which one can perceive the bubbles.

Achilles: Just so. Well, I seem to have discovered two somewhat
analogous modes in which I can listen to a fugue. The modes are these:
either to follow one individual voice at a time, or to listen to the
total effect of all of them together, without trying to disentangle one
from another. I have tried out both of these modes, and, much to my
frustration, each of them shuts the other. It's simply not in my power
to follow the paths of individual voices and at the same time to hear
the whole effect. I find that I flip back and forth between one mode and
the other, more or less spontaneously and involuntarily.

Anteater: Just as when you look at the magic bands, eh?

Achilles: Yes. I was just wondering...does my description of these two
modes of fugue-listening brand me unmistakably as a naive, inexperienced
listener, who couldn't even begin to grasp the deeper modes of
perception which exist beyond his ken?

Tortoise: No, not at all, Achilles. I can only speak for myself, but I
too find myself shifting back and forth from one mode to another without
exerting any conscious control over which should be dominant. I don't
know if our other companions here have also experienced anything similar.

Crab: Most definitely, It's quite a tantalizing phenomenon, since you
feel that the eesence of the fugue is flitting about you, and you can't
quite make yourself function both ways at once.

Anteater: Fugues have that interesting property, that each of their
voices is a piece of music in itself; and thus a fugue might be thought
of as a collection of several distinct pieces of music, all based on one
single theme, all played simultaneously. And it is up to the listener
(or his subconscious) to decide whether it should be perceived as a
unit, or as a collection of independent parts, all of which harmonize.

Achilles: You say that the parts are "independent", yet that can't be
literally true. There has to be some coordination between them,
otherwise when they were put together one would just have an
unsystematic clashing of tones---and that is as far from the truth as
could be.

Anteater: A better way to state it might be this: if you listened to
each voice on its own, you would find that it seemed to make sense all
by itself. It could stand alone, and that is the sense in which I meant
that it is independent. But you are quite right in pointing out that
each of these individually meaningful lines fuses with the others in a
highly nonrandom way, to make a graceful totality. The art of writing a
beautiful fugue lies precisely in this ability, to manufacture several
different lines, each one of which gives the illusion of having been
written for its own beauty, and yet which when taken together form a
whole, which does not feel forced in any way. Now this dichotomy between
hearing the fugue as a whole, and hearing its component voices, is a
particular example of a very general dichotomy, which applies to many
kinds of structures built up from lower levels.

Achilles: Oh really? You mean that my two "modes" may have some more
general type of applicability, in situations other than
fugue--listening?

Anteater: Absolutely.

Achilles: I wonder how this could be. I guess it has to do with
alternating between perceiving something as a whole, and perceiving it
as a collection of parts. But the only place I ever run into that
dichotomy is in listening to fugues.

Tortoise: Oh my, look at this! I just turned the page while following
the music, and came across this magnificent illustration facing the
first page of the fugue.

Crab: I have never seen that illustration before, Why don't you pass it
'round?

(The Tortoise passes the book around. Each of the foursome looks at it
in a characteristic way--this one from afar, that one from close up,
everyone tipping his head this way and that way in puzzlement. Finally
it has made the rounds, and returns to the Tortoise, who peers at it
rather intently.)

Achilles: Well I guess the prelude is just about over. I wonder if, as
I listen to this fugue, I will gain any more insight into the question,
"What is the right way to listen to a fugue: as a whole, or as the sum
of its parts?"

Tortoise: Listen carefully, and you will!
Larry Deack
2004-08-19 18:14:21 UTC
Permalink
"Aryeh Eller"
Post by Aryeh Eller
I disagree, no need to read the whole book, the part of the book that's
relevant to what we were discussing I quoted in full and you cut it off
so I'm going to quote it again.
I strongly suggest you read what Paolo has posted on this subject. My
writing is obviously not as clear as others. I agree with Paolo that what we
are taking about is better said to be about Auditory Stream Analysis and the
strong associations it shares with visual perception and other perceptual
systems.
Aryeh Eller
2004-08-20 04:25:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Larry Deack
"Aryeh Eller"
Post by Aryeh Eller
I disagree, no need to read the whole book, the part of the book that's
relevant to what we were discussing I quoted in full and you cut it off
so I'm going to quote it again.
I strongly suggest you read what Paolo has posted on this subject. My
writing is obviously not as clear as others. I agree with Paolo that what we
are taking about is better said to be about Auditory Stream Analysis and the
strong associations it shares with visual perception and other perceptual
systems.
Why are you changing the subject and why did you once again cut off the
Hofstadter quote? Is it because it proves what you said is wrong or
maybe you have another interpretation to offer?

It's very strange to me that you are ignoring and censoring from view a
book you said was the basis of your ideas - a book you said a couple of
posts ago that you were going to recommend I read, well I already know
the book very well.

I'm quoting it once again because what he says is so beautifully written
and so wonderfully logical, it's a shame you're avoiding its message.




Here once again is the relevant text about that from Hofstadter, a
dialogue between Achilles, the Tortoise, the Crab and the Anteater.
(pgs. 281-84)


Achilles: I have a question about fugues which I feel a little
embarrassed about asking, but as I am just a novice at fugue-listening,
I was wondering if perhaps one of you seasoned fugue-listeners might
help me in learning....?

Tortoise: I'd certainly like to offer my own meager knowledge, if I
might prove of some assistance.

Achilles: Oh thank you. Let me come at the question from an angle. Are
you familiar with the print called "Cube with Magic Ribbons" by M.C.
Escher?

(Here's a picture of the print, follow this URL)

http://www.edu-negev.gov.il/oded/mc24.htm

Tortoise: In which there are circular bands having bubble-like
distortions which, as soon as you've decided that they are bumps, seem
to turn in dents--and vice versa?

Achilles: Exactly.

Crab: I remember that picture. Those little bubbles always seem to flip
back and forth between being concave and convex, depending on the
direction you approach them from. There's no way to see them as concave
AND convex----somehow one's brain doesn't allow that. There are two
mutually exclusive "modes" in which one can perceive the bubbles.

Achilles: Just so. Well, I seem to have discovered two somewhat
analogous modes in which I can listen to a fugue. The modes are these:
either to follow one individual voice at a time, or to listen to the
total effect of all of them together, without trying to disentangle one
from another. I have tried out both of these modes, and, much to my
frustration, each of them shuts the other. It's simply not in my power
to follow the paths of individual voices and at the same time to hear
the whole effect. I find that I flip back and forth between one mode and
the other, more or less spontaneously and involuntarily.

Anteater: Just as when you look at the magic bands, eh?

Achilles: Yes. I was just wondering...does my description of these two
modes of fugue-listening brand me unmistakably as a naive, inexperienced
listener, who couldn't even begin to grasp the deeper modes of
perception which exist beyond his ken?

Tortoise: No, not at all, Achilles. I can only speak for myself, but I
too find myself shifting back and forth from one mode to another without
exerting any conscious control over which should be dominant. I don't
know if our other companions here have also experienced anything similar.

Crab: Most definitely, It's quite a tantalizing phenomenon, since you
feel that the eesence of the fugue is flitting about you, and you can't
quite make yourself function both ways at once.

Anteater: Fugues have that interesting property, that each of their
voices is a piece of music in itself; and thus a fugue might be thought
of as a collection of several distinct pieces of music, all based on one
single theme, all played simultaneously. And it is up to the listener
(or his subconscious) to decide whether it should be perceived as a
unit, or as a collection of independent parts, all of which harmonize.

Achilles: You say that the parts are "independent", yet that can't be
literally true. There has to be some coordination between them,
otherwise when they were put together one would just have an
unsystematic clashing of tones---and that is as far from the truth as
could be.

Anteater: A better way to state it might be this: if you listened to
each voice on its own, you would find that it seemed to make sense all
by itself. It could stand alone, and that is the sense in which I meant
that it is independent. But you are quite right in pointing out that
each of these individually meaningful lines fuses with the others in a
highly nonrandom way, to make a graceful totality. The art of writing a
beautiful fugue lies precisely in this ability, to manufacture several
different lines, each one of which gives the illusion of having been
written for its own beauty, and yet which when taken together form a
whole, which does not feel forced in any way. Now this dichotomy between
hearing the fugue as a whole, and hearing its component voices, is a
particular example of a very general dichotomy, which applies to many
kinds of structures built up from lower levels.

Achilles: Oh really? You mean that my two "modes" may have some more
general type of applicability, in situations other than
fugue--listening?

Anteater: Absolutely.

Achilles: I wonder how this could be. I guess it has to do with
alternating between perceiving something as a whole, and perceiving it
as a collection of parts. But the only place I ever run into that
dichotomy is in listening to fugues.

Tortoise: Oh my, look at this! I just turned the page while following
the music, and came across this magnificent illustration facing the
first page of the fugue.

Crab: I have never seen that illustration before, Why don't you pass it
'round?

(The Tortoise passes the book around. Each of the foursome looks at it
in a characteristic way--this one from afar, that one from close up,
everyone tipping his head this way and that way in puzzlement. Finally
it has made the rounds, and returns to the Tortoise, who peers at it
rather intently.)

Achilles: Well I guess the prelude is just about over. I wonder if, as
I listen to this fugue, I will gain any more insight into the question,
"What is the right way to listen to a fugue: as a whole, or as the sum
of its parts?"

Tortoise: Listen carefully, and you will!
Larry Deack
2004-08-20 05:14:17 UTC
Permalink
"Aryeh Eller"
Post by Aryeh Eller
Why are you changing the subject
The subject is Playing Bach Well. IMO what Paolo posted is important and
on topic and something worth discussing. I agree that we should stay on
topic and to further the dialog and not move off topic I'd strongly suggest
interested people read the information at the web site Paolo posted.

Here is the link again for anyone who is interested:

http://www.music-cog.ohio-state.edu/Huron/Publications/huron.voice.leading.html


Huron is a very interesting guy and so are the Humbug music analysis tools
and the Kern music file format I've been reading about at that site.
Jeff Carter
2004-08-19 01:56:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Aryeh Eller
I suggest an excellent book on this subject, Douglas Hofstadter's
Pulitzer Prize-winning
Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
Brilliant, excellent book. I haven't read it in 20 years, thanks for reminding
me I need to buy another copy.

--Jeff
Sarn Dyer
2004-08-19 02:02:36 UTC
Permalink
In absolute terms, this is true: as composers quickly discover to their
frustration, the internal hearing of two voices simultaneously isn't
possible. But that's not the full story. What in fact appears to happen
is that the inner ear learns to alternate very quickly between two or
more simultaneous sounds until, eventually, each seems to be heard quite
distinctly. (I wonder if there has ever been a comparative study of the
speed of this alternation in different musicians, particularly composers.)

This transfers to our external hearing of multipart counterpoint and
playing Bach is a wonderful way to develop this skill. His music is able
to make us hear with much greater precision, and we become better
musicians in the process.

In fact, our perception depends on a number of illusions. As I
understand it, a part of any image on the retina of the eye falls on a
blind spot and yet nothing appears to be missing from the image we see:
our brain calculates whatever is missing and just... fills it in.

The ability to follow multiple lines simultaneously isn't necessarily an
illusion although it depends upon an illusion - one that can
immeasurably improve our playing of counterpoint.

SD
Post by Aryeh Eller
Bach's music sounds like you're able to hear multiple independent lines
at once but you can only really follow one fully and completely at any
given time - the awareness of other independent lines that are in the
music forming harmonic interest is the aural illusion that makes you
think you're really taking all this independent motion at once but
you're really not. That's the one of the great beauties of counterpoint.
Greg M. Silverman
2004-08-19 02:21:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Sarn Dyer
In absolute terms, this is true: as composers quickly discover to their
frustration, the internal hearing of two voices simultaneously isn't
possible. But that's not the full story. What in fact appears to happen
is that the inner ear learns to alternate very quickly between two or
more simultaneous sounds until, eventually, each seems to be heard quite
distinctly. (I wonder if there has ever been a comparative study of the
speed of this alternation in different musicians, particularly composers.)
This transfers to our external hearing of multipart counterpoint and
playing Bach is a wonderful way to develop this skill. His music is able
to make us hear with much greater precision, and we become better
musicians in the process.
In fact, our perception depends on a number of illusions. As I
understand it, a part of any image on the retina of the eye falls on a
our brain calculates whatever is missing and just... fills it in.
The ability to follow multiple lines simultaneously isn't necessarily an
illusion although it depends upon an illusion - one that can
immeasurably improve our playing of counterpoint.
You don't suppose that there are people with odd brain wiring that
allows them to actually hear both lines simultaneously without the need
for the inner ear to fill in the "gaps" to make the whole of both voices?

If so, I am sure Oliver Sachs would know about them. ;-)


gms--
Post by Sarn Dyer
SD
Post by Aryeh Eller
Bach's music sounds like you're able to hear multiple independent
lines at once but you can only really follow one fully and completely
at any given time - the awareness of other independent lines that are
in the music forming harmonic interest is the aural illusion that
makes you think you're really taking all this independent motion at
once but you're really not. That's the one of the great beauties of
counterpoint.
Sarn Dyer
2004-08-19 02:37:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Greg M. Silverman
You don't suppose that there are people with odd brain wiring that
allows them to actually hear both lines simultaneously without the need
for the inner ear to fill in the "gaps" to make the whole of both voices?
If so, I am sure Oliver Sachs would know about them. ;-)
One part of the brain might follow sounds transmuted to colours, the
other as sound. More fun, perhaps, than thinking your wife is a hat...

SD
Larry Deack
2004-08-19 02:24:56 UTC
Permalink
"Sarn Dyer"
Post by Sarn Dyer
What in fact appears to happen
is that the inner ear learns to alternate very quickly between two or
more simultaneous sounds until, eventually, each seems to be heard quite
distinctly.
Even three sometimes with a fast round robin multitasking ability. Yep,
you got it Sarn and the rest too. Interesting stuff how we perceive things.
Paolo
2004-08-19 02:35:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Larry Deack
Even three sometimes with a fast round robin multitasking ability. Yep,
you got it Sarn and the rest too. Interesting stuff how we perceive things.
I have to admit that over the past couple of years, how we perceive music
has become as interesting (and sometimes more interesting)to me than
playing the guitar. Here's a great article on the subject:

http://www.music-cog.ohio-state.edu/Huron/Publications/huron.voice.leading.html
Larry Deack
2004-08-19 03:35:36 UTC
Permalink
"Paolo"
Post by Paolo
I have to admit that over the past couple of years, how we perceive music
has become as interesting (and sometimes more interesting)to me than
http://www.music-cog.ohio-state.edu/Huron/Publications/huron.voice.leading.html

It can be a fun distraction but for me it can never replace how it feels to
play as long as I can play well enough to entertain myself and others.
Thanks for the link. Looks like a good read.
William D Clinger
2004-08-20 13:02:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paolo
I have to admit that over the past couple of years, how we perceive music
has become as interesting (and sometimes more interesting)to me than
http://www.music-cog.ohio-state.edu/Huron/Publications/huron.voice.leading.html
Thank you for posting that link.

Will
hjd
2004-08-15 11:26:46 UTC
Permalink
Hello,

you can just listen to Bachs music,
or you just can play Bachs music,
Post by Stanley Yates
unique for his period. So, one thing required to play Bach well is the
abilility to repsond to a constantly changing accentual hierarchy.
but if you want to do it in an appropriate manner, you have to analize
the music. You have to understand not only the structure, but also the
micro-structure. And this seems for my eyes to be more than "just"
harmonical or melodical progressions and counterpointals rules.

Wouldn´t that be a worthy publication comparable to the Abel Carlevaro
Guitar Masterclass of Bachs Chaconne with a more analytical point of view?

PS. Stanley, it´s your turn ;-)

Hajo
Stanley Yates
2004-08-15 15:15:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by hjd
Hello,
you can just listen to Bachs music,
or you just can play Bachs music,
Post by Stanley Yates
unique for his period. So, one thing required to play Bach well is the
abilility to repsond to a constantly changing accentual hierarchy.
but if you want to do it in an appropriate manner, you have to analize
the music. You have to understand not only the structure, but also the
micro-structure. And this seems for my eyes to be more than "just"
harmonical or melodical progressions and counterpointals rules.
WouldnŽt that be a worthy publication comparable to the Abel Carlevaro
Guitar Masterclass of Bachs Chaconne with a more analytical point of view?
PS. Stanley, itŽs your turn ;-)
Hajo
Hello Hajo!

I think it certainly would be worthy of a publication (I've been thinking
for soem time about a series along these lines - but for the present I
prefer to play concerts!).

However, I don't regard this as so much an analytic exercise. We need some
theory of course - to help us label important identifiable features we then
be coem more fully aware of. Surprisingly few very straightforward ideas are
enough for us to become aware of the goings-ons in the music that we soon
reach a saturation point of not being able to pull them all off (especially
in Bach!). But many of these things become an internalized part of our
natural playing - this is what is meant when a person is described as
"musical" - they've internalized a good part of the expressive vocabulary,
which leads to a degree of "automatic music-making." Interpretation itself
is more about making decisions - what, from an often overwhelming number of
options do we choose to incorporate into our conscious practice and what do
we leave out - and in what way do way do express the ideas we decide to
leave in? This is part of the value of style - on the one hand it provides
us with more options, on the other hand it removes options from the picture
for any given piece. Obviously, at a certain point in the process, these
choices must be made out of sheer intuition and good taste ("good musical
judgement"), since analyisis supplies only information and ideas. It doesn't
tell us how to play the piece, or what feels or sounds good to us, but how
we _might_ play a piece. In this sense, the degree of intellectual anaylsis
of a piece depends on the individual and theire ability to in some way
experience and internalize musical gesture.

Stanley
--
Stanley Yates
http://www.StanleyYates.com
Richard Jernigan
2004-08-14 22:53:59 UTC
Permalink
http://www.egtaguitarforum.org/ExtraArticles/artzt.html

An historical perspective on Bach by Alice Artzt--

RNJ
John Wasak
2004-08-15 03:15:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kotschessa
Can you have too much Bach in your repertoire? For some reason I think
not.
What do you think are the keys to really playing back *WELL*? I mean,
when I hear somebody say "He really understands Bach," what is it that
they really understand that I perhaps don't?
One thing I know for certain in my own playing is that I tend to neglect
the bass as an independent voice. I'm sure I do not need to go into too
much detail explaining the remedy for this which involves exgaggerating
the bassline for awhile, sometimes even practicing it separately.
Who do you think are some of the best (CG) players of Bach are?
On recordings - Goran Sollscher and Stephan Schmidt.
Post by David Kotschessa
Besides practice, what are some things it would behoove me to understand,
maybe historically, theoretically or otherwise?
Well, this may be a simplistic answer but I think you need to have a love
for the music itself, the ability to enable the love for the music entwine
with a sensitivity to the music's possibilities, and it doesn't hurt in the
slightest to listen to the music played by other considered great players of
instruments other than CG.


jw
Post by David Kotschessa
Basically I hear about those that can play Bach well and I hear about
those who don't, and I want to be in the former category if at all
possible!
Thanks,
-D
Sarn Dyer
2004-08-15 23:13:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kotschessa
Can you have too much Bach in your repertoire? For some reason I
think not.
Post by David Kotschessa
What do you think are the keys to really playing back *WELL*? I mean,
when I hear somebody say "He really understands Bach," what is it that
they really understand that I perhaps don't?
One thing I know for certain in my own playing is that I tend to neglect
the bass as an independent voice. I'm sure I do not need to go into too
much detail explaining the remedy for this which involves exgaggerating
the bassline for awhile, sometimes even practicing it separately.
Who do you think are some of the best (CG) players of Bach are?
Besides practice, what are some things it would behoove me to
understand, maybe historically, theoretically or otherwise?
Basically I hear about those that can play Bach well and I hear about
those who don't, and I want to be in the former category if at all
possible!
Post by David Kotschessa
Thanks,
There are quite a few separate but associated issues here. Perhaps first
of all, the ability aurally to separate two or more simultaneous voices
and to be able to characterize each individually. That's the wonderful
thing about Bach's instrumental music: it makes you into a better
musician. Did he intend this? In as far as music, musicianship and
technique are seemingly inseparable in his works, I think so. He wrote
the Inventions to teach one of his sons to play and much of his keyboard
music - even the monumental Goldberg Variations - are modestly titled
'Clavierübung' or 'Keyboard Exercise'.

Technically, the guitarist needs a well-integrated right hand: the 'a'
finger should able to function more or less as efficiently as 'i' and
'm'. This may be easier to achieve in some technical approaches than in
others. The introduction of simple contrapuntal music at an early stage
can be very helpful with right hand development - sometimes such music
is left
too late in the learning process. (A collection such as 'Baroque
Masters' edited by Heinz Teuchert is very useful in this regard.)
Learning to play Bach without the use of technical slurs can be an
excellent way to develop the right hand.

The best advice specifically to guitarists on playing Bach that I have
seen in print is contained in Stanley Yates' edition of the Cello
Suites, particularly with regard to the style of 'note-pairing' (the
'Quantitas Notarum intrinseca et extrinseca' versus the more romantic
style of phrasing belonging to a later historical period.) How these
pairings should be managed is still somewhat controversial. Quantz gives
one of the clearer accounts:

"In performance, one must distinguish between the principal notes (which
are also called attacking or, in the Italian way, good notes) and the
passing notes, which are called bad notes by some foreigners. Wherever
possible, the principal notes must be more accented than the passing
notes. By the same token, the fastest notes, be it in moderate tempo or
in adagio, must be played a bit unevenly although they look alike, so
that the attacking notes of every figure - the first, third, fifth and
seventh - are held somewhat longer than the second, fourth, sixth or
eighth. But this lengthening should not amount to a dot."

Few players care to follow this advice to the letter!

To the extent that guitarists tend to occupy a ground somewhere between
Bach's string and keyboard writing, their point of view perhaps may need
to be more flexible than that of other solo instrumentalists. My
personal preference, for example, is usually to avoid technical slurs
wherever possible and to slur, for musical effect, using dynamics.
Ligados are usually more difficult to control expressively.

However, if the player concentrates on the perfect clarity of the
counterpoint and its harmonic events, style may almost be allowed to
take care of itself. I suspect that that, also, was part of Bach's
intention: to create a music free of the subjective element, yet
nevertheless totally satisfying to the mind and emotions of the player.

Recently, I've enjoyed listening to Enno Voorhorst's Bach transcriptions
on Naxos - he deserves to be better known.

Sarn Dyer
Scott Daughtrey
2004-08-15 23:46:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Sarn Dyer
Post by David Kotschessa
Can you have too much Bach in your repertoire? For some reason I
think not.
Post by David Kotschessa
What do you think are the keys to really playing back *WELL*? I mean,
when I hear somebody say "He really understands Bach," what is it that
they really understand that I perhaps don't?
One thing I know for certain in my own playing is that I tend to neglect
the bass as an independent voice. I'm sure I do not need to go into too
much detail explaining the remedy for this which involves exgaggerating
the bassline for awhile, sometimes even practicing it separately.
Who do you think are some of the best (CG) players of Bach are?
Besides practice, what are some things it would behoove me to
understand, maybe historically, theoretically or otherwise?
Basically I hear about those that can play Bach well and I hear about
those who don't, and I want to be in the former category if at all
possible!
Post by David Kotschessa
Thanks,
There are quite a few separate but associated issues here. Perhaps first
of all, the ability aurally to separate two or more simultaneous voices
and to be able to characterize each individually. That's the wonderful
thing about Bach's instrumental music: it makes you into a better
musician. Did he intend this? In as far as music, musicianship and
the Inventions to teach one of his sons to play and much of his keyboard
music - even the monumental Goldberg Variations - are modestly titled
'Clavierübung' or 'Keyboard Exercise'.
Technically, the guitarist needs a well-integrated right hand: the 'a'
finger should able to function more or less as efficiently as 'i' and
'm'. This may be easier to achieve in some technical approaches than in
others. The introduction of simple contrapuntal music at an early stage
can be very helpful with right hand development - sometimes such music
is left
too late in the learning process. (A collection such as 'Baroque
Masters' edited by Heinz Teuchert is very useful in this regard.)
Learning to play Bach without the use of technical slurs can be an
excellent way to develop the right hand.
The best advice specifically to guitarists on playing Bach that I have
seen in print is contained in Stanley Yates' edition of the Cello
Suites, particularly with regard to the style of 'note-pairing' (the
'Quantitas Notarum intrinseca et extrinseca' versus the more romantic
style of phrasing belonging to a later historical period.) How these
pairings should be managed is still somewhat controversial. Quantz gives
"In performance, one must distinguish between the principal notes (which
are also called attacking or, in the Italian way, good notes) and the
passing notes, which are called bad notes by some foreigners. Wherever
possible, the principal notes must be more accented than the passing
notes. By the same token, the fastest notes, be it in moderate tempo or
in adagio, must be played a bit unevenly although they look alike, so
that the attacking notes of every figure - the first, third, fifth and
seventh - are held somewhat longer than the second, fourth, sixth or
eighth. But this lengthening should not amount to a dot."
Few players care to follow this advice to the letter!
To the extent that guitarists tend to occupy a ground somewhere between
Bach's string and keyboard writing, their point of view perhaps may need
to be more flexible than that of other solo instrumentalists. My
personal preference, for example, is usually to avoid technical slurs
wherever possible and to slur, for musical effect, using dynamics.
Ligados are usually more difficult to control expressively.
However, if the player concentrates on the perfect clarity of the
counterpoint and its harmonic events, style may almost be allowed to
take care of itself. I suspect that that, also, was part of Bach's
intention: to create a music free of the subjective element, yet
nevertheless totally satisfying to the mind and emotions of the player.
Recently, I've enjoyed listening to Enno Voorhorst's Bach transcriptions
on Naxos - he deserves to be better known.
Sarn Dyer
Great post Sarn. Thanks.

Scott
David Kotschessa
2004-08-16 21:18:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Sarn Dyer
There are quite a few separate but associated issues here. Perhaps first
of all, the ability aurally to separate two or more simultaneous voices
and to be able to characterize each individually. That's the wonderful
thing about Bach's instrumental music: it makes you into a better
musician. Did he intend this? In as far as music, musicianship and technique
are seemingly inseparable in his works, I think so. He wrote the Inventions
to teach one of his sons to play and much of his keyboard music - even the
monumental Goldberg Variations - are modestly titled 'Clavierübung' or
'Keyboard Exercise'.
Technically, the guitarist needs a well-integrated right hand: the 'a' finger
should able to function more or less as efficiently as 'i' and 'm'. This may
be easier to achieve in some technical approaches than in others. The
introduction of simple contrapuntal music at an early stage can be very
helpful with right hand development - sometimes such music is left
too late in the learning process. (A collection such as 'Baroque Masters'
edited by Heinz Teuchert is very useful in this regard.) Learning to play
Bach without the use of technical slurs can be an excellent way to develop
the right hand.
The best advice specifically to guitarists on playing Bach that I have seen
in print is contained in Stanley Yates' edition of the Cello Suites,
particularly with regard to the style of 'note-pairing' (the 'Quantitas
Notarum intrinseca et extrinseca' versus the more romantic style of phrasing
belonging to a later historical period.) How these pairings should be managed
"In performance, one must distinguish between the principal notes (which are
also called attacking or, in the Italian way, good notes) and the passing
notes, which are called bad notes by some foreigners. Wherever possible, the
principal notes must be more accented than the passing notes. By the same
token, the fastest notes, be it in moderate tempo or in adagio, must be
played a bit unevenly although they look alike, so that the attacking notes
of every figure - the first, third, fifth and seventh - are held somewhat
longer than the second, fourth, sixth or eighth. But this lengthening should
not amount to a dot."
Few players care to follow this advice to the letter!
To the extent that guitarists tend to occupy a ground somewhere between
Bach's string and keyboard writing, their point of view perhaps may need
to be more flexible than that of other solo instrumentalists. My
personal preference, for example, is usually to avoid technical slurs
wherever possible and to slur, for musical effect, using dynamics. Ligados
are usually more difficult to control expressively.
However, if the player concentrates on the perfect clarity of the
counterpoint and its harmonic events, style may almost be allowed to
take care of itself. I suspect that that, also, was part of Bach's
intention: to create a music free of the subjective element, yet
nevertheless totally satisfying to the mind and emotions of the player.
Recently, I've enjoyed listening to Enno Voorhorst's Bach transcriptions
on Naxos - he deserves to be better known.
Sarn Dyer
This is a helpful post, thanks.

You know what's interesting about your post is that it goes back to my
first question, which may have seemed rhetorical.

"Can you have too much Bach in your repertoire?"

This is actually a serious question! Let me quote Stanly from above. The
reason for my quoting might not be immediately apparent.

"Bach relentlessly sets up and defies our expectations, from phrase
to phrase, measure to measure, and beat to beat. Lawrence Dreyfus, in his
"Bach and the Patterns of Invention" refers to this as "composing agaonst
the grain" - a great term for it. The degree to which Bach does this was,
unique for his period. So, one thing required to play Bach well is the
abilility to repsond to a constantly changing accentual hierarchy."

One is usually advised, especially in early stages, to avoid favoring a
particular composer. This advice is intented to keep one not just well
rounded in terms of repertoire, but in terms of technique.

But the "technique" of playing Bach, if I can rephrase Yates statement, is
to stay "on your toes." There is nothing favored, nothing to fall back
on, and no shortcuts. I find that in order to play Bach better I
inevitably end up evaluating the very fundamentals of my technique. I
have to fix my posture, my right hand, my left hand, my attentiveness, all
of it. When I play Bach I feel like I am eating my vegetables. I just
can't seem to have too much. Thoughts on that?

-D
Sarn Dyer
2004-08-16 22:02:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kotschessa
When I play Bach I feel like I am eating my vegetables. I
just can't seem to have too much. Thoughts on that?
If you believe that the main priority for the musician is to make the
mind musical, there is no need to worry: you are in the safest of hands
with Bach. What is a musical mind? I think it's a mind that is able to
relate music directly to our emotional experience of life. Without
music, this experience, this most intimate part of our personal history
that has preceded conscious thought, is inchoate, chaotic even. With
music, it begins to have order and meaning, both for us and for those
who share our music.

As long as you are also listening to all kinds of other music, you can
be sure that you will come to these when the time is right.

Sarn
Larry Deack
2004-08-16 22:06:35 UTC
Permalink
"David Kotschessa"
Post by David Kotschessa
When I play Bach I feel like I am eating my vegetables. I just
can't seem to have too much. Thoughts on that?
David, have you worked on Angelo's Annunciazione? If not then give it a
try if you really like your vegetables raw. Great piece for any serious
student of polyphonic guitar playing when you are learning to extract voice
parts. I think Annunciazione is a masterpiece and expect to have it in my
repertoire for many years. If you like Bach I bet you'll enjoy trying to
extract the L'homme Arme theme from Annunciazione and I bet it will help
your Bach playing too.
David Kotschessa
2004-08-17 00:05:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Larry Deack
"David Kotschessa"
Post by David Kotschessa
When I play Bach I feel like I am eating my vegetables. I just
can't seem to have too much. Thoughts on that?
David, have you worked on Angelo's Annunciazione? If not then give it a
try if you really like your vegetables raw. Great piece for any serious
student of polyphonic guitar playing when you are learning to extract voice
parts. I think Annunciazione is a masterpiece and expect to have it in my
repertoire for many years. If you like Bach I bet you'll enjoy trying to
extract the L'homme Arme theme from Annunciazione and I bet it will help
your Bach playing too.
I have to be careful because I have been a bit impulsive about buying
music lately. But I will certainly keep it in mind. Though I suppose it
is safe for me to listen to it if anybody has a recording they could
recommend.
Philip Smith
2004-08-17 22:21:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kotschessa
Post by Larry Deack
"David Kotschessa"
Post by David Kotschessa
When I play Bach I feel like I am eating my vegetables. I just
can't seem to have too much. Thoughts on that?
David, have you worked on Angelo's Annunciazione? If not then give it a
try if you really like your vegetables raw. Great piece for any serious
student of polyphonic guitar playing when you are learning to extract voice
parts. I think Annunciazione is a masterpiece and expect to have it in my
repertoire for many years. If you like Bach I bet you'll enjoy trying to
extract the L'homme Arme theme from Annunciazione and I bet it will help
your Bach playing too.
I have to be careful because I have been a bit impulsive about buying
music lately. But I will certainly keep it in mind. Though I suppose
it is safe for me to listen to it if anybody has a recording they could
recommend.
David
Angelo has generously made 'Annunciazione' freely available on the
website, http://www.angelogilardino.com/portaleENG2004.htm -
well worth looking at.
Philip
David Kotschessa
2004-08-17 00:09:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Larry Deack
"David Kotschessa"
Post by David Kotschessa
When I play Bach I feel like I am eating my vegetables. I just
can't seem to have too much. Thoughts on that?
David, have you worked on Angelo's Annunciazione? If not then give it a
try if you really like your vegetables raw. Great piece for any serious
student of polyphonic guitar playing when you are learning to extract voice
parts. I think Annunciazione is a masterpiece and expect to have it in my
repertoire for many years. If you like Bach I bet you'll enjoy trying to
extract the L'homme Arme theme from Annunciazione and I bet it will help
your Bach playing too.
just checked.. Oh no! Free score on his site! That's even worse, becuase
now there's nothing to stop me from learning it. hehe
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
2004-08-17 00:00:57 UTC
Permalink
(snip)
But the "technique" of playing Bach, if I can rephrase Yates statement,
is to stay "on your toes." There is nothing favored, nothing to fall
back on, and no shortcuts. I find that in order to play Bach better I
inevitably end up evaluating the very fundamentals of my technique. I
have to fix my posture, my right hand, my left hand, my attentiveness,
all of it. When I play Bach I feel like I am eating my vegetables. I
just can't seem to have too much. Thoughts on that?
Tell my daughter to eat her vegetables!

Steve
-D
--
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
http://www.dentaltwins.com
Brooklyn, NY
718-258-5001
David Kotschessa
2004-08-17 14:39:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
(snip)
But the "technique" of playing Bach, if I can rephrase Yates statement, is
to stay "on your toes." There is nothing favored, nothing to fall back
on, and no shortcuts. I find that in order to play Bach better I
inevitably end up evaluating the very fundamentals of my technique. I
have to fix my posture, my right hand, my left hand, my attentiveness, all
of it. When I play Bach I feel like I am eating my vegetables. I just
can't seem to have too much. Thoughts on that?
Tell my daughter to eat her vegetables!
Cook some sesame seeds in sesame oil for about a minute. Put them on a
paper towel to drain. Stir fry veggies in olive iol, then add soy sauce,
a few drops of sesame oil and the seeds. Just learned this last week. ohh
yeah.

And I don't think the sesame seeds got stuck in my teeth either...
Post by Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
Steve
-D
--
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
http://www.dentaltwins.com
Brooklyn, NY
718-258-5001
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
2004-08-17 15:26:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kotschessa
Post by Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
(snip)
But the "technique" of playing Bach, if I can rephrase Yates
statement, is to stay "on your toes." There is nothing favored,
nothing to fall back on, and no shortcuts. I find that in order to
play Bach better I inevitably end up evaluating the very fundamentals
of my technique. I have to fix my posture, my right hand, my left
hand, my attentiveness, all of it. When I play Bach I feel like I am
eating my vegetables. I just can't seem to have too much. Thoughts
on that?
Tell my daughter to eat her vegetables!
Cook some sesame seeds in sesame oil for about a minute. Put them on a
paper towel to drain. Stir fry veggies in olive iol, then add soy
sauce, a few drops of sesame oil and the seeds. Just learned this last
week. ohh yeah.
And I don't think the sesame seeds got stuck in my teeth either...
Post by Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
Steve
That's what floss is for.
Thanks for the tip!

Steve
Post by David Kotschessa
Post by Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
-D
--
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
http://www.dentaltwins.com
Brooklyn, NY
718-258-5001
--
Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
http://www.dentaltwins.com
Brooklyn, NY
718-258-5001
Richard F. Sayage
2004-08-17 00:08:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Sarn Dyer
Post by David Kotschessa
Can you have too much Bach in your repertoire? For some reason I
think not.
Post by David Kotschessa
What do you think are the keys to really playing back *WELL*? I mean,
when I hear somebody say "He really understands Bach," what is it that
they really understand that I perhaps don't?
One thing I know for certain in my own playing is that I tend to neglect
the bass as an independent voice. I'm sure I do not need to go into too
much detail explaining the remedy for this which involves exgaggerating
the bassline for awhile, sometimes even practicing it separately.
Who do you think are some of the best (CG) players of Bach are?
Besides practice, what are some things it would behoove me to
understand, maybe historically, theoretically or otherwise?
Basically I hear about those that can play Bach well and I hear about
those who don't, and I want to be in the former category if at all
possible!
Post by David Kotschessa
Thanks,
There are quite a few separate but associated issues here. Perhaps first
of all, the ability aurally to separate two or more simultaneous voices
and to be able to characterize each individually. That's the wonderful
thing about Bach's instrumental music: it makes you into a better
musician. Did he intend this? In as far as music, musicianship and
the Inventions to teach one of his sons to play and much of his keyboard
music - even the monumental Goldberg Variations - are modestly titled
'Clavierübung' or 'Keyboard Exercise'.
Technically, the guitarist needs a well-integrated right hand: the 'a'
finger should able to function more or less as efficiently as 'i' and
'm'. This may be easier to achieve in some technical approaches than in
others. The introduction of simple contrapuntal music at an early stage
can be very helpful with right hand development - sometimes such music
is left
too late in the learning process. (A collection such as 'Baroque
Masters' edited by Heinz Teuchert is very useful in this regard.)
Learning to play Bach without the use of technical slurs can be an
excellent way to develop the right hand.
The best advice specifically to guitarists on playing Bach that I have
seen in print is contained in Stanley Yates' edition of the Cello
Suites, particularly with regard to the style of 'note-pairing' (the
'Quantitas Notarum intrinseca et extrinseca' versus the more romantic
style of phrasing belonging to a later historical period.) How these
pairings should be managed is still somewhat controversial. Quantz gives
"In performance, one must distinguish between the principal notes (which
are also called attacking or, in the Italian way, good notes) and the
passing notes, which are called bad notes by some foreigners. Wherever
possible, the principal notes must be more accented than the passing
notes. By the same token, the fastest notes, be it in moderate tempo or
in adagio, must be played a bit unevenly although they look alike, so
that the attacking notes of every figure - the first, third, fifth and
seventh - are held somewhat longer than the second, fourth, sixth or
eighth. But this lengthening should not amount to a dot."
Few players care to follow this advice to the letter!
To the extent that guitarists tend to occupy a ground somewhere between
Bach's string and keyboard writing, their point of view perhaps may need
to be more flexible than that of other solo instrumentalists. My
personal preference, for example, is usually to avoid technical slurs
wherever possible and to slur, for musical effect, using dynamics.
Ligados are usually more difficult to control expressively.
However, if the player concentrates on the perfect clarity of the
counterpoint and its harmonic events, style may almost be allowed to
take care of itself. I suspect that that, also, was part of Bach's
intention: to create a music free of the subjective element, yet
nevertheless totally satisfying to the mind and emotions of the player.
Recently, I've enjoyed listening to Enno Voorhorst's Bach transcriptions
on Naxos - he deserves to be better known.
Sarn Dyer
Great post, Sarn. Much agreed about Voorhorst. If I'm not mistaken, he
keeps them close to the vest. I've had many inquiries about his stuff.
What I've heard from him was outstanding.

Rich
--
Richard F. Sayage
www.savageclassical.com

Remove ZEROSPAM to reply...thx

http://www.orphee.com/rmcg/album-rmcg/album.html
http://www.savageclassical.com/rmcg/album-rmcg/album.html
Sarn Dyer
2004-08-17 17:21:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard F. Sayage
Much agreed about Voorhorst. If I'm not mistaken, he
keeps them close to the vest. I've had many inquiries about his stuff.
What I've heard from him was outstanding.
Thanks, Rich. Yes, a pity that EV hasn't published them. Sometimes, even
after a recording, the artist continues to think of an arrangement or
trancription as a 'work in progress'. And sometimes, of course, as a
business asset!

I noticed this excellent posting on rec.music.early - an outstanding NG
(yes, sigh) that Greg Silverman once pointed out. It probably won't
interest everyone, but I thought that it might interest you.

Sarn
Post by Richard F. Sayage
BTW, what does "rhetoric" refer to in baroque perforance pratice?
(You might tell that I've read some interviews with J. Tarling since I
last posted.)
Does it have to do with the shape of phrases and the emotional
content? (Guessing) I will probably know something of the answer to
this by the time someone responds, but it seems like such an
interesting (and significant) cocnept to me.
Thanks!
T.F.
This is a question for which you can find several shelves in a decent
library dealing with musical rhetoric.
Prior to the French Revolution (which abolished the Latin School)
there were only seven subjects, the so called 7 free arts (septem
artes liberales). Those were divided in mathemical subjects, 4 of
them, called the quadrivium, and 3 non-mathematical subjects, called
the trivium. (This is the source for the word 'trivial').
Musica was as a mathematical science, part of the quadrivium,
Rhetorica was part of the trivium.
However, Musica was also divided in musica theorica (the theory of
music) and musica poetica (the art of composing).
It was in this latter branch that the relationship between musica and
rhetorica developed from the second half of the 16th century.
The first major work describing this relationship is Musica Poetica by
Joachim Burmeister. This particular work has been translated into
English by the late Claude V Palisca, and been published by the
University of Nebraska.
Rhetorica is the art of how to write and deliver a speech. It is a
discipline which about started with Cicero, and in that time the type
of speech to be learned was the speech to be delivered by a lawyer to
defend a suspect. However, if you follow Cicero's principles , you
will see they are fit for any speech.
The most important treatise on rhetoric which was taught in the Latin
school was written by Quintilianus.

Musicians were putting together any piece of music following
rhetorical principles. Using these principles a piece consists of
- an exordium (introduction) which was used to state the main theme
and to capture the benevolence of the audience
-Narratio or Propisitio: stating the main evidence, telling the story
- Confutatio: trying to deny the evidence
- Confirmatio: confirming the original subject
- Peroratio: conclusion.

One of the most important parts of the compositional process was the
Inventio: how to find a theme. The theme was to be derived from the
main emotion of the piece. If the keyword in the text is revenge, the
music has to take that into account.

A different part in the compositional process was the so-called
Decoratio, which is to flourish the speech with rhetorical figures.
Musicians started to develop a parallel system with rhetorical
figures: Note the start of the aria 'Erbarme dich' in the St Matthew
Passion: the leap of a sixth upward was known as an 'Exclamatio', an
exclamation sign. In fact the St Matthew Passion abounds with musical
figures. Notice how Bach underlines the text in the so-called 'Blitze
und Donner' chorus, notice the final notes of the aria 'Ach, nun ist
mein Jesus hin', notice how the choir sings the question 'Herr, bin
ich's ' *11* times (the twelfth, Judas, didn't need to ask), etc, etc,
etc.

It is the task of the musician of today to recognize those musical
figures and to take them into account in his rendition of any baroque
piece.

Hth


Sybrand Bakker
Richard F. Sayage
2004-08-17 18:18:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Sarn Dyer
Post by Richard F. Sayage
Much agreed about Voorhorst. If I'm not mistaken, he
keeps them close to the vest. I've had many inquiries about his stuff.
What I've heard from him was outstanding.
Thanks, Rich. Yes, a pity that EV hasn't published them. Sometimes, even
after a recording, the artist continues to think of an arrangement or
trancription as a 'work in progress'. And sometimes, of course, as a
business asset!
I noticed this excellent posting on rec.music.early - an outstanding NG
(yes, sigh) that Greg Silverman once pointed out. It probably won't
interest everyone, but I thought that it might interest you.
Sarn
Most excellent, Sarn. Thank you for pointing this out to me and all of
us. The time, long ago, that I went through this type of material and
learning seems very distant indeed. Much obliged.
As for EV or others and an arrangement being a work in progress, how
very true. I think at some point you have to stop with any one in
particular, but inevitably you go back to it, maybe years later, and gotdam
if there isn't one slight adjustment that improves the whole. I remember
reading Segovia doing this regularly. As I understood it from old and new
studies, Bach spent a good portion of his later years not only writing new
material of course, but studying his older work, and improving it where he
thought best. Sometimes a single note.
Certainly not the same but a work in progress, I suppose, is just
that...I wonder if EV is interested in distributing his arrangements. I get
the impression of a resounding "no", but of course, I don't know.
Regardless, we have to wish him the very best.

Thx,

Rich
Post by Sarn Dyer
Post by Richard F. Sayage
BTW, what does "rhetoric" refer to in baroque perforance pratice?
(You might tell that I've read some interviews with J. Tarling since I
last posted.)
Does it have to do with the shape of phrases and the emotional
content? (Guessing) I will probably know something of the answer to
this by the time someone responds, but it seems like such an
interesting (and significant) cocnept to me.
Thanks!
T.F.
This is a question for which you can find several shelves in a decent
library dealing with musical rhetoric.
Prior to the French Revolution (which abolished the Latin School)
there were only seven subjects, the so called 7 free arts (septem
artes liberales). Those were divided in mathemical subjects, 4 of
them, called the quadrivium, and 3 non-mathematical subjects, called
the trivium. (This is the source for the word 'trivial').
Musica was as a mathematical science, part of the quadrivium,
Rhetorica was part of the trivium.
However, Musica was also divided in musica theorica (the theory of
music) and musica poetica (the art of composing).
It was in this latter branch that the relationship between musica and
rhetorica developed from the second half of the 16th century.
The first major work describing this relationship is Musica Poetica by
Joachim Burmeister. This particular work has been translated into
English by the late Claude V Palisca, and been published by the
University of Nebraska.
Rhetorica is the art of how to write and deliver a speech. It is a
discipline which about started with Cicero, and in that time the type
of speech to be learned was the speech to be delivered by a lawyer to
defend a suspect. However, if you follow Cicero's principles , you
will see they are fit for any speech.
The most important treatise on rhetoric which was taught in the Latin
school was written by Quintilianus.
Musicians were putting together any piece of music following
rhetorical principles. Using these principles a piece consists of
- an exordium (introduction) which was used to state the main theme
and to capture the benevolence of the audience
-Narratio or Propisitio: stating the main evidence, telling the story
- Confutatio: trying to deny the evidence
- Confirmatio: confirming the original subject
- Peroratio: conclusion.
One of the most important parts of the compositional process was the
Inventio: how to find a theme. The theme was to be derived from the
main emotion of the piece. If the keyword in the text is revenge, the
music has to take that into account.
A different part in the compositional process was the so-called
Decoratio, which is to flourish the speech with rhetorical figures.
Musicians started to develop a parallel system with rhetorical
figures: Note the start of the aria 'Erbarme dich' in the St Matthew
Passion: the leap of a sixth upward was known as an 'Exclamatio', an
exclamation sign. In fact the St Matthew Passion abounds with musical
figures. Notice how Bach underlines the text in the so-called 'Blitze
und Donner' chorus, notice the final notes of the aria 'Ach, nun ist
mein Jesus hin', notice how the choir sings the question 'Herr, bin
ich's ' *11* times (the twelfth, Judas, didn't need to ask), etc, etc,
etc.
It is the task of the musician of today to recognize those musical
figures and to take them into account in his rendition of any baroque
piece.
Hth
Sybrand Bakker
Alain Reiher
2004-08-17 18:34:16 UTC
Permalink
http://www.egtaguitarforum.org/ExtraArticles/biberian.html

Very simple and well written, this reminder could fit in easily into the
category of playing Bach well.

{;o)

Alain
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