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Picture of konata88
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I'm not a musician - I played piano as a child so I could play notes but never got to a phase where I would form my own interpretations by intention.

I'm watching a tv show where musical competitions is part of the story line. A score shows what notes to play, how fast to play them, how long to hold them. What other dimensions, other than how hard (loud?) to play the note/chord, are left for interpretation assuming you stick to the score?

When they refer to interpretation, what is the musician modulating that's not reflected in the score? When they say you need a certain interpretation to win competitions vs how you may personally want to play, what do they mean?




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quote:
Originally posted by konata88:
I'm not a musician - I played piano as a child so I could play notes but never got to a phase where I would form my own interpretations by intention.

I'm watching a tv show where musical competitions is part of the story line. A score shows what notes to play, how fast to play them, how long to hold them. What other dimensions, other than how hard (loud?) to play the note/chord, are left for interpretation assuming you stick to the score?

When they refer to interpretation, what is the musician modulating that's not reflected in the score? When they say you need a certain interpretation to win competitions vs how you may personally want to play, what do they mean?


I played the trumpet in my youth. Eventually evolved to jazz and private performances. It's like reading a script. Everyone does it differently. The execution can be subtle or barely follow the score; especially in jazz. In fact with jazz and rock, the more one deviates and eventually returns to recognizable melody, the better......if it done with talent.



Two different interpretations of the same score dramatized.



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Music often has words or abbreviations for the dynamics as well.

You can do a lot with a note. When you hear someone play a sax, you often hear a raspiness on the really accentuated parts. I’m not sure if that ever finds its way on paper. It’s just a technique to express yourself by adding your voice through the horn. Sometimes less is more.
 
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So interpretations are mostly deviations from the original score?

Competitions allow for interpretations that follow the score while concerts allow for broader interpretations that deviate from the score?

ETA: that’s a great clip.




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Deviations yes, but alsoin execution of the score.




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Res ipsa loquitur
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Interpretations can vary by the musician and conductor. For example, here is a copy of Debussy playing Clair de Lune followed by Lang Lang playing it. the final recording is of an american pianist George Copeland who studied with Debussy and who Debussy reportedly said he played it the way he really intended it to be played. All three are subtly different and today most people would say only Lang Lang is playing it right not knowing or listening to the other two recordings.




Link to original video: https://youtu.be/Yri2JNhyG4k






Link to original video: https://youtu.be/fZrm9h3JRGs






Link to original video: https://youtu.be/XBweTHrOwEU

Here is another example the musical term “Rubato” allows the musician to change the tempo up in a way the artist finds appropriate for the piece. This can lead to a lot of difference in one piece simply by using this one annotation.


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IMO the best performances are the ones done with emotion.........soul some call it.




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Interesting. So interpretations allow for variants on a theme. Basically, changes to the the original score. Again, with an extreme example of the Mozart enhancements to the march composed by S.

One imagines that the interpretations allowed for competition is more limited? Deviations allowed as long as the original score is maintained?




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Check YouTube for performances of Beetoven's Moonlight Sonata. You will notice various performers playing the same music but with different emphasis on dynamics. Especially the third movement, marked as Presto.
 
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George Copeland's performance sounds the way I think it should. The others sound too stuck trying to play the time exactly as written on the staff. Stiff and not flowing naturally.

But I come from the blues guitar tradition of lazy 16ths and other lagging time signatures that are very hard to notate but feel natural and organic.
 
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Res ipsa loquitur
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^^^^^
I believe that playing jazz or blues is harder than playing classical music. Either you feel the music or you don't. A good jazz musician can play classical music but the opposite is not always true.


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I thought that sheet music was tantamount to a recipe.

But I guess 8 pots of chili made with the exact same recipe , by four different cooks, might not taste exactly the same.





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When they refer to interpretation, what is the musician modulating that's not reflected in the score?



Speaking to your specific example of playing a piano as a child, think about playing a three note chord in your left hand that coincides with a note played in the right. On the page all notes are written stacked on top of each other, three in the base and one in treble all in a vertical line. However it's possible for those three notes played in the base to be slightly "out of sync". Not so much that you're playing an arpeggio but just enough that they aren't all hitting at the exact same time..literally milliseconds off. When compared to the written page the notes are played on time, but the slight deviation gives a richer more natural feeling to the chord. This can be controlled depending on the demand of the piece as a whole. It's the part of intonation that in speech would be more akin to how you speak a vowel than how loudly or softly you speak it.



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there are literally dozens of terms and dynamic symbols denoted on the written score of any classical work; I agree with bendable those are indeed 'like a recipe'. And take any dozen conductors or any mix of any symphonic orchestra of your choice, what you hear will have differences. Sometimes not so subtle. And play any work with the same recipe 2 or more times, if you can isolate and identify specifics, one version by the same conductor/orchestra, even attempting to perform the same recipe, come only approximately close to their previous performance.

When "interpretation" becomes "arranged by" there's even more modification from the original.

Still, we can identify works performed for centuries, trying to stick to those instructions listed on the score.


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I can answer from a conductor’s perspective.

In terms of Classical music, a conductor can take as much liberty with the score as one wishes. However, your credibility as a conductor and as a performer is typically determined by a combination of the technical precision, emotion, and historical accuracy that is demonstrated in your performance.

There are a number of historical perspectives and styles that inform what is called “performance practice.” In graduate school, most of my training and research centered around the understanding of historical performance practice and how to achieve that particular sound with modern instruments and voices.

For example, in the Baroque period, string instruments were often played with curved bows. So as the bow was moved down the string, the intensity of the note would taper with the shape of the bow. Since modern instruments have a straight bow, to approximate how a piece by Bach would have sounded in the 1700s, I would ask the strings to adjust their articulations to match the appropriate style. Some conductors would have the orchestra play with modern articulations because it is more like the style of playing that we are used to hearing.

While there are markings in the score that guide tempo, dynamics, and style, one has a certain degree to freedom to nuance these elements to create one’s own interpretation of the piece. While some listeners will crave the emotional, more romantic interpretations of music, particularly from the Classical period and before, others prefer the historically-informed performances that sound closer to the composer’s intentions. (Personally, I tend to be a centrist, with a lean towards historical sounding performances.)

Experience, study of the composer, performance practices, and work by other performers typically results in an individual interpretation of a piece that is unique to each performer (or conductor).
 
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Kev, I've never seen a guitar played with a capo on only half the strings. Very interesting.




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Originally posted by 6guns:
Kev, I've never seen a guitar played with a capo on only half the strings. Very interesting.


Igor is soulful and talented. If you haven't already, watching his other videos is enjoyable.



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Originally posted by konata88:


Music always has nuance and feel. Only computers have literal interpretations of sheet music (which is awful, listen to any MIDI file).

What is on the page is just a starting point, a suggestion, a common frame of reference.

For example, I could show you the sheet music for the drum tracks on any ACDC song, but it's Phil Rudd's groove that makes it ACDC.

You can't put groove on paper.


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Music to this fiddler is both art to be duplicated and art to be interpreted.

Handel's Messiah is to me a score that must be played as written. This orchestral and choral work is inspired, and in its original form can be considered "perfect." Here, I use the term "perfect" to mean a piece that is in its original form utterly complete and without need of any change.

Temperance Reel or Erin's Shore or The Maids Of Mitchelstown are tunes that are entertaining, but not ones that are perfect. Each offers the fiddler and the band a chance to try new things, or to play them within the talent available in that band. So, they can be and should be interpreted.

So, for each tune, composition, air, symphony, concerto, one can find the proper relationship between the original composition and the present. The cadenzas of Joachim amplify the original composition, and differ from those of Kreisler. Both are of value, both offer a new view of the original. And, to the audience, both offer the passion of the performer that is unleashed when freedom exists. The composers of cadenzas, or the crooners of jazz standards each give that audience at that moment a memory of both the performance and the emotions aroused during the performance. To me, the emotions are key to enjoyment. Repeating the Messiah exactly as written brings me a joy, as does hearing a new rendition of Temperance Reel.


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