These days I have been giving this simple guidance to my students. Whenever they get stuck in their practice, they must ask themselves, “is it technical or musical?”
Technical Command means two things : 1. appropriate application of technique, and 2. sufficient command of the technique applied.
For TC 1, you must find which technical application you need to execute that certain passage, is it more of a forearm rotation or an upperarm rotation? Is it the palm grip or knuckle issue? Or are your fingers not close enough on the keys before execution? Etc etc. Or for TC 2, you have the right technical application but you have trouble in making it happen with solid control, then how are you going to fix it? Is it just about slow practice that magnifies the movement? Or is it a preparation problem, meaning you don’t prepare your hand position early enough prior to the execution of the pattern in question?
Musical Knowledge on the other hand, includes : 1. harmonic and structural analysis of the music (form, sections, phrasing, tonality, key changes, chord progression, notes: chord tones and non-chord tones, and relationships between notes i.e. intervals etc) , 2. historical background of the music (genre, the composer, and the period – other genres, philosophy, aesthetics, and other arts e.g. literature), and 3. interpretation resulted from the understanding of both 1 and 2.
I would point out MK 1 is what most need for the basic interpretation for MK 3. Without 1 there is no basis and knowledge as to where one’s performance interpretation and discretion arises from. How do you know what to do with that particular phrase or chord or note in terms of emphasis, articulation and dynamics? What do you feel and how do you present it and what is the difference when there is a minor 6th but not minor 3rd, or even, and augmented 5th? Of course, now I am pointing out a very small detail here, but always, especially when you have little experience in analyzing the music, start with something big. You start with bigger sections, then find out where each phrase starts and ends, and also the repeated /similar patterns in terms of melody and rhythm. Look for the chords especially some special sounding ones, and the cadences which define the keys and key changes. Where are the secondary dominants? The pedal points?
Let me discuss further in the next post. I think there is already a lot to digest for now. Always one step at a time.
內在旋律線為甚麼這樣重要？因為它們組成了樂曲的必要元素。當我們忽視樂曲中的一部分，就不能充分表現它的內容。以拼圖為例，一幅50塊的拼圖只拼合了30塊，我們看到的會是甚麼呢？當然只是整幅圖畫的一部分，儘管是很大的部分。另一個例子是填充題。還記得小時候學習英文文法時那些填上詞語來完成句子的練習嗎？內在旋律線就是那些不見了的字。I _ _ going to _ _ _ mus_ _ m on _ _ _ day.（有時甚至是不見了的字母。）它們只是方程式的一部分，來幫助表演者和聽眾從整體上理解一篇樂曲。
April 29, 2012
Teresa Wong plays “Venetian Gondola Song” (Venetianisches Gondellied) by Felix Mendelssohn.
[qt:http://teresawong.dyndns.org:9001/video/gondola.m4v 640 360]