Imprinted in Sound

08/14/2015

 
If it has been recorded by a master then, well, that's as close to the Bible as one gets, no?
Be careful.
Especially if the master did not want to make the recording, but was probably cajoled into it by a well-meaning manager or other professional who could not foresee the pernicious effect of the recording on generations of unsuspecting musicians.
I ran into the problem recently while coaching a fine group of amateurs.  At issue was the reading of a rare minuscule sixty-fourth-note subdivision: whether or not to make it coincide with a triplet going on in the other voices.  The players were going to a lot of trouble to distinguish the two types of subdivision; I pointed out that scholars had recently been studying just such cases and concluded that, there being no way to indicate subdivisions of triplets with rests during Schubert's time, the sixty-fourth-note remedy was as close as they could get.  My suggestion that they try it was greeted with scorn by someone who said that "all" the recordings do it as a conflicting pulse.
Okay.  But are recordings necessarily definitive?
Maybe the way it feels to play it one way or the other might be more convincing and more meaningful.
 


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