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implied markings awareness / less podium-based spoon-feeding

Postby bloke » Tue May 16, 2017 8:58 am

- realizing when a line is subordinate
- realizing when a line is a solo or soli line
- contouring musical phrases within general dynamic markings
- understanding that very few of the (many needed) rfz's are written into sheet music
- understanding that quite a few notes need to be touched somewhat strongly followed immediately by reduced volume (as if a plucked string) as "our note being sustained" is not "the thing" right there
- being aware that bell tones (perhaps: mildly executed) are usually the most effective way to emphasize/clarify staggered entrances
- immediately recognizing which groups of instruments are accompanying, which are soloing, which are reinforcing/harmonizing with the soloing instruments, and of which group one is (within a given texture) currently a member
- understanding style (and "styles"), applying it/them appropriately, and being aware that there are nearly endless "styles" - all of which (when properly applied) allow performances to appear to be "from the heart" vs. (etc.) "from a (c. 1800's) orchestrion machine".

- Add yours.
- Comment on the above.
- ...perhaps, with efforts to comment in the positive. :shock:
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Re: implied markings awareness / less podium-based spoon-fee

Postby Steginkt » Tue May 16, 2017 9:35 am

Understanding an FF marking might refer to the sound required from the section/ensemble, not from you
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Re: implied markings awareness / less podium-based spoon-fee

Postby Tampaworth » Tue May 16, 2017 9:57 am

I have trouble understanding when players in other sections use the excuse "I was waiting for a cue" when missing an entrance after a period of rest. It's nice and dramatic when a proper cue is delivered, but never an excuse for not making an entrance when a conductor is inconsistent with cues.
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Re: implied markings awareness / less podium-based spoon-fee

Postby bloke » Tue May 16, 2017 10:25 am

Tampaworth wrote:I have trouble understanding when players in other sections use the excuse "I was waiting for a cue" when missing an entrance after a period of rest. It's nice and dramatic when a proper cue is delivered, but never an excuse for not making an entrance when a conductor is inconsistent with cues.


yup...As most of my comments were towards musical expression and yours is more related to mechanics, your comment - nevertheless - fits perfectly in the thread, as it's very difficult to be expressive when the player isn't familiar enough with a piece to know when to play. :wink:
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Re: implied markings awareness / less podium-based spoon-fee

Postby Stryk » Tue May 16, 2017 10:46 am

Great post. Rarely should we just sit on a note or a phrase. Boring.
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Re: implied markings awareness / less podium-based spoon-fee

Postby timothy42b » Tue May 16, 2017 10:59 am

In very amateur groups, the conductor must spoon feed.

In higher level groups, the conductor should mostly supply visual cues to the audience; the players should know the list bloke referenced.

The end result of conductor motion could be identical.
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Re: implied markings awareness / less podium-based spoon-fee

Postby bloke » Tue May 16, 2017 11:11 am

timothy42b wrote:In very amateur groups, the conductor must spoon feed.

In higher level groups, the conductor should mostly supply visual cues to the audience; the players should know the list bloke referenced.

The end result of conductor motion could be identical.


Michael Stern - when rehearsing the IRIS Orchestra - enjoys experimenting with phrasing...
i.e. often:
- "Let's try this..."
- "Let's try that..."
- "What do you think...??"
...often resulting in:
- "Play it how ever you like...After hearing all three ways, I can't decide/I have no preference."

...but no (except for a dumb old bloke struggling to play the tuba and trying to figure out when to come in), there are no real "technical" issues with which to contend in that ensemble.
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Re: implied markings awareness / less podium-based spoon-fee

Postby hrender » Tue May 16, 2017 11:37 am

I have no problem if the conductor has an interpretation other than mine, and whoever has the stick has the job of setting the overall interpretation. I do think individual musicians need to be able to interpret the music appropriately (attacks, releases, shadings) so that the conductor doesn't have to explain each detail. I have asked clarifying questions (i.e. "do you want a diminuendo or a subito piano here?") for which the conductor thanked me.
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Re: implied markings awareness / less podium-based spoon-fee

Postby TheGoyWonder » Tue May 16, 2017 12:12 pm

doesn't help when a lot of music just says "ff" for minutes at a time.
in really high-endy ensembles the dynamics can be redone numerically and by section.

I'd rather have podium spoon-feeding than conductors who say "i just hold the stick" and make a point of having everything organically happen by some magical collective instinct. Even if I don't like his musical taste I'd rather have SOMETHING happening.
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Re: implied markings awareness / less podium-based spoon-fee

Postby eupho » Tue May 16, 2017 1:21 pm

Great Post!
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Re: implied markings awareness / less podium-based spoon-fee

Postby chronolith » Tue May 16, 2017 3:24 pm

Pro groups - yeah all of the above as a minimum standard.

Community groups - you are lucky sometimes to get people to even look at the conductor in order to receive what is being spoonfed to them.

Only thing I would add to the list is excepting any other specific marking, notes are to be held full value*. Some players assume that no marking means they can do whatever they want. * - See posts above for what to do (and not do) with the full value of the note.
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Re: implied markings awareness / less podium-based spoon-fee

Postby bloke » Tue May 16, 2017 3:38 pm

I wish *you (*the southern "y'all") could have sat on the ~other~ side of John Rojak when we played An der schönen blauen Donau (Blue Danube Waltz) as an encore (to a "rivers-themed" concert)...

...What magnificent (yet superbly understated) style he demonstrated playing a piece that many might classify as a "throwaway". :D

(The piece is scored for bass trombone and tuba only - no tenors...and mostly: only bass trombone).
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Re: implied markings awareness / less podium-based spoon-fee

Postby imperialbari » Tue May 16, 2017 3:49 pm

Knowing the function of ones own note in ensemble chords and adjusting ones dynamic and intonation accordingly.

One of my simpler rules in that context caused med troubles in a reading of a of some transscribed soundtrack that I didn’t know the original of. That simple rule is about going easy on the fifths of chords, just giving them enough to reinforce the root by creating low difference octaves of that root. But in this transscription the fifth was intended as a dramatic off-balance note meant to create some sort of unrest. Would have been nice, if the dynamic written in my part had indicated that function. A text asking to bring that note to the foreground would have been nice also.

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Re: implied markings awareness / less podium-based spoon-fee

Postby PaulMaybery » Tue May 16, 2017 10:40 pm

There is no substitute for actually learning the piece as a whole and how your part fits into it. We do that with "repertoire" but of course on concerts that are not mainstream subscription events, we rarely have a choice and hence do the best we can, and in many cases that translates into "shooting from the hip." There is a wonderful book by H.L. Vandercook called "Expression in Music" still published by Rubank for @ $5.00 or so. In it are exlained all the tricks that were used by the master players in the 19th and early 20th century as far as emphasis vs de-emphais, long and short notes, phrase shaping and the like. HOWEVER it was relayed to me (by a former member of the CSO) after a lecture I gave on 19th century performance practice at a Historic Brass Society conference, that all those elements of style were sumarily beaten out of most orchestras from the 1950s onward, in favor of a more homogeneous style of just "playin' the page." Reiner and the CSO were prime. Is it no wonder that modern players often do not have a clue in the difference in interpreting say, Tchaikovsky from Berlioz, or Beethoven from Wagner? But in todays orchestra world, those subtle differences have given way to lazer sounds, deft rhythmic treatment, and playing every note as long as the inscription on the page dictates. That approach does make things a bit simpler, less rehearsal time on actually coming up with a bonafide interpretation, thus a more cost effective budget for the orchestra members. "Play the page."
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Re: implied markings awareness / less podium-based spoon-fee

Postby imperialbari » Tue May 16, 2017 11:23 pm

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