Posted by dgee on May 13, 1999 at 04:02:29:
In Reply to: Re: the importance or rhythm? posted by Charles Brooks on May 12, 1999 at 18:06:39:
: I find the topic of harmonic rhythm and harmony in general most interesting. Just this year I swapped teachers from one who knew little about harmony to one who is extremely knowledgeable about harmonic theory. Until my experiences with this new teacher I sidelined knowledge of harmony as to being of only a little use, thinking that I was doing everything intuitively anyway. But my ideas on this changed dramatically with my new teacher. I was suddenly enlightened when we started to discuss, in depth, the harmony of the 2nd Bach suite - playing ambiguous phrases as if they were in one key, and then as if they were in another and altering the tuning to suite. My regrets now are that I paid very little attention to my theory teacher in the first few years of varsity (she was a student of Messian and very well learned in the topic) and failed to link up her teaching with what I was doing in cello at the time. I cant help but wonder how many people this happens to, particularly non pianists who I believe find the study of theory more difficult. I remember seeing a great video of Yo yo Ma at tanglewood where, upon commencing work on the Gruber concerto, he was working in tandem with the orchestra, composer, and a harmony specialist and musicologist from Harvard. I wish this kind of inter-field co-operation would happen more often, especially at the earlier levels of study as I am finding myself suddenly having to start my theory studies anew in order for them to be fluent enough to be of use.
Might that theorist from Hatvatd been Robert Levin? He was one of my teachers in college. He's very brilliant. Yes, knowing harmonic activities helps, as does knowledge of form. BT once mentioned here that it helps to know the high and low points of a piece so that one can tier the performance properly. Of course this is true. Have you ever heard people who play as if each note holds the same importance in a work? There is no high and no low. If one saves a little for the high point of a movement and a work it can drive home the idea that the piece is ending. But there are so many considerations. That's why music is so challenging, I guess! DG
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