it’s all semantics

I am in the habit of exchanging music, literature, and art with like-minded friends. A recent one to a music major went something like this (below). I’ve edited the emails a little for continuity and clarity. Heads up: these opinions are not meant to offend anybody. all opinions and views are solely mine and those of my friend’s.

ME:

http://suddenlyfalling.tumblr.com/post/19271153236/deareje-beautiful-piece-played-by

what do you think of this interpretation. it’s a bit sloppy, but i think i like it.
(ignore the wacky site, i can’t find a youtube version)
the reply (I’ve bolded the parts I take issue with):
The one thing this pianist does well, is bringing out the melodic voice.
Sometimes, maybe it’s too much that the chord qualities are not so clear.
For that reason, he should play more Bach..
 
Other than the melody line, I wasn’t so impressed,
I can’t feel much difference between duple and triple.
Also, when there are two notes between the hands, they don’t land quite together.
Of course Debussy writes the arpeggio sign all over the place, but you can’t really do arpeggios with just 2 notes— and I think that he is not intentionally doing it. Just lack of focus on those notes..
 
Well, Piano is hard and that’s why I’m not doing it.
And actually, I think that interpretations don’t really matter that much.
Unless it’s a disaster. Most people won’t even notice the subtle nuances..
Instead of nailing down every notes, playing the same music for 10 years, people need to move on and learn other things..
To me, a lot of Classical musicians don’t dig into new and less-known pieces.
Now, classical musicians are different from each other only because of subtle nuances in interpretations, which are not even that big of a deal. They lack of unique personality, and I don’t know if I should consider them as a part of the creative world—- compare these classical music performers to fine artists, actors, composers, writers and choreographers. How uncreative they are!
ME:
Well, he isn’t intensively trained as a classical musician-so I don’t expect him to have the chops. I didn’t much like the YouTube vids I found of him.
 
I am one of those people that REALLY care about the nuances. There are a lot of musicians that are technically competent, but I dislike their style of playing. I think that is y I like Joshua bell, he doesn’t have the best tech chops, but I like the way he lets his music breathe.
 
Although it is true that a lot of pieces are overdone by musicians, I don’t mind. There is a reason why some works are timeless. The guy prob got a lot of joy out of doing a beautiful piece of music, and that’s never wrong.
 
what a good Clair de lune I should listen to?
the reply:
Hmm. I thought Nuances meant very small details.
From the way you’re describing, the differences that you describe seem pretty big.
You mentioned about musicians who are technically competent and compared those to Bell, whom you admire for the music breathing.
This difference seemed to me pretty big deal.
Of course, these things should matter.
 
My definition of nuances is something very small- choices you make in nuances are neither right or wrong, it’s just a matter of taste. Well, somebody could say playing music purely with technical proficiency is also a matter of taste (because there are a lot of them and some are very successful), but I don’t really buy that, so no, not in my definition.
 
 
Although this one doesn’t say the name of the Pianist…. This one nailed down every note.
ME:
Ok, perhaps what I meant was INTERPRETATION, which, in a way, is the sum of all these nuances?
ALL RIGHT, so i took umbrage that my friend doesn’t place much importance on nuances, which, for me, is what makes a particular recording great. What is the purpose of covers, if not to make the piece your own? I’m not sure what he would say is the most importance “ingredient” in a successful, truthful cover.
In the email thread, we ran into a conflict over our usage of the words NUANCE and INTERPRETATION.
Here is what I got from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary (i wanted the OED, but can’t). My understanding of the two words in context are in bold.

Definition of INTERPRETATION

1
: the act or the result of interpreting : explanation
2
: a particular adaptation or version of a work, method, or style
3
: a teaching technique that combines factual with stimulating explanatory information <natural history interpretation program>

Definition of NUANCE

1
: a subtle distinction or variation
2
: a subtle quality : nicety
3
: sensibility to, awareness of, or ability to express delicateshadings (as of meaning, feeling, or value)
Thoughts??
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About 3woodlandcreatures

hello ~ you've landed in the 3WC airstrip. If you have questions or just want to join the spazz fest, comment or shoot me an email at 3woodlandcreatures@gmail.com View all posts by 3woodlandcreatures

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