\"\"
Piano Forum logo

Baroque Articulation (Read 6955 times)

Offline ameliatan

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 17
Baroque Articulation
« on: January 28, 2015, 07:41:40 AM »
Dear Teachers,

I am currently preparing a student for grade 2 practical exam. He is learning A:1 Impertinence by Handel. Honestly, I find it a difficult piece for grade 2 but he enjoys the sound of it. He struggled with getting the notes and fingering correct and confidently, and he isn't a consistent practicer, so it took quite a long time to play it correctly. At that time, I wasn't strict with articulation yet, as I wanted him to get fingering and notes correct. So he played it all legato.

Now I told him, since its a Baroque piece, he needs to try and play non-legato. He did do it quite well, but was reluctant to do it :(  He told me that its difficult to change the articulation and insisted on playing legato.

When do you introduce articulation in Baroque pieces? Did I teach articulation too late? Now my student seems to hate detached playing and loves to do it legato! Was just wondering, if he can't do it, is playing just the crotchet upbeats detached ok? Is that a good idea? Thanks!

Offline j_menz

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 10150
Re: Baroque Articulation
«Reply #1 on: January 28, 2015, 11:28:04 AM »
Now I told him, since its a Baroque piece, he needs to try and play non-legato. He did do it quite well, but was reluctant to do it

Have you considered the possibility that he's right?
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline iansinclair

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1472
Re: Baroque Articulation
«Reply #2 on: January 28, 2015, 09:55:42 PM »
Have you considered the possibility that he's right?
I hope you have!  It is essential in Baroque music that one be able to play both legato and detache -- and most people find consistent legato harder (although a good consistent detache actually is pretty hard, too!).  The ability to do so is almost essential in bringing out one voice against another -- since doing that with dynamics really isn't that good an idea.
Ian

Offline hardy_practice

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1587
Re: Baroque Articulation
«Reply #3 on: January 29, 2015, 11:11:21 AM »
Did I teach articulation too late?
Yes.  As it is, as long as he's consistent I doubt any marks will be lost.  I suggest J_Menz reads his CPE Bach.
B Mus, PGCE, DipABRSM

Offline diomedes

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 477
Re: Baroque Articulation
«Reply #4 on: January 29, 2015, 03:51:36 PM »
Quote
When do you introduce articulation in Baroque pieces?

Teach articulation as soon as they are able to manage the coordination required. You'll know if it's too early, if it's the case try in a reasonable way, they might resist, be discouraged, so shelf the task for a couple months/weeks and do it when it's time. As to when, it depends on the aptitude of the student, it's an awareness that a teacher needs to have. Could be as early as a month after the first lesson. And yes, definitely, you started too late. Not a big deal, find them easier repertoire, and teach it in that context while keeping that level.
Ravel, Alborada del Gracioso
Schumann, Kreisleriana
Scriabin, Sonata nr.3
Liszt, Don Juan

Offline j_menz

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 10150
Re: Baroque Articulation
«Reply #5 on: January 29, 2015, 11:04:46 PM »
@h-p & dio - you appear to have missed that the student in question can do the detache articulation but chooses not to do so. Thus what you are suggesting is not so much directed at ability as an early brainwashing in taste.

I suggest J_Menz reads his CPE Bach.

What makes you think I haven't? It's not holy writ, you know.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline hardy_practice

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1587
Re: Baroque Articulation
«Reply #6 on: January 30, 2015, 06:32:13 AM »
What makes you think I haven't? It's not holy writ, you know.
Near as dammit.  Interpretation is not a free or all.
B Mus, PGCE, DipABRSM

Offline j_menz

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 10150
Re: Baroque Articulation
«Reply #7 on: January 30, 2015, 07:07:39 AM »
Interpretation is not a free or all.

Rather moreso than grammar.

If you like it played as CPE dictates, feel free to do so. If you think he's a bit of a twerp, feel free to depart from his dictates and follow your own taste - an informed taste, of course.

Personally, I feel that what CP:E had to say about playing on a harpsichord or clavichord was pretty narrow minded at the time, and has even less relevance when contemplating playing on a piano with it's different capabilities.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline hardy_practice

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1587
Re: Baroque Articulation
«Reply #8 on: January 30, 2015, 07:29:48 AM »
You will find no evidence at all from the period that contradicts CPE Bach - plenty that corroborates.  His was the most respected, widespread and widely read treatise on the keyboard.  He even embraced the piano in later editions.   Twerp?  I'll take that from whence it came.
B Mus, PGCE, DipABRSM

Offline j_menz

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 10150
Re: Baroque Articulation
«Reply #9 on: January 30, 2015, 10:28:49 AM »
His was the most respected, widespread and widely read treatise on the keyboard.  

Being the only one kinda makes you the best - also the worst.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline iansinclair

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1472
Re: Baroque Articulation
«Reply #10 on: January 30, 2015, 02:54:00 PM »
Calm down, hardy.  The proper use of articulation in Baroque music is not black and white.  There are times when a slight, but clear break between notes -- a slight detache -- is what is required.  There are times when each note will be given half its written value, producing a very clear break.  A full staccato is, at least in my humble opinion, almost never desirable (and, indeed, may not be possible on some instruments, such as most pipe organs).  On the other hand, there are also times when a full legato is very much required.

It would be nice had the Baroque composers indicated which they wanted where.  Unfortunately, they didn't, so it is up to the artist (note: NOT technician) to determine what particular articulation he or she feels is most appropriate to the particular voice at that particular point in the music.

For those who play piano or harpsichord or clavichord, the choice and decision can and should be made early on in learning a particular piece, but it is essential that the artist try different styles to see what seems best.  For those of us who play organs, it will also depend on the particular instrument and performing space.

One of the biggest differences between a competent technician and an artist in Baroque music is in this ability to choose the best articulation to bring out the voices in the music clearly.
Ian

Offline hardy_practice

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1587
Re: Baroque Articulation
«Reply #11 on: January 30, 2015, 03:09:28 PM »
'In general the briskness of allegros is expressed by detached notes and the tenderness of adagios by broad, slurred notes...I use the expression, "in general", advisedly, for I am well aware that all kinds of execution may appear in any tempo.' - The Twerp
B Mus, PGCE, DipABRSM

Offline diomedes

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 477
Re: Baroque Articulation
«Reply #12 on: January 30, 2015, 03:21:01 PM »
Quote
you appear to have missed that the student in question can do the detache articulation but chooses not to do so.

To some degree. I was addressing more the other questions of ameliatan:
Quote
When do you introduce articulation in Baroque pieces? Did I teach articulation too late? Now my student seems to hate detached playing and loves to do it legato! Was just wondering, if he can't do it, is playing just the crotchet upbeats detached ok? Is that a good idea?

 As for the student being difficult, there are extremely clever solutions to that too.

Ravel, Alborada del Gracioso
Schumann, Kreisleriana
Scriabin, Sonata nr.3
Liszt, Don Juan

Offline j_menz

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 10150
Re: Baroque Articulation
«Reply #13 on: January 30, 2015, 10:41:29 PM »
The Twerp

Good to see it's catching on.  :D
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant