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Thoughts on Arpeggiation (Read 406 times)

Offline roncesvalles

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Thoughts on Arpeggiation
« on: February 27, 2021, 02:11:43 PM »
I'm working on Godowsky's left hand transcription of Chopin's Op. 10 no. 3, and in the third measure there's a chord in the bass that spans a tenth.  He arpeggiates it, but in the opening statement of the melody there aren't any other arpeggiated chords.  My hands are average sized but very flexible, and I can easily play chords up to the 11th, so I could play the chord in a way similar to all its neighbors without a problem.  To me the sound is more consistent (and less sentimental) if I go against the score and don't arpeggiate.  I'm wondering if there's a propriety to this sort of thing.

I often see arpeggiations that are clearly notated because of the span of a chord.  It crops up in editions of Scriabin a lot, and unless in the context of the piece there is the precedent of having rolled chords, the sound can feel out of place.  It often feels cleaner and less mawkish for me to simply play them as chords.  On one hand I always attempt to follow a composer's markings, but I feel like this is one case of a notational compromise.  Is it taboo to ignore a composer's notation in a situation like this?

Offline lelle

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Re: Thoughts on Arpeggiation
«Reply #1 on: February 27, 2021, 02:43:16 PM »
To me, it looks like the implication is that you should arpeggiate similar chords in the same way later in the score, since the same chord returns later in an analogous passage without an arpeggio. There are also many places with large, sweeping arpeggios, so to me it seems to be appropriate for the style the piece is written in.

But you can make choices of how you play the arpeggios. They can be broad and voluptuous - like "HELLO, I'M AN ARPEGGIO, LOOK AT ME!" or you can do them soft and fleet so you barely notice them and they blend right into the texture.

Keep in mind that arpeggiating chords was very much in style in Scriabin/Godowsky's time. In a contemporary book on interpretation I've read, they give many suggestions on where it's appropriate to arpeggiate even if it isn't in the score, for interpretative reasons.

But even if would be taboo, you can always choose to do what you want :P

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Thoughts on Arpeggiation
«Reply #2 on: February 28, 2021, 06:06:05 AM »
Although that exact chord in that measure is repeated throughout without arpeggiation there are other points of arpeggiation like in bar 8,9,10,15,16 etc. It is almost like Godowsky is letting first time listeners really notice early on that this large chord is being used by exaggerating it, then later on just plays it all together. I think that if you made them all arpeggiated it wouldn't really matter that much but I feel when it is used the first time it is meant to be for over exaggeration and to bring attention to the figure then later on subdued.
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