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Topic: Is it correct to imitate recordings?  (Read 2891 times)

Offline Alfonso Van Worden

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Is it correct to imitate recordings?
on: March 02, 2005, 02:20:15 AM
Hello:

Iīve been studing  piano since 1995, and since my first day in school Iīve heard several  opinions wheter is good or wrong to imitate recordings, 5 years ago during a master-class I was playing Chopin Op.10 nr.9 and I was told that to imitate a recording in order to improve my own interpretation was the most terrible sin for a young pianist, the teacher who told me this wanted me to play Chopin in some particular way, and then I thought:" Well, this teacher advices me to play like this, but Pollini and Argerich play the same piece completely different, which one is right?? " And I never understood why this teacher told me that, becuse everybody knows that Pollini and Argerich won a Chopin competition.

So, I was wondering... What do you think?
Music should not be "Ur-text" , it should be "Ur-spirit"            
                                         -Dinu Lipatti

Offline Vivers

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Is it correct to imitate recordings?
Reply #1 on: March 02, 2005, 03:43:14 AM
Listening to recordings, whether they be good recordings or bad recordings, is good for generating ideas, and getting inspiration. It may introduce you to a way of interpreting a phrase that you never thought of before, maybe the ornamentation is more original, but I wouldn't copy them, first of all because that's like sacrificing your own musicality, and secondly, because I don't know how useful that is. Even when your teacher tells you to play a piece a certain way, if you don't feel like that's the way it should be played, and you can justify it, you don't have to follow every little piece of advice.

Offline steinwayguy

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Is it correct to imitate recordings?
Reply #2 on: March 02, 2005, 05:50:45 AM
Listening to recordings, whether they be good recordings or bad recordings, is good for generating ideas, and getting inspiration. It may introduce you to a way of interpreting a phrase that you never thought of before, maybe the ornamentation is more original, but I wouldn't copy them, first of all because that's like sacrificing your own musicality, and secondly, because I don't know how useful that is. Even when your teacher tells you to play a piece a certain way, if you don't feel like that's the way it should be played, and you can justify it, you don't have to follow every little piece of advice.

That about sums it up.

Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: Is it correct to imitate recordings?
Reply #3 on: March 02, 2005, 09:03:15 PM
I don't copy people really. I want to think for myself.

boliver

Offline LVB op.57

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Re: Is it correct to imitate recordings?
Reply #4 on: March 02, 2005, 10:11:06 PM
When I was doing the Gershwin preludes, I copied the recording exactly, though I can't remember whose it was. I thought it was a good way to improve yourself, because as a student it gives you a clear idea of what you're going for. As I wanted to be more original, I stopped doing this. Even if you don't agree with copying a recording exactly, you should try it now and then, it will improve your listening as well, and it's important to be correct before trying to be original.

Offline dinosaurtales

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Re: Is it correct to imitate recordings?
Reply #5 on: March 03, 2005, 12:44:25 AM
I suspect conventional wisdom would suggest listening to one or more versions of a piece, especially if you are not familiar with it, so that you can see generally how it goes, what some interpretive differences might be, tempos used, how they did their trills, etc.  But for inspiration, NOT to imitate. 

Every person is different and you should try to develop your own personal style, that is "correct" given the music, of course. 

Another thing to consider is that I have several recordings of "famous" people playing "famoius" pieces where they have ignored HUMONGOUS aspects of the music, like phrase markings, dynamics, etc.  Don't imitate these for sure!
So much music, so little time........

Offline ted

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Re: Is it correct to imitate recordings?
Reply #6 on: March 03, 2005, 02:45:44 AM
I imitate those things I like and ignore those I do not like. However, by imitation, I do not necessarily mean a verbatim copy. For instance I like the way Waller plays certain bass octaves in his rendition of Carolina Shout. I store up the effect of this mentally and now bring it into my own playing generally (not just in that particular piece) as an extra trick of vocabulary, if you can call it that.

Complete imitation of a whole piece ? No, definitely not.
"Mistakes are the portals of discovery." - James Joyce

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Is it correct to imitate recordings?
Reply #7 on: March 03, 2005, 09:14:26 AM
What is good is to listen to midi recordings. They are pretty much just the notes, and the expression is void. You can hear all the notes, and then make your own idea as to how it should be done on the piano. This can help you break habits from listening to normal recordings and stealing from them.
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Offline SDL

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Re: Is it correct to imitate recordings?
Reply #8 on: March 03, 2005, 12:28:30 PM
I tend to listen to works before I begin to see if I like them (Im not a great sight reader!).  As soon as I begin I dont listen to them until I have it under my fingers slowly and have started to work out what I want from the piece in terms of expressing my interpretation.  Then I may listen again to see if Ive missed anything as I have good aural skills and can spot wrong notes instantly if Ive learnt the wrong harmony.  Sometimes as in Prokofiev Sonata no 1, the rhythms are accross the bar and how you think of these passages is quite abstract, so it helps to hear where the theme/interest is in the grouped arrangement of motifs. 

I always have some way I want to play a work using my experience of analysis, and the trick is to get your teacher to help you play your way better not completely different !
"Never argue with idiots - first they drag you down to their level, then they beat you with experience."

Offline Alfonso Van Worden

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Re: Is it correct to imitate recordings?
Reply #9 on: March 04, 2005, 02:52:59 AM
Usually when I go to my piano lessons my teacher gives musical ideas, (and I took them as sugestions, I agree with you), by sure the musical ideas that Horowitz gives in his recordings are better than my theacherīs ...so Why is it wrong to accept musical sugestions made by aone of the bets piano playes of the musical history?
(interesting question isnīt it?).

Woluld you agree? If Ihave taken a lesson with Horowitz , he would have teach me to play a piece in the same way that he recorded. Donīt you think?
Music should not be "Ur-text" , it should be "Ur-spirit"            
                                         -Dinu Lipatti

Offline anda

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Re: Is it correct to imitate recordings?
Reply #10 on: March 04, 2005, 05:36:24 PM
Listening to recordings, whether they be good recordings or bad recordings, is good for generating ideas, and getting inspiration. It may introduce you to a way of interpreting a phrase that you never thought of before, maybe the ornamentation is more original, but I wouldn't copy them, first of all because that's like sacrificing your own musicality, and secondly, because I don't know how useful that is. Even when your teacher tells you to play a piece a certain way, if you don't feel like that's the way it should be played, and you can justify it, you don't have to follow every little piece of advice.

very well said!

however, as everything else, this also depends on circumstances: i once heard a young kid (12 i think) play a mozart concerto with an incredible maturity, perfect rythmical (i mean, not just playing the correct rhythm, but having no problem in keeping the tempo constant), in one word, incredible for someone her age. later i found out her teacher didn't know how to help her, so she used a recording to play over (and this way she learned everything - including how to do the ornaments, how to play, learned the orchestra's interventions by ear, etc. also, playing over the recording helped her with tempo variation problems). so, i guess under certain circumstances...

Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: Is it correct to imitate recordings?
Reply #11 on: March 04, 2005, 06:41:16 PM


very well said!

however, as everything else, this also depends on circumstances: i once heard a young kid (12 i think) play a mozart concerto with an incredible maturity, perfect rythmical (i mean, not just playing the correct rhythm, but having no problem in keeping the tempo constant), in one word, incredible for someone her age. later i found out her teacher didn't know how to help her, so she used a recording to play over (and this way she learned everything - including how to do the ornaments, how to play, learned the orchestra's interventions by ear, etc. also, playing over the recording helped her with tempo variation problems). so, i guess under certain circumstances...

yeah under certain circumstances you become a robot, that teacher should have given that kid to some other teacher that was more capable of handling her.

Offline IanT

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Re: Is it correct to imitate recordings?
Reply #12 on: March 10, 2005, 11:06:51 PM
I don't like to even listen to recordings until I've got the piece well on the way to being learnt.  I feel that I can then judge better what I like and what I don't like about the recording.  At this stage I'll take the ideas that I do like and incorporate them into my interpretation without trying to make it sound exactly like the recording.

I think that if you do just copy some other interpretation then you're just learning to play the piano rather than learning to perform music.  You have to learn why certain things work interpretively and others don't.  Slavish copying won't do that for you.

In the past I have slavishly copied someone else's interpretation of certain passages.  I found that ultimately it sounds unnatural - like someone else took over the piano for that passage.


Ian

Offline pianodude

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Re: Is it correct to imitate recordings?
Reply #13 on: March 12, 2005, 03:39:22 AM
It all depends on your level. For those who do not know a lot, it is much better to copy Horowitz's playing than to try to invent your own style. I personally would rather become a copy of Horowitz's or other famous piano players' than playing my own style. 8)

Don't you want people say that you play like Horowitz!

Offline Alfonso Van Worden

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Re: Is it correct to imitate recordings?
Reply #14 on: March 12, 2005, 05:14:23 AM
yes... I would like that, ( at least I wolud say that he is a good(very,very good) example!!!!!!!! ::)
Music should not be "Ur-text" , it should be "Ur-spirit"            
                                         -Dinu Lipatti

Offline rohansahai

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Re: Is it correct to imitate recordings?
Reply #15 on: March 18, 2005, 12:39:04 AM
Quote
Woluld you agree? If Ihave taken a lesson with Horowitz , he would have teach me to play a piece in the same way that he recorded. Donīt you think?
Not really ! An ideal teacher would be the one who recognizes the student's strengths and his personality and makes sure that he expresses himself the best !!
Great pianisits need not be great teachers AND vice versa too (Neuhaus comes to mind!)
Where imitating recordings is concerned, I think its not a good idea to listen to some other pianist's interpretation just when you yourself are learning the piece, it is very easy to suppress your own ideas and to copy that person's style !
Suppose you are working on the Chopin C# minor etude, it wouldn't be advisable to listen to recordings of it while you are working on it; instead wait till you have learnt it well or listen to the etudes in general before you start working on it.
Listening to MIDI files is a good idea......helps you to memorise without taxing your own creativity !
Waste of time -- do not read signatures.

Offline Phillip

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Re: Is it correct to imitate recordings?
Reply #16 on: March 20, 2005, 10:41:32 AM
I subscribe to the Naxos online service, and find their (and other) recordings invaluable for:

1 - identifying any misreadings that I may have made from the score;
2 - getting a feel to what the 'industry standard' is on such points as tempi and ornaments for standard repertoire.  I can obtain confidence that my performance is not too far out from what an audience would expect (unless I have a good reason for departing from the norm).
3 - double checking on timings when putting together a programme (especially for exams).  One can get a range of timings from online track listings without actually having to hear the tracks.

Finally, the dullness of many recordings does encourage me to believe that I can bring something to the table when playing a much played work myself.

Phillip

Offline IanT

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Re: Is it correct to imitate recordings?
Reply #17 on: March 20, 2005, 06:55:40 PM

Finally, the dullness of many recordings does encourage me to believe that I can bring something to the table when playing a much played work myself.

Phillip


Amen to that!

Ian

mikeyg

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Re: Is it correct to imitate recordings?
Reply #18 on: March 20, 2005, 08:18:23 PM
While you are a student, I think you should try to get as close to the recordings as possible.  However, when you get to the level of fame of someone like Lang Lang, you can do whatever the heck you want

Offline rafant

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Re: Is it correct to imitate recordings?
Reply #19 on: March 21, 2005, 01:21:12 PM
Quote
it's important to be correct before trying to be original.

The phrase of the month. Powerful advise!

Anyway if I could be able of sounding as good as any well recognized artist, all my dreams in piano playing would be fulfilled. :)

Offline Sergey R

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Re: Is it correct to imitate recordings?
Reply #20 on: March 22, 2005, 09:24:14 AM
Don't you want people say that you play like Horowitz!

Yes, that would be good, but if you can create your own style and become very famous, then don't you want people in the future when they copy you to say that they played like you? If you simply copy famous people, they will remain famous. It's not like someone in the future is going to say: You play like that person, who plays like Horowitz!

Offline tds

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Re: Is it correct to imitate recordings?
Reply #21 on: March 24, 2005, 03:42:28 AM
is it naive to think that we can imitate recordings? do we have a better word than " to imitate"?
dignity, love and joy.

Offline vivace

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Re: Is it correct to imitate recordings?
Reply #22 on: March 29, 2005, 06:04:32 AM
Be careful...I knew someone who "copied" a recording of a Chopin ballade; misplaced/akward rubato and an overall uncomprehensive interpretation was the result!  :P

Of greatest importance: make sure you know the whys of the musical ideas presented by the performer on the recording.

At least in my personal experience, this process will not only open up new ideas to you by another performer, but you will most likely from there form new ideas of your own. Pretty cool, I think!  ;D

Offline tds

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Re: Is it correct to imitate recordings?
Reply #23 on: March 30, 2005, 11:15:18 AM
hmmm, i'd say: be careful saying that one can actually copy or imitate a performance (either live or recording). exact replicas can only be reproduce by some heart-less machines. an attempt it remains, do one has to insist to ...ehemm... copy or imitate. naive it is to say otherwise. best, tds
dignity, love and joy.
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