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IV 0 00 Dynamic Nuance and Musical Line The worn faces and figures dressed in black in family photo albums from past generations, when placed next to the glamorous model in the cigarette ad who has "come a long way," illustrate how far the reality of the one world lay from the illusions of the other. There was little to distract the one from the fact of tomorrow's labor: no thoughts of "overnight to London" or "live via satellite from Tokyo," no cars, no radio, no labor-saving appliances, and no wonder drugs. However, the figure in black and the model, each in her time, had in common the biological capability to pass on to the next generation life and physical characteristics. A Bach fugue subject is for a fugue what human genes are for heredity. If the subject moves stepwise, the writing of the fugue will be smooth; if leaps predominate , the fugue will sound more instrumental than vocal. Like the average person living in the year 1722, who accepted more readily than we the social and occupational boundaries inherited through birth, a Bach fugue subject is less important in and for itself than as the genetic blueprint for the piece. The piano, offering a control of nuance unavailable on instruments of fixed dynamic levels and the capacity to project sound far beyond that of the clavichord, became an aesthetic watershed that would alter forever the way Bach's keyboard works would be heard. Then also, things must have seemed to have come a long way. It is inconceivable that the musician playing the preludes and figures on a fortepiano in the year 1800 would have been distracted by considerations such as terrace dynamics or whether "bringing out" a particular voice was appropriate. Dynamic Nuance and Musical Line 41 When playing music of the past, making music with whatever means available was undoubtedly more important than a concern for what has become known as performance practice. Czerny's editing of the Well-Tempered Clavier was based on a healthy confidence in his own creativity. In the preface he states: It has been my endeavor to indicate tempo and interpretation: First, according to the unmistakable character of each movement; Secondly, according to the well-remembered impression made on me by Beethoven 's rendering of a great number of these fugues; Thirdly, according to convictions matured by more than thirty years' study of this work.' . Significantly, one finds in almost every subject an accent placed over the note at the turning point of the phrase, indicating dynamic direction toward some point of stress. Ex. 4.1. BACH, WELL-TEMPERED CLAVIER, BOOK I, FUGUE SUBJECTS (ACCORDING TO CZERNY). ~" ;{EFE&ffl{i@f 11 sempre legato ~ W9~ " . if"ol1legalo Because all dynamic inflection is realized through touch, Czerny's edition of the Well-Tempered Clavier is a kind of touch recording enabling us to imagine Beethoven 's aesthetic ideal through our fingertips and muscles, as well as our ears. For Bach there were other devices to project the ebb and flow of intensity and a sense of climax: the direction of lines, contrapuntal devices, harmonic rhythm, the density of the writing, a particular area in the compass of the keyboard. Czerny's editing speaks for the musical thinking of his generation, namely, interpretation shaped by The Sounds of Involvement 42 the dynamic qualities of the piano, on which a spirit of insecurity, searching, and striving for fulfillment found its true element. Whether or not it would have seemed alien to the thinking of Bach and his contemporaries, what was for him an important pitch in the phrase became, under the hands of Beethoven and Czerny, the focal point of the phrase through dynamic level as well. Since dynamic contrast evokes the listener's immediate response, goose pimples had now become part of the structure of the piece. Unlike pitch, which is the same from one day to the next, dynamic level is subject to the tides of the player's psychological state. Walter Georgii's characterization of the Baroque as music of "being" and that of the Classic era as music of "happening'" applies also to performance. In part because of the nature of their respective instruments, a work that the keyboardist/interpreter of 1722 heard in terms of the oneness of the affection of the piece would have been "brought up to date" by pianists of Beethoven's day and habit of thinking with the unbounded tonal fantasy of the player. The greater availability...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780253011534
Related ISBN
9780253318220
MARC Record
OCLC
826660199
Pages
336
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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