The importance of buffering phrases

Gabriele Baldoci, one of my London colleagues that I respect the most, once said in a masterclass, here at WKMT, that Martha Argerich advised him to resolve passages expressively. That remark left me thinking for a long time. Then I came to realise that resolving a passage expressively also requires grouping the notes and finding out the sense they make as a whole -defining the lines-. This might sound obvious, but the effect such a process has on the way play and we deal with dynamics is outstanding. It basically deviates our attention from the notes into the lines, and most importantly it automatically installs muscular and intellectual rests in the perfect places where the phrase naturally requires them. It is impossible to perform if in constant “thesis”, as it is impossible to run if we are constantly exhaling. As when we breath, we need to make sure there is a clear balance between inhaling and exhaling. We can certainly work out a pretty stunning analogy between the relation that exists between the performance “thesis” and “arsis” and the act of breathing. Nevertheless, in most technical approaches these concepts are either ignored or given for granted. I strongly believe that studying the occurrence of these otherwise automatic reflections, can actually improve our confidence and quality of performance dramatically. First of all, we need to acknowledge that we are going to be most of the time in “arsis” or heading toward the “thesis” -movement-wise-. This happens because the proper climax of a phrase or semi-phrase is a point and not a line; and that point is the “thesis”. In this way, after we have reached that point we are already in arsis and before it we are most probably heading towards the thesis. Making sure we know the location of those climax points lays in the core of the professional performance. In order to play comfortably we need to be at rest most of the time so we can deliver our full power in these fundamental expressive points. Relaxation come as the most evident effect of this “tension-optimization” attitude. Locating the latter points also plays a fundamental point in designing the expressive outline of our performance, as they will univocally affect the sequence of crescendi and diminuendi that will define the dynamic profile of our version of the piece in question. This will be the main topic of conversation for our 8th Scaramuzza / Technique masterclass at WKMT. Everyone interested please comment on this post to get a place as soon as we publish the precise date.

#PianolessonsLondon #JuanRezzuto

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