An odd question!

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by shinyboots, Jan 22, 2007.

  1. shinyboots

    shinyboots New Member

    This may sound a strange question.
    Does a heavily (over) notated score prevent the conductor/ performer from interpreting the music in their own way?
    For example: A score should always be open to interpretation but if the composer insists upon notating everything surely they are removing performers licence.

    Any views? :confused:
  2. flashbarry

    flashbarry Member

    If you study any of Elgar's orchestral works you will find them full of detail and tempo markings. However, when Elgar recorded them later in his life he more or less ignored lots of tempo indications etc etc.

    The printed page is the nearest the composer can get to his musical vision which is why lots of works are revised by the composer as the years go on.

    I have heard plenty of my pieces (test pieces and concert works) be pulled about and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Bands usually want to take things faster than the tempo indicated and this to my mind can spoil the pace and shape of the piece. Most composers I know are very flexible to interpretation, usually the problem comes from the adjudicators.
  3. Anglo Music Press

    Anglo Music Press Well-Known Member

    I totally agree with Darrol about Elgar. His scores are the perfect example how to do it. Having conducted his works orchestrally, they sound great straight away because he knew how to notate exactly what he wanted. But this doesn't mean they don't leave room for interpretation - it just means he knew how to write!

    Having said that, even the most detailed score cannot include EVERY nuance of performance - music notation is too imprecise to do that - so I would encourage composers to put in as much detail as necessary. That's much better than being vague and making performers guess what you want!

    Most band conductors ignore 20% of the instructions (!) so it's best to overdo it in my opinion!!! :D
  4. persins

    persins Member

    I would imagine that some bands ignore a great deal more than 20% of the Conductor's interpretation of the instructions too!
  5. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    I agree with both Darrol and Philip. It is better to have an over-notated score than an under-notated one. Not only will you get the conductor busking, but the players will also busk and often this causes chaos.

    At least if you have written exactly what you want, everyone can aspire to your ideal!

    There was a movement in the 20th century (how long ago it seems! ;)) towards ever more precise notation of music which led to all that silly business with partial quintuplet timesignatures. ****** ridiculous if you ask me. The composer should just try to get it as near as possible to his/her ideas and then trust that bands/orchestras/whatever will strive to play it right - like humans playing music, not like automatons to the precise squillisecond.