Don’t Forget the Obvious

Details. Musical analysis. Note grouping. The list goes on – there are literally thousands of details in a single piece of music. But we can’t forget the obvious.

What are the opening dynamic and tempo markings? What character do they suggest? When do the dynamics change? When does the texture of the music change?

The thing about composers is that they try to use every resource available to them to convey the emotional and musical detail they wish. To that end, even the simplest of characteristics is fair game.

Don’t forget the obvious. The broader aspects and the general feel of the piece are often the most important things.

Posted on in Musical Interpretation and Musicianship


  • Cameron Mizell

    Excellent point. I always try to keep ‘time’ and ‘tone’ at the top of my musical priorities. A good feel and good sound are the two things that move people, not which finger you used for a particular note.

  • dimrub

    And don’t forget the name of the piece too. One typical example is Dyens’ “Tango en skai”, which, as everyone probably knows means something along the lines of “fake tango”. Whoever published this piece in Russian didn’t know enough French, so the piece is known to the Russian speaking audience as, translating verbatim, a “heavenly tango”. Which suggests a rather different mood of interpretation.

    Another example (not from the guitar world) is Beethoven’s piano sonata entitled (by him) “The tempest”. There are probably more along these lines.