• Emmaviolinist

So many problems!

Updated: Apr 18, 2020

Both the composer and the author of a book want to tell a story with their own language, with the difference of a less strict rules in the language of the art and in music. Our task as interpreters is to deliver that story the best we can to an audience, but at the same time giving that story (that piece of music) our interpretation, our opinion if you like. It would be really difficult to not give an opinion. But why is that?You might ask, why we cannot only deliver a story without interfering?

This is the very definition of interpretation: "an explanation or opinion of what something means: "

An interpretation by actors or musicians is theexpressionbytheirperformanceoftheirunderstandingof thepartorpartsthey areplaying

Let's go back to our writer/composer comparison which I believe works well.

When we read an historical book or an article which is suppose to state a fact, we believe it is true because it describes something that happened and perhaps has had causes and consequences.

An example, James H. describes a war situation in a country. Of course it is still going to be HIS version and HIS partial view on facts, but the facts are going to be accurate if it is an historically informed text.

Now, this is transferable to what musicians try to do when they try and replicate in the exact way a piece of music. So many things can happen here. First, we can end up playing as robots only what is written, like a computer would if it was to produce the right notes in the right order. Performances like this are boring and hard to be moved by in any way. Secondly, we could say we are going to try and express something, and go one step further in just replicating what is on the score, BUT only making nuances and interpretative choices thinking about what the composer would do. ALT!

This is where other problems rise. Performances like this are simply non existent as the performer's intent will never be satisfied. We cannot know for sure what a composer would do or want. But even more importantly..how can we try and think to do what the composer would do if

A we live in a totally different historical period (different area geographically, different context, different political situation, etc

B we do not have the same musical instruments (strings, mechanics, techniques etc)!

C we have different audiences!And concentration span is very different now to the one people had when they were travelling on carriages for weeks....

The list could go on.

Now, we are not giving facts, we are delivering stories and emotions and feelings through a piece of music. By doing that, we are ALREADY giving our opinion!Because we might experience a different kind of joy, a different degree of nostalgia, a different sadness etc.

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