Expressions

“What a gulf between impression and expression! That’s our ironic fate — to have Shakespearean feelings and (unless by some billion-to-one chance we happen to be Shakespeare) to talk about them like automobile salesmen or teen-agers or college professors. We practice alchemy in reverse — touch gold and it turns into lead; touch the pure lyrics of experience, and they turn into the verbal equivalents of tripe and hogwash.” — Aldous Huxley, The Genius And The Goddess

Playing music and playing music with expressions are two very different skills. One has to do with practice and persistence, while the other with imagination and emotion. Expressions give a different identity to a piece. It, in a way, becomes yours because you have contributed to how it sounds, rather than just play it off the sheet, like the composer wrote it. At least, that’s what I believe.

The problem I have right now, is to know whether its more important to play the piece perfectly as written in book, or to add my own expressions to it. Adding expressions would be slowing down the piece at places, for example. That is where I will lose the timing. Maybe, at my level of studies, it is more important to be able to play the piece as written in the book. Of course, I can try and play small variations of the same piece, but only after I have perfected the piece.

I recorded two pieces. The first piece is the one that got me started thinking about expressions. In it’s current form, it sounds very plain to me.

The next piece is more interesting. It has a lot of accent markings. I am not sure if I got all of them right, but it was definitely more fun to play this piece.

I have a class later today, where I will play these in front of my teacher. I am hoping that I have not made any glaring mistakes. If I have, I will post the revised recordings here.

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