Well, the short version is:
You need to open your body out, and breathe deeply. A little further
from the keyboard than one sometimes sees done with, ahem, delicate
(fussy?) French style. This will allow some freedom and control over the
But the main thing is that the obsession with articulation EVERYWHERE
needs rethinking. Even the most rich, vowel-laden Italian harpsichord
has a very decisive ictus at the moment of the pluck; even so-called
over-legato will allow you to hear the entrances of the individual
notes. So one must develop a much wider pallette of articulation than is
the standard fare of the usual pedagogy. Most folks trained only on
French harpsichords end up playing in a very stuttery, choppy sort of
manner when they first encounter Italian instruments. Agogic accents are
just as important as on French harpsichords, but their effects are much
more dramatic, and so they need to be used with discretion, and much
Legato and over-legato are legitimate, even necessary components to
playing an Italian in a singing manner. (This is NOT the same thing as a
fuzzy, blurry technique designed to compensate for a dry, percussive sound.)
One little thing, that was a habit of Leonhardt's on the recordings I've
heard on antique Flemish harpsichords, which goes a long way to making
sensible lines on an Italian is, should you be playing groups of, say,
four sixteenth notes, to hold onto the first (usually), and most
important note to establish the important larger-scale harmonic and
melodic movement, and then squeeze in the remaining three in a true
rubato, making sure you land on the next group in strict time.
Just scratching the surface, but this is a start.
Heikki Levanto wrote:
> On Wed, Apr 11, 2001 at 07:42:15AM -0700, Owen Daly wrote:
> > And I've already written about this over the last several years, but
> > I'll mention it again: playing an Italian harpsichord requires its own
> > particular sense of phrasing, articulation and technique which is not a
> > simple transferrance of the technique one uses on late French
> > harpsichords. This set of skills, alas, is not widely addressed in the
> > current pedagogy, [...]
> So, could you enlighten a (would-be) beginner, and elaborate on the
> differences, to the benefit of many of us.
> Always curious
> Heikki Levanto LSD - Levanto Software Development <[log in to unmask]>
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