Paul Poletti wrote:
>David Pickett wrote:
> > String players, on the other hand, fix only four notes before they
> > begin.
>More, if you count the whole string family.
I thought we were talking about modern string instruments (I am), each of
which has only four strings.
> > They all seem to agree that these should be related by pure (3/2)
> > fifths.
>Funny. The ones I know often talk about whether the fifths should be
>tempered and by how much. Usually they take the pitches of the open
>strings from the keyboard.
Then you are already dealing with half-converted players. Those that I am
referring avoid open strings wherever possible (and as a matter of
principle also divide all multiple stops among each other in orchestral music).
> Double and sometimes triple stops are common in almost all string literature
Yes, and they are often played out of tune!
> > String players, on
> > the other hand are playing melodies and their intonational expressiveness
> > is a function of the relationship between consecutive rather than
> > simultaneous sounding notes.
> > It follows that keyboard players hear and think harmonically, whereas
> > string players think melodically.
>Even largely melodic solo string literature is quite often strongly
>harmonically constructed, at least until we start getting into
I dont deny it; but many string players are unaware of it.
> > If only melodic intervals are
> > considered, what is the harm in stretching them for expressive purposes?
>There's no harm in it. The harm is in teaching students that this is
>somehow "natural" or innately "musical".
I never suggested it: it is another case of adding salt or pepper to taste.
> > We have had eloquent discourses recently arguing for MORE scrunchy chords
> > in Bach than most would expect; who can blame the cellist for taking the
> > same line in a melodic context?
> Note that Bunting actually
>says, "The main thing is to hold on to the simple ratios . . . If we
>base our intonation on the simple ratios, the partial and sympathetic
>vibrations of the strings will be in harmony and reinforce one another."
>He then proceeds to tell the student to do exactly the opposite. His
>brief lesson in music history is equally confusing. He first implies
>that we owe much of western music to ET and the piano, but then later
>curiously partially cancels this opening assertion by admitting that
>Bach used neither. His then goes on to twist Helmholtz by confusing
>theories of harmonic dissonance - qualities of intervals - with the kind
>of "dissonance" encountered in tuning, ending up with a bizarre
>conclusion that dissonance increases as we approach purity, as though
>intonation were akin to supersonic flight, in which the air friction
>increases drastically until you cross the magic border it it suddenly
>disappears completely. This leads him to conclude that an equal tempered
>fifth is somehow dissonant. And while he correctly states that the ET
>major third is even more out of tune than the fifth, he turns it all
>upside down by claiming the famous violinist Joachim, who played his
>thirds even sharper than equal, was somehow playing closer to "natural
>thirds". Bollocks, all of it! He constructs a bunch of pseudo arguments
>to give a late-19th century mannerism a justification it simply doesn't
>have. I think string players should be well trained in intonation, and
>be able to do many different things in that aspect of performance. But I
>don't see how students of string playing are well served by any of this
I agree with you totally here.
>And this is not as innocuous as you imply. My girlfriend has had to
>fight her modern teachers over this for years - one of the reasons she
>can't wait to give up the modern cello completely. And many of her
>friends - violinists and cellist alike - complain that they have no real
>sense of intonation, they don't really understand how to find where a
>note "belongs". And I'm talking conservatory students who have studied
>with some of the biggest names in the Netherlands.
The mistake is to even get involved with people who think like this in the
first place: fighting them is a waste of time. Teachers teach what they
want to teach and many refuse to budge from what their teachers taught
them. I am not sure where the rot set in originally.
>I think all string players (all musicians, for that matte) should be
>taught how to HEAR
Absolutely: it's about almost all one needs to teach in music. If you can
hear properly you immediately recognise things that are wrong and avoid them.