Secret Music Lessons

I've started working on the fourth of Brouwer's Estudios Sencillos (Simple Studies). We spent a good ten minutes at my lesson working out one measure of it, measure 8. In 8 there's a three-note melody in the bass line punctuated by three two-note chords. Hitting the middle chord requires a partial barre on strings three and four.

If you're playing slowly, there's enough time to jump the fingers from one position to the next. However, if you try this at tempo, you're screwed. To play at tempo, you have to use the time during the melody notes to pre-position the fingers to play the chords.

Working that out and practicing it felt like I was being let in on a secret about the music itself. I understood something a casual listener would never know—he or she will just hear the music, as it's supposed to be.

All of which reminded me of the pleasures of using constraints to get started writing. The constraint will shape the piece, and in some cases make it possible, but the reader may never know it's there. But I'll know, and I'll know a secret.


Post a Comment

<< Home