By Keith Hill and Marianne Ploger © 2015 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

We present this essay in two parts because each part is a distinct aspect of the Craft of Musical Communication, each of which relies wholly on the other to "work." One aspect is not more important than the other. Each depends on the other to project the full force of which they are both capable, for producing performances of music meant to inspire listeners. 

The first two movements, Largo and Allegro, from the sonata in F minor by Joachim Bernhard Hagen. Performed by Robert Barto at the June 2012 Lute Society of America summer festival in Cleveland OH. 13 course baroque lute by Andrew Rutherford

It might be interesting for you to know that the techniques and concepts presented here have been tested with musicians and listeners, as well as with what can only be called "hostile listeners"--the ones who profess a strong antagonism to classical music. When the techniques were used while playing the music during our presentations, the result for musicians was mixed; about 95% of the musicians loved the way the music felt, and 5% of the musicians hated what they thought violated their notion of how music ought to go and were openly antagonistic to the techniques. For listeners who were not musically trained, 100% felt inspired by the result, and for the hostile listeners, 100% were pleasantly surprised by what they heard. During the performances, it seems, hostile listeners discovered that the problem they had with classical music was the way it was played, not the music itself, nor their relative ignorance of that kind of music. 

What we have found is that hostile listeners are incredibly smart and perceptive in that they have no patience for listening to music played in a manner that doesn't communicate. Furthermore, when these disinterested, hostile listeners were asked to tell the performers what they needed to do to the music to make that music work for them, and when the performers responded in a loving and compliant manner to accede to their suggestions, the so-called hostile listeners responded with cheers for the players and the music, some saying that the performances brought them to tears...which is the real point behind playing great music...isn't it? Invariably, the listeners were in total agreement about what the players needed to do to make the music "come alive" for them and, equally invariably, every suggestion they made was almost word for word what we have presented below in the first part: the art of delivery. 

These experiences/experiments can be and ought to be reproduced by anyone who is truly serious about learning the craft of musical communication, if only to have the force of proof to give him or her the confidence to absolutely know that these techniques and concepts work just as we say they do. It is not enough to take them on faith. They must be tested with listeners of all kinds. However, care must be taken in dealing with trained musicians, as they tend to be too prejudiced due to indoctrination in the current style of playing classical music, a way of playing in which these techniques are almost nowhere to be found. 

Why the hostility and antagonism between classically trained musicians and hostile listeners? We suspect that the hostility on both sides is due to a misunderstanding of each about the other. Too many classically trained musicians tend to dismiss normal, ordinary people as being crass and unsophisticated in their musical tastes and therefore not worth bothering with as listeners. And these listeners tend to write off classical musicians as being out of touch, indifferent, snobbish, solipsistic, and effete and therefore not worth listening to. This current environment surrounding classical music is tragic because the music was designed to express, in many cases, deep and intense love, and it used to be performed lovingly and engagingly for the enjoyment of everyone. 

Nowadays, believe it or not, classical music is associated with fear and especially evil in our cultural cliche's. In movies, for example, perhaps the most influential because of its ability to create and communicate cultural norms, villains are too often seen listening to classical music as they order the torture and murder of their victims.  Classical musicians are often depicted as egotistical, self centered, solipsistic curs totally lacking in compassion, common sense, or both; and violence, mayhem, and giant explosions are too often depicted with some of the greatest classical music ever written. This Youtube video below made in Britain explicitly demonstrates the veracity of our claims regarding this connection.

Perhaps, if doctors were depicted in the movies doing evil acts to acid rock music, it would not be long before people would associate in their imaginations having a doctor doing something evil to them every time they hear acid rock music.  People would soon come to fear doctors and detest acid rock music.  It is not the music or the villains depicted but the coupling of them with evil that has taken its toll on alienating people from classical music.  

Though in all fairness it should be said that this association has been facilitated by the ubiquitous imposition of strict performance standards by a majority of classical musicians over the last 75 years. Those musicians were and still are responsible for enforcing notions of acceptable performance standards on other musicians that have resulted in classical music being played in a wooden, unmusical, highly mannered style.  This style includes: playing in a strict metrical manner (to replace real rhythm), perfect evenness of line (to replace the flow of musical thought), and tightness of ensemble (to replace real listening by members of the ensembles). All are practices that result in music that communicates the affects of coldness, indifference to suffering, machine-like behavior, scolding, anger and the like.  Arnold Schönberg bemoaned this ironing-out behavior in his article titled, "Today's Manner of Playing Classical Music", back in 1948 because he was so disturbed by this "sterilizing" trend of liquidating all expression from music.

If that weren't bad enough, and to top it off with a massive dose of irony, these musicians actually blame the music loving public for not supporting their anti-aesthetic performances. It is the musicians themselves who have purposefully and intentionally sought to sterilize music making, albeit unwittingly, of every behavior that the human brain requires for music to "make sense".  Until classical musicians recognize and admit to how unmusical hence really boring most of their music making sounds, they won't accept their responsibility for their role in turning classical music into a dusty, dry, irrelevant museum relic...suitable only for being ignored.

This means: Each of us who loves the great classical music has a role to play to change this nasty environment into one that is full of the joy of music...and not just for musicians but especially for all music lovers.  That is why we have presented this essay. 

A curious side-effect, a side effect which occurs when well trained musicians use these techniques and concepts, that we will present, in their performance practice, an effect in which every musician should be interested, is that these ideas have the power to transform otherwise ordinary performances into ones that show every sign of true musical mastery. Even curiouser is that when these techniques are missing from a performance of music, even a performance which is otherwise virtuosically perfect and otherwise very musical by the highest conventional (unmusical) standards, the music feels supremely, even breathtakingly competent but somehow never feels masterful. These effects are not subtle, because practically every normal, ordinary person can easily notice the effect of musical mastery. Therefore, any musician who desires to partake of the wonderful side-effect need only master and use what follows. 

 

PART ONE: THE ART OF DELIVERY

 

Playing a musical instrument is a technical craft. Expressing music, by contrast, has been viewed as an art. This view has been held so long that we rarely question it. The purpose of this essay is to question the truth behind this view and to propose another view: that expressing music is also a craft. It is the craft of musical communication, the art of delivery. It is possible to be very good at using a musical instrument skillfully for the purpose of accurately realizing musical notation yet have little skill at the craft of communication. It is also possible to be unskilled at the craft of playing a musical instrument to accurately realize a musical score and still have a high degree of skill in communicating music. This means that these skills have very little to do with each other. The greatest musicians were highly skilled in both crafts. Alas, today we too often hear musicians referred to as "great" who have little skill in the craft of musical communication...like calling a writer great because he or she uses absolutely correct grammar but who can't say anything meaningful...of praising an actor as great who never forgets a line, is always prepared but whose delivery of every line is mechanical and expressionless.

Musical Communication as the "Art of Delivery" (which is what Aristotle calls the Modes of Utterance, Poetics XIX) is the craft of handling musical material by technical means designed to enhance the enjoyment and understanding of the meaning of music for normal, ordinary music lovers. The purpose of this craft is to touch the soul, raise the spirits, elevate the minds, and deeply move listeners with music; the technical means employed in the exercise of this craft are 11 in number. These techniques are designed to present heard musical information in forms which the average human brain can easily process and comprehend. The cognitive aspect of these techniques is what makes them so powerful--in fact, these techniques are wholly derived from day-to-day human speech and perceptual experiences which we utilize everyday to express ourselves and to communicate with others. All of them are natural to human expression because these techniques are somehow "hard-wired" in the brain for both sending and receiving communications...and not just human brains but all animals with brains, no matter how sophisticated or primitive.

The 11 "cognitive" communication techniques are designed to enhance musical communication rather than act as a replacement for being musical. Being musical is a spiritual quality, and it is this quality which indeed resides in the realm of art. If there is a downside to these techniques, it is that if a musician isn't deeply spiritual, the use of the communication techniques will make this obvious to the listeners. If a musician is spiritual, the communication techniques reveal this reality clearly. The true art of musical performance fuses the craft of accurately realizing a score using a musical instrument and the craft of musical communication, which supports the intended affects with the spiritual substance of the musician. 

As the word "technique" suggests, these 11 techniques are very practical tools, not mere theoretical concepts. To that end, we have placed at the end of the discussion of each technique, where the means of application might be ambiguous, a suggestion for how to apply the technique. The techniques need to be applied to work. When they are applied, they do the job for which they are intended. Unapplied, the effect they contribute is absent from music. 

There are two kinds of music...music meant to be heard and music intended to be listened to. The 11 cognitive techniques apply only to music intended to be listened to [in the same way that human speech is]. What does this mean for music which is intended only to be heard? For such music, these techniques are unnecessary, in some cases irrelevant. Nevertheless, even for music that is only intended to be heard, the hearers enjoyment of the music is enhanced if these techniques are employed in the performance. 

What follows is a discussion of each of the 11 cognitively-derived techniques needed to enhance the communication of music. They have been organized here according to the intensity of the communication enhancing effect each technique has on the listener. 

 

1. The Synaesthesis Technique 

 

Synaesthesia means "multiple, simultaneous perceptions." The brain is designed for perceiving multiple sensations at the same moment; with the senses of sight, smell, and taste, we expect our sensory experiences to be loaded with multiple, simultaneous stimulations. Even a simple pie is a combination of different flavors from fruit, flour, sugar, salt, spices, eggs, butter, and the effects of cooking. The culinary art lives because people adore eating food that is highly dimensional in flavors. Each dish mingles salty, sour, sweet, bitter, and savory (meaty) in various proportions; and we taste these different flavors on various parts of the tongue; which creates the effect of synaesthesia. The senses of sight and smell function similarly. A large measure of the joy of viewing Monet's best paintings is to see all the colors of the palette on every square centimeter of surface. The sense of hearing likewise needs that same level of stimulation. Yet, due to a basic ignorance among musicians about how the ear/brain makes sense of heard experiences, classical music is performed today in a manner due designed to eliminate synaesthesia altogether. 

Although the many different frequencies and timbres are detected differently by the ears, we 'hear' or perceive musical and other regular, simultaneous sounds as composites, rather than distinct and discreet frequencies and timbres. When music is performed in a way designed to have sounds such as chords be heard as composites, the human ear usually hears only one sound. If the composer has written a four note chord, and all the notes are played simultaneously, the ordinary listener will hear not four notes but one sound only--a rich sound, but nonetheless only one sound. If the performer endeavors to perform each note in the chord so that the notes don't sound absolutely together, the musically untutored listener will easily hear all four notes and the chord simultaneously, creating for such a listener an experience of hearing a total of five sounds altogether.

The synaesthesis technique requires heard musical information to be slightly desynchronized, just enough for the mind of the listener to perceive all the timbres, all the pitches, all the melodies, all the rhythms, all the details, and all the harmonies, so that they all emerge into the consciousness of the typical music lover. 

 

It's important to remember that the normal, ordinary human brain is so competent that it has no trouble following as many as 6 simultaneous independent streams of musical information, that is, as long as those lines or streams are functioning with total independence, even if they are "supposed to be together," as in music. For example, there are typically 6 parts in a normal rock group. Rock musicians understand the need for conveying the feeling of independence of parts even when the score would indicate otherwise. They are exceedingly sensitive to synaesthetic boredom and work very hard to create synaesthesia in their performances...to not do so would spell financial disaster. 

 

In 1768, Jacob Adlung in his Musica Mechanica Organoedi, vol. 2, chapter 22, paragraph 522, says of playing the harpsichord, "One must endeavor to use more arpeggios and such, rather than striking the keys together or playing too slowly since the strings cease vibrating right away." Mozart and Chopin also insisted that the hands are never played together. 

The result of having the notes in music be "misaligned in time" is that they are desynchronous. Desynchronicity, when other than an end in itself, produces a kind of independence of voices, and when voices sound truly independent, the brain is able to perceive each individual voice more easily. When we perceive two or more voices or lines as distinct yet simultaneous expressions, the effect in us is called synaesthesis. It's an amazing paradox that when the motion of multiple voices are truly independent, the surface appears exceedingly complex but, in fact, the music is far simpler or easier for the average listener to behold and follow. Indeed, the listener feels deprived when the feeling of independence of voices is missing. The synaesthesis technique depends on the ability of the performer to hear, follow, and create multiple voices in the music; voices that are clearly independent of the others yet always manage to agree. 

When the lines are played as one usually hears them played today, that is, always together or simultaneously, even a trained musician has trouble to tell the voices apart. This is because the brain reads the interval played in this manner as being a composite. Once so recognized, the brain little needs to pay attention to what is happening except in the lowest or the highest voice. Indeed, very few musicians today have the ability to expressively sing and maintain two voices at the same time...this inability results from a "keypunching" attitude in performing, ironically, an attitude that has now even infected singers. Only by consciously creating distinctions between lines and singing independently each and every voice in the music can the performer make clear to the listener what is happening in music with more than one line. Differences in timbre and volume help create more distinction, but these devices never are as consistently successful at creating clear distinctions between the different lines in music as when the synaesthesis technique is used even to only a very slight degree. 

Giovanni Tosi, in his treatise on singing titled, "The Art of the Florid Song," published in 1736, uses the term "vacillare"  to describe the effect of vacillating in the melody from being before the bass to lagging behind the bass. He states "the singer should endeavor to sing before the beat or after the beat and never with it." Astonishing!!!!! Today, almost no classically trained singers do this because they are usually mercilessly censured for doing so.

 It is perhaps a false notion about the way singers are trained in Bel Canto that accounts for the general inability of singers to sing using vacillare.  They are habitually trained to produce as beautiful a tone as possible; that's the false notion with which singers are preoccupied.  That's the root of the problem.  Bel Canto means "beautiful singing," not "beautiful tone".  Tosi says of vacillare that it "is one of the most beautiful effects in music." The vacillations he describes give the synaesthesis technique a feeling of flow and freedom...a most beautiful effect indeed.

It is interesting to realize that J.S.Bach, in manuscripts of his keyboard pieces, uses vacillare just as Tosi recommends. When you listen to the next YouTube post below, watch the manuscript as it scrolls by. Careful observation of his manuscript reveals that the vertical alignment of the notes of the right hand either precedes or follows the notes of the left hand. About 60% of time, the right hand notes precede the left hand notes, and about 40% follow the left hand. To suggest that Bach was doing this either unintentionally or that he had problems with vertical alignment is preposterous: Bach was probably the most intentional of all composers, especially when it involved music, and he had no problems aligning notes in orchestral scores. 

Forqueray, in his published arrangement for harpsichord of his fathers Pieces for Viola da Gamba, gives instructions that the player play the music exactly as it appears on the printed page. The pieces that follow show the right and left hand notes being vertically non-aligned even to the extent that some whole notes in the left hand appear in the middle of the measure!! 

And Giulio Caccini, in his "Nuove musiche e nuove maniera di scriverle" ("The New Music and the New Manner in Which it is Written," Florence, 1614), suggests something very similar to vacillare when he writes: "Sprezzatura is that elegance given to a melody by several technically-incorrect eigths or sixteenths on different tones, technically-incorrect with respect to their timing, thus freeing the melody from a certain narrow limitation and dryness and making it pleasant, free, and airy, just as in common speech, where eloquence and invention make affable and sweet the matters being expounded upon." 

 

Does all this mean that using a synasthesia technique in the form of vacillare is easy? Certainly not.  Proficiency requires practice.  It is even harder is to develop the ability to think and imagine all the voices one is playing, be they 2 or 5 at once, so that each voice is sung both extremely expressively and independently of the other voices. But it can be done. We coached an organ student who was unable to independently play all voices of a 4 part Chorale Prelude from Bach's Orgelbüchlein and within 20 minutes he was singing and playing all four voices independently and expressively throughout the entire piece-- we know from experience that it is possible for all musicians to learn to do this. Furthermore, Bach's music cannot be heard as it was intended to be heard unless one masters this technique.

Listen to the above musical example of a Bach three part Invention and hear how each voice is being sung expressively and independently, creating the effects of Synaesthesis and Vacillare

Take the trouble to find other recordings of the same piece and discover if those performers were able to create this feeling of true independence of voices.

Application: Always play with one hand leading the other and vacillate between which of the two hands leads. Try learning to play with the right hand leading the left...it gives the music a natural effortless forward motion and freedom in the sound. Give up trying to be together in ensembles. The exception to this is when one arrives at the end, when a simultaneous concurrence of the voices tells the brain that the music has come to an end. 

Application: Sing expressively each and every line or voice as independently as possible of the other lines or voices. Prevent yourself from lapsing or dropping your attention to any line or voice; or the listeners will hear the lapse in attention and cease to pay attention. 

Application: In ensembles, vacillate between having the upper voice lead the lower voice and the lower voice lead the upper voice. This vacillation needs to follow the logic of the musical lines and structure. When the upper voice leads, the music soars. When the lower voice leads the music lingers, resisting forward motion. 

 

2. The Inégal or Entasis Technique 

 

Entasis is an ancient Greek term meaning "tensioning."  Speech that is delivered in a metrically perfect manner has the power to cause the listener's brain to shutdown and cease processing the meaning of what is being said...all within a few seconds of hearing such speech. The human brain needs the condition of constant or stable irregularity for it to remain alert and attentive: irregularity produces a state of alertness and attentiveness. Constancy or stability eliminates the feeling of discomfort which chaos, the erratic and irregular, often creates. The balance in tension between the feeling of predictability that constancy (stability) provides and the feeling of anticipation that irregularity and unpredictability creates a state of Entasis. The opposite of Entasis is Stasis, or staticness. Entasis in normal human speech is brought about by the flow of thought, which is both irregular and constant. So it must be in music. 

The French, in the 17th and 18th centuries, understood the importance of entasis. This, we believe, is what the musicians who wrote about inégal meant by the term. The word actually means rough, irregular, unequal. The conventional interpretation of this word betrays its real meaning by forcing it to conform to the present fashion for perfect metricallity in performance practice of old music--that interpretation suggests that inégal means perfectly regular limping. Had the French writers meant that they would have used the term for limping. Otherwise, they would have used the phrase "égal inégal" or "equal unequal". Therefore, we must take the term inégal at face value and understand it from a cognitive point of view. 

 

In music, cognitively speaking, every note played in a way that is predictable creates stasis. In stasis there is an absence of tension and, consequently, listening further to what is being played is pointless. The feeling is called boredom.  This is the brain's cue for falling asleep. Should performers fail to understand the entasis technique, the result is deadly because it virtually guarantees that the audience will be prevented from really paying attention to the music. In his treatise on Poetics (XXIV), Aristotle observed that "sameness of incident soon produces satiety." Similarly, anyone can observe that it takes only three notes of equal value with two equal spaces between them to create a condition of boredom in the brain. Within the time it takes to hear three notes, the brain has noticed that the second event is like the first, that the third is like the second and the first, and it predicts that the fourth will follow the pattern. As soon as that prediction comes true, the brain either goes to sleep from boredom or looks elsewhere for something more interesting. If this happens, as it usually does, in the brain of a performer, mistakes are the natural byproduct. To the listener, mistakes which occur in a static musical environment become the meaning instead of the music...a disaster. This is why musicians today who can't learn to play music without mistakes are discouraged by every means possible from performing in public; because those who give such advice assume that music is supposed to be boring.  This comes from the false notion that "one ought not take liberties with the score", as a famous musician once informed us.  Entasis means that one ought to take liberties with the score because expressing the meaning of music requires it; and what listeners go to concert for is to feel the meaning of the music, not to hear a score being mathematically accurately realized...something any computer can be programed to accomplish.

Interestingly, learning to play music exactly according to a metronome is, in our view, the major cause of performance anxiety. It is virtually impossible to avoid making mistakes when your brain has gone to sleep. It is hard enough to avoid making mistakes when your brain is fully alert. Since mistakes become the cognitively most important event in music making that is rigid and mechanical, mistakes by default become the meaning in such a performance. And when the mistakes become the meaning, which is always what happens when music is played metrically, the groundwork for paralyzing fear of performing has been carefully and cleverly established. It is the reason why one might define talent in music today as the ability to play the right notes, exactly in time according to a metronome, with a brain that is fast asleep. 

Metrical exactitude in musical performance guarantees that most listeners are barred from experiencing the spiritual essence of great music. It also guarantees that music can only be heard and ignored by most people. It is the embodiment of slavishness in music...slavishness to the metronome, that is,...exactly the opposite of what CPE Bach, in his Essay on the "True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments," suggested when he wrote that one should "endeavor to avoid everything mechanical and slavish. Play from the soul, not like a trained bird." The entasis technique is the way out of slavery into freedom. It is simple to do: perform notes of equal value in any manner other than that which appears, feels, sounds, or can be construed as regular or equal. 

Using this technique has problems. The greatest problem is that it sounds chaotic. Most musicians vehemently hate this effect; indeed, it is unpleasant. Generally, people feel that listening to people who speak in a halting, jerky, and noticeably arbitrary manner is a waste of time and energy. However, we shall discuss below what other cognitive techniques can be employed; ones designed to create order and logic out of the chaos of totally irregular, unmetrical music making. Those are: the Gesture, Syntactical or Voice leading, and the Recognition Signal techniques. They create the feeling of logic, flow, and meaning when the techniques of Synaesthesia and Entasis are being applied. The second problem is that musicians have been bullied into playing metrically accurately for so long that playing not-metrically accurately on purpose is hard to do. It actually takes practice, as does the synaesthesis technique. But, as with all things, practice makes perfect...except in this case, one must understand that perfect is a feeling in the souls of the listeners, not an articulated fact in the accurate presentation of pitch and time values of each and every note in the score. Music must feel perfect. To be so, it must appear to the ear to be metrically imperfect. 

What, then, is the role of the beat? We feel that the beat should be felt and not heard. Like the beating of the heart, the musical beat needs to fluctuate in speed as the emotional content of the music fluctuates. Like the naturally shifting accents in speech, musical accents need to shift according to the meaning being expressed. As soon as the beat, meter, or accents become noticably regular and unvarying, they appear too obvious and, hence, are in bad taste because they sound pedantic and academic, or worse, like really bad acting. 

In the next musical example, you will hear a Scarlatti Sonata played with SynaesthesisVacillare, and Entasis or inégal. Notice how the music appeals to our feeling more than our judgment.

 

Application: Avoid performing music in strict accordance with the beat. Avoid having ever more than three notes of equal value sound equally with equal spaces between them. Even two notes of equal value and space is enough to create a flattening of the listener's attention. 

 

3. The Gesture or Inflection Technique 

 

The Gesture or Inflection technique is designed to group musical and verbal information into larger units which have shapes that are easily recognized and remembered by the brain of the listener. Language lives or dies by inflection. Flat, uninflected speech is instantly tedious and tiresome to focus on. Highly inflected speech is effortless to pay attention to. Music is the same. Inflection (gesture) is the technique we all use in speech to organize the distinctly irregular nature of language.  Specifically, the shape of the gestures or inflections is a parabolic curve. The egg is an excellent example of this kind of shape; one could also say that the shape is elliptical. This shape creates a feeling of naturalness and is easy to follow. Language without this gesture of inflection is flat, expressionless, ugly, and difficult to comprehend...so it is with music.

 

To properly realize a logarithmic gesture in music, a performer must study nature and copy the shapes that nature has to offer. Further, human speech patterns are replete with this gesture in utterances, words, phrases, and groups of phrases. By consciously playing music using the elliptical gesture everywhere and in any way it can be applied, a performer can guarantee that the listeners will feel that the result will be more natural, comforting, and loving. 

The brain interprets flat, uninflected speech as the behavior of a listless, dying, depressed, or extremely ill person. In similar manner, it interprets highly inflected speech as the behavior of an animated, spirited, lively, robust, and healthy person. The same is true in music. People normally don't like to be around listless, depressive personalities and love to be with animated, loving people. In the same way, they like listening to music that feels animated and highly expressive, even if the feeling of the music is of sadness and of grief. 

Application: organize musical information in easy to follow and understand gestures and mini-gestures, by accelerating a line and then decelerating it so that all the equal note values are gradually being stretched apart or compressed as you can hear in the next video.

 

4. The Syntactical or Voice Leading Technique 

 

The Voice Leading technique comes from the syntactical or grammatical property of speech. Notice what happens to the above sentence when all the words are reordered to eliminate references: "The or voice grammatical syntactical comes technique property speech leading of from."  The reason the reordered sentence can never make sense is that every word has been treated as the equal of all the others. The order, or lack of it, as is really the case, is designed to reinforce that equality--that is, all the words in that sentence above refer to no other words. The result is that the sentence means absolutely nothing...even if we know what each word means. 

The human brain requires referential relationships in everything it takes in in order to make sense of things. Anything which lacks this referential aspect creates the feeling of nonsense in the brain. We ignore it at our aesthetic peril. It is this syntactical, "referential" property of language that underlies the logic in music. This is the logic needed to make the inégal or entasis technique work most successfully. 

Sense and meaning in both language and in music come from the appropriate grouping of words and notes into phrases or gestures which seem to go together, but only when the grammatical sense of each word or note is considered and "leaned" on or stressed to emphasize the intended meaning. Just as all parts of a sentence refer in some way to the noun/subject, every note in the diatonic scale refers to the tonic. This view holds that understanding the intervals and chords in any scale is essential to understanding music's expressive meaning just as the phrases and clauses in sentences are essential to understanding meaning in language. This is the heart of the voice leading technique. Since the human brain is "hard-wired," so to speak, to grasp meaning through grammar and phrases in language, for the brain to be exposed to music which has little feeling of grammatical tendency is to force the brain to work out what those tendencies are--all by itself. The problem is, music goes by too fast for that to happen, so the brain will just "tune out" and go into a sleep mode. The question is: is this an appropriate outcome for a musical performance?

The outward technical devise used for the voice leading technique is legato (using the real meaning of "legato", which is "connected" as "connected in the mind" rather than merely in the ear), and the musical approach for this type of legato is "cantabile" (using the real meaning of cantabile, which is "in a singing style" and taking that style to mean the style of a truly great singer). Bach was renowned for his cantabile playing. Indeed, a letter dated 12 April 1842 written by F.K.Griepenkerl (a student of N. Forkel) relates that "Bach himself, his sons, and Forkel performed the masterpieces with such a profound declamation that they sounded like polyphonic songs sung by individual great artist singers; thereby, all means of good singing were brought into use. No cercare, no portamento was missing. There was even breathing at the right places...Bach's pieces want to be sung with the maximum of Art." 

 

Application: Sing as expressively as possible every line in a score and then play the music exactly as expressively as you sang it. We have noticed that musicians are almost never more expressive in their playing than they are in how they actually sing music. A musician who sings music in a boring manner WILL play in a boring manner. Likewise, a musician who practices in a note-punchingly boring manner will perform in concert in a note-punchingly boring manner.  It is therefore imperative that those musicians who can play more than one line at a time on their instrument be competent to sing every line in the score simultaneously for the entirety of each piece. As one musician complained, "This is hard work!!!!"  Our response is, "Get used to it. It is what making music is all about." 

Application: What is unbelievable as much as it is fascinating is that any person just off the street can tell instantly the moment a player has stopped singing the lines in his or her imagination. They can't articulate what has happened, but they usually say that the life went out of the music just at that moment. In fact, human beings know so much about how music needs to sound for it to work for them that any musician who gathers a group of non-musicians around them and asks that group of listeners to teach them how to play music in a way that the listeners feel works for them will quickly discover exactly how articulate and competent such listeners are. There is an appropriate protocol for running such an experiment. The key is to start each piece by playing it as metrically accurately and as boringly as possible. Then ask the listeners what they feel would make the music speak more directly for them.  Play the music again using the suggestions the listeners made, then ask them again to suggest how to improve what was just played.  Keep doing this for at least five or six versions.  As the improvements are being made, the amount of energy in the room will astonish every musician who would otherwise treat listeners as passive subjects. If every musician did this experiment, he or she would come to truly appreciate normal ordinary people as listeners and he or she would really learn how to communicate music. We know because we have conducted this experiment ourselves with people who professed a dislike for classical music. The level of appreciation they expressed on hearing the music played for them exactly as they had asked to have it played was inspiring. Try it! 

Application: Sing every note as expressively as the note requires and no less, then play it that way. This often means that you must sing all the music in your imagination, as you play, with such intensity, conviction and energy that the little that "leaks" out into the music as it is heard will ravish the listener. 

 

5. The Recognition Signal or Harmonic technique 

 

The Harmonic technique or Recognition Signal is designed to assist in creating the feeling of harmony in the souls of the listeners and the person talking. Human beings will produce this "technical" utterance when acknowledging or agreeing with the person talking. The harmony between speaker and listener results from this utterance; the absence of this utterance indicates a failure to communicate or to persuade. The technique is most effective when the speed and manner of executing it is closest to a spoken technique. 

 

The recognition signal in human speech is designed to express many things from the listener's point of view...agreement, the ability to follow a line of reasoning, "please continue," assent to a point made, etc. It is sounded: "uh-huh," with the pitch rising at the end, and is often accompanied by a bob of the head from down to up. In Section X of his Poetics, Aristotle defines recognition as "a change from ignorance to knowledge." When listeners hear the recognition signal expressed in music, it creates the feeling in the listener of being able to easily follow what is happening in the music and the feeling of unanimity between the performer and the listener. It also makes knowing with utter clarity what the harmony of a note is. The recognition signal or "cercare" is the vehicle whereby the feeling in the listener of not knowing what is happening in a piece of music is changed into a feeling of knowing what is happening. That feeling is usually described as spiritual because it is experienced as a feeling of being enlightened.

The word "cercare" (pronounced chair-cár-e), from the quote in the Griepenkerl letter (that "Bach himself, his sons, and Forkel performed the masterpieces with such a profound declamation that they sounded like polyphonic songs sung by individual great artist singers; thereby, all means of good singing were brought into use. No cercare, no portamento was missing. There was even breathing at the right places...Bach's pieces want to be sung with the maximum of Art."), is defined in Riemann's Musiklexicon as a 17th century Italian ornament in which the upper or lower auxiliary note is performed softly and suddenly to the main note. This is exactly how the recognition signal is expressed; in other words, the recognition signal is a cercare. Yet, today the cercare is frowned on by most classical music singers as being in exceedingly bad taste. Do you suppose Bach played his own music in bad taste? Who do we trust in this matter? We choose to trust Bach and natural human expression.

Application: The speed of the Cercare is its most important characteristic. If the speed of the cercare is too slow, then it sounds like an arpeggio. If the speed is too fast, then it sounds like a grace note. The correct speed for most uses is the speed at which you most naturally would say "pah-DUM" with the accent on the second syllable. If you say this as PAH-dum with the accent on the first syllable, it is too slow. And, if you say it as pahdum without accent, it is too fast. As the music expresses greater gravity of feeling, the cercare is performed more slowly and with greater emphasis. As the music expresses more liveliness, the cercare is performed more rapidly and lightly.

Notice in the video below how Bach has composed his Chaconne beginning it with a total of 20 Cercare with only a few notes intersperse between them.  Count them yourself as Mr. Vengerov plays the music.  The music begins with a cercare. In fact, Bach's statement of the Chaconne from the D minor violin Partita is really just one big excuse for playing one cercare after another.  Notice, too, that Mr. Vengerov plays the cercare at the right speed for the piece, not too fast and not too slow.  

The Italian Concerto by Bach begins with a cercare. Beethoven's Pathetique sonata begins with a cercare followed by another with a few notes stuck in between. The Ninth Symphony of Beethoven is full of cercare...though you would never know it from hearing it as it it usually played. 

 

6. The Distortion or Attention Grabbing Technique

 

This technique is any device used to get or place the listener's attention where the performer desires it to be. A clearing of the throat is just such a device--it draws the attention to that particular moment. Magicians' tricks would never work if they failed to employ this device--which they call distraction. A trill or any other ornament is also such a device. When a singer changes the vowel being sung during a long held note, it is a distortion of the original vowel and creates a feeling of increased interest on the long note in the minds of the listeners. Noise or "dirt" is another example--the acciaccatura is an example of "dirt" being added to a chord. 

In the following example, notice how much 'gravel' is in the sound of Louis Armstrong's voice. Notice also how the sounds he makes change with affect that the words are expressing.  He sings with almost all the techniques except Evaporation and Excrusis.
 

The distortion technique is heard when a singer allows the voice to crack or break for emotive effect. Another example is when a violinist crushes the string when playing a specific note to create a distortion which "attentively loads" the note. The conventional definition of portamento refers to a glide in pitch from one note to another. Continuous vibrato employed by singers and string instrument players is also an example of the distortion technique. However, the problem posed in music by any continuous distortion is that it obscures clarity of pitch.  Musicians who employ continuous distortion do so to hide something. Singers who sing with continuous vibrato often use it to disguise their inability to actually sing in tune.  The same could be said of many string instrument players.  Not only clarity of pitch is compromised by the continuous vibrato, but it also destroys the ability of listeners to understand the words being sung.  Notice how it is so easy to understand what Mr. Armstrong is singing about; this is because he stops using vibrato when he is actually singing the words.  That is why his singing actually fulfills the meaning of the term: Bel Canto or "beautiful singing".  Beautiful singing doesn't mean beautiful sounds or beautiful tones; it means beautiful singing.   Since singing is all about the words, when the words can't be understood, because the manner of singing used obliterates the clarity of the words, then what is actually happening is not singing at all but merely sustaining pitches with continuous vibrato, like an old Wurlitzer electronic organ (for those unfamiliar with this peculiar object, you can hear what it is all about here: https://youtu.be/7Zjed9Mywgk ).

Although Aristotle does not use the word "dirt," he does, in fact use the word "error" in the following sense: "error may be justified, if the end of the art be thereby attained, that is the effect of this or any other part...is thus rendered more striking." (Poetics, XXV) He adds to this the warning: "If the end might have been as well, or better, attained without violating the special rules of the poetic art, the error is not justified: for every kind of error should if possible be avoided." No clearer definition of poetic license can be had. The distortion technique needs to be used judiciously if the end result is not to be marred by a wanton, intemperate use of the technique, such as what is described above. And so it must be for all the techniques. 

Yet the greatest error of all is to create a feeling of boredom in the listener by a too-polished performance...that is the grossest breach of good taste. Here we must add a comment: there are listeners who actually like music played in a manner that most people, us included, find totally boring and meaningless. These listeners tend to be interested primarily in the information presented in a piece of music, how it is constructed, how the composer has played with the information, and the mathematical accuracy of the performance. The ideal performer for such listeners would be a computer, because computers make no mistakes in the data transmission. But neither data transmission nor accountancy is appropriate to the realm of art. Most listeners listen to music to feel what the music is about, that is, to feel the feelings which the composers intended when they first wrote the music. Where feeling is natural and genuine, there is bound to be some element of chaos and unpredictability. The impulse to eliminate these elements is an error of arrogance and ignorance. For one to assume to know better than nature what is right is arrogant, and to assume to understand nature without the ability to create naturalness in art, even to the slightest degree is ignorant, even if that nature is only that of music. 

Therefore, think carefully when sterilizing a musical performance by eliminating everything interesting and unpredictable, lest you achieve perfection without realizing that the only thing perfect about perfection is that it is perfectly boring. The true aim for perfection in art is the feeling of perfection, not the fact. The feeling of perfection in Botticelli's "Birth of Venus" is a direct result of the astonishing amount of distortion he used in the creation of that painting in relation to the proportion of its design. 

Application: Don't be afraid of making ugly sounds, especially if the affect you are after needs it to feel right. Ugliness, like Beauty, are relative things. We experience something as more beautiful when it is juxtaposed with something ugly--that is the appeal of stories like "Beauty and the Beast." Conversely, music without dissonance is boring. Dissonance without consonance feels arbitrary, irrelevant, and harsh. Consonance without dissonance feels saccharine and dopey. 

When learning to master ornamentation, understand that adding an ornament enhances the moment in the music to which it is added. Avoid ornamenting or enhancing moments that are already loaded with some other more effective technique of enhancing. Since the great composers clearly understood these techniques, they wrote them into the scores so that musicians would know which technique they were asking for. The ornaments a composer wrote into the music were those considered to be essential and therefore, obligatory. However, more could be added ad libitum as needed depending on the instrument, the room acoustics, and the tempo.

Zest is the principle effect of the distortion technique. Even a disconsolate affect needs zest to communicate the degree of intensity of the feeling. Poetic license grants every performer the freedom to create an enhanced experience of feeling for the listener by whatever means necessary. It is not, however, a certificate of refined or sensitive taste. That is the responsibility of the performer--that is, everything is allowed, but always remain sensible to the quality of integrity, so that the music, not the playing, remains foremost in the hearts of the listeners.

 

7. The Anxiety Free or "Sans souci" Technique 

 

We call this technique "sans souci" because it is designed to create moments in the music which give the feeling of shrugging the shoulders, throwing up the hands in a gesture to say, "Don't take all this so seriously!! Live a little!! Stop controlling!! Let go! Be happy!! Don't worry so much!! In other words, "sans souci" -  without a care!"

That is, when the alignment of notes in the score suggests that the notes be performed strictly simultaneously, they are rather to be purposely jumbled or played in an irregular or a staggering manner to create a careless (sans souci) effect. A rose by any other name smells as sweet. Whether you call it a sans souci technique or tempo rubato or jazzy feeling or disjointed or whatever, the idea of relaxed effortlessness is paramount in the feeling which this technique gives to music. 

Anxiety rubs off on all who observe it. A musician who is concerned and anxious about making mistakes generates a feeling of anxiety in the audience through body language, the sound, and through the way the music is presented. Physical tension creates anxiety; attention dispels anxiety. Mental stress creates anxiety; relaxation dispels anxiety. Mechanical, metrical, and regular playing creates anxiety; inégal, irregular, and logical playing eliminate anxiety. Overconcern with relatively meaningless detail creates anxiety; sweeping gestures dispel anxiety. Obsession with accuracy creates anxiety. Focusing on meaning and purpose dispel anxiety. Concern about the opinion or others creates anxiety. Carelessness of the opinions of others dispels anxiety. Self consciousness creates anxiety. Confidence and a total lack of self consciousness dispel anxiety. That is the function of sans souci. Listeners can only truly enjoy listening when a sans souci environment and attitude prevails. 

Application:  Sans souci is the antithesis of how we are taught to play classical music. The attitude is the most important means of applying this technique. To apply it means looking for every opportunity to use it: try every passage to see if it can't be improved by having the lines staggered by exactly one half the written value...sometimes the bass leading and sometimes the treble line leading. You can find a reference to this in Türk's treatise on Playing the Clavier under tempo rubato

 

8. The Stride Technique 

 

In 17th century France, St. Lambert, in his preface to his compositions, states that the normal tempo in music is that of a man walking. The observation that anyone can make from looking at people walking is that they all walk at different tempi, and the only conclusion that one can make of this is that St. Lambert was an idiot!  If we take what St. Lambert said seriously and attempt to discover what he observed, then something very interesting happens: we discover that he was right. That is, if you observe all people walking, they indeed walk at all different tempi, but if you observe only those people walking "who are intending to get someplace specific," they all walk at the same tempo. Large or small, young or old, the tempo is the same for anyone who is healthy, able, strong, and normally formed. The tempo they stride at to get someplace intended is exactly 116 beats per minute--for every other purpose, people walk at all different speeds. 

For your ease and benefit, we found a widget at the AppleStore for a metronome called METRONOMIC offered as a free download by its maker, Jeffrey Qua, who graciously reconfigured his widget so it could be posted here on our website for your experimental convenience...as you will find below. What follows below that are some Youtube videos of examples showing people walking. What is interesting is that you can relatively easily guess about the intentions of people when their stride is not exactly 116 MM.

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What makes this so fascinating is that music, like thought, always intends to get someplace specific. That place happens to be the end of the thought--or the cadence. What makes this even more compelling is that just as we walk to get someplace specific at 116, most people also speak with the normal accents in their speech occurring at a rate of 116 beats per minute--only when we have something specific to say. People who by temperament, by personality, by persuasion, or by habit speak either faster or slower than that speed are perceived to be intolerably dull or slow witted if they speak much slower than 116, or untrustworthy, if they speak much faster than 116. The affect of being slower is of slothfulness or of painful self consciousness. The affect of speaking faster is that of a shyster who is always trying to fast talk people into doing things they don't want to do. 

If all this weren't interesting enough, the normal accents of our speech occur at 116 beats per minute, our moments of pause, our moments of emphasis, our phrases, the duration of silence between exchange of speakers in conversation occur at 72 beats per minute. What makes this intriguing is that if you divide 116 by 1.618... (the number needed to calculate the ratio of the "Golden" proportion) you get 72 (71.69...exactly)!


Niel deGrasse Tyson


Larry King

 
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Anyone who finds these observations too incredible should prove it for themselves: take a metronome, set it at 116, and put it in front of a television to discover the truth for yourselves. Then, set the metronome at 72 to verify the speed of emphatic moments, pauses, phrases, etc. Then, try setting it slightly off these tempi to see if speeds such as 118 or 74 or 114 or 70 produce the same level of coincidence. 

There are a few other tempi which work. These tempi are multiples or divisions of 116 and 72 such as 58 (one half of 116), 144 (twice 72), 96 (4 times 72 divided by 3...a 3:4 ratio), 108 (3 times 72 divided by 2...a ratio of 3:2) 87 (116 times 3 divided by 4...a 3:4 ratio), etc. 

What one can conclude from these observations is that the human brain is designed to process heard information at a precise rate of flow. The rate of flow may change depending on the significance, density, importance, intensity, or degree of urgency of the information. If the information flows at a rate faster than it can be processed and comprehended, we feel overwhelmed. If it flows at a rate slower than it can be processed and comprehended, we feel hampered, impatient, irritated, or bored by the manner of delivery. 

We have proposed that the mechanism in the brain which processes flow does so on the basis of speed of flow in relation to intensity of content. If the intensity of content decreases, yet the speed of flow remains constant, the perception will be that the flow has become much slower. Hence, as intensity of content decreases, the speed of flow must increase, lest the mind become bored. Conversely, if the intensity of content increases, but the speed of flow remains the same, the mind assumes that the speed has increased, thus, the speed must decrease, otherwise the mind will soon feel overwhelmed. This is most easily understood as an inverse proportion: the more that is happening in the heard music, the slower the tempo needs to be, and conversely the less that is happening in the heard music, the faster the tempo needs to be. Furthermore, each of these musical communication techniques, when added to a performance, will require the tempo of that performance to be ever slower, if only slightly, depending on the information intensity of the score. 

Thus it is fair to criticize the way classical music is performed today, as it is overly controlled as to strict metrical regularity and tightness of simultaneous soundingness of parts, because, in the case of early music, musicians feel compelled to play too fast (due to the lack of interest or meaning in the delivery) or, in the case of romantic literature, too slowly, in order to include in their performances those techniques which they are accustomed to using for the purpose of "warming" up an otherwise cold sounding, mathematically accurate performance. Those techniques to which we refer are: a continuous vibrato, acceleration and deceleration of a predictable and regular sort, and predictably regular gradations of change in volume (techniques which when applied to speech produce the silliest, most ridiculous effect). In the first case, of early music, the excessive speed fills up the spaces between notes so the listener's brains won't have the opportunity to fill up those spaces with thoughts of boredom. And, in the second case, the "warming" techniques, used to take the chill off otherwise stiff, passionless performances, are distractions which the performers hope will divert the listener's attentions from their unimaginative playing. 

In the following example video, the tempo is actually 116 MM but because the performers unwisely chose the wrong note value to assign to that tempo and because the rendition is excessively metrical the affect feels perfunctory on the one hand and heavy handedly adolescent on the other.  Listen to what happens to the same piece when that same 116 MM tempo is assigned to the correct note value in the recording the follows the Perlman video.  The affect in the second recording is full of energy and intensity, like a breath of fresh air or stepping into a fast running Alpine stream in your bare feet.

In the subsequent video, Mr. Gould chooses the tempo 72 MM for the Aria and 116 MM for the variations that follow, but the playing is so rigidly metrical that all the naturalness is missing and the playing sounds constipated and forced.  By contrast the same piece in the video that follows the Gould video, by harpsichordist Robert Hill, sounds natural and free because, though the Aria is played at the self same tempo, Hill uses so many of the communication techniques in his playing that what results is playing that is both unforced and gestural, which produces a generally far more dimensional performance.

Tempo selection in music needs to account for the changing rate of flow, which depends on the significance, density, importance, intensity, or degree of urgency of the information, as well as the affect of the piece. Failure to hit upon the right tempo will create the effect of forcing (if the tempo is slightly too slow), or racing (if it is slightly to fast). However, if these observations are dismissed altogether, then the selection of tempo is based on hope; much like buying groceries, throwing them into the oven and hoping an edible dish will emerge after a while...a kind of three stooges approach to cooking.

Application: be aware of where in a piece a value maybe played at 116 or 72 and test these tempi on listeners. These tempi should make music feel more natural to listeners. Sometimes it will be more challenging to play because the speed may be far faster than a player can handle the technique of playing. However, many composers took these tempi into account in the writing of the music and made the piece so that it would be easier to play when taken at the correct tempo...even if the tempo was significantly faster than normal. 

 

9. The Evaporation or Mystery Technique 

 

This technique is best executed on dynamic instruments such as the clavichord, fortepiano, pianoforte, violins and such, lutes and guitars, as well the voice. The evaporation technique is a diminishing of the volume of sound on the end of a phrase until it altogether disappears or evaporates. The technique is also used in cinema, where it is called the fade. The evaporation somehow forces the minds of the listeners to finish the phrase as it disappears. By playing with the power of suggestion, a performer can lure the music lover on a path of his or her own making. The part of the music which evaporates is usually not particularly important--evaporating the less interesting parts of the score makes them as powerful to the mind of the listener, even if they are less obvious to it. 

Cognitively speaking, the brain is designed to lock on to what always appears to be out of its reach. This is why, though the eye is designed to perceive light, it is shadows which most attract it. When ideas are stated flatly and emphatically, the mind tends to treat them as unimportant, a fault of much technical writing. But when ideas are merely alluded to and suggested by inference, the mind won't be satisfied until it knows all about them. When ideas are clearly expressed with a strong point of view, the information is processed and accepted or rejected by the mind, but in either case can't be ignored. When information is ever present, it becomes part of the landscape and few notice the information. But when sound is strongly waxing and waning unpredictably, the mind of the listener is allowed to more easily grasp how the ideas are wrought and grouped. Whatever is mysterious and hidden tantalizes the soul. This is the perennial lure of the spiritual realm; brains invariably want what they can't have. 

By shading a performance to reflect an understanding of the evaporation technique, as well as the other techniques, listeners feel the paradox between an understated phrase ending and the strong attention-focusing effect which is created by using the evaporation technique. 

Application: Choose particularly unimportant moments in the music to “evaporate”, like the ends of phrases or arpeggiated chords-moments which would otherwise fall flat. Then, prepare the minds of the listeners by gradually diminishing the volume of the sound so that only the last note, though played, is completely silent. This only works in live performances where the listeners can see the note being played but not hear it. In recordings, the note needs to be heard but also needs to be so soft that it causes the listener to feel the evaporation effect. Poetic license and a sense of what works are the best guides. In the following example of Horowitz playing Bach, you will notice how he skillfully employs many of the communication techniques, but those of evaporation and hesitation are strongest in that he evaporates the beginning and hesitates before or on many of the notes of the Chorale making the melody sing like a great artist singer while allowing many of the accompanying voices to whisper to almost nothing. 

 

10. The Timing or Hesitation Technique 

 

The way to perform the timing or hesitation technique is to hesitate a moment before playing the most important note in a line; yet another is to hang on to or hesitate on a note for much longer than its written value. This technique involves manipulating the listener's expectations of what note is going to sound, and when it actually sounds, and when it stops sounding. This technique happens when a climactic note is slightly delayed by the performer, like a hesitation, so that the listener has just enough time to take the suggestion and mentally fill in the note before the performer finally makes the note sound. Comedians use this technique to change the timing of an expected word to one that is unexpected, which, of course, causes laughter. 

Public speakers who overuse this technique come across as being contrived and unconvincing. Ditto with performers. As always, unpredictability is key to creating naturalness of effect. The singer in the next example stretches the limits of the timing, especially at the beginning, which is especially interesting.

Montserrat Caballé in concert singing the famous aria from Puccini's Gianni Schicchi. Munich, 1990

The cognitive partner of hesitation is anticipation. Anticipation is created by building up assumption on assumption about what will happen. When the event which should occur fails to happen at the expected time, there exists a moment of disappointment. That moment of disappointment gets transformed into a rush of pleasure when the event finally comes to pass. This is what children experience on Christmas morning: parents use delaying tactics to draw out the moment of opening the presents in order to increase the pleasure of discovering what Santa left for each child. If children are given free reign to rip everything open in a willful race, they can experience disappointment even at getting what they wanted. If they are prevented from building up any anticipation by knowing that there are heavy-handed rituals to be followed, they lose interest in the moment of discovery. So it is for most people when it comes to music, comedy, politics, and sports; the art of these endeavors is in the timing. 

Application: Know what notes in the music are the highest in pitch, strongest in accent but weakest in affect, most obvious and predictable, or the climax of the piece. Then, either delay a moment before playing them or hold them longer than written. The moment the hold or the delay becomes obvious, as doing something unusual, the hold or the delay is too long. 

The purpose of this technique is to catch the attention of the listener unawares in order to create the effect of a quickening of the attention. The moment that effect happens for the listeners is the moment the music must continue to its inevitable conclusion.


11. The "Excrucis" Technique 


The word excrucis is derived from the Latin: ex, meaning - out of, and crux, meaning - cross.  Excrucis is, literally, "out of cross" or "out of crossing." This technique has to do with how important moments involving dissonances are treated. When voices in music, each of which is logically and expressively following its own inexorable path, come together in a crossing, or an extreme dissonance which then resolves in an elegant and beautiful manner, the moment is ripe for the excrucis technique. These moments, properly treated, produce some of the most "excruciatingly" beautiful effects of which music is capable. 

Beethoven has most skillfully created a 4 voice fugue with an almost impossible theme in order to create a piece of excruciatingly beautiful music that takes the excrusis technique to the most extreme expression of it. To do this Beethoven grinds the voices against each other causing some of the most dissonant, yet beautiful, sounds composed before the advent of atonal music. Not only does he do this once, but he does it thrice as the music is a triple fugue weaving three themes together in a fabric so dense and exquisite that it stretches the listener's feelings to the uttermost.

Perhaps the easiest way to think about this is by noticing how it is similar to the feeling one gets when deeply hugging (out of a crossing action) or being deeply hugged by one you love or who loves you intensely. It feels so good it hurts. Many times such moments in human interaction are heavily loaded with profound emotion of the most positive and spiritual kind. This is the cognitive effect of the excrucis technique. Making the most of those moments in which such voice crossings are found means temporarily slowing the action down, to the point that any casual observer can notice exactly what is happening without causing a loss of flow, in order to create a "grinding" effect as the dissonances rub and grate against each other in the crossing process. 

 

Epilogue to Part One

 

1). These are the 11 cognitive techniques needed to enhance communication. According to Aristotle, in Poetics XXI, "The perfection of style is to be clear without being mean (commonplace)." What is predictable is commonplace.  What is regular is commonplace because it generates predictability and boredom.  What lacks evident reference and obvious relationship obscures perception so is therefore commonplace. What substitutes information in place of meaning is commonplace. What is barren of idea or thought is commonplace.  

The purpose behind these 11 techniques, for the performer, is to connect musical information into clear and meaningful phrases to help the listeners make sense of the score on one hearing. The effect of these techniques is a clear sense in the minds of the listeners of what is important and what is unimportant. Also, the brain needs constant and intense stimulation in the form of unpredictability, clarity of reference, clarity of relationship, uninterrupted flow of idea, and the occasional enigma in order to maintain an alert, attentive, and focused frame of mind. That is the function of the techniques--these eleven different techniques are devices needed keep the brain from falling asleep and to create connections in order to make clear the musical hierarchy for the listener. What feels clear for the listener creates a feeling of resonance in the soul and so moves it. 

Maxim Vengerov and Bassiona Amorosa play Czardas (also called Csárdás) by Vittorio Monti

2). CPE Bach stressed the importance of flowingness in performance. Flow helps the feeling of connection of all parts and aspects of a heard piece of music. This is of great significance because the use of these eleven techniques can have the tendency to create a disruption of flow, due to the infusion into a musical performance of so much interest, meaning, character, emotion, and expression. [That, we believe, is the reason CPE Bach tried to impress on his readers the importance of flow. However, too often, we read such passages, as that from CPE Bach's treatise, and assume we understand what they mean.  That feeling of assumed understanding gives us license to do anything which can be argued will create the effect of which the writer speaks.]  In the case of CPE Bach's use of the word "flowing," the meaning today has been perverted to mean constant and continuous sound using the metronome as the final arbiter of truth. Judged by Bach's own words, that behavior is both mechanical and slavish...or as Aristotle might have described it, mean or commonplace. 

From all that Bach says of flow, it is clear that he is referring to flow as in "flow of thought."  Flow of thought, whether musical or verbal, must be strictly maintained, especially in front of an audience, lest a lapse be detected and the performer appear to have lost his or her train of thought. It also needs to be remembered that flow of thought is always supported by the intention to say something specific. Constant and continuous sound has no such requirement, and as such, is a pathetic attempt to appear competent in the face of a lack of musical ideas or thoughts. And ultimately, it is for this reason that the injunction to maintain strict flow must refer to flow of musical thought because maintaining strict flow of musical thought is essential to an "agreeable" (to use Bach's term) or "love"ly performance. 

Flow, however, is not the same thing as tempo or speed in music. As we all know from experience, a performance can exhibit an absolutely strictly maintained speed and yet be devoid of flow of musical thought. In music, it is musical thought which must flow, the notes are necessary only to carry that flow; the simili which works the best is that musical thought must flow like a great river. The eddies, whirlpools, currents, and swirls that one observes on the surface of the river never stop the overall movement of the whole river...it flows on, come what may. So it should be with musical thought. Its purpose is to express the meaning of the music intended by the composer. The performer's job is to intuit what that meaning is and to express the musical thought behind the notes. Any honest effort in this regard, no matter how meager, is better than none at all. These eleven techniques are a means and an aid for uncovering and communicating to listeners the intention of the composer. 

3). The problem with using these techniques is that they are effective only when they are obvious. The trick in using them is to be as obvious as possible without having any one technique be the center of attention. This is most easily done by using all of them simultaneously, whenever possible. By intending to use all eleven techniques simultaneously, it becomes impossible to use one to the exclusion of the others, thus keeping all eleven in the right perspective, as it were. As soon as one can notice the technical means of generating an effect, the technique is being employed improperly. As the saying goes: Art disguises itself. It is a delicate balancing act to use a technique or techniques without having the technical aspect become the focus of attention. 

4). These techniques enhance musical communication because they induce and support a high degree of attention-paying in the listener and the performer alike. Loving and paying attention are one and the same thing. This is why performances of music can be characterized as either supporting attention-paying or stealing from it...there is nothing in between. The mere presence of sound in a room is no guarantor of attention, only of passive exposure. When a high degree of attention is created in the listener, the meaning intended by the composer can then be felt--the alternative is either boredom or incongruity. Whereas boredom is clear, incongruity is  not. That is, performers who lapse into mechanical habits of playing music and only occasionally use one or two of these techniques when they remember to do so, bore the brain but seek to interest the mind. Being both bored and interested is a confusing state to occupy for anyone, but most especially a devoted music lover. 

5). Very few listeners have the skill or the power to overwhelm their feelings of boredom in order to focus on meaningless matters (i.e., sound events that can mentally be followed but remain unfelt because the feeling of boredom is too intense) such as compositional techniques and structure...matters which call attention to the "genius" of the composer rather than to the feelings which the composer intended to create in the listener. It requires a significant amount of practice to acquire some degree of mastery to notice these structural details in music when it is performed without these techniques--that is what music students spend their years in conservatories learning. Most average listeners have very little time or patience to do that. Yet, curiously enough, when music is performed in a manner designed to create a high level of attention-paying in the normal listener, all the details of compositional technique and structure are enhanced to the point that listeners can detect and appreciate them. 

6).  When all of these techniques are used appropriately in a performance, the essence of the music is efficiently communicated by the performer and easily received by the listeners. In the 18th century, the French used the term bon gout to refer to the business of good execution in music. Bon gout only can exist if there is intense flavor of any kind to speak of; you can not have bon gout when everything tastes flat and boring. The fear of mauvais gout creates players who play sans gout. Learning to develop bon gout requires that everything have a strong, pronounced flavor within the context of the text provided.  This means that if a syncopation is written, it needs to feel like a syncopation and not merely a separation articulation followed by a tied note...the latter being a statement of facts...the essence of bad taste (mauvais gout).  Bon gout implies a strong, cultivated sense of how to balance all the flavors (the cognitive techniques) in the piece by using them all in exactly the right amounts needed to exactly express what Affect the composer is suggesting in the music. No one but yourself can give you that strong, cultivated sense. That is something which only comes to whomever will grab it. 

7).  The result of an extremely skillful use of technique is a highly expressive performance of music that deeply touches and moves those that hear it. Using these techniques creates the effect of playing "from the soul," that is, playing "from the soul," from the listener's point of view. This is the function and purpose of the Art of Delivery.

 

 

By Keith Hill and Marianne Ploger © 2005

 

Music is nonverbal communication in the form of sound. Affect is how nonverbal communication works. Because Affect is nonverbal communication, every artistic form, like painting, music, acting, dance, etc., has its own way in which the language of Affect is “spoken.” Without Affect, the nonverbal communicative component of music does not exist--what is left in music when Affect is missing are pitches (either in vertical structures, Harmony, or in linear structures, Melody) in time (Rhythm). Meaning does not exist except by inference. With Affect, music takes on a life of its own and means what the one(s) playing it intend(s). For the listener, music without Affect is like acting without vocal inflection or facial expression...blank and incongruent...the effect for the listener is confusion and boredom.

Affect, like all of our expressions in music or in acting, is something we can choose to manage or to let it just happen. When we choose to just let it happen, sometimes it works, but most times it comes out as the Affect of self consciousness...an unmitigated disaster in music. When we manage our use of Affect, we can eventually become masters of Affect. The more diligent we are about learning the language of Affect and learning how to “speak” that language fluently, the more masterful our music or art will be perceived to be by the listener.

Until now, learning anything about Affect has been, itself, a source of confusion because very few people have understood what it means and how to express it. Once you have read and incorporated the lessons in this section on Affect, it is possible to reach a level of mastery in virtually any art. In the end, talent will have almost nothing to do with becoming a master musician, but the willingness and dedication to the hard work of understanding and learning to "speak" the language of the soul will have everything to do with it.

 

What is Affect?

 

Affect is the suggestion of the expression of an emotion, a state of being, a physical state, a state of mind, or an attitude. The crucial word in this definition is suggestion. It is also the word that makes understanding Affect difficult for most people. However, it is not as complicated as it would appear: remember, Affect is the “nonverbal meaning” in nonverbal communication. And most people are well practiced at expressing this type of communication--it is a natural part of human expression. For this reason, everyone has the potential to master the whole range of Affective expressions. To reach that potential takes focus, will, determination, and a certain freedom of spirit.

Perhaps the most effective way to illustrate exactly what Affect means is to examine the most sophisticated use of Affect developed in the 20th century, cartoon animation. Let's look, for instance, at Daffy Duck. This character is given to violent outbursts of feeling, insanity, and foolishness. Anyone who has seen this character's antics cannot fail to be convinced of his emotional outbursts. 

 

To Duck or not To Duck (1943)

 

In fact, Daffy Duck does not exist; Daffy is a fictional character that appears on the screen through the magical craft of animation. Because Daffy's animators understood Affect, they could create films which would convince an audience that Daffy Duck existed, that he had passionate emotions, and that he was a conniving, greedy, slick, loquacious little duck, totally self centered and conceited. If his animators had not understood Affect, Daffy would not feel real and palpable to us...and we wouldn't love this foolish avaricious duck so much.

To make Daffy seethe, the animators had to study all the gestures, poses, expressions of seething, and the order in which they occurred. The same is true for when they needed to have Daffy be deliriously happy or conniving or indolent or bored or irritated or in love or any of the other feelings they wished us to know Daffy has. The meaning or the nature of Daffy's character and soul is evident to us because of the careful attention to Affect which the animators diligently studied.

The reason why our own anger or confusion or love is not Affect is because our feelings are real--only when we act like we are angry or act like we are confused or act like we are in love do we use Affect. Affect is the result of really good acting. Poor acting bespeaks a poverty of Affect; no Affect is the direct effect of bad acting.

Affect is present when we clearly and unambiguously understand and feel what is being expressed. When Affect is missing, we as listeners become confused because, especially in music, meaning is complex. Affect makes simple all of the complexities of feeling which music is capable of expressing. When the feeling is clear and unmistakable, the Affect or Affects being expressed impress themselves upon our soul and we respond.

The reason our soul is impressed by Affect is that Affect is the language of the soul. That bears repeating. Affect is the language of the soul. The significance of this statement is that we can communicate with the souls of others by using the language which all souls use to express themselves. This is why learning about Affect, thinking about Affect, performing with Affect, expressing Affect, and mastering Affect are the most important part of the job of being a musician, artist, dancer, architect, actor, writer, poet, or playwright.

 

Learning the Language of Affect

 

Affect is the suggestion of a feeling, not the feeling itself.  Emotion is a feeling like anger, jealousy, sadness, or joy.

To be an Affect, an expression must be a suggestion of something and not the thing itself. In acting, when a character in a play says or does something which suggests that he or she is suspicious, a good actor will do whatever is required to create the suggestion of suspiciousness. The only way an actor will know if he or she is successful is if the audience feels that the character is suspicious. Should the audience think the character is mean instead of suspicious, then the actor has failed. Why? Because an Affect has the quality of being completely objective...which is to say, almost everyone "reads" the same meaning from the expression. This is why it is of paramount importance that musicians learn to manage and master Affect. Otherwise, those who listen may get the exact opposite nonverbal communication than the one intended.

Furthermore, if the audience merely knows that the character is suspicious but doesn't feel it, then the actor has failed. Why? Because we often know many things which we do not feel. The difference for us is that we tend not to care much about those things which we know, and we also tend to care a great deal about those things about which we have feelings. So, if the actor has not generated the feeling of suspicion in the audience, the actor has failed. Only when the audience feels conviction about the suspicious nature of the character can we say that the actor has done his or her job well.

Affect communicates directly with the soul of the receiver in an unambiguous manner. How do we know this? Infants respond to an Affect even if they don't understand the words. If you tell an infant in the most loving and adoring manner that she is super intelligent and the next momentstill in a loving and adoring tone of voice say that he is stupid, the infant will understand the loving and adoring manner, not the words. The same is true for dogs, cats, birds, etc. The tone of voice and inflection which suggest love and adoration are received objectively by the infant as the real meaning--that is the power of the nonverbal aspect of the communication. In the same way, if you express loving words in a scolding manner, the infant will feel scolded and start to cry. The manner of expression, more than the content of the words, is what is objectively received and understood nonverbally through the senses, and the infant expresses its comprehension of the real message by feeling loved or feeling hurt or attacked. If the infant reads the tone of voice and the delivery method as love, he will respond by smiling and giggling, but if the infant reads the tone of voice and the delivery as scolding, he will react with fear and start to cry. The words used are irrelevant; only when a child becomes verbal do the words themselves become an issue. In music and in art, words are not an issue, unless you are singing a song.

As adults, we are not above responding to Affect as directly as infants do, to assume the opposite is arrogant. True, when others are angry with us we have to learn to be restrained in our responses sometimes saying things we don't mean so we avoid altercations. But in music, there is no reason to argue, which is why we usually respond to music in much the same way as infants respond to tone and gesture--it is this specific property in music that makes it so compelling to humans. We respond to music in much the same way we did when we were being loved and adored by our mothers.

Perhaps the best way to learn to express Affect is to study children when they are being naturally expressive. What you can notice about the behavior of very young children is that the gestures used to convey Affect are similar from one child to the next. These Affective gestures are not learned but are innate to our species. Indeed, expressing all the emotions, states of mind, attitudes, physical states, and states of being are part of what it is to be human. Learning to express Affect requires paying attention to and remembering the gestures that make up each Affect.

For almost 80 years, ever since the notion of absolute music was self-inflicted on musicians, especially in classical music, making music in a cold, so-called objective, impersonal, highly mannered, and boring style, devoid of Affect (except those of coldness, stiffness, harshness, sternness, and scolding) has become the habit. These puritanical habits of making music without Affect will die hard. 

If you wish to communicate anything meaningful in the arts, establishing the habit of paying attention to Affect must be the first order of business. The reason for this is that learning is most efficient when it means something. Learning to play music without the benefit of knowing its meaning is like learning Chinese by imitating the sounds and not ever knowing what the words mean...you plainly don't know what you are saying. The same is true in music. Focus on Affect and meaning, and everything is made decidedly easier if only because it is more fun.

 

The Structure of Human Affect

 

Affect is the suggestion of the expression of an emotion, a physical state, a state of mind, or an attitude. We typically express all four of these states simultaneously, on a continuing basis, for most of our waking lives. The greatest music has as its true nature this feature of human nature, that of expressing four Affects simultaneously. Indeed, when there is inherent conflict in the four Affects, the aesthetic effect is far more interesting to us...the more paradoxical, the better. This is what makes the real difference between great art and less than great art. Good stuff only expresses three Affects of the total of four possible. Mediocre stuff expresses two Affects. Bad work expresses but one.

Human beings are complex organisms with complex inner lives. Music, in its most elevated manifestation, is the only form of aesthetic expression which is capable of capturing and expressing the inner life of the soul.

Affect is the language of the soul. So it should not surprise us that when it comes to expressing Affect, the soul always knows what to do and how to do it. Anyone who has been around infants discovers this rather quickly; infants have no benefit of language, yet are perfectly able to communicate their needs and desires to those around them. Adults who are self-involved or are not queued into paying attention to Affect may not understand what an infant wants by his expressions and often end up blaming the infant for being irritating. This attitude is not dissimilar to how many classical musicians think about audiences: if concert attendance is declining, they are too quick to blame listeners for their lack of interest in non-Affective music making! This attitude is one to avoid like the plague. It accounts for why famous opera houses and many symphony orchestras are in financial insolvency.

What follows is a list of Affects. The list is divided into the four types of Affect: Physical, Emotional, Mental, and Spiritual. This list is by no means definitive and should serve only as a model for each person to make up his or her own list of Affects. Indeed, unless each of us takes the time to make up as large a list as possible for each type of Affect, we risk not being able to distinguish or identify Affects and how they differ from emotions. Therefore...make a list of your own. It should look something like this:

 

Physical          Emotional          Mental                   Spiritual

 

Slothful                 anguish           pensive                   compassion

brisk                       loathing           serious                   humility

graceful                 exuberant       ponder                   forbearance

elegant                   appalled         question                 patience

pliant                      frustrated      knowing                 directness

mellifluous           rage                 uncertain                intensity

nauseous                despair           certain                     love

tired                         fear                  remembering        joy

painful                    seething         theorize                  peace

energetic                impatient      speculate                exuberant            

leaping                    happy              formulate               goodness

jumping                  sad                    fantasize                 confidence

running                   mad                  predict                    restraint

wobbling                anxious           studying                 impartial

dancing                   indifferent     noticing                 tolerant

skipping                  melancholy   searching              accepting

hopping                  tormented     categorizing        encompassing

frolicking               nostalgic         skeptical               multidimensional

striding                   sentimental    provocative         greed

strutting                 yearning           confusion             hubris

throwing                longing              judging                 pride  

gesticulating        lonely                  realizing               penance

sultry                      wishing               vexation                remorse

soothing               craving                surprise                  contrition

heaving                  ardor                   disputatious         sorrow

craving                   vengeance         rationalizing        lamentation

pompous              fury                      agitated                  recognition

restful                    jealousy              dubious                  miserable

choking                desire                   pleased                   arrogance

restless                  revenge               alarmed                  haughtiness

charming             guilt                      routine                   boldness

flowing                 scorn                    mean business     perfidy

barrage                 scolding              stating                     shame 

relaxed                  manipulating    descriptive            horror

slow                        dejection            sterile                      acknowledging

smooth                 jovial                     trust                         apologetic

trotting                distress                 mistrust                  wondering

antiseptic            unsureness          cognizant              directional

sleazy                    steady                   controlling            characterizing

threatening        unsteady              calculating             beauty

jolly                       nervous                hesitating               clean    

laughing              empty                    interested              cynical

 

As an exercise, take one Affect at random from each column and invent a moment in a person's life when all four Affects could reasonably occur simultaneously. For instance: choosing at random, we take the Physical Affect of trotting, the Emotional Affect of empty, the Mental Affect of dubious, and the Spiritual Affect of apologetic.  Think of a moment in any person's life when trotting, emptiness, feeling dubious or doubtful, and feeling apologetic would naturally occur.  One possibility might be: if you deeply hurt someone close to you without knowing that you did, and the person told you that they never wanted to have anything more to do with you, and as that person walks away from you, you start running after to ask them to discuss what has happened. You want to make right any wrong inflicted, intended or otherwise, but because they are so offended you doubt that they will even listen to you, which leaves you feeling empty inside.

We call this type of scenario an Affective "vignette." Great music is characterized by either a single Affective vignette or a series of short Affective vignettes which give listeners an Affective view of the inside of the soul for a moment or a series of connected moments. Bach's insistence on maintaining a single Affect from the beginning of a piece to the end was an indication of the value he placed on integrity of Affect in music. Empfindsam music is more like an Affective conflict or argument in which, ideally, all four Affects are exhibited in a work and are brought together in a harmony of Affect at the end of the piece.

No other art form has the power to express Affective moments in the lives of ordinary people as much as music. Great music performed without any clear Affect is like viewing a great painting in a room that has no light--everything is there which suggests that an Affect was intended, but the observer can't access it. The true art of the performer is to create an Affect and communicate that Affect by every means imaginable, so that the ordinary music lover is never in doubt as to the Affect being expressed. For a performer to be true to the art in music means being hyperaware of the Affective effect of how any three notes taken from any place in the score might appear to an Affect-sensitive listener. This is why the 11 cognitive techniques exist:using these techniques ensures that, at very minimum, the score is not inadvertently expressing dullness and boredom...Affects that guarantee to put most listeners to sleep, instantly.

 

as published in the book titled: Orphei Organi Antiqui: Essays in Honor of Harald Vogel

 

by Marianne Ploger and Keith Hill ©2005

edited by Cleveland Johnson

 

Part 1: The Art of Delivery

 

Playing a musical instrument is a technical craft. Expressing music, by contrast, has been viewed as an art, a view held so long that it is rarely questioned. An alternate view, presented in this essay, is that expressing music is also a craft: it is the craft of musical communication, the art of delivery. It is possible to master technical skills while lacking in communicative skills, and vice versa, because these skills have very little to do with each other. Today, musical mastery is often measured by the former skills, not the latter, yet the greatest musicians are those who are highly skilled in both crafts.

Musical Communication as the "Art of Delivery"[1] is the craft of handling musical material by technical means to touch the soul, raise the spirits, elevate the minds, and deeply move listeners with music. This essay presents eleven techniques which can be employed in the exercise of this craft.[2] These techniques, grounded in human cognition, are wholly derived from normal human speech and other perceptual experiences used in everyday communication. Each technique is natural to human expression.

These techniques are applicable to music intended to be listened to (as opposed to music meant only to be heard) in the same way that human speech is intended to be listened to. If the meaningful process of listening is secondary, these techniques are unnecessary, although both listeners and hearers will find their experiences enhanced when these techniques are employed in performance.

Below, each technique will be discussed and practical suggestions for their application will be provided; they are organized according to the intensity of the communication-enhancing effect each technique has on the listener.

 

1. The Synaesthesis Technique

 

In 1768, Jacob Adlung says of playing the harpsichord, "One must endeavor to use more arpeggios and such, rather than striking the keys together or playing too slowly since the strings cease vibrating right away."[3] Mozart and Chopin also insisted that the hands are never played together. Each of these musicians were aware of the concept of synaesthesis.[4]

Synaesthesia means multiple simultaneous perceptions. The brain is designed for perceiving multiple sensations at the same moment. With the senses of sight, smell, and taste, we expect our sensory experiences to be loaded with multiple simultaneous stimulations. The culinary art lives because people adore eating food that is multi-dimensional in flavor. Although specific taste sensations are localized on various parts of the human tongue, the experience of taste is a mingling of salty, sour, sweet, bitter, and savory (meaty) in various proportions, This effect is the effect of synaesthesia, and the senses of sight, smell, and hearing function similarly. Unfortunately, classical music is performed today in a manner designed to eliminate synaesthesia altogether, because many musicians are ill-informed about how the ear/brain makes sense of heard experiences.

Although the many different frequencies and timbres are detected differently by the ears, one 'hears' or perceives sounds, not as distinct and discreet frequencies and timbres, but as composites. When musical performance uses sounds (e.g. chords) as composites, the normal human ear hears only one sound. If the composer has written a four-note chord, and all the notes are played simultaneously, the normal listener will hear not four notes but one sound only: a rich sound, but nonetheless only one sound. If the performer endeavors to perform each note in the chord, so that the notes don't sound absolutely together or simultaneously, the normal listener will easily hear all four notes as well as the simultaneous chord, creating an experience of five sounds altogether.

The synaesthesis technique requires heard musical information to be slightly desynchronized, just enough for the mind of the listener to perceive all the timbres, all the pitches, all the melodies, all the rhythms, all the details, all the harmonies so that they all emerge into the consciousness of the listener. The human brain is so competent that it has no trouble to follow as many as 6 simultaneous streams of information as long as those lines or streams are functioning with total independence, even if they are "supposed to be together" as in music.

When notes in musical lines are "misaligned in time," this desynchronicity produces a certain independence of voices which, though more complex on the surface, is easier for the listener to follow. When these notes are played with perfect simultaneity, the brain reads the interval as a mere composite sound and quickly looses focus on the individual lines, paying attention instead to what is happening primarily in the lowest or the highest voices.

Only by consciously creating distinctions between lines can the performer make clear to the listener what is happening in any music which has more than one line. Differences in timbre and volume help to create more distinction but these devices never are as consistently successful at creating clear distinctions between the different lines in music as when the synaesthesis technique is used even to only a very slight degree. The synaesthesis technique depends on the ability of the performer to hear, follow, and create multiple voices in the music; voices that are clearly independent of the others yet always manage to agree. 

Application: 1) Always play with one hand leading the other and vacillate between which of the two hands leads. Give up trying to be together in ensembles. The exception to this is when a simultaneous concurrence of the voices tells the brain that the music has come to an end. 2) Sing expressively each and every line or voice as independently as possible of the other lines or voices. Avoid being distracted by other voices or lines, or the listeners will hear the lapse in attention and cease to pay attention. 3) In ensembles, vacillate between having the upper voice lead the lower voice and the lower voice lead the upper voice. This vacillation needs to follow the logic of the musical lines and structure. When the upper voice leads, the music soars. When the lower voice leads the music, resisting forward motion, lingers.

 

2. The Inégal or Entasis Technique

 

Entasis is an ancient Greek term meaning tensioning. Speech that is delivered in a metrically perfect manner has the power to cause the listener's brain to shutdown and cease processing the meaning of what is being said...all within a few seconds of hearing such speech. The human brain needs the condition of constant or stable irregularity to remain alert and attentive. Regularity eliminates the feeling of discomfort which chaos, the erratic and irregular, often creates. The balance in tension between the feeling of predictability, which constancy (stability) provides, and the feeling of anticipation, which irregularity and unpredictability creates, is a state of entasis. (The opposite of entasis is stasis or staticness.) In normal human speech, Entasis is brought about by the flow of thought, and this flow is both irregular and constant. So it must be in music.

The French, in the 17th and 18th centuries, understood the importance of entasis; musicians who wrote about inégal were likely referring to this concept. The word actually means rough, irregular, unequal, but the conventional interpretation of the word betrays the real meaning by forcing it to conform to the present fashion for perfect metricallity in performance practice of old music. That interpretation suggests that inégal means perfectly regular “limping.” Had the French writers meant that they might have used the term for limping or the phrase égal inégal

Taking the term inégal at face value and understanding it from a cognitive point of view, it is clear that equalized inegality creates stasis, an absence of tension, and the listener is lulled into inattention.[5] Three notes of equal value (with two equal spaces between them) suffice to create a condition of boredom in the brain. Within the time it takes to hear three notes, the brain has noticed that the second event is like the first, that the third is like the second and the first, and predicts that the fourth will follow the pattern. When that prediction comes true, the brain either “tunes out” or looks elsewhere for something more interesting.

This phenomenon in the brain of a performer generates mistakes. In a static musical environment, mistakes easily become the meaning instead of the music and, as a result, the groundwork is laid for a paralyzing fear of performing experienced by many musicians. Learning to play with absolute rhythmic regularity, thereby anesthetizing the brain, is the major cause of performance anxiety today.

Metrical exactitude in musical performance also guarantees that most music is only heard but not listened to. It is the embodiment of slavishness in music, i.e. the music is the slave of the beat when it should be its master, exactly the opposite of what C.P.E. Bach suggested when he wrote that one should "endeavor to avoid everything mechanical and slavish. Play from the soul, not like a trained bird."[6]

This technique is especially challenging in its application, because musicians today are so rigidly trained in metrical regularity. Yet, like the beating of the heart, the musical pulse needs to fluctuate in speed as the emotional content of the music fluctuates. Like the natural shifting accents in speech, musical accents need to shift according to the meaning being expressed. To feel perfect, music must be metrically imperfect. Although first impressions of this technique may be discomforting (as with synaesthesia), performers can create order and logic out of otherwise irregular, unmetrical music-making by applying the techniques of Gesture, Syntactical/Voice-leading, and Recognition Signal (see #3-5 below)

 

Application: Avoid performing music in strict accordance with the beat. Because even two notes of equal value and space is enough to create a flattening of the listener's attention, avoid having more than three notes of equal value sound equally with equal spaces between them.

 

3. The Gesture or Inflection Technique

 

The Gesture or Inflection technique is designed to group verbal and musical information into larger units which have a shape easily recognized and remembered. Inflection (gesture) is the technique used in speech to organize the distinctly irregular nature of language. The specific shape of natural gestures or inflections, in speech or music, is a parabolic or exponential curve. (The egg is an excellent example of this elliptical shape.)

Consider this concept from a rhythmic perspective. Drumming the fingers on a table (the action usually moves from the pinky finger to the index finger) could mean either impatience or boredom. A slower motion of the fingers expresses the affect of waiting; a faster motion expresses impatience. Add to this impatient drumming a rhythmic regularity, and a sense of frustration is expressed. When waiting is added to the affects of frustration and impatience, the thumb becomes involved. Human beings interpret these complex gestures intuitively, but these motions can also be objectively described. Notice that the drumming action, initiated by the pinky finger, begins slowly and accelerates through the successive fingers until the last digit strikes the table. This acceleration, when plotted mathematically, would appear, not as a straight line to indicate regularly increasing speed but as a parabolic or exponential curve.

From a pitch perspective, the sounds of language move predictably through time, not in regular “bits” but in irregular patterns. The word "I," for example, begins with an "ah" vowel, shifts to an "eh" vowel and moves conclusively to an "ee" vowel sound. The pitch begins low and slow with the vowel "ah". The pitch and speed of utterance increase with the “eh” vowel and continues to get higher and faster with the shift to "ee". Again, plotted mathematically, these phenomena of both pitch and speed-of-utterance could be represented as exponential or parabolic curves.

Modifying sounds, such as the stretched “I” when a child whines,”I don’t want to,” or the clipped “I” when the same child demands “I want that” (or the drumming of patient vs. impatient fingers) produce very different meanings. The brain interprets flat, uninflected speech as the behavior of a listless, depressed, ill (or even dying) person. Likewise, the brain interprets highly inflected speech as the behavior of an animated, spirited, lively, robust, healthy person. The same is true in music. Musicians must be cognizant of their ability to influence these crucial subtleties of affect. A musician who is out-of-touch with this concept is a musician who has nothing to communicate.

Application: To realize these gestures in music, a performer must study nature and copy the shapes it has to offer. Organize musical information in gestures and mini-gestures which are natural to follow and understand.

 

4. The Syntactical or Voice Leading Technique

 

The Voice Leading technique comes from the syntactical or grammatical property of speech. Notice what happens to the above sentence when all the words are reordered to eliminate references. The or voice grammatical syntactical comes technique property speech leading of from. This reordered sentence can never make sense because every word has been treated as the equal of all the others. The order (or lack thereof) is designed to reinforce that equality; all the words in that sentence refer to no other words, and the result is a sentence which means absolutely nothing, even though each word has an independent recognizable meaning.

The human brain requires referential relationships to make sense of things. It is this syntactical "referential" property of language that underlies the logic in music.[7] Sense and meaning, both in language and in music, come from grouping words and notes into “meaningful” phrases or gestures. Each note or word must be executed to emphasize the grammatical sense or musical meaning: every note in the diatonic scale refers to the tonic just as all parts of a sentence refer in some way to the noun/subject. This is the heart of the voice leading technique. Although the human brain is "hard-wired" to grasp meaning through grammar and phrases in language, it is less accomplished in working out similar tendencies in music. Music goes by so quickly that, without the effects of voice-leading, one all-too-common response of the brain is to "tune out" and go into a sleep mode.

The outward technical devise used for the voice leading technique is legato (using the real meaning of legato which is "connected" as "connected in the mind" rather than merely in the ear) and the musical approach for this type of legato is cantabile (using the real meaning of cantabile which is "in a singing style" and taking that style to mean the style of a truly great singer).[8]

Application: Sing, as expressively as possible, every line in a score; then play the music exactly as expressively as just sung. Sing every note as expressively as the note requires and no less, then play it that way. Musicians are rarely able to be more expressive in their playing than in their singing.

 

5. The Recognition Signal or Harmonic technique

 

The Harmonic technique or Recognition Signal (also, cercare) creates a sense of harmony between the souls of the listener and speaker. Humans produce this "technical" utterance when acknowledging or agreeing with the person talking, and the absence of this utterance indicates a failure to communicate or to persuade. Musically, this technique is most effective when the speed and manner of execution mimic the spoken technique.

The recognition signal in human speech can express many things from the listener's point of view: the ability to follow a line of reasoning, a desire that the speaker continue, assent to a point of argument, or simple agreement. Aristotle defines recognition as "a change from ignorance to knowledge."[9] It is sounded, “uh-huh,” with the pitch rising at the end.[10] When listeners hear the recognition signal expressed in music, it allows them to follow what is happening in the music more easily, giving utter clarity to the music’s harmonies, and it establishes unanimity between performer and listener. For the listener, it is the vehicle of transformation between not knowing what is happening in the music, and knowing. Such enlightenment may even be articulated by some listeners as a spiritual experience.

Application: Performers must become attuned to how composers incorporate the Recognition Signal technique. Bach’s Italian concerto, for example, begins with a cercare, and his Chaconne in D-minor violin partita uses one after another. Beethoven's Pathetique sonata begins with a cercare followed by another with a few intervening notes.  His 9th Symphony is full of this technique (although seldom realized in modern performances).

The speed of the Recognition Signal is its most important characteristic. If too slow, it sounds like an arpeggio; if too fast, it sounds like a grace note. For most uses, the correct speed is that at which one would most naturally say "pah-dum" with the accent on the second syllable. Placing the accent on the first syllable makes the affect too slow; and saying it without accent makes it too fast. Of course, speed is further influenced by the overarching affect of the music, whether leaning toward gravity or liveliness.

 

6. The Distortion or Attention-Grabbing Technique

 

This technique includes any device used to attract or place the listener's attention where the performer desires it to be. In speaking, a clearing of the throat is just such a device. Magicians employ this device, calling it “distraction.” In music, a vast array of techniques works in this way.

The distortion technique is heard when a singer allows the voice to crack or break for emotive effect, or when a vowel is changed during a sustained note. The “distortion” of the original vowel creates a feeling of increased interest on the long note for the listener. Violinists sometimes “crush” the string when playing a specific note to create a distortion which "attentively loads" the note. Portamento (in its conventional definition as a glide in pitch from one note to another) is another distortion technique, as are trills and other ornaments which add noise or “dirt” to the sound. The acciaccatura is an excellent example of "dirt" being added to a chord.

Although Aristotle does not use the word "dirt," he does, in fact use the word "error" in the following sense: "error may be justified, if the end of the art be thereby attained, that is the effect of this or any other part...is thus rendered more striking."[11] He adds to this the warning: "If the end might have been as well, or better, attained without violating the special rules of the poetic art, the error is not justified: for every kind of error should if possible be avoided." No clearer definition of poetic license can be had.

Granted, the distortion technique must be used judiciously, but its absence results in music of predictable sterility. The only thing perfect about perfection is that it is perfectly boring. The true aim for perfection in art is the feeling of perfection, not the fact. For example, the feeling of perfection in Botticelli's "Birth of Venus" is a direct result of the astonishing amount of distortion used in the painting’s proportions. While some listeners, interested primarily in the information presented in a musical composition, may prefer polished but boring perfection (the ideal performer for such listeners would be a computer or any machine designed primarily for data transmission), neither data transmission nor accountancy is appropriate to the realm of art. In this realm, where feeling is natural and genuine, there is bound to be some element of chaos and unpredictability. The distortion technique tempers mechanical perfection with impulses of nature and human feeling.

Application: Don’t be afraid of making ugly sounds especially if the affect you are after needs it to feel right. Ugliness like Beauty are relative things. We experience something as more beautiful when it is juxtaposed with something ugly. That is the appeal of stories like Beauty and the Beast. Conversely, music without dissonance is boring. Dissonance without Consonance feels irrelevant and harsh. Consonance without dissonance feels saccharine and dopey.

When learning to master ornamentation, understand that adding an ornament enhances the moment in the music to which it is added. Avoid ornamented or enhancing moments that are already loaded with some other more effective technique of enhancing. Since the great composers clearly understood these techniques, they wrote them into the scores so that musicians would know which technique they were asking for. The ornaments a composer wrote into the music were those considered to be essential and therefore obligatory. However, more could be added ad libitum as needed depending on the instrument, the room acoustics, and the tempo.

Zest is the principle effect of the distortion technique. Even a disconsolate affect needs zest to communicate the degree of intensity of the feeling. Poetic license grants every performer the freedom to create an enhanced experience of feeling for the listener by whatever means necessary. It is not, however, a certificate of refined or sensitive taste. That is the responsibility of the performer. That is, everything is allowed, but always be sensible to a quality of integrity so that the music, not the playing, remains foremost in the hearts of the listeners.

 

7. The Anxiety Free or "Sans souci" Technique

 

This technique is named sans souci, because it is designed to create moments in the music which give the feeling of shrugging the shoulders, throwing up the hands in a gesture to say, "Don't take all this so seriously! Live a little! Stop controlling! Let go! Be happy! Don't worry so much! In other words, sans souci: without a care!

When the alignment of notes in the score suggests that they be performed strictly and simultaneously, they may be purposely jumbled or played in an irregular or a staggering manner to create a careless (sans souci) effect. This technique gives music a feeling of relaxed effortlessness, whether one uses the term sans souci, or tempo rubato, or “jazzy,” disjointed, etc.

Listeners can only truly enjoy listening when a sans souci environment and attitude prevails. This technique dispels anxiety and self-consciousness in the performer, and this transforms not only the performer’s experience but also the reception of the listener, for anxiety rubs off on all who observe it. Mechanical, metrical, and regular playing creates anxiety; inégal, irregular, and logical playing eliminate anxiety. Overconcern with relatively meaningless detail creates anxiety; sweeping gestures dispel anxiety. Obsession with accuracy creates anxiety; focusing on meaning and purpose dispel anxiety. Concern about the opinion or others creates anxiety; carelessness of the opinion of others dispels anxiety. Self consciousness creates anxiety; confidence and a total lack of self consciousness dispel anxiety. That is the function of sans souci.

Application: Sans souci is the antithesis to how most classical musicians are taught. Applying this technique is as much about attitude as about specific procedures. Study the musical score for every opportunity to “shrug the shoulders.” Try every passage to see if it can't be improved by having staggering the lines staggered by exactly one half the notated value. Sometimes the bass may lead, sometimes the treble.[12]

 

8. The Stride Technique

 

St. Lambert, in his preface to his compositions, states that the normal tempo in music is that of a man walking.[13] Although people walk at different tempi for different purposes, observation bears out that those people walking, intending to get someplace specific, all walk at the same tempo.[14] This tempo is 116 beats per minute, and besides walking, it can be observed to occur in other contexts as well.

Speech, for example, has the intention of reaching the end of a specific thought (just as music has the intention of reaching a cadence). People speak with the normal speech accents occurring at a rate of 116 per minute, but primarily when there is something specific and goal-oriented to be said. People who, by temperament, personality, persuasion, or by habit, speak faster or slower than this speed stand out. Speaking slower than 116, they are perceived as intolerably dull or slow witted; there is a painful slothfulness or self-consciousness in their speaking demeanor. Speaking faster than 116, people are perceived as untrustworthy; fast speech is associated with trying to talk others into doing things they don't want to do.

At the same time that the normal accents of speech occur at 116 beats per minute, moments of pause or emphasis, moments between phrases, or the moments of silence between exchanges of speakers in conversation occur at 72 beats per minute.[15] There are also a few other tempi which can be observed to work in spoken contexts. These tempi are multiples or divisions of 116 and 72: 58 (one half of 116), 144 (twice 72), 96 (4 times 72 divided by 3, a 3:4 ratio), 108 (3 times 72 divided by 2, a ratio of 3:2), 87 (116 times 3 divided by 4, a 3:4 ratio), etc.[16]

These observations suggest that the human brain processes heard information at a precise rate of flow. That rate may change depending on the significance, density, importance, intensity, or degree of urgency of the information. If the information flows at a rate faster than it can be processed and comprehended, one feels overwhelmed. If it flows at a rate slower than it can be processed and comprehended, one feels impatient, irritated, or bored by the manner of delivery.

If the intensity of content decreases, while the rate of flow remains constant, the perception will be that the flow has slowed. Thus, as intensity of content decreases, the speed of flow must increase, lest the mind become bored. Conversely, if the intensity of content increases, but the rate of flow remains the same, the mind assumes that the speed has increased; the speed must therefore decrease or the mind will soon feel overwhelmed. This phenomenon is an inverse proportion: the more that is happening in music, the slower the tempo needs to be. The less that is happening in the heard music, the faster the tempo needs to be.

Performances of classical music today, frequently fail to adapt appropriately to the above observations. In performing early repertoire, musicians feel compelled to play too fast, because their delivery lacks interest or meaning. Excessive speed helps bridge the musical emptiness between notes but is a cheap trick to stave off the listener boredom. In later repertoire, where musicians are commonly subjected to expectations of mathematically accurate performance, slower tempi are often taken to allow the incorporation of techniques for warming the sound in otherwise cold examples of perfect data delivery. These techniques include continuous vibrato, acceleration and deceleration of a predictable and regular sort, and predictably regular gradations of change in volume (techniques which when applied to speech produce the silliest, most ridiculous effect). These "warming" techniques, used to take the chill off otherwise stiff passionless performances, divert the listener's attention away from unimaginative playing.

Tempi selection in music needs to account for the rate of flow as it changes depending on the significance, density, importance, intensity, or degree of urgency of the information, as well as the affect of the piece. All of the musical communication techniques discussed in this article, when implemented in performance, may require tempi slightly slower than one is used to, but all depends on the information intensity of the score. In all cases, failure to hit upon the right tempo will create the effect of forcing, if the tempo is slightly too slow, or racing if it is slightly to fast.

    Application: Be aware of opportunities in music (a section, movement, or entire piece) to utilize a tempo of 116 or 72 and test these tempi on listeners. If appropriately chosen, these tempi should make music feel more natural to listeners, although it may be more challenging to play. Many composers, however, took these tempi into account, and the music will actually be easier and more natural to play at these tempi.

 

9. The Evaporation or Mystery Technique

 

This technique is best executed on dynamic instruments such as the clavichord, fortepiano, pianoforte, violins and such, lutes and guitars, as well the voice. The evaporation technique is a diminishing of the volume of sound on the end of a phrase until it altogether disappears or evaporates.[17] Evaporation forces the mind of the listener to finish the phrase as it disappears, thus, through the power of suggestion, a performer can lure the listener on a path of his or her own making. While the parts of the music subjected too evaporation are normally less important artistically, they may take on special unconscious significance in the listener’s mind. Whatever is mysterious and hidden tantalizes the soul; this is the perennial lure of the spiritual realm. Brains invariably want what they can't have.

Cognitively speaking, the brain strives to lock on to whatever appears to lie just beyond its reach. For example, though the eye is designed to perceive light, the eye is easily attracted to shadow. In speech, when ideas are stated flatly and objectively, the mind tends to treat them as unimportant (a fault of much technical writing). When ideas are alluded to or suggested by inference, the mind won't be satisfied until it puzzles them out. When information is ever present, it becomes part of the landscape and the information is easily ignored; when ideas are clearly and creatively expressed with a strong point of view, the information is processed and accepted or rejected by the mind; in either case the information can't be ignored.

Musically, when sound is waxing and waning, strongly and unpredictably, the mind of the listener is able to grasp more easily how the ideas are wrought and grouped. In a performance shaded by the evaporation technique, listeners will experience the paradox between an understated phrase ending and the strong attention-focusing effect created by evaporation. In this way, the listener becomes a co-creator with the performer and composer.

Application: Choose particularly unimportant moments in the music to “evaporate”, like the ends of phrases or arpeggiated chords; moments which would otherwise fall flat. Then prepare the minds of the listeners by gradually diminishing the volume of the sound so that only the last note, though played, is completely silent. This only works in live performances where the listeners can see the note being played but not hear it. In recordings, the note needs to be heard but also needs to be so soft that it causes the listener to feel the evaporation effect. Poetic license and a sense of what works are the best guides.

 

10. The Timing or Hesitation Technique

 

This technique requires hesitation just a moment before playing the most important note in a line. Another expression of this technique is to linger on a note for much longer than its written value. This technique manipulates the listener's expectations of 1) what note is going to sound, 2) when it actually sounds, and 3) when it stops sounding. When a climactic note is slightly delayed by the performer, the listener has just enough time to take the suggestion and mentally fill in the note before the performer finally makes the note sound.

Comedians are well-known to use this technique for humorous effect, changing the timing of an expected word to one that is unexpected. Public speakers also use this important rhetorical technique, but those who overuse it come across as contrived and unconvincing. The same holds true for musicians. As always, unpredictability is key to creating naturalness of effect.

The cognitive partner of hesitation is anticipation: anticipation is created by building up assumption on assumption about what will happen. When the event which should occur fails to happen at the expected time, there exists a moment of disappointment. Disappointment, however, is soon transformed into a rush of pleasure when the anticipated event is consummated. The art is always in the timing.

Application: Know what notes in the music are the highest in pitch, strongest in accent but weakest in affect, most obvious and predictable, or the climax of the piece. Then, either delay a moment before playing them or hold them longer than written. The moment the delay or the holding becomes obvious, as doing something unusual, the hold or the delay is too long.

The purpose is to catch the attention of the listener unawares in order to create the effect of a quickening of the attention. The moment that effect happens for the listeners is the moment the music must continue to its inevitable conclusion.

 

11. The "Excrucis" Technique

 

The word excrucis is derived from the Latin ex, meaning “out of,” and crux, meaning “cross.” Excrucis is, literally, “out of cross” or “out of crossing.” This technique involves dissonance treatment. When musical lines, each expressively following its own inexorably logical path, cross and produce an extreme dissonance, followed by an elegant and beautiful resolution, the excrucis technique, highlighting this intense movement rhythmically or dynamically, is ideally suited for use. These moments, properly treated, produce some of the most "excruciatingly" beautiful effects of which music is capable.

The cognitive effect of the excrusis technique is deeply related to basic human emotion. This effect is capable of approaching the almost spiritual profundity of complex human interaction, such as an intense hug imbued simultaneously with feelings of love, loss, reassurance, pain: it feels so good it hurts.

Application: Identify and observe the interplay and crossing of musical lines. Making the most of such voice crossings requires momentarily slowing down the action. This slowing, to emphasize the "grinding" effect as the dissonances rub and grate against each other, should allow the listener to notice exactly what is happening, without causing a loss of flow.

 

Epilogue

 

According to Aristotle, in Poetics (XXI), "The perfection of style is to be clear without being mean (commonplace)." The purpose behind these eleven techniques, for the performer, is to connect musical information into clear and meaningful phrases for the listener to help make sense of the score, to help the listener know what is important and what is unimportant. The brain needs constant and intense stimulation in the form of unpredictability, clarity of reference, clarity of relationship, uninterrupted flow of idea, and the occasional enigma in order to maintain an alert, attentive, and focused frame of mind.[18]

These techniques enhance musical communication because they induce and support a high degree of awareness in both the listener and the performer. Performance will either support the listener’s attention or detract from it. (The mere presence of sound in a room is no guarantor of attention, only passive exposure.) Full attention ensures receptiveness to the composer’s meaning. When music is performed to maximize the listener’s attention level, details of compositional technique and structure become intelligible and meaningful to the normal listener without years of formal musical training.

To be effective, these techniques must be made as obvious as possible without any one technique standing in the center of attention. Whenever possible, try to use these techniques simultaneously so it is impossible to use one at the exclusion of the others. Beware that, if one can notice the technical means of generating an effect, the technique is being employed improperly. It is a delicate balancing act to use a technique or techniques without having the technical aspect become the focus of attention. (As the saying goes: “Art disguises itself.”) Performers who lapse into mechanical habits of playing music, using occasionally only one or two of these techniques, anesthetize the brain while seeking to interest the mind. This is a confusing state to inflict upon any listener.

When all of these techniques are used appropriately in a performance, the essence of the music is efficiently communicated by the performer and easily received by the listeners. Effective and pleasing execution in music was referred to in the 18th century by the French term bon gout. Bon gout can only exist when intense flavors are present, and it implies a strongly cultivated sense of how to balance these flavors (read: cognitive techniques) to express the meaning and affect suggested by the composer. Performers should embrace these eleven cognitive techniques; the fear of mauvais gout creates players who play sans gout. Skillful use of these techniques, creating the effect of playing "from the soul," produces performances that deeply touch and move all who listen. This is the function and purpose of the “Art of Delivery”

 

Part 2: On Affect

 

What is Affect?

 

Affect is the backbone of nonverbal communication. As the nonverbal meaning of such communication, it suggests the expression of an emotion, a state of being, a physical state, a state of mind, or an attitude. Being nonverbal, Affect is applicable to every artistic form, painting, music, acting, dance, etc. (Indeed, each art has its own way of expressing Affect.) Music is nonverbal communication in the form of sound. If Affect is missing in music all that remains are pitches (either in vertical structures, Harmony, or in linear structures, Melody) moving in time (Rhythm). Affect allows music to take on a life of its own and express what the performer intends; otherwise, meaning does not exist except by inference. For the listener, music without affect is like acting without vocal inflection or facial expression.

One effective way to illustrate Affect is to examine the most sophisticated use of affect developed in the 20th century, cartoon animation. Cartoon characters do not exist; they exist only as fictional characters appearing on the screen through the magical craft of animation. Because animators understood affect, they could create characters that feel real and palpable to us; they could convince an audience that these characters exist. To suggest characters with personality, meaning, and soul, animators had to study gestures, poses, expressions (and the order in which they occurred). In other words, animators had to be diligent students of Affect.

Affect should not be confused with true states of emotion, etc. A person’s anger or confusion or love is not affect, because those feelings are real and amazingly complex. “Acting’ like one is angry or confused or in love, however, is a demonstration of affect. Affect, especially in music, makes simple all of the complexities of feeling; it makes the feeling clear and unmistakable to the listener and relates to the listener’s soul.

The soul responds to Affect because it is the language of the soul. Affect is the language of the soul. As a common language, It allows communication among souls. . This is why learning about Affect, thinking about Affect, performing with Affect, expressing Affect, and mastering Affect is the most important challenge of musicians, artists, dancers, architects, actors, writers, poets, or playwrights.

Philosophical relativism has curiously created a strong antipathy to the idea of Affect, as though the concept were somehow dangerous, for there are intelligent people and musicians who dismiss the whole idea of Universals. Affect happens to be one clear Universal, because affect happens to be how organisms with brains, however primitive (even insects, spiders, reptiles, and birds communicate affectively), relate and communicate one with another. And anyone who has been around animals knows this to be true, because they communicate directly through gesture and non-verbal utterances. Musicians who dismiss this approach to expression usually play music as though running through a list from the beginning to the end. Each musician must decide personally to pay attention to Affect, express Affect, think about better ways to communicate Affect, or to ignore Affect altogether. But remember, what you decide materially affects relationship with your own soul, for better or worse. Where music is concerned, the greatest musical minds embraced Affect. You must choose to be in their company or not.

 

Learning the Language of Affect

 

Affect is the suggestion of a feeling, not the feeling itself. Affect is also objective; observers or listeners receive/interpret the same meaning from these expressions and gestures. Learning to manage and master Affect, eliminating all possible confusion, is therefore imperative for anyone involved in any kind of artistic nonverbal communication.

In acting, for example, when a character in a play says or does something which suggests that he or she is suspicious, a good actor will do whatever is required to create the suggestion of suspiciousness. The only way an actor will know if he or she is successful is if the audience feels that the character is suspicious. Should the audience think otherwise, the actor has failed. Furthermore, if the audience merely knows that the character is suspicious but doesn't feel it, then the actor has also failed. One can often know many things which are not necessarily felt; those things which are known are less engaging than those things which are felt. If the actor has not generated the feeling of suspicion in the audience, the actor has failed. Only when the audience feels conviction about the suspicious nature of the character can the actor be said to have succeeded.

Affect communicates directly and unambiguously with the soul of the receiver. Infants, for example, respond to an affect even if they don't understand the words. The same is true for animals. The manner of expression, more than the content of the words, is what is objectively received and nonverbally understood. The human response to the tone and gesture of a mother’s love is not unlike the human response to music. This phenomenon makes music extraordinarily compelling to humans.

Unfortunately, communication is breaking down in many arenas of the artistic world. Declining concert attendance, resulting in financial insolvency for even some of the most famous musical institutions, has led to much introspection. Too often, inattentive, disengaged listeners are blamed for their lagging commitment to music, while, in fact, the spread of non-affective music-making may lie at the root of the situation. Musicians ignore Affect to their own peril.

Perhaps the best way to learn to communicate affect is to study children when they are being naturally expressive. In very young children, the gestures used to convey affect are similar from one child to the next. These affective gestures are not learned; they are innate to the human species. Indeed, expressing all the emotions, states of mind, attitudes, physical states and states of being are part of what it is to be human. Learning to express affect requires one to pay attention to and remember the gestures that make up each affect. Focus on affect and meaning and everything is made decidedly easier.

 

The Structure of Human Affect

 

Human beings are complex organisms with complex inner lives. Music, in its most elevated manifestation, is the only form of aesthetic expression which is capable of capturing and expressing the inner life of the soul.

In life, Affect is the suggestion of the expression of 1) an emotion, 2) a physical state, 3) a state of mind, or 4) an attitude. Typically, all four of these states are expressed simultaneously and continuously. The same is true in great music and performance, because music is rooted in human nature.[19]

When there is inherent conflict in these four states, the aesthetic result is far more vivid and compelling. Paradox is good; this tension makes the real difference between exhalted art and art which is merely great (or less great). Good art expresses only three of the possible four affects. Mediocre works express two, while bad works express but one (or zero).

Persons wishing to improve their artistic communication through Affect would be well-advised to compile a list of Affects organized by the four categories outlined above. Without investing in this task, one risks not being able to distinguish or identify affects and not being able to understand how they differ from emotions. The list below is by no means definitive, but suggests what such a list might look like:

Physical          Emotional           Mental                   Spiritual

 

Slothful                 anguish           pensive                   compassion

brisk                       loathing           serious                   humility

graceful                 exuberant       ponder                   forbearance

elegant                   appalled         question                 patience

pliant                      frustrated      knowing                 directness

mellifluous           rage                 uncertain                intensity

nauseous                despair           certain                     love

tired                         fear                  remembering        joy

painful                    seething         theorize                  peace

energetic                impatient      speculate                exuberant            

leaping                    happy              formulate               goodness

jumping                  sad                    fantasize                 confidence

running                   mad                  predict                    restraint

wobbling                anxious           studying                 impartial

dancing                   indifferent     noticing                 tolerant

skipping                  melancholy   searching              accepting

hopping                  tormented     categorizing        encompassing

frolicking               nostalgic         skeptical               multidimensional

striding                   sentimental    provocative         greed

strutting                 yearning           confusion             hubris

throwing                longing              judging                 pride  

gesticulating        lonely                  realizing               penance

sultry                      wishing               vexation                remorse

soothing               craving                surprise                  contrition

heaving                  ardor                   disputatious         sorrow

craving                   vengeance         rationalizing        lamentation

pompous              fury                      agitated                  recognition

restful                    jealousy              dubious                  miserable

choking                desire                   pleased                   arrogance

restless                  revenge               alarmed                  haughtiness

charming             guilt                      routine                   boldness

flowing                 scorn                    mean business     perfidy

barrage                 scolding              stating                     shame 

relaxed                  manipulating    descriptive            horror

slow                        dejection            sterile                      acknowledging

smooth                 jovial                     trust                         apologetic

trotting                distress                 mistrust                  wondering

antiseptic            unsureness          cognizant              directional

sleazy                    steady                   controlling            characterizing

threatening        unsteady              calculating             beauty

jolly                       nervous                hesitating               clean    

laughing              empty                    interested              cynical

Application: As an interesting exercise, take one affect at random from each column and invent a moment in life when all four affects could reasonably occur simultaneously. Choose, for instance, “trotting” (physical), “empty” (emotional), “dubious” (mental), and “apologetic” (mental), and think of a moment in any person's life when trotting, emptiness, feeling dubious or doubtful, and feeling apologetic would naturally occur. One possible scenario or “vignette” might be: hurting another person unintentionally, being abandoned by that person, pursuing that person to ask forgiveness, but being ultimately rejected, and finally feeling doubt about the relationship, and emptiness.

Great music is characterized by either a single affective vignette or a series of short vignettes which give the listener an affective view of the soul for a moment or series of connected moments.

 

Conclusion

 

No other art form has the power to express affective moments in the lives of ordinary people as much as music. Great music performed without clear affect is like viewing a great painting in a room without light; although one might discern the intention of affect, the observer can't access it. The true art of the performer is to reveal affect, clearly and unambiguously, to the music lover. Interestingly, as self-evidently true is this might be to most people, all too many musicians reject the importance of Affect in music, preferring instead to adhere to the standard and predictably monotonous style of performing classical music prevalent today. What is worse is when such musicians discover that they are unable to have a career in musical performance and end up teaching in schools and conservatories of music, in effect go on to instill in young impressionable musicians the idea that music is all about note and metrical accuracy and not about communication of affect for the pleasure of listeners.

To be faithful to the art in music, the performer must be hyperaware of affective effects -- how, for example, even three notes within a score can affect the sensitive listener. The eleven cognitive techniques outlined in this essay ensure that performer fully engages the listener in the music; incorporating the additional ideas regarding Affect promises mastery in virtually any art. Talent has little to do with such mastery, only the hard work of understanding and learning to "speak" the language of the soul.

Footnotes:

[1] (which is what Aristotle calls the Modes of Utterance, Poetics XIX)

[2] The eleven cognitive/communication techniques are designed to enhance musical communication rather than substitute for musicality. Being musical is a spiritual quality and it is this quality which indeed resides in the realm of art. If there is a downside to these techniques, it is that if a musician isn't deeply spiritual, these cognitive techniques will reveal that fact to the listener. If a musician is spiritual, these cognitive techniques reveal this reality clearly. The true art of musical performance fuses the crafts of score-realization/musical-communication with the spiritual substance of the musician.

[3] Musica Mechanica Organoedi, vol. 2 chapter 22 paragraph 522

[4] Giovanni Tosi, in his treatise on singing titled, The Art of the Florid Song, published in 1736, uses the term vacillare to describe the effect of vacillating in the melody from being before the bass to lagging behind the bass. He states that "the singer should endeavor to sing before the beat or after the beat and never with it. Tosi says of this effect that it "is one of the most beautiful effects in music." Bach, in manuscripts of his keyboard pieces, demonstrates vacillare just as Tosi recommends. An inspection of his keyboard manuscripts reveals that the vertical alignment of the notes of the right hand either precede or follow the notes of the left hand. About 60% of time the right hand notes precede the left hand notes and about 40% follow the left hand. (Such alignment issues do not arise in Bach’s orchestral scores.) Similarly, Forqueray gives instructions in his published arrangement for harpsichord of his fathers Pieces for Viola da Gamba that the player play the music exactly as it appears on the printed page. The pieces that follow show the right and left hand notes being vertically non-aligned even to the extent that some whole notes in the left hand appear in the middle of the measure. Giulio Caccini, in his Nuove musiche e nuove maniera di scriverle (Florence, 1614), suggests something very similar to vacillare when he writes: "Sprezzatura is that elegance given to a melody by several technically-incorrect eights or sixteenths on different tones, technically-incorrect with respect to their timing, thus freeing the melody from a certain narrow limitation and dryness and making it pleasant, free, and airy, just as in common speech, where eloquence and invention make affable and sweet the matters being expounded upon."

[5] In his treatise on Poetics (XXIV), Aristotle observed that "sameness of incident soon produces satiety."

[6] in his Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments,

[7] This is the logic needed to make the inégal or entasis technique work most successfully.

[8] Bach was renowned for his cantabile playing. Indeed, a letter dated 12 April 1842 written by F.K.Griepenkerl (a student of N. Forkel) relates that "Bach himself, his sons, and Forkel performed the masterpieces with such a profound declamation that they sounded like polyphonic songs sung by individual great artists; all means of good singing were thereby brought into use. No cercare, no portamento was missing. [author’s emphasis] There was even breathing at the right places...Bach's pieces want to be sung with the maximum of Art."

[9] section X of his Poetics,

[10] It is extremely interesting that the word cercare" (pronounced chair-cár-e) as used by Griepenkerl (see footnote 8) is defined in Riemann's Musiklexicon as a 17th century Italian ornament in which the upper or lower auxiliary note is performed softly and suddenly to the main note. This is exactly how the recognition signal is expressed. In otherwords, the recognition signal is a cercare. Regrettable, the cercare is often frowned on today as being in exceedingly bad taste for classical singers.

[11] (Poetics, XXV)

[12] Further references to this in Türk's treatise on Playing the Clavier under tempo rubato

[13]

[14] With the one condition that the observed people are healthy, able, strong, and normally formed, large or small, young or old, the tempo is the same.

[15] It is perhaps no coincidence that, dividing 116 by 1.618, the number needed to calculate the ratio of the "Golden" proportion, the result is 72 (71.69).

[16] These observations can be replicated by the reader in a simple way. Place a metronome, set it at 116, in front of a television and observe the beat coincidences of walking paces and spoken accents. Then set the metronome at 72 and observe, in speech, the speed of emphatic moments, pauses, phrases, etc. Try setting the tempi slightly off from 116 and 72 (say, 118 or 74, or 114 or 70) to see if those tempi produce the same level of coincidence.

[17] The technique is also used in cinema where it is called the fade.

[18] At a macro level, these techniques must be further considered within the larger concept of flow. C.P.E. Bach describes the importance of flow in performance. Although Bach's use of the word "flowing" has been perverted today to mean metronomically constant and continuous, behavior he described as both mechanical and slavish (or “commonplace,” as described by Aristotle), Bach refers to flow as in “flow of thought.” Whether musical or verbal, flow must indeed be strictly maintained, but supported by the intention to say something specific. Constant and continuous sound has no such requirement. Tempo can be maintained yet the performance may be devoid of musical thought; it is musical thought which must flow, and the notes are necessary only to carry that flow. Musical thought must flow like a great river: the eddies, whirlpools, currents, and swirls on the river’s surface never stop the collective movement of the whole river...it flows on, come what may. So it should be with musical thought.

[19] C.P.E. Bach's insistence on maintaining a single affect throughout a piece indicates the value he placed on integrity of affect in music. Empfindsam music is more like an affective conflict or argument in which, ideally, all four affects are exhibited in a work and are brought together in a harmony of affect at the end of the piece.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Кейс Хилл и Мариан Плогер 2005 

 

 

Мы представляем этот очерк в двух частях, поскольку каждая часть является конкретным аспектом мастерства музыкального общения, которые взаимосвязаны. Один аспект не важнее другого. Применение этих аспектов вместе необходимо, чтобы было возможно использовать их в полную силу для создания вдохновляющего исполнения музыки. Думаю, нашим читателям было бы интересно знать, что техники и концепции, представленные здесь протестированы музыкантами, простыми слушателями, а также теми, кого можно назвать враждебно настроенными слушателями. Враждебно настроенные слушатели - это те, которые настроены строго отрицательно по отношению к классической музыке. Когда техники были использованы при игре музыки в течение нашего представления, результат для музыкантов оказался смешанным, то есть, около 95% музыкантов понравились их ощущения от музыки, 5% музыкантов отнеслись резко отрицательно к тому, что по их мнению, противоречило их понятиям о том, как должна исполняться музыка и выразили открытый антагонизм к техникам. Что касается простых слушателей, 100% были вдохновлены результатом прослушивания, 100% враждебно настроенных слушателей были приятно удивлены тем, что они услышали. Во время исполнения, похоже, они обнаружили, что проблема, которая была связана с классической музыкой, была вызвана скорее тем, как эта музыка была исполнена, а не незнанием этой музыки, либо же музыкой как таковой. Мы обнаружили, что враждебно настроенные слушатели невероятно умны и восприимчивы, что подтверждается отсутствием у них терпения для того чтобы продолжать слушать музыку, исполняемую в бессвязной манере. Кроме того, этих равнодушных, враждебно настроенных слушателей попросили рассказать исполнителям о том, что им нужно сделать, чтобы их исполнение было лучше. Когда исполнители отвечали им в любящей и уступчивой манере, принимая их предложения, слушатели отвечали одобрительными возгласами в адрес музыкантов и их музыки. Некоторые из слушателей говорят, что были доведены до слез исполнением, что является значимым критерием для исполнения великой музыки, не так ли? Единогласно, слушатели пришли к общему согласию в том, что должны делать исполнители для того, чтобы музыка показалась им живой. Те предложения, которые были сделаны слушателями практически слово в слово совпадают с тем, что мы представляем в первой части - Искусство преподнесения материала.

Провести такого рода эксперименты и получить связанный с ними опыт может и должен каждый, кто серьезно намерен изучить мастерство музыкального общения , чтобы полностью убедиться в том, что эти техники на самом деле работают так, как об этом заявлено нами. Недостаточно, принимать их на веру. Они должны быть протестированы на слушателях всех типов. Тем не менее, особую осторожность нужно соблюдать при работе с подготовленными музыкантами, поскольку они обычно имеют слишком много предубеждений, находясь под влиянием принципов современного исполнительства классической музыки, в котором эти техники почти не встречаются. Почему они испытывают враждебность и антагонизм? Мы подозреваем, что враждебность с обеих сторон является следствием неправильного представления сторон друг о друге. Музыканты обычно считают, что обычные люди грубы и недалеки в своих вкусах, потому не стоит их рассматривать как серьезных слушателей. Слушатели в свою очередь навешивают ярлык неконтактных, безразличных, изнеженных, склонных к снобизму персон, которых и слушать не стоит. Такой мы видим ситуацию, сложившуюся вокруг классической музыки, она трагична, поскольку предназначение музыки было, во многих случаях, выражать глубокую и сильную любовь и обычно исполнялась живо и захватывающе ко всеобщей радости. В настоящее время, классическая музыка ассоциируется со страхом и злом (верьте этому или нет!!) в наших культурных клише. Например, в кино слишком часто показывают как негодяи, во время того, как они слушают классическую музыку, одновременно готовят заказное убийство, классические музыканты изображены как эгоистичные, зацикленные на себе, ублюдки без капли сострадания или же как не вполне психически адекватные личности; насилие и огромные взрывы слишком часто сопровождаются величайшими произведениями из когда-либо написанной классической музыки. Это означает, что каждый из нас может сделать свой вклад, чтобы изменять эту мрачную ситуацию на более радостную ... не только для музыкантов. Именно поэтому мы представили здесь этот очерк. Любопытный побочный эффект, который наблюдается от применения вышеупомянутых техник и концепций профессиональными музыкантами, заключается в преображении обычного исполнительства в игру, в которой видны все признаки настоящего музыкального мастерства. Еще более любопытным является то, что если избегать применения этих техник, то даже при самом виртуозном исполнении, равно как и очень музыкальном с точки зрения самых высоких общепринятых стандартов, музыка воспринимается как полноценная, но при этом в ней не достает мастерства. Эти эффекты не являются трудноразличимыми, поскольку практически каждый нормальный обычный человек может легко заметить наличие мастерства. Следовательно, любой музыкант который хочет использовать этот побочный эффект, должен овладеть тем, о чем пойдет речь ниже. 

 

Часть 1: Искусство Преподнесения 

 

Игра на музыкальном инструменте это ремесло, требующее технической подготовки. Донесение смысла музыки, в качестве контраста, рассматривается как искусство. Этот взгляд преобладает столь долгое время, что мы редко задаем себе вопрос о том, может ли быть иначе. Цель этого очерка в том, чтобы дойти до истины в этом вопросе и предложить альтернативный взгляд. Он заключается в том, что донесение музыкального смысла является также своего рода ремеслом. Это ремесло заключается в умелой подаче материала. Можно очень хорошо владеть инструментом, для того, чтобы точно воспроизвести нотный текст, и при этом не быть в состоянии донести его до слушателя. Можно плохо владеть технической стороны игры, но при этом владеть искусством подачи в гораздо большей степени. Таким образом выясняется, что эти навыки представляют собой совершенно отдельные друг от друга вещи.

Музыкальное Общение с точки зрения "Искусства Преподнесения" (которые Аристотель называет Способы Высказывания (Элементы речи, Поэтика XIX), - это технические приемы, созданные для того, чтобы улучшить восприятие и понимание музыки у обычных любителей музыки. Эти средства созданы для того, чтобы прикоснуться к душам, оживить дух, взбодрить ум и глубоко затронуть слушателей. Для этого здесь представлены одиннадцать техник. Они предназначены чтобы подавать музыкальный материал в формах, которые человеческий мозг может легко обработать и понять. Действенность и сила техник связана с их познавательным (когнитивным) аспектом. Фактически, все эти техники целиком исходят из обычной человеческой речи и нашего повседневного опыта использования речи и ее восприятия для общения с другими. Все они являются естественными для человеческого общения. 

Одиннадцать когнитивных/коммуникационных методов предназначены для лучшего качества донесения музыки, в то же время они не являются заменой музыкальности. Музыкальность является духовным качеством и находится в области искусства. Обратная сторона этих методов может проявиться в тех случаях, когда музыкант не является глубоко духовным человеком, и в восприятии слушателей это отразится в большей степени. Если музыкант является духовно развитой личностью, то техники покажут этот факт яснее. Настоящее искусство исполнения сплавляет в единое навыки точного воспроизведения текста на инструменте с мастерством музыкального общения. 

Одиннадцать техник являются практическими инструментами , а не просто не теоретическими понятиями. В конце описания каждой техники мы поместили предложения по практическому их применению, особенно их применение может быть неоднозначным. Чрезвычайно важно применять эти техники на практике, в противном случае вы не получите никакого эффекта.

Музыку можно разделить на два типа - та которая воспринимается как звуковой раздражитель, и та, которую слушают, в том же смысле, как и слушают речь. Одиннадцать когнитивных техник имеют смысл только для второго типа. Для первого типа эти техники не являются необходимыми. Тем не менее, даже в первом случае музыка оказывает более благоприятное впечатление при использовании техник.

Далее следует описание одиннадцати когнитивных техник которые позволяют усовершенствовать. Они описаны в порядке убывания силы своего воздействия на слушателя.

 

1. Техника синестезии

 

Синестезия означает множественное одновременное восприятие. Мозг предназначен для того, чтобы воспринимать многочисленные ощущения в один и тот же момент времени. Наш сенсорный опыт, как правило, происходит одновременно в нескольких областях. Даже простой пирог является комбинацией разных вкусов фрукта, теста, сахара, соли, специй, яиц, масла, и кулинарных эффектов. Кулинарное искусство живет, поскольку люди наслаждаются, потребляя пищу, столь разноплановую на вкус. В каждом блюде смешиваются соленый, кислый, сладкий, горький, мясной вкус в различных пропорциях. Предположительно мы различаем разные вкусы различными частями языка. Это и создает эффект синестезии. Чувства зрения и запаха функционируют аналогично. В значительной мере удовольствие при просмотре картин Моне зависит от возможности видеть все цвета палитры в каждом квадратном сантиметре его лучших картин. Слуховое восприятие тоже нуждается в стимулах такого рода. На сегодняшний день классическая музыка исполняется в манере, которая исключает синестезию полностью. Это является следствием незнания среди музыкантов того, как слух или мозг осмысливает услышанное. 

Хотя разные частоты и тембры распознаются слухом по-разному, мы "слышим" или воспринимаем музыкальные и другие обычные одновременные звуки как некий единый сложный звук вместо того чтобы воспринимать некие дискретные частоты и тембры. Когда в музыке встречаются аккорды, нормальный человеческий слух воспринимает его как один звук. Если композитор написал четырехзвучный аккорд, и все звуки исполнялись бы одновременно, одновременно, обычный слушатель услышит не четыре звука а только один; богатый, но тем не менее только один звук. Если исполнитель пытается сыграть каждый звук в аккорде, чтобы звуки не звучали совершенно одновременно, обычный слушатель легко услышит все четыре звука и аккорд одновременно. Это возможность услышать в общей сложности пять звуков. 

Эта техника требует слегка десинхронизировать музыкальную информацию, чтобы слушатель мог воспринимать все тембры, все звуки, все мелодии, все ритмы, все детали, всю гармонию чтобы они полностью проявились в сознании обычного любителя музыки. 

Нормальный человеческий мозг достаточно развит, что у ему не составляет труда отслеживать до 6 одновременных потоков информации которые совершенно независимы друг от друга, даже если бы они "должны быть вместе" как в музыке. Доказательством тому служит то, что обычно рок группа состоит из 6 участников. Рок - музыканты понимают неоходимость передать чувство независимости частей даже когда в нотах написано противоположное. Они чрезвычайно чувствительны к скуке с точки зрения синестезии и много чего делают чтобы она не возникла на их концерте... в противном случае их ожидал бы финансовых крах. 

В 1768, Якоб Адлунг Jacob Adlung в его Musica Mechanica Organoedi, том 2 гл22 параграф 522, пишет об игре на клавесине: "Нужно пытаться использовать больше арпеджио, а не нажимать клавиши вместе или играя слишком медленно поскольку струны затухают быстро." Моцарт и Шопен также настаивали, чтобы руки никогда не играли вместе. 

Результат исполнения "невовремя" в десинхронизации, что и приводит к независимости голосов. Когда голоса звучат по-настоящему независимо, мозг способен воспринять каждый индивидуальный голос более легко. Когда мы воспринимаем два или больше голосов как отдельные и все же одновременные, это и называется синестезия. Это удивительный парадокс, заключающийся в том, что когда движение голосов истинно независимое, музыкальная ткань становится исключительной сложной, в то же время, среднему слушателю становится легче воспринимать и следить на ходом музыки. На самом деле, слушатель чувствует себя обделенным, когда независимости голосов не достает. Техника синестезии зависит от способности исполнителя, слышать, создавать и следить за развитием многочисленных голосов в музыке; голоса получаются независимыми друг от друга но при этом пребывающие в согласии друг с другом.

Когда линии голосов исполняются так, как в наши дни, то есть всегда вместе или одновременно, даже профессиональному музыканту бывает сложно их различить. Дело в том, что мозг распознает интервал как нижний звук в смеси с чем-то еще. Раз уж так происходит, мозг не особенно обращает внимание на все, что происходит за исключением самого низкого или самого верхнего голоса. На самом деле, лишь некоторые музыканты сегодня имеют способность выразительно петь и аккомпанировать себе второй голос одновременно...эта невозможность происходит из "клавишнонажимательного" подхода к исполнению, которым сейчас заражены даже вокалисты. Только сознательно создавая различия между голосами и пропеванием всех голосов в музыке исполнитель может разъяснить слушателю, что происходит в любой музыке, которая имеет более, чем один голос. Различия в тембре и громкости помогают в создании большей различимости голосов, однако это не сравнится по эффективности от применения техники синестезии даже в малой степени.

Кроме того, Джованни Тоси (Giovanni Tosi), в его монографии о пении названном, Искусство Цветистой Песни, опубликованной в 1736 г, использует термин vacillare (колебаться), чтобы описывать эффект колебания в мелодии, которая то отстает, то опережает бас. Он указывает, что " певец должен пытаться попасть перед счетом или после счета но никогда не одновременно" Удивительно!!!!! Сегодня, практически никто из классически подготовленных певцов не делают это, поскольку их обычно беспощадно ругали за это. Бельканто означает красивое пение, а не красивый певческий голос. Tosi говорит об этом эффекте, как об " одном из наиболее красивых эффектов в музыке." Колебания, которые он описывает, дают чувство потока и свободы...и вправду один из красивейших эффектов. 

Было интересно обнаружить тот факт, что Бах в рукописях его клавирных произведений, использует vacillare подобно тому, как рекомендует Тоси. Внимательное изучение рукописей показывает, что вертикали в правой и левой руке не имеют строгих совпадений. В примерно 60% случаев ноты в правой руке опережают ноты в левой руке, а в 40% наблюдается обратное. Предположение о том, что Бах делал это ненамеренно или, что у него были проблемы с вертикальным выравниванием нелепо, поскольку Бах, вероятно, был наиболее точным в своих намерениях из всех композиторов и у него не было проблем выравнивая вернтикалей в оркестровых партитурах. 

Форкере (Forqueray) дает указания для клавесинных переложений "Пьес для виолы да гамба", написанных его отцом. Они заключаются в том, что исполнитель должен воспроизводить музыку в точности как напечатано на странице. В тексте мы видим, что вертикали не совпадают до такой степени, что целые ноты попадаются посередине такта!

И Джулио Каччини (Giulio Caccini), в его Nuove musiche e nuove maniera di scriverle (" Новая музыка и Новая манера в которой она написана," Флоренция, 1614), предлагает что-то очень аналогичное vacillare, когда он пишет: "Sprezzatura - это та элегантность мелодии , которая достигается несколькими технически неправильными восьми или шестнадцатыми , технически неправильными что касается их синхронизации. Таким образом мелодия освобождается от определенного ограничения и сухости и получается приятной, свободной, и легкой, подобно тому, как приемы красноречия и находчивость делают предмет разъяснений удобным и приятным для восприятия".

Значит ли это, что использовать технику синестезии в форме vacillare легко? Ни в коем случае. Нужна практика, чтобы стать специалистом в этом. Наиболее трудно развить способность осмысливать и представлять себе все голоса во время игры, будь их 2 или 5 сразу, чтобы каждый голос пропевался чрезвычайно выразительно и независимо от других. Это выполнимо. Мы тренировали одного студента-органиста, который был не в состоянии сыграть все голоса хоральной прелюдии Баха из Orgelbuchlein, и в пределах 20 минут он пел и игра все четыре голоса независимо и выразительно во всем произведении. Итак, мы знаем, что все музыканты могут научиться этому. Кроме того, музыка Баха не может быть услышана в том виде, как она изначально задумывалась без использования этой техники. Послушайте следующий музыкальный пример трехчастной инвенции Баха и услышьте, как каждый голос пропевается выразительно и независимо создавая эффекты синестезии и Vacillare. 

Также, потрудитесь найти другие исполнения этого произведения и исследуйте, насколько другие исполнители смогли создать ощущение настоящей независимости голосов.

Применение: Всегда играйте так, чтобы одна рука вела за собой другую и делайте смену ведущей руки. Не пытайтесь совпадать в ансамблях. Исключение из этого - когда приходите к концу и одновременное слияние голосов сообщает мозгу, что музыка закончилась. 

Применение: Пропойте выразительно все мелодическую линию настолько независимо, насколько это возможно от других голосов. Избегайте неточностей или отвлечения внимания на другой голос, в противном случае слушатель услышит оплошность во внимании и перестает сам внимательно слушать. 

Применение: В ансамблях, делайте смену между тем, как верхний голос ведет нижний и наоборот. Эти смены должны следовать логике музыкального изложения, мелодических линий и структуры. Когда верхний голос ведет, музыка летит вперед. Когда более низкий голос оказывается ведущим, это оказывает эффект сопротивления движению вперед.

 

2. Inegal или Техника Entasis

 

Entasis - древнегреческий термин, означающий предварительное напряжение, растяжку. Речь, которая произносится абсолютно ровно метрически имеет прекрасное свойство останавливать работу мозга и прекращать обработку информации, о которой идет речь...всего после нескольких секунд слушания такой речи. Человеческому мозгу нужно условие постоянной или стабильной нерегулярности для этого, чтобы оставаться бдительным и внимательным. Нерегулярность обеспечивает состояние бдительности и внимательности. Постоянство или стабильность устраняет чувство дискомфорта, который хаос зачастую создает, будучи неуправляемым и действующий не по правилам. Напряженность между чувством предсказуемости, которое постоянство (стабильность) обеспечивает и чувством ожидания которое создает нерегулярность и непредсказуемость и есть состояние Entasis. Противоположный Entasis - Stasis или статичность. Entasis в нормальной человеческой речи привносится течением мысли. Течение мысли может быть и нерегулярным, и постоянным. Так же должно быть и в музыке. 

Французы, в 17 и 18 столетиях понимали значение entasis. Мы полагаем, что музыканты, которые употребляли слово inegal, имели в виду именно это. Слово на самом деле означает грубый, нерегулярный, неравномерный. Общепринятая интерпретация этого слова извращает его реальное значение, принуждая соответствовать настоящему способу идеального метрически исполнения старинной музыки. Эта интерпретация предполагает, что inegal - это вполне точное хромание. Если бы французские авторы имели именно это в виду, они бы использовали термин egal inegal или равномерная неравномерность. Следовательно, мы должны взять слово в непосредственном значении и понять его с когнитивной точки зрения. 

В музыке, с когнитивной точки зрения, каждая нота, которая играется предсказуемо, создает статичность. В статичности отсутствует напряжение и, следовательно, слушать дальше бессмысленно. Если исполнители не поймут технику entasis, результат будет нулевым потому что аудитория не будет мотивирована обращать внимание на музыку. В трактате "Поэтика" (XXIV), Аристотель наблюдал как "одинаковость событий быстро приводит к насыщению" Аналогично, каждый может убедиться, как три одинаковые ноты сыгранные с двумя одинаковыми промежутками времени между ними производит состояние скуки. За время, необходимое чтобы услышать три ноты, мозг обратил внимание на то, как второе событие было похоже на первое, а третье на второе и первое, и это предсказывает ему, что четвертое будет таким же. Как только этот прогноз осуществится, мозг или идет спать от скуки или смотрит куда-нибудь еще в поисках чего-то поинтереснее. Если это случается, как это обычно происходит, в мозгу у исполнителя, ошибки являются естественным побочным продуктом. Для слушателя ошибки, которые происходят в статической музыкальной среде становятся самым главным смыслом ... какое бедствие. Именно поэтому сегодня музыкантов, которые не могут научиться играться музыку без ошибок, отговаривают всеми возможными средствами от исполнения на публике. 

То, что люди учатся играть музыку точно под метроном является основной причиной беспокойства при исполнении. Избегать ошибок, когда ваш мозг отошел ко сну фактически невозможно. Довольно трудно бывает, когда ваш мозг полностью находится в состоянии бдительности. И когда ошибкам придается основное значение, что и происходит, такой подход прекрасно и методично подготавливает почву для парализующего страха. Это и является причиной того, почему талант в музыке сегодня определяется как способность исполнять правильные ноты точно вовремя, при том что мозг исполнителя при этом быстро засыпает.

Метрическая точность в музыкальном исполнении гарантирует, что большинство слушателей не смогут постичь духовной сущности великой музыки. Это также гарантирует, большинство нормальных людей эту музыка воспримут как звуковой раздражитель и проигнорируют. Это воплощение рабства в музыке...рабства под метроном...прямую противоположность которому описывал Карл Филипп Эммануил Бах, в его "Очерке о настоящем искусстве игры на клавишных инструментах”: "пытатесь избегать всего механического и рабского. Играйте от души, а не как вышколенная певчая птица." Техника entasis представляется выходом из рабства на свободу. Это просто осуществить: исполняйте ноты равной величины любым способом, кроме того, который может быть воспринят как ровный, одинаково повторяющийся. 

Использование этой техники сопровождается некоторыми сложностями. Самая большая в том, что можно внести хаос в звучание. Большинство музыкантов страшно ненавидят этот эффект. Это и вправду неприятно. Нормальные люди понимают, что слушать людей, которое говорят прерывисто, с перебоями, резкими остановками и порывами в речи, значит бессмысленно тратить свое время и силы. Тем не менее, есть другие когнитивные техники, разработанные для того, чтобы создавать порядок и логику из хаоса полностью неравномерной, неметричной музыки. Таковыми являются жест, синтаксическая техника или подача голоса, и техника опознавательного сигнала. Они создают чувство логики, потока, и делают осмысленной музыку, когда методы Synaesthesia и Entasis прилагаются. Другая сложность в том, что музыканты настолько долго были приучены к ровной игре, что умышленно неметричная игра им дается уже с трудом. Это требует практики, как и в случае с техникой синестезии. Но, как и во всем, с практикой приходит результат...нужно только понять, что чувство совершенства должно появиться в душах слушателей от восприятия музыки, а не от факта точного исполнения нот и пауз между ними. Музыка должна восприниматься как нечто совершенное. Чтобы это случилось, она должна быть метрически несовершенной. 

В чем заключается роль ритма? Мы полагаем, что ритм должен ощущаться, а не осознаваться слухом. Подобно биению сердца, музыкальному ритму нужно непрерывно менять темп, так как эмоциональное содержимое музыки меняется. Подобно естественно непостоянным акцентам в речи, музыкальные акценты стоит перемещать согласно значению, которые они выражают. Как только ритм, метр, или акценты станут регулярными и неизменными, они окажутся слишком очевидными, что покажет дурной вкус, ввиду их педантичного и академического звучания. 

В следующем музыкальном примере, Вы услышите Сонату Scarlatti сыгранную с применением Synaesthesis, Vacillare, и Entasis или inegal. Обратите внимание на то, какой эта музыка покажется для нашего восприятия, а не для суждения.

Применение: Избегайте исполнения в строгом соответствии с ритмом. Избегайте, исполнения более, чем трех звуков равной силы и длительности. Даже двух звуков равной силы и длительности достаточно, чтобы создать ровность во внимании слушателя. 

 

3. Техника Жеста или Интонации

 

Техника жеста или интонации предназначены группировать музыкальную и словесную информацию в большие смысловые блоки и форму, которая легко узнается и запоминается мозгом слушателя. Язык живет или умирает интонацией. Ровная речь без интонации сразу становится скучной и утомительной, на ней сложно сфокусироваться. Речь, богатая интонациями воспринимается без усилий. Музыка - точно так же. Интонация (жест) является техникой, которую мы все используем в речи, чтобы организовывать отчетливо неравномерный по своей природе язык. Форма жестов или интонаций, - параболическая кривая. Яйцо являет собою отличный пример этой формы. Можно также сказать, что форма эллиптическая. Эта форма создает чувство естественности и ей легко следовать. Язык без этого интонационного жеста - плоский, невыразительный, некрасивый и трудный для понимания, так же обстоит и с музыкой. 

Чтобы правильно реализовывать логарифмический жест в музыке исполнитель должен изучать природу и копировать формы, которые предлагает природа. Более того, человеческая речь изобилует этим жестом в высказываниях, словах, фразах, и группах фраз. Сознательно исполняя музыку, используя эллиптический жест везде, любым возможным способом где это уместно, исполнитель может гарантировать, что слушатели ощутят комфорт, естественность и любящее отношение. 

Мозг интерпретирует ровную безинтонационную речь как поведение безразличного, умирающего, подавленного, чрезвычайно больного человека. Аналогично, он интерпретирует богатую интонациями речь как поведение оживленного, одухотворенногоо, сильного, крепкого, здорового человека. Тот же и в музыке. Люди обычно не любят быть в кругу безразличных, депрессивных личностей а любят быть с бодрыми, любящими людьми. Так же, они любят слушать музыку, которая воспринимается оживленно и очень выразительно, даже если чувства, передаваемое музыкой - печаль и горе. 

Применение: организуйте музыкальную информацию в виде жестов и мини-жестов, легких для восприятия и понимания.

 

4. Синтаксическая техника или техника ведения голоса

 

Данная технику исходит из синтаксической или грамматической особенности речи. Посмотрите, что получается с вышеуказанным предложением когда все слова перегруппированы, так, чтобы разрушить связи между ними. Речи технику исходит или синтаксической из грамматической особенности. Причина того, что преобразованное предложение никогда не может иметь смысла, в том, что каждое слово рассматривается как равное среди других. Порядок, или его отсутствие определяет равенство или соподчинение. То есть, все слова в этом перегруппированном предложении не подчиняются другим словам. Результат в том, что предложение не означает абсолютно ничего...даже если мы знаем, что значит каждое слово. 

Человеческий мозг требует наличия связи во всем, что оно воспринимает чтобы придать этому смысл. Нечто, что нельзя связать с другим, создает чувство бессмыслицы в мозге. Мы игнорируем его, как представляющее опасность для эстетического чувства. Именно "связующее" в синтаксическом понимании свойство языка подчеркивает логику музыкального изложения. Чтобы эта логика была еще более понятна, нужно использовать техники inegal и entasis. 

Смысл и значение как в языке так и в музыке исходят из правильной группировки слов, образовывая фразы или жесты, которые, похоже, существуют вместе, только когда грамматический смысл каждого слова или ноты учитывается и усиливается, чтобы подчеркнуть предполагаемое значение. Каждая нота диатонической гаммы имеет отношение к тонике подобно тому, как все части предложения связаны в некотором роде с существительным. Такой взгляд предполагает, что понимание интервалов и аккордов в любой гамме существенно для понимания значения, которое выражает музыка подобно тому, как фразы и элементарные выражения в предложениях необходимы для понимании значений в языке. Это самое основное для этой техники. Прошло немало времени с тех пор, как человеческий мозг "настраивался" на понимание значения через грамматику и фразы в языке. Мозг, воспринимающий музыку, которая имеет мало количество "грамматических тенденций" теперь обязан сам создавать такие тенденции, самостоятельно. Проблема в том, что музыка проносится слишком быстро мимо нас, и мозг, не успев выполнить такую задачу, просто отключится. Разве это подходящий способ исполнения? 

Внешний технический прием, испульзуемый для ведения голоса - это легато (используется реальное значение легато, которое подразумевает "связь в уме" а не просто для слуха) и музыкальный прием для этого типа легато - cantabile. (используется реальное значения cantabile, которое означает "в певческом стиле" и подразумевает под собой стиль великого певца). Баху была присуща игра cantabile. На самом деле, письмо датированное 12 Апреля 1842 написанных F.K.Griepenkerl ( студент N. Forkel), говорит нам, что "Бах сам, его сыновья, и Forkel исполнявший шедевры с такой глубокой декламацией, как будто это звучали полифонические песни исполненные самостоятельно великими певцами; все средства хорошего пения привносились в игру. Ни cercare, ни portamento не было упущено. Даже дыхание бралось в правильном месте... Произведения Баха хочется пропевать как можно более искусно".

Применение: пропойте настолько выразительно каждый голос в тексте и затем сыграйте музыку точно как же выразительно, как вы спели. Мы обратили внимание, что музыканты почти