Composers' Forum

Music Composers Unite!

I'd like to drag this off of Ray's thread.

Views: 1167

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hi Gregorio,

I don’t want to overstress the point of contrapuntal clarity because as you say the instrument involved can be any keyboard instrument (referring to the 48) and also because if we bother to listen a little more carefully, the lines are all perfectly audible if the pieces are played well on any instrument.

But then I don’t know how to express preference for the harpsichord for some pieces. :-)

It is perhaps a feeling of intimacy or "outdoor-ness) that I have for harpsichord and guitar/lutes which is quite subjective.

But not so much with Bach, more with people like Couperin, D. Scarlatti, etc, whom I prefer on harpsichord and guitar better.

 

What would you say as your preference for this simple (but still contrapuntal) example in these three versions (it is the same piece but its numbering is different as per Longo or Kirkpatrick).

1 guitar

2 piano

3 harpsichord, (this one has for me the intimacy which I referred to). Here is a group of sonatas, go to point 13:01 for the sonata in A

Hey Socrates,

Yes, definitely the guitar.. my preference for most that i've heard of Scarlatti's sonatas..  but i have only heard a few dozen (of his 500 or so?).. The one you posted is so beautifully played!  And I'm not crazy about the piano version..although well played as well..  I do think Scarlatti works well on the harpsichord, (better than the piano), though, Horowitz gets a bouncy and bright - and harpsichord like rendering of some of the sonatas- some of which are quite appealing..

I think the LAGQ does some contrapuntal baroque quite wonderfully.

I wonder what you think of this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sp-uzgRsjYc

and here the Goldberg's on 'customized' acoustic guitar. Kurt Rodarmer plays:  (just for a taste, or in for the hour plus)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwoRYxCZTY4

Here for me is a beautiful use of the harpsichord in a 'modernesque' context.. (Love the Columbo soundtracks)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwoRYxCZTY4

Xenakis: (some lovely passages)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Djl5-HHhrk

Bob,

     The beauty of the harpsichord is it's agility.  It is so easy to play and its facility is only limited by ones finger speed. Unlike the piano you can play 32nd or even 64th notes.  However its volume of sound is limited.  A mere string quartet can cover it up.  Our chamber orchestra never had a genuine harpsichord.  We used the harpsichord setting on a keyboard which has artificial amplification.  It works well with recorders, flutes, the human voice and period instruments.  I suspect that the harpsichord is going extinct simply because modern orchestras are too loud.  Our flute player purchased a new flute that was as loud as a trumpet.  A harpsichord is a great instrument.

Lawrence, Bob never denies that. He is referring to a remark made by Roger, whom he quoted. ;)

The clavichord is less of an assault on my ears

I wonder if glass armonica will be as divisive.



Beautiful sound for me, but innate to it are apparently unavoidable high harmonics and squeaks. Unavoidable to all but the very best players at least, and since not many people play it the pool is limited.

Lawrence Aurich said:

[...] Our flute player purchased a new flute that was as loud as a trumpet. [...]

Whoa. Does that mean I can score my orchestral pieces differently now wrt. flutes vs. trumpets balance? As in, I can write counterpoint for flute and trumpet in an orchestral tutti and everything will still be heard? What's the world coming to?! :D

Probably nothing new to it. 30 years ago, basking in Green Park station I met a tin whistle player who sounded his tiny instrument like brass something-trumpet like. I ask him how he does it and he smiled and showed me his two front teeth missing… "that's how" he said.

Certainly it made me re-think very hard about advice in orchestration books...



H. S. Teoh said:

Lawrence Aurich said:

[...] Our flute player purchased a new flute that was as loud as a trumpet. [...]

Whoa. Does that mean I can score my orchestral pieces differently now wrt. flutes vs. trumpets balance? As in, I can write counterpoint for flute and trumpet in an orchestral tutti and everything will still be heard? What's the world coming to?! :D

I think advice in orchestration books are general guidelines, not hard-and-fast rules. Like all things else in music. :-D

I was going to say that the harpsichord goes nicely with flute, but not a flute on steroids, or a flute player on steroids.  Probably the audience should not be on steroids either.

H. S. Teoh said:

Lawrence Aurich said:

[...] Our flute player purchased a new flute that was as loud as a trumpet. [...]

Whoa. Does that mean I can score my orchestral pieces differently now wrt. flutes vs. trumpets balance? As in, I can write counterpoint for flute and trumpet in an orchestral tutti and everything will still be heard? What's the world coming to?! :D

Roger,
Per your tinny harpsichord sound comment.
You're right. They do sound tinny. Don't forget that when the harpsichord (and most of the instruments we have today) were developed, the world was a much quieter place. There were no 747's flying overhead. No semis roaring down a busy freeway. People were accustomed to an orchestra concert being a small affair. The orchestra might only be a handful of string and wind players and a keyboard. It was a slower, quieter time. Consider that maybe the music of the time was a result OF the time. Today we tend to think that bigger and louder is better. Personally, I'll take a loud distortion guitar solo over most anything else. We want full range, lows to highs. Is that because it IS better or because our world is so noisy now that we are used to it? Again, is our music a product of our environment?
Use the harpsichord as a way to step back to a more peaceful (not in terms of war), slower time.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

© 2017   Created by Chris Merritt.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service