This video makes some interesting points about how different musicians interpret rhythms differently. Does anyone want to comment on this, I'm interested in the explanation of the Bernstein clip especially.

Here's an article that discusses some reasons for orchestras playing behind the conductor beat.

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  • Well, accept that rhythm in classical music and rhythm in jazz music have totally different purposes. Which makes me think that is lesson is a non-issue.  Jazz is all abut the beat, syncopation, being in the groove. Classical music is all about blending. Which is why this guy thinks that the orchestra is playing behind the conductor"s beat. It's not about the beat. Conductors are not metronomes. 

  • I thought the video title would get a laugh and some objections,  "different" from what exactly?

    My thought is that rhythm is part of the foundation of music and life itself, so any musician has to come to terms with basic rhythms to be successful at adding all the stylistic extras; and a classical metronome is the same as a jazz metronome. Classical and jazz musicians and others mingle often if not always successfully. The video describes a successful jazz/classical collaboration with some minor problems.  But there are definite differences between the two styles obviously.

    If you Google "why do orchestras play behind the beat" there are many articles and posts with various explanations. The one I linked to above is typical.

  • A jazz band with a quick beat, syncopation and percussion has to be exact with the beat to give that feeling of tightness and precision.  The opposite is true of the concert pianist.  The beat is somewhat fluid for the purpose of emphasizing phrases and evoking emotion.  The tempo can vary widely within a few measures without ritard markings and without even being considered rabato.   I can't imagine playing a jazz piece like Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue without considerable rabato.  Most any classical piano soloist varies the tempo considerably.  In fact part of piano instruction as well as solo singing involves how and when to slow the tempo for emphasis or speed up the tempo to create excitement.  However, I believe some performers go way too far in their interpretation.  A prime example, Rubinstein.  When I hear him schmaltz up classical piano pieces I have the impression that he feels the music is beneath him and can only be improved by his rewriting the music.  Or perhaps pianists, artistes, prefer to be flamboyant and draw attention to themselves.  I  try to use minimal rubato and interpret the piece the way the composer intended, though varying the tempo in classical piano is expected and demonstrates a knowledge of that particular piece and its style.

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