Monday, January 23, 2006

Bach's Ornamentations

These sure are complicated. Even for a simple appoggiatura written on the score, there's so much to research on - whether the ornament really is an appoggiatura or a nachschlag, whether it should be played on the beat or before the beat, the length the preceeding note ought to be etc. Sometimes, I really wonder how much of this research on ornamentation is justified. As musicians and interpreters of the music, we do have an idea of how the ornament ought to be played, and more often than not, I realise my research on how to interpret those ornaments are simply attempts to search for evidence to support how I feel they ought to be played, instead of digging into those books without any preconceived ideas.

So many complications beneath the simple idea of extemporisation. Maybe we should propose cloning Bach and he might just very well help us answer our doubts...

1 comment:

Hucbald said...

I'm with you on that. I play the ornamentation the way I want and don't worry about it. Sometimes I add ornamentation where it isn't written, and sometimes I leave it out where it is written. As I always say, printed music notation is not the actual music, it's just a map for music making. The path you take from point A to point B can wander around quite a bit, and it does not have to be the same path each time.