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The Secret Life of Musical Notation: Defying Interpretive Traditions
by Robert Poli
(Amadeus). In this book, Roberto Poli presents original discoveries that have generated ground breaking insights based on years of research and performance: long-standing interpretations of commonly encountered musical signs and symbols, from as early as the 1770s, may fail to reveal the composers' intended meanings. These misconstrued readings are due precisely to traditi ...more
Paperback, 254 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Amadeus Press
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I devoured this book in just a few days. From start to finish Poli narrates a journey of discovery through manuscripts and museums, starting from just 6 elements of musical notation that we see day in and out as musicians. The book is a call for a certain interpretative skepticism, something that we do not often get taught nor teach our students. When you see a hairpin, what is the composer trying to say that he couldn't by simply using cresc./decresc.? What exactly is the difference between sfo ...more
While at times the author could express himself more clearly - discussing music is already difficult enough as it is - his enthusiasm for and interest generated over interpreting scores is extremely compelling. Because we are so accustomed to listening to note-perfect, Urtext recordings, some of the art (in my mind) is lost in today's performances. I found this book most intriguing when he discusses Chopin's agogics (metrical inflections) and teasing the meaning out of the abundance of redundant ...more