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Old 08-31-2017, 12:54 PM   #21
Michael
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Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Killarney, Ireland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quijote View Post
Yes, I've read that too, and I think it's not only composers who perhaps do that. What I mean is, if you take a piece that you know well (and have played it yourself), when you read through the score away from your instrument don't you find that the time it takes to "play it through in your head" differs (faster or slower) than when you physically play it? It's almost as if the virtual, "in your head" tempo works perfectly well whatever the real "physical" tempo is supposed to be.
But regarding whether composers compose at the piano or on manuscript only, you remember that Beethoven's advice to his student Archduke Rudolf was that he should combine both approaches.
This has brought back a memory of a fascinating interview with a famous conductor (I can't remember who it was - possibly Karajan) but he was discussing the subject of mental listening (if there's such a term).

He might be having breakfast and a piece of music would come into his head. (Let's say Beethoven's 9th as we're on that subject). He would run through some of the opening section in his mind and then forget about it as he attended to other non-musical chores.

About half an hour later or so, the music would come back into his mind and he was always astounded to find that when it resumed, it had reached the point where the actual piece would have reached in real time. In other words, the music seemed to have been going on in his subconscious while he forgot about it. (I think he tested it one time and his brain seemed to have kept the same tempo he would have applied in a performance.)
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