Baroque Performance Clinic
My first observation is that there is a LOT of extraneous motion, better known among BFBC participants as "parasitic motion", in many of the performances.
OK, time to run with that. Can you make an analysis of the motions as they relate to the music? Are the motions associated with a musical gesture or . . . ? A catalog of the movements will help.
Most of the movements at least relate in some way to the music played, being time counting gestures. However, I find that excessive gesturing in the player is distracting to this listener, especially if the time counting is not needed for bringing in the group, or changing tempo. I also can't help but feel that excessive movement, for example ducking and weaving as an emotional response to what is being played, affects the embouchure negatively. The sound quality on most of the clips is not really good enough to hear the subtleties and there are exceptions. The flutist with the Eugene Symphony moves a LOT, for example, and I don't notice problems resulting from her gestures, but it is something to consider.We are off to Seattle tomorrow bright and early and I have a few things to do before I go to bed, so further comments will have to wait until I get back.
Begging to differ from the orthodox view a bit: I find it distracting when the players are too still. Like listening to someone giving a speech with appropriate vocal inflection but no body movement. Most of these performances are within an OK range as far as body gestures for my taste. The only gesture that stuck out to me was a big movement on taking a breath.
2 other observations:Wearing elegant clothes in a beautiful space...does it help one take oneself more seriously? Presumably it is meant to help the audience do so. Eye contact between players: a rare and lovely thing. Something I'd like to work on. Requires wrenching (in my case) the eyes away from the music.
Excess movement distracts the listener. Is there not the risk of distracting the player as well ?Performance is communication. In music performance it should occur by means of the music, and through all of its parameters.Seeing the musician play adds to the player-listener axis until it subtracts from where the attention of both of them should be.
OK, my BRIEF thoughts on the body movement: some of it is related to the music, some of it is based on insecurities and a need to try to make the body function as a metronome, and some of it is just a parasitic motion that a few of the flute players do that has nothing to do with time keeping, ensemble, or musical gesture. I'd like us next to focus on what we observe in the performance, such as the above-mentioned eye contact, and, considering the differences between professionals and unpaid players, the presentation or sharing of information from player to viewer. Keep up the good work.
Here is what I noticed in detail (numbers refer to the numbers on the clips):1. Head dipping--otherwise OK2. High 2nd finger on right hand frequently--right hand fingers high in general. Unnecessary bobbing.3. Bobbing and weaving on both planes, but the sound was not good enough to tell whether it was affected, or not. I found it distracting.4. Minimal extraneous movement--light counting strokes.5. Almost no extraneous movement, but the low flute position results in a bent neck, probably restricting air flow.6. I wonder who was actually playing?7. Very high fingers on right hand. Interesting breath choices--wonder if he marked them?8. Come to camp, Lisa! Work on those long tones and intonation.9. Ditto.10. Nice he had it memorized. Holds flute pretty low most of the time--some waggling, but nice playing.11. Time counting beat by beat in first movement distracting.12. Surely the orchestra doesn't need every beat indicated to keep tempo.13. First and third movement had single beat time beating.14. N/A15. Extraneous eyebrow movement at 28 and 31 seconds.Those are my observations for what they are worth. Nit picking? Most definitely. Things that I will try to avoid? Most certainly.
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