[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: No, Gould's so fast

Bong wrote:

>Hasn't Bach put any tempo marks in his manuscripts

The metronome was invented around 1812, long after Bach was dead.  He
sometimes put an Italian tempo mark on his manuscripts.  Often he did not.
What many people forget is the fact that the Baroque composers did not
expect performers to play their music exactly as written.  It was assumed
that the player would interpret the music to suit his/ her style of playing
or the mood he/she was in.

We now have conservatories that presume to tell us the proper speeds for
Bach's music.  Unfortunately, if teachers want their students to pass
examinations or do well in contests they need to give them an exact
metronome marking for each piece.  The Royal Conservatory of Music in
Toronto gives a quarter note equal to 80 for the  Fuque in C Minor from Book
1.  The Italian tempo marking is Allegretto.  I have another copy that gives
the same markings.

If you listen to ten people play this fuque they will probably all have a
different tempo.  This is the way it should be.  I have often wondered if
one of the reasons Glenn Gould chose some rather strange tempos was because
he suffered from the regimentation at the R.C.M.T. Many of us have!!