Fixation on Bar Lines

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trumpetsplus, Jan 17, 2015.

  1. trumpetsplus

    trumpetsplus Fortissimo User

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    I have another blog entry regarding notation:

    Fixation on Bar Lines

    In longhand:
    Last night I was driving home from a concert. I had a passenger, one of my students, and we were talking about various aspects of music and my teaching. The subject of notation came up and we discussed for a while the concept of short notes leading to longer ones and how players can often be misled by the graphics of the notation. Then I started talking about bar lines.


    Bar lines are essential in music printed for ensemble performance. This is for many reasons; one of the most important is “let’s run that from bar number x”. But the music should not be driven by the bar line.


    As we drove down the Parkway I noticed the milestones on the edge of the road.


    Hmmm. Milestone. I wonder if there can be a parallel with bar line?


    Here is an extract from the Wikipedia entry on Milestones:


    Milestones are constructed to provide reference points along the road. This can be used to reassure travelers that the proper path is being followed, and to indicate either distance travelled or the remaining distance to a destination.


    I like the idea of reassurance; the bar line can give us that. We do not drive to a distant city by noting each milestone; we start on our way and check from time to time that we are proceeding accurately. Similarly we do not have to play our music with compulsive fixation on each bar line. Let the bar lines pass by in the same way as we let the road milestones pass by. If in doubt, of course consult the bar line, just as you would consult the milestone (or your GPS!).


    I agree that bar lines are necessary - ensemble rehearsals would be anarchy without them. However music can and does sound much better when the performer is not fixated on them.
     
  2. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    I believe I've discerned the wisdom of bar lines that taken along with the key signature eliminates so many sharps or flats that would otherwise clutter our music. Too, I like the rule, that unless naturalized, a sharp or flat continuation is limited to the each bar., and there is still more.
     
  3. therealnod

    therealnod Pianissimo User

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    Who among us hasn't played material without sheet music whatsoever? After playing a march enough times or some jazz standard at enough banquets, you're not playing off the page anymore...you know it all very well. My senior year of high school I didn't even have a copy of the marching band music. All the same, at that point you know where the bar lines are, which is why you don't need the sheet anymore.

    I'm still not quite getting what you are advocating. It feels like you are holding back some larger point that you want to build towards.
     
  4. trumpetsplus

    trumpetsplus Fortissimo User

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    I apologize if there are misunderstandings. I am a simple guy; there is no hidden agenda except perhaps to encourage people to look at issues from different angles.

    The focus of all my work (designing, building, repairing, modifying, playing, teaching, and writing) is to foster improved music-making on better equipment by more players.
     
  5. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    Goodness me, by the time I was a Senior in high school, I too played my assigned parts in field marches from memory and didn't even fasten a lyre to my trumpet. Never liked those small music folders anyway, especially wearing glasses with the sun in your eyes or reflected from the clear celluloid. Then I had played in the high school band since 8th grade. However, the only music I needed was the concert pieces which I had only 3 weeks to performance.

    Now, some 60 years later, I play my church solos from memory but I do have the music in front of me, including that of my accompaniment.

    Otherwise, I've played many of Sousa's marches so many times that I can still play many of them from memory ... inclusive of the various multi-brass parts in my renditions.

    No. the only point I make is to explain why the bar lines for those who yet do not understand the quirks and rationale for them.
     
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Ivan,

    this thread DOES lead to advanced thinking about stuff that we take for granted - or at least do not attempt to understand.

    I find that success is often based on logical order. To have something "organised" we have to apply rules. These rules can be HARD like this:
    [​IMG]

    or soft like this:
    [​IMG]

    I find that many classically trained musicians have trouble with the latter as they are too dependent on "order". On the other hand, jazz musicians that think in "form" can just breeze through "old music"-
     

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