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Interpretation Time 
 

Interpretation Time

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Interpretation Time    13:35 on Monday, October 05, 2009 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

Go-Home-and-Prac
tice

Hello all! I thought I would pose a kind of philosophical question about interpretation and listening to recordings.
I am working on Poem by Griffes, and I mentioned to my professor that I felt I needed to listen to a recording of the piece. Perhaps multiple recordings by different artists. She said it worries her when a student says that, because it might be a sign the student is not creating his or her own interpretation.

It's true--when we listen to something multiple times one way, it gets in our ear and we might have a tendency to play it like that.
So, past the note-learning stage, how much is too much listening?
When do you think listening to major flute players could go overboard and kill a person's creativity?


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Re: Interpretation Time    14:33 on Monday, October 05, 2009 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

Siersan
(28 points)

She said it worries her when a student says that, because it might be a sign the student is not creating his or her own interpretation.

Sounds pessimistic to me. Maybe the student is looking for different perspectives and ideas on creating his or her own interpretation. Not everything has to be unique and fresh, right? If it sounds good one way there's nothing wrong with playing it that way. You'll still sound like yourself even if you try to completely copy another player.

It's true--when we listen to something multiple times one way, it gets in our ear and we might have a tendency to play it like that.

As long as we play with a critical ear, I don't think that's a bad thing. If you know you're playing like a recording you heard and still choose to do so after considering alternatives, no biggie. Imitation is also a form of interpretation.

When do you think listening to major flute players could go overboard and kill a person's creativity?

I don't think any amount of listening to recordings or live performances could kill a person's creativity. In fact, I'm of the opinion that listening only enhances one's creativity because it introduces fresh perspectives. No matter how much I try to play like someone else, I'll still sound like me, after all. Listening to other flute players can give me ideas that I can incorporate into my style, but even if I try to copy one of them, it still won't be the same, and honestly I wouldn't have it any other way.

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Re: Interpretation Time    02:27 on Tuesday, October 06, 2009 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

CessiMarie
(152 points)

I agree with Siersan. The keyword is "might be". We are definitly influenced by all the music we hear during our lives, and the main thing I assume is to make sure you are listening to different interpretations. Or, more correctly, that you make an effort to think about what you hear and what your own reflections are about it. One suggestion I have read somewhere on this forum was to make sure you get a feeling for the piece before starting to listen to different recordings.

Oh, and why not continue the discussion with your teacher? It could be interesting to hear his/hers reflections on copying something compared to beeing inspired by something.

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Re: Interpretation Time    06:54 on Tuesday, October 06, 2009 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

Patrick
(1743 points)

I would like to put in my two cents..

Of course we are influenced by the flutists we listen to, they were influenced, and so on and so on...

Interpretation means taking a piece that is dear to you and expressing through it that which you have been through or dream about or strive for..

Here is an exercise I use when talking about this topic in lectures..take your piece and imagine what music it would be if it were being used in a movie..what are the characters doing? what are they expressing? are they arguing? laughing? crying?

Then imagine yourself as one of those characters, and you will see how to use the composers notes to tell your OWN story..

Hope that helps a bit..

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Re: Interpretation Time    09:58 on Tuesday, October 06, 2009 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

jose_luis
(2365 points)

I wonder if there is just one teacher/professor of flute who never listened to a recorded version of what he/she was working on as a student.

In some cases they demand their students, nevertheless, to refrain from doing so, even in high level studies. My teacher suffered this problem while at the conservatory and she believes now it is an unforgivable mistake.

Now, if one accepts the guide of a particular teacher, one should also accept all his/her peculiarities and follow the given indications. But I confess that sometimes I am not so obedient myself.

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Re: Interpretation Time    10:14 on Tuesday, October 06, 2009 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

TBFlute
(130 points)

Personally, I think it is absolutely essential to listen to as many flutists as possible. While you don't want to copy them exactly, you can be inspired by their richness of tone, their dynamic range, and their expression. When I practice Baroque music, I try and get my hands on a baroque flute recording and a modern flute recording. Perhaps you should try and listen to famous flutists with very different interpretations to hear all the myriad ways in which it can be interpreted. You'll then have a broader perspective when you come up with your own interpretation.

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Re: Interpretation Time    15:12 on Tuesday, October 06, 2009 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

Go-Home-and-Prac
tice

Many thanks to everyone for their replies. I hope more people can add their opinions as well. :-)
Just a disclaimer everybody: My flute professor doesn't discourage listening to recordings. She just doesn't want me to listen to only one and make my interpretation sound like just like that. She was encouraging me to "feel" the music for myself and not simply copy off some famous flutist.
Chances are, she's come across plenty of students who simply don't think about interpretation, and the only way they add emotion to their music is through imitation. Maybe it's important not to underestimate the passionate individual's ability to make a piece their own.
You're right TBFlute--listening to great flute playing has been essential for me as well.

But I sincerely enjoyed everyone's perspectives--Thank you!

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Re: Interpretation Time    15:20 on Tuesday, October 06, 2009 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

jose_luis
(2365 points)

Her approach is the best one, in my opinion.

   

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