To play or not to play…the ink. That is the question.

To play or not to play…the ink. That is the question.

Some people say to just play what’s on the page. Play what’s printed. Observe every printed detail.

Others say you have to play what’s *not* there. The music is not on the page. The printed music is just a framework from which to create art.

I’m going to stick with my usual answer to such debates. The answer is Yes. To both.

Start with the ink and get all of that down. Notice all markings and articulations. Portray and perform every notation.

After that – which will take a while – add the ethereal magic that’s not on the page.

Wait. What’s the ethereal magic? I’ll let you know when I figure it out but here are some starting points.

– taking articulation to the next level and considering the beginning, middle, and end of notes
– bow speed and distribution of the bow on each note
– bow location relative to the bridge
– shifts. this is a big one. do you want to hear a slide between the notes? will you shift before or after the bow change? or slurred?
– vibrato speed and width
– vibrato consistency from note to note
– fingering choices
– consideration of what the composer’s intentions truly are versus what’s ont the page – is it an edited edition or an urtext?

I’m sure there are a million, or at least a hundred thousand, other ethereal magic points.

6/26/2018 I forgot the most important thing!! GROOVE! i.e. flow or playing in the pocket – regardless of genre.

As always, happy practicing!

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