Musical expression is the personal take a musician has on the music they perform. It’s a uniquely individual experience. What do I mean by the term, “infinite expression” and how can you apply this to your music? Let’s start by explaining the two concepts of infinity and how they can relate to music.
The first concept of infinity is the idea of moving endlessly in any direction.
For example, if you go out into space and just keep going in any direction, you could theoretically go on forever. So, when it comes to music, what if you were to allow the music to flow in any direction with no limits? In the video included with this article, I demonstrate this concept with Chopin’s A flat Ballade No.3, Op.47.
If you listen to the piece in the video you might have an interesting response. Those who are intimately familiar with the piece would probably not be pleased with the performance. However, those of you who are new to the piece might have a more positive response. How can this be? In the context of the whole piece, adding so many liberties with timing, expression and voicing with infinite expression causes the music to go in so many different directions that it would be unsustainable. The whole piece wouldn’t hold together. It’s impossible to maintain the music cohesiveness for the duration of the piece playing in this manner. Infinite expression in this sense simply doesn’t work for classical performance.
The second concept of infinity is the idea of going halfway to a destination again and again repeatedly.
This presents another concept of infinity. Your musical framework allows for minute levels of expression and detail which is truly limitless. The nuance of each note, the levels and the balance of each chord, there are an infinite number of possibilities to add more character and expression to your performance. This concept of infinity can be applied to musical expression. This might sound like a complex concept, and it is, but I have provided an example of this type of performance in the video included in this article as well.
If you listen to the second performance in the video, you will notice how it contrasts with the first performance. While there are an infinite number of gradations of tone, balance and expression, there is a continuity that holds the music together.
I could play that section over again and again and never play it the same way twice!
Adding subtle details to different elements allows you to create character and expression while potentially never repeating yourself – a truly infinite form of expression.
Adding subtle details to your music within a framework allows for infinite possibilities in your music while still maintaining the intentions of the composer and the structure of the music. Yet with this concept, you can still add your own unique voice and expression to everything you perform. When you look at your performances in this way, it’s incredibly exciting – you can truly play a piece thousands of times and always add something fresh and creative.
I hope you have enjoyed this video and I encourage you to experiment with this type of expression in your music. Thanks for joining me, Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Store info@LivingPianos.com 949-244-3729