Why the Score is Like the Musicians’ Gospel

Piano Lessons / music theory / Why the Score is Like the Musicians’ Gospel

Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. Today’s subject is about why you must revisit the score of your music periodically. It’s so important! For example, religious scholars go back to the Gospel again and again because they’re living a certain type of life. They want to reinforce the Scripture. Well, as a musician, you must do the same thing with your music. It’s vital for keeping things fresh and learning your music on a deeper level.

Don’t play telephone with your music.

Think about the game telephone. You have a message you whisper into the ear of the person next to you. They whisper it into the ear of the person next to them, and so on. At the end of the line, you have a whole different message! If you play your piece again and again, eventually you could end up with a whole different piece if you never go back to the original. Little things will change. Not only that, but if you’re playing a sophisticated piece of music, there are so many nuances of phrasing and expression, where a slur ends, where a crescendo starts, etc. It’s really tough just to learn the notes, the rhythm, and the fingering. It’s far more difficult to understand every aspect of phrasing and expression. Even if you’ve really studied a piece, you can always learn more.

Over time your memory degrades.

Here’s another example. This may be tough for young people to relate to because we now have perfect digital reproductions of everything. But not that long ago we used tape for recording. I grew up with tape. I owned recording studios that were tape-based. If you had a cassette tape or a reel-to-reel tape and you made a copy, the copy was always just not quite as good as the original. It wasn’t replicating it, the way digital technology does. It was actually just rerecording it. And if you recorded a tape of a tape of a tape, it was noisy. It was distorted. You could hear fluctuations of pitch, referred to as wow and flutter. You would end up with all sorts of artifacts that you didn’t notice in the original recording. The only way to get a really first-class recording was to go back to the original master tapes. That’s why you’ll see remastered versions of CDs and other digital recordings. What does that mean?

The way tapes and records were made, is from a master multitrack tape. That master tape would be mixed down to stereo tape. Then a copy of that stereo tape would be sent to the record company. So it’s already third generation by the time the record company has it. When they remaster an album, they can go back to the original multitrack tape and mix it down to 2-track digital. This gets the quality of sitting in the studio and listening to the original multitrack master tape, which is so much cleaner than what you ended up with on records and tapes years ago.

Refer Back To The Source!

The score is your musical gospel! It’s the original message. It’s the master tape. By revisiting the score again and again, no matter how many times you studied a piece, you will always learn more. That’s the message for today. I hope this is helpful for you! Thanks so much for joining me, Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Resource.

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2 thoughts on “Why the Score is Like the Musicians’ Gospel”

  1. Thank you, Mr. Estrin! I’ve been meaning to ask you: what kind of piano do you use in your videos? How is the sound produced?

    I ho[e this finds you well!

    Carol Crumlish in Eugene, Oregon

    1. The piano I use in many of my videos is my second prototype modular piano system. It is a 9-foot concert grand action with optic sensors for the keys and pedals which sends information over USB to a computer running physical modelling piano software from PianoTeq. The systems provides a virtual concert grand playing experience.

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