Monthly Archives: July 2012
“This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals—sounds that say listen to this, it is important.”
“The act of composing is the act of fixing those limits within which the performer may move freely. But the performer’s freedom is – or should be – bound in another way. The limits the composer sets belong to a system which in may respects is like a language: it has an order, a syntax and a meaning. The performer brings out that meaning, makes its significance not only clear but almost palpable. And there is no reason to assume that the composer and his contemporaries always knew with certainty how best to make the listener aware of that significance.”
Charles Rosen, in discussing his opposition to the “historical performance movement”. Rosen is an American pianist and musicologist.