Roberto Poli: The Secret Life of Musical Notation
Amadeus Press, United States' leading music publisher, releases OnClassical artist Roberto Poli's first book.
Every music student learns conventions of musical notation that are generally
taken for granted—for example, that an expanding hairpin indicates an increase in
volume, or that a sforzando is a sharp accent. But can we be sure that such instructions meant the same in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as they do today?
Based on years of research and performance, The Secret Life of Musical Notation: Defying Interpretive Traditions presents original discoveries that have generated groundbreaking insights into music on the printed page. Acclaimed pianist Roberto Poli argues that longstanding interpretations of certain commonly encountered musical signs and symbols, in works from as early as the 1770s and through the nineteenth century, may fail to reveal the composers’ intended meanings. According to Poli, these misconstrued readings are due to
interpretive traditions that have rested largely upon received knowledge, which can change over time, rather than historical accuracy. A greater awareness of the intended meanings, he says, can only bring us closer to the interpretive freedom necessary for artistic creation.
With the instincts of an accomplished musician and with a high level of scholarly
understanding, the author builds his case on evidence from contemporary published
editions, handwritten engraver’s copies, and letters and other writings of the time. What emerges is a powerful challenge to conventional wisdom about how classical music should be played. It is a must-read for scholars, performers, and teachers of music and for anyone interested in exploring the history and meaning of musical notation.
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