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Uurcan Kurt

CEMBALO TECHNIC AND ITS USING IN


CONTEMPORARY MUSIC

Todays musical language shows similarity to its Historical past. From time to time
while musical tradition is changing different aspects on musical language has risen.
If spoken language is examined, it can show us every culture has different
perspective of using it. Different aspects create different ways to communicate
people or see a phenomenon from different perspective. Without making distinction,
every arm of art can be divided into parts on their constitution of performance. For
example, one performer reads notation different from the other. If we look at
performers traditions, we can see their difference on every note. Questions that can
asked on this point, why every performance is different than the other.
Modernization of performance and historical performance have different elements
can be examined on their traditional perspectives. This two-sided examination can
show us what is cultural and traditional perspective on musical language. Firstly,
cultural performance depends on schools which is thought in different countries.
They have several methods to teach music in oral and theoretic way. Oral system
depends on teachers educational tradition. This system works by aesthetic vision of
teacher. Theoretic way is methods that are used by teachers. For example, if the
teacher is bound to Russian school learning process is taken shaped by Russian
tradition. Many students from Russian school of music have used Russian methods
and its traditional cantabile. This material symbolizes Russian world of thought.
Alexander Nikolaev had written the named Russian school of music for to be used in
USSR. In traditional manner, this book has roots to baroque musical tradition. After
preface, first technique that was used in first exercises is non-legato and this
technique almost was used in every piece. Notation of exercises and pieces was
written in cembalo style. Using of this style firstly used in Baroque period by masters
of this period like C.P. E Bach, F.W. Marpurg and D.G.Turk. This style has three
important touches called non-legato, legato, and staccato. Legato was special effect
on keyboard playing so used just on slurred notes. Performance tradition was
generally non-legato and performer was playing like drummer. Nikolaev used this
technique and its notational tradition on Russian Method. Russians always believed
that non-legato is first touch to teach and student must learn legato after mastered it.
Modern performers from Russia and piano technic in Russia was changed
dramatically after this method was being used. And the other countries used similar
methods like Russians. Development of phrasing is gone further and further by
performers. And phrases articulated more freely. This intellection has opened new
doors on writing and interpreting of piano music. From tonal to atonal music, old-
style phrasing was replaced cantabile phrasing. Even if one phrase is created with
4+4 principle that corresponds antecedent and consequent, this kind of musical
phrase can be divided into a lot section like figures and motifs in new musical
tradition. For example, Chopin divided his musical phrase into small parts and small
parts have different articulation. Every part different role in this musical phrase like
breath of soprano or starting accent.

f we go further to today, we can see that this sectional dividing was advanced
with contemporary music. Arnold Schonberg was used too many articulation in
phrasing manner in his piano music series named Klavierstcke. Although he did
not write serial music he phrased his music with different articulations.

As seen on Schonbergs music, articulation is real aspect of todays musical


understanding. Cembalo style has risen along with the importance of point-stylistic
music that crates musical phrases with two or three notes-articulated fragments. While
virtuosity is increasing, notation is divided smaller musical parts. This dividing caused
more percussive and rough musical ideas. Liszts and Busoni was created ideas and
parted them into smaller parts. This kind of phrasing reminds us Cembalo style again.
n spite of Liszts music has been counted as Late Romantic ideas and their
interpreting was belonged to Cembalo style because of non-legato, marcato touches
and smaller legato sections. Writing of him reminds us some kind of cembalo playing.
When we back to traditional fact of writing and playing music, Croatian music has non-
legato style in its roots even their vocal music which reflects on musical tradition on
piano music.
Another example from Bartoks music is showing us how Bartok phrased his modal
composition. Music has several division especially on its surface but little difference
on melodic understanding belongs to contemporary flavor. Composer has created
music with little fragments and these are grouped with articulation symbols. This
kind of writing shows us, composers from contemporary period detailed their
notation with articulations distinctly from baroque period but writing like baroque
interpreters perspective of interpretation.
Seeing whole music with its own parts in interpretation manner is a legacy from
baroque and late romantic approach. Perspective which belongs to this tradition has
influenced the tradition musical thought of contemporary music. Approaching piano
in interpretation manner brought the idea percussive playing. This approach to
interpretative aspects of piano music reflected on piano writing at last.
Contemporary period suffers from the idea of want to make new music with new
sound world. And composers who were virtuosic pianist like Bartok, Stravinsky,
Lizst ext... used the playing and writing idea of cembalo tradition to make new music
to be detached from their past and while doing this musical ancestors of cembalo
tradition, gave them a new borne child named percussive piano style.
Ligeti, one the famous composer of new tradition has used old style writing used in
renaissance and baroque period. Musical ideas has given with legato and non-
legato without any break while left hand playing basso continuo like melody right
hand plays D-dorian orianted melody that fragmented percussive and slurred
articulation in piece named Hungarian Rock.

Another example from Musica Ricarcata definetly shows us figures of continuum


and modal melodic line onto it.

Beat Furrers music can be example to cembalo style. This kind of musical notation
reminds listener cembalo arpeggiation. Point-stylistic approach which was used on
this music is regular idea contemporary music. Composer brought points together
and has created musical line above them.

As a result, old style is reborn with contemporary music after too many years. Using
percussive style on piano present listener fragmented and rough musical feeling and
interpreters of this music must have worked on historical performance.
Contemporary ideas and sound world is new but it reflects primitive point of view. f
the primitive ideas used carefully , composer can write music that is detached from
other composers. Actually , all the composers must be primitive when they writing
music. This is the reason for going back to cembalo style. As old one said, be
primitive , be a man.