We are always interested in creating posts that make you think. Not necessarily agree (or disagree), but think. Much of contemporary culture (e.g. TV, movies, etc.) is intended and largely received passively. Blogs can sometimes serve as nets, harvesting interesting informational flotsam and jetsam from the great sea of the internet, but they can and should also serve to provoke thought and reflection about topics about which there may be no easy answer.
Today’s puzzler is inspired by several of Bruce Brubaker’s posts in his blog PianoMorphosis: what if musical scores are performed differently than the printed notes? One answer is the title of this post, taken from an anecdote related by Brubaker:
Once after I played John Cage’s Dream (from memory), some audience members were talking to Cage. Someone asked, “What would happen if the pianist got lost?” Almost instantly, and seemingly without thinking it over, Cage blurted out: “That would be wonderful.”
Brubaker’s point is that concert pianists memorize buckets of notes, and modifications to the original score may slip in over time in such quantity operations.
Let’s ask the question: if the player gives a skillful performance that in some way strays from the score (unintentionally or not) that is enjoyed by the audience, is this wrong? Or deceptive? Or (fill in blank with negative adjective)? Or is it okay? Or, even, “wonderful?”
A teacher once gave me an interesting answer when I asked him how I should articulate a certain passage in a Haydn concerto. He said, “Convince me.” Is it more important to be convincing than correct?”