Vox Humana Posted January 23, 2006 Share Posted January 23, 2006 If philosophical topics aren't your cup of tea, read no further! On the other hand, if anyone cares to debate it, I'd be interested to read your views. It's a matter I've pondered from time to time without yet reaching any firm conclusion. A question was asked on another thread about what type of organ you can play Bach on and whether all his works require the same type of organ. My eye was caught by this response: "it's a question of making Bach's organ music work on the instrument at your disposal and making a musical effort of it." Now this begs some interesting questions (well, they're interesting to me!) We may get it to work, but is it still Bach? What exactly it is that constitutes a given piece by Bach - or anyone else for that matter? It certainly isn't the dots on the page, which are no more than a notoriously imprecise mechanism for composers to attempt to communicate their compositions to others. I would suggest that the composition itself exists at a somewhat more intellectual level: the sound in the composer's head, or at his finger tips. However much we try, we cannot know exactly how Bach played and interpreted his music. We can call on historical evidence and scholarly arguments to produce the most honest approximation we can, but true "authenticity" is impossible. So at what point does an interpretation of the given piece cease to become Bach? Is there even any point in trying understand how he would have played it? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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