During a lesson today beamed to Scotland, my student presented an invaluable opportunity to explore phrase variants in Burgmuller’s “Tarentelle,” Op. 100, No. 20, with particular attention to imaginatively rendered mood shifts.
This charming character piece has an abundance of repeats built into its fabric, with keen dynamic and emotional contrasts. Should the player conscientiously obey notated swells, and directive crescendos and diminuendos, this observance won’t be adequate to communicate various mood alterations that permeate strands of co-dependent phrases.
What brings the Burgmuller “Tarentelle” and other compositions to life, is a realization of:
1) How the work is structured and from what historical era it is derived.
Are there exact repetitions of phrases, or variations of these that require an emotional change? (What role does tempo rubato play in phrasing in a Romantic era framed composition?)
2) How do dynamic markings, including crescendo and diminuendo influence changes in mood, emotion, etc.
3) How does Harmonic rhythm impact the rendering of a phrase variant, utilizing the imagination and fused nuance as important ingredients?
4) What role does articulation have in the alteration of an ensuing, partnered phrase? Certainly, a punctuated allied phrase following a smooth, legato set of measures influences its emotional significance and transition.
In our lesson today, these points became a springboard to improve the whole landscape of Burgmuller’s colorful tableau.
Finally, in partnership with analysis of phrase relationships, is an understanding of how to physically realize mood variations. Weight transfer, supple wrist motions, relaxed arms, and a pervasive realization of the singing tone and how to produce it are essential underpinnings of convincingly beautiful phrasing.