Thursday, September 9, 2010

Who's on First?

"Who's on first?" I think that may have been the best advice the Arrowhead Trio received when we attended the Garth Newel chamber music weekend this past Spring.  Each trio member always needs to know "who's on first" -- whose part is most important (or equally as important) at any moment.

So we've been taking apart Hans Gal's Piano Trio.  One exercise was to play the piece through, a theme at a time.  That is, each person was allowed to play his part only if it was one of the themes or a significant part of a theme.

Being the pianist, I have a distinct advantage in understanding a piece, because I have all the parts in front of me.  I have two staves with my part, and above those staves are two more -- one with the clarinet part and the other with the violin part.  As I play, I can watch all the lines move, as well as hear them.  The scores for the other players are only one staff each.  The next time we start working on a new piece, I'm going to give each of them a copy of my score so they can study it as I do.

"Do you know what that makes you?" asks Virginia.

"No, what?" I say.

"A better page turner," she says.

She's right.  I have to turn my pages a lot more often than they do.

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