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Subject: Re: Pavarotti and reading music
From: [log in to unmask]
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Sat, 3 Apr 2010 04:52:29 EDT
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This is slightly off topic, but in the nineteenth century shape note  
singing was very popular in the US, especially in the South. Regular notation  
was used except that each note head had a different shape for each pitch and 
was  designated a solfege name. In addition the singers would move one hand 
up  and down to conduct the sway of the beat.  A publishing company had a  
series of  four part hymns written in this manner. The music was first  sung 
in solfege, then the words were added. One of those hymns can be seen  in the 
movie Cold Mountain. Apparently they discovered that the most  difficult 
obstacle when trying to teach an adult to sight read music  was the spatial 
positioning of the pitches on the staff which is much more  easily absorbed by 
children. They solved the problem by having different  shapes for pitches, 
which were more easily sight read.  This enabled  the whole congregation to 
read four part music, at least for hymns. The scales  were very simple and 
there were no modulations.
John Rahbeck 
 
 
In a message dated 4/3/2010 12:58:00 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,  
[log in to unmask] writes:

Somebody  says you do not need to study music in order to sing opera and 
takes th
e  example of Luciano Pavarotti who never learned to read music pentagram. 
But  th
is is very incorrect. Pavarotti was a very fine fine musician, so fine  he 
could 
use a different musical notation very personal and had no need to  learn 
another.
Is asbolutely true Pavarotti could not read pentagram music  but is not 
correct t
o consider he did not have at all a musical notation  for his singing. Her 
used a
musical notation useful to his work. He wrote  the words he had to sing in 
a big
notebook whit a notation associated to  colors and other signs for the 
highness 
and duration of the sound.   Original and a bit primitive may be, but it 
worked !
The result can be  heard in hundreds of performances during his career !  
He is 
often  more in tune than Domingo who is musical director ! In fact the 
modern  mus
ical notation started with Zarlino 's pentagram. For centuries singers  
used to s
ing using others notations very similar to Pavarotti's (inculding  the use 
of col
ors).  In fact the musical notation is fondamental for  composers of course 
and i
nstrumentis that read while they play. But for an  opera  singer that acts 
on the
stage and has to know the line by heart  the knowledge of reading music is 
impor
tant only on the preliminary phase.  He has definitely to put the music in 
his he
ad ! With a great memory, a  good ear, a natural musical instict and of 
course wi
th a good musical  teacher at the piano,  a singer can learn the part in an 
alter
native  way of  the official pentagram line.  But please stop writing  
Pavarotti d
id not use musical notation beacause is not correct. He had his  own.
Marco  Daverio

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