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Subject: Re: Rubato
From: Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 9 Jul 2018 21:03:47 -0400

text/plain (71 lines)

There are also various types of rubato, and I think making the distinction is important. 

Generally, rubato in classical music and opera is a collaborative thing - the 
accompaniment bends to accommodate the freedom in the melody, whether that melodic 
line belong to a singer, an instrumental soloist, or a section of orchestral players, etc. 
Everyone slows down or speeds up to stay in sync with the prominent line. Obviously, it's 
what a pianist does while employing rubato in Chopin, for instance - the left hand 
accompaniment "waits" for the nuance in the right hand. 

In popular music, including all the jazz/cabaret singers (etc) mentioned in earlier posts, 
and also in pop/rock styles, the technique is more commonly called "backphrasing." The 
accompaniment keeps the beat no matter what, and the singer is free to sing "over the 
bar" / "behind the bar" etc. Most often it's about delaying the start of a phrase, or 
extending beyond the end of where we feel the phrase, hence, the melody is "back" 
behind the beat - ergo, the term backphrasing.

I don't think that "forephrasing" (singing ahead of the beat) is really a term per se, 
though at times that happens too. However, it's fun to listen to someone like Noel Coward 
sing his own patter songs at such a crazy clip with often ever-changing tempi, that the 
pianist ls left scrambling to catch up. ;-)

For instance -

One of the most extreme and ridiculous examples of backphrasing is from the film of 
Jesus Christ Superstar, as Ted Neeley sings SO back of the beat in "Gethsemane," that 
he's at times multiple bars off. Somehow, though, he always catches up. ;-)

On Mon, 9 Jul 2018 10:21:19 -0400, R PRADA <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>> Agreed. Without it everyone would sound like a machine - in order to make sense of 
text and interpret, rubato is a sine qua non. So really, the best way to point it out would 
be to find someone who is a human metronome. That would be its absence. 
>You are not likely to find people like that who have ascended very far in the profession - 
it is required of all players and singers.
>> Rubato, in fact, is such an integral part of all music making, that ordinary
>> competence in its use is to be expected from singers or instrumentalists.
>> For my money, what so called "mastery" of it is likely to yield, would be
>> better described as affectation, stylization, or worse - the deliberate
>> distortion of a melodic line.
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