The Clements Blog
Silence is Golden
by Tim Benjamin
Wednesday, 1st April 2015 | 1 comment
An interesting workshop has been announced, to take place at the Trappist Monastery in West London on 1st April. The workshop, led by Mark Anon, is a day for singers and instrumentalists to study the use of the rest in music.
It is surprising how many players find difficulties with rests. A prime source of confusion is the similarity of the semibreve and minim rests which of course differ only in their position on the stave. We shall be considering this and other problems such as how to behave during multiple bars rest to avoid people thinking you are lost, and addressing the question of whether 16th century musicians would have been expected to perform divisions on the longer rests.
The music will be suitable for singers (all ranges) and for all wind and strings – loud instruments will be particularly welcome. Strings should tune to A = 440 though scordatura tuning may be required for some of the more extreme modulations we shall attempt. Amongst the pieces to be studied will be Marche Funébre Composée pour les Funérailles d'un Grand Homme Sourd by Alphonse Allais (1854-1905) which pre-dates the better-known work 4' 33" by John Cage (1912-1992) which we may sample if copyright issues can be resolved. Instrumentalists may be familiar with the Fantasia Con Pause by Philip van Wilder and its companion piece Fantasia Ohne Pause which has the same notes but without the rests. We will also attempt the lesser-known version Fantasia Ohne Noten in which the rests remain but the notes are omitted.
The tutor, Mr Anon, comes from a line of musicians even more prolific than the Bach family and whose ancestors composed in many musical genres including estampies, ballads, dances, chansons, la spagnas, in nomines, fantasias and canzonas. It will be fascinating to have his views on the topic under discussion and perhaps to discover more about the feud with the more conservative Trad family.
Those interested in applying for the course should contact the Thames Valley Early Music Forum.
Meanwhile, here's a video of the great John Cage talking about silence:
A workshop in a Trappist Monastry on 1st April - hmmm ??
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