Author: test_gwjeh6

Schubert threw his hands in the air, cursing, while playing his own Wanderer Fantasy in public, most likely 18 bars before the end of the third movement, and stated in dismay: "This piece is impossible! The Devil shall play it!!"

I deduce that he didn't think of the Dark Lord of Evil, Diábolos, Satan, Master of the Four Horsemen, the Destroyer of Worlds, Enemy of all divine and human,
but rather of the Light Lord of Lies, Mephistopheles, Loki, Lucifer, not maleficent but cunning, the trickster, the illusionist, master of might and magic, part of the Power that ever schemes Evil but always creates Good.

How often have we heard from our teachers: "You have to let the music flow".

And when asked further, we were told: "It must be natural". And when we still inquired more, we were given a picturesque metaphor, such as "Imagine a river; your melody must be like a leaf carried by the flow." or "The lines of the bars in the score are like prison bars: you have to escape them." or "Imagine carrying the holy grail slowly towards the light."

At that point we were hesitant to question further, as the impatience of the master increased in proportion to the assumed evidence of our ineptitude. We returned to our practice rooms and tried harder.

But one more persistent quandary would surely have yielded this very practical advice:

1) A) Dynamics and B) Expression are strongly correlated systems in music - they behave like linked particles. Two sides of one musical coin, A=B.

1,1) Dynamics stretches the fabric of musical time (meter, rhythm); therefore Agogic, as an aspect of Dynamics, is also an agent of musical expression.

1,2) Timbre is critical to the character of that fabric; it is an aspect of the dynamic line (think voice) or of the balance between dynamic lines (think orchestra) and also an agent of musical expression.

1b) Dynamics, Agogic, and Timbre in music are domain of the measurable world and can be displayed in a Cartesian coordinate system (i.e. soft/loud, in-time/late, dark/bright), a material phenomenon. Ineffable Expression reveals itself through the inspired interplay of these three definable aspects.

2) B) Expression and C) Meaning, while two phenomena (B≠C) in verbal language*, are inseparable in the musical language** and also behave like linked particles. Two sides of one musical coin, B=C.

* In verbal language the C) Meaning of “Frosted Flakes are great!” or “I am your father, Luke” or "I love you forever!" is contained within the written words but their B) Expression, when said out loud, is a different phenomenon (think Shakespeare). ** In musical language C) Meaning cannot be derived from the written score (think MIDI) - it is entirely dependent on "saying it out loud", a phenomenon of B) Expression in performance resulting from the trident of A) Dynamics, Agogic and Timbre.

2b) Expression and Meaning in music are domain of the mind and soul only; immeasurable, numinous, and yet evident; a phenomenon and triumph of the human spirit.

3) Dynamics3, Expression, and Meaning are all strongly correlated systems in music: a trinity of linked particles. Three quantum-entangled sides of that one musical coin, A=B=C.


Classical music at the turn of the 20th century, before the great schism, was, amongst many other things, a comprehensive reflection of the culture of its day. The older generation was personally connected with the musical traditions of the imminent past and the younger generation...