Dynamics, an overlooked dimension of ITM?
One thing I don’t see talked about much here is the issue of dynamics. I think this is an important dimension of the music that often get short shrift.
Anybody who has a serious classical background or pretty much any other serious musical background is likely to already be steeped in the importance of dynamics. I was a trumpet player way back in the day while growing up and into college. Played in symphonic bands and jazz bands and quintets and there is no question that being able to introduce dynamics into phrases is the key between okay playing and great playing.
I mean, think of what Ravel’s Bolero would be like if it was played only at one dynamic. It would be destroyed. Starting off at the deliciously intense pianissimo and the slow, steady, relentless crescendo until the climactic and cacophonous end is part of the essence of this work. But of course dynamics bring lift and life to single notes themselves as well as phrases.
I’ve been reflecting on dynamics because having got my big honking loud Olwell flute there is the tendency to play like the alpha male that I am all the time. But I am finding that the real challenge and the effect of generating excitement and intensity in a tune occurs when I can sculpt in soft but intense phrasing. Or at least this is what i’m experimenting with.
Also, I think playing in the context of loud pubs can force you to always be loud just to hear yourself above the din. But it strikes me that doing the opposite—playing softly and with intensity—would perhaps draw more attention because people would then have to lean in and focus to listen.
I don’t know. Just throwing this topic out there. Any thoughts? Are there any players you would characterize as being really adept with dynamics? Or I am I just smokin’ the crack pipe here?