Continuing the Discussion About the Voice and the Violin

I was listening to a beautiful recording tonight with Andrew Manze and Rachel Podger playing solo and double concertos by J. S. Bach in a Baroque style (with the Academy of Ancient Music, Andrew Manze, director). It sounded very much like a vibrant discussion between the violins and then between them and the larger ensemble. The differences they were able to achieve and the subtleties in expression brought me into a language that needs no words.

So this brings us back to the discussion about differences, inequalities if you will, in the manner of playing each note and relationship of such a performance practice to speech. I wanted to see if Geminiani specifically makes this distinction, and he does. In his explanation about the close shake he states,

“Men of purblind understandings, and half ideas may perhaps ask, is it possible to give meaning and expression to wood and wire; or to bestow upon them the power of raising and soothing the passions of rational beings? But whenever I hear such a question put, whether for the sake of information, or to convey ridicule, I shall make no difficulty to answer in the affirmative, and without searching over-deeply into the cause, shall think it sufficient to appeal to the effect. Even in common speech a difference of tone gives the same word a different meaning.”

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