Author Archives: davidcembalo

Time

Time is the most important dimension of music. It contains rhythm, tempo, meter, memory, and their close relatives anticipation, predictability and surprise. A deep understanding of time as an expressive element is essential to an interpreter. Looking at a score … Continue reading

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They’re not hands

You should not imagine them as fingers; Skip Sempe likes to say that harpsichordists don’t have fingers, they have hands because pianists can make do with fingers since they have the sustain pedal, while a harpsichordist has to play with … Continue reading

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Always questions

One of the great things about early music is that we get to constantly ask ourselves “how does this go”? Because while we have clues, nobody really knows. It’s all well and good for performers or ensembles to claim authenticity … Continue reading

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Deeper into understanding the harpsichord

All the practicing in the world won’t get you very far if you don’t fundamentally understand the harpsichord and learn how to get complex sounds of of it. One of the reasons this instrument is so interesting to play is … Continue reading

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Helpful tips

The best strategy for achieving excellent results in a difficult passage is to practice it with rhythmic alterations; instead of playing a passage with equal note values play it with a dotted or double dotted rhythm. And then reverse it; … Continue reading

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The fingers

Every day (nearly) I spend at least an hour conditioning my fingers to be, I hope, graceful. I’ve been recently experimenting with curling the fingers inward, tucked under, and playing with a scooping, inward motion. This isn’t easy to do, … Continue reading

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Fluidity

The ability to play with fluidity is achieved by working towards smooth and supple motion. Suppleness is a subtle flexibility in the forward motion, not absolutely metronomic but rather a pulse that has the slightest bit of ebb and flow … Continue reading

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