As performers we spend hours worrying about?perfecting the notes & rhythms, clarifying articulation and refining dynamic shading, diligently slaving away our practice hours in the hope of improving our capacity to realise the dots and symbols representing the composer’s elusive intentions. ?Teachers spend hours on techniques to improve?sound quality, rhythm,?articulation, balance, and so on, all in the name of accuracy, technical prowess and the potential to use said skills to support musical expression. Pupils in turn, slave away in pursuit of greater facility, urged on by the satisfaction of mastering a difficult passage or piece. ?Undoubtably this is an essential part of musical training but I have become increasingly convinced that the most important ingredient of any score is not the notes themselves but the?connection?between the notes. ?Rather oddly, this connection is very rarely notated in any detail.
All good composers share a?mastery of notation that assumes and demands an equal understanding from the performer. It’s a skill that we attribute to all great artists; the ability to use an art form to make one?feel?the subject of the work, rather than simply perceive or experience it: Every playwrite needs a good director and cast to make each moment on stage telling, in the same way a good composer relies on the performer to understand the implicit meaning of the dots on the page and how they should fit together to maximise the emotional impact. This is I think, the most important part of our job as performers and it is also by far the hardest.