Dave Pitzer wrote:
>Steve Schwartz wrote:
>>May I suggest that there are two types of rests (Ger. Pause; Fr. silence)
>>- exact and inexact? Exact rests must be strictly observed, inexacts not.
>Mr. Schwartz may "suggest" that there are two kinds of rests but that
>doesn't make it so. A rest is a rest is a rest. And to ignore, shorten,
>lengthen (in context) any rest is the same as treating notes the same way.
Yes, but the length of rests with fermatas depends on what happens in
the music before the rest. Generally if there is no ritard. going into
the rest, the rest will be some precise number of beats longer than its
indicated value. If there is a ritard, there is no way to measure the
rest out in terms of a number of beats.
But the real issue is how the fabric of the music unfolds psychologically.
No truly musical performance is metronomically exact (unless you're playing
a piece by Steve Reich perhaps)--there is always an ebb and flow of tempo
however slight, to reinforce the directionality of the music. Rests have
to be integrated into this tempo web. A rest carries the impact of silence
in which one registers the effect of the preceding sounds--it is like any
sort of break in the action. The length of a particular rest depends on
how the conductor or performer has built the music up to that point. Rests
that complete a larger metric structure ("hypermeasure") must be observed
exactly or the structure is lost. Other rests are less definitive as to
their metric length. If the chord preceding the rest is an unresolved
chord, the time of the rest is limited by the attention span of the
listener, or listener/performer--how long can the effect of the chord be
sustained over a period of silence? In such a case the resolution must
follow at exactly the right time psychologically, or the effect is reduced
or lost entirely. Perhaps there is always a subtle rhythm going through
any rest, something like the old theory of the "ether wind" (but with more
basis in experience).