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Ghost(ed) Notes in Bach’s Vocal Works



'ghost(ed) notes' in Bach's sacred music?

Thomas Braatz
wrote (May 29, 2004):
>>A ghost(ed) note. =A weak note, sometimes barely audible, or a note that is implied rather than sounded. Ghost notes may be produced intentionally as a subtle means of articulating a phrase, or they may occur accidentally when a player “fluffs” notes (that is, fails to produce them cleanly with a full tone)<<

This sounds like a technique that HIP practitioners have adopted from jazz playing. Bach wrote the notes, but certain notes simply disappear in the performances by HIP groups. They are 'implied rather than sounded.' And this they then call 'a subtle means of articulating a phrase.'

Let them (many period instrument groups) talk about implied notes and rationalize this entire method of playing as being a 'subtle means of articulating a phrase' in order to bring out the 'Affekt,' I would rather prefer to hear all of Bach's music and not just some parts of it. I would prefer not to hear certain notes 'fluffed' or 'splattered' or 'blared' in Bach's tromba parts.

Johan van Veen wrote (June 1, 2004):
[To Thomas Braatz] Now that is what I call a spectacular improvement: "I would rather prefer to hear etc".

At last you are where you should have been a long time ago: hearing every single note is your personal preference, not something which was required by Bach or his contemporaries.

Could this be true? Or is the wish the father to the thought?

Thomas Braatz wrote (June 1, 2004):
Johan van Veen commented: >>At last you are where you should have been a long time ago: hearing every single note is *your personal preference*, not something which was required by Bach or his contemporaries.<<
Just as it is only your personal preference that certain unaccented notes become extremely or completely inaudible for which there is ample evidence among numerous HIP groups who are not properly informed about Bach's playing style. You, nor anyone else, have not offered any reliable proof that Bach did employ such a performance practice technique as 'ghosting' the notes. The HIP interpretations that do use this technique rather frequently have created this modern-day monstrosity (possibly influenced by jazz players). Why are you so unwilling (or is it unable?) to point to a reliable original source from Bach's time and place, a source which states that 'ghosting' is not only allowed but desired in the expression of 'Affekt'?

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Last update: ýJune 6, 2004 ý23:22:24