Introductory notes

As we explored in Introducing musicality, musicality names the aspects of playing that makes music sound musical.

Musicality is a complex topic to discuss as there is no objectively correct way of doing it. Numerous books and studies have been made, focusing on just the details of one musical idiom. The stylistic guidelines of one tradition may even be the polar opposite of another.

Musicality as a whole is far beyond the scope of what I could reasonably cover in this book. Thus this section focuses on answering the question 'what kinds of ornamentation can the ocarina do'. You, as the reader are left the task of working out how to apply these ideas, by experiment and through adaption of published guidance for other instruments.

Where ornaments and playing techniques have standard notations within sheet music these have been explained, however its also important to note that not all musical traditions abide by those standards, and in some cases reading notation literally may result in playing that sounds idiomatically wrong.

There are countless musical traditions in the world, and many of them evolved aurally, without reference to classical theory. Many even evolved before the age of the internet and easy communication.

The importance of listening

One overarching thing to developing musicality is the skill of listening, listening to recordings or live performances of music in styles that you are looking to replicate.

Its of particular importance for those playing from sheet music as the notation can create a false sense of security. When one looks at notation, one can be lead to assume that a score notates exactly how something should be performed, but it doesn't.

Sheet music is an approximation, in the same sense that written English is. When one reads, they read in their own accent, and experienced musicians do the same thing when performing from sheet music. It's less likely to arise for those who learn by ear from the start.

As we will be exploring, we have a number of ornaments and articulations we can apply, and yet these are not very strictly defined. There's a huge variation in how they can be performed, such as in their timing, which greatly impacts their effect.

This is also true of rhythms as they are not played exactly as notated. Each musical genre has its own tendencies where the notes of rhythm are subtly shifted, which is called 'micro rhythm'.

Notation can be more or less specific with these details. Classical scores are often very specified, while folk music often sounds completely different to what the notation suggests. But on a small enough scale, there are always unspecified details.

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