About the book
281 music examples
Did Bach Really Mean That? Deceptive Notation in Baroque Keyboard Music is an introduction to some of the most important conventions underlying the notation used by Baroque composers. Without an understanding of these conventions, a modern performer can fall into a literal reading of the score, which can sometimes result in either a partial, or a mistaken interpretation. Such a performance may not only be different from what the composer intended: it may also be simplistic and unexciting.
Colins long-standing concern for possible meanings lying beneath the surface of notation, was particularly encouraged by twenty years of teaching by Colin Tilney (at Dartington and at other summer schools) and by discussions with Dr. John Byrt, a passionate advocate of idiomatic rhythmic performance of apparently equal notes.
The book originated in a series of lectures given at Dartington International Summer School. Colin was repeatedly asked by participants whether the content of the lectures was to be available as a book, and the present volume is the result of a further decade of work to that end. It eventually took the form of a systematic exploration of notational conventions, from the most basic (note-length and touch) through to rhythmic complexities, notational formulae, and certain aspects of ornamentation.
Far from imposing any rules, however, the book can liberate players from a literal dependence upon the score, reveal hidden possibilities within it, and enable performers to get that bit closer to the mindset of Baroque composers themselves. J.S.Bach was and is the most important of these, and Colins recording of the Goldberg Variations is not just a personal take on this magnificent work, but an audible demonstration of his understanding of certain features of it, as explored in the book.