How to phrase music is a big topic.  Deciding which notes to emphasize makes your interpretation of a piece different from the way other musicians play.

Here’s a fun way to think about choosing which notes should stand out in your performance.

Let’s consider this sentence:

“I didn’t say you could take my money.”

Read each of these versions of this sentence to see how emphasizing a single word can change the meaning, sometimes in comical ways.

I didn’t say you could take my money.

I DIDN’T say you could take my money.

I didn’t SAY you could take my money.

I didn’t say YOU could take my money.

I didn’t say you COULD take my money.

I didn’t say you could TAKE my money.

I didn’t say you could take MY money.

I didn’t say you could take my MONEY.

It’s interesting how different each of these seem.  The same is true in your music phrasing.

Carefully choose the notes that will stand out in your playing.  You’ll be changing the “meaning” of the music, and your decisions can have a big impact on your audience.

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3 Responses to “Phrasing Music: Choosing Notes to Stand Out”  

  1. 1 Jake

    Musical phrasing is absolutely necessary if music is to be expressive, in a particular style and culturally aware.

    Details can be found here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musical_phrasing

    Do note however, that in the 20th century this notion of musical phrasing is under attack. We live in a clocked world… so unfortunately many people play music with accurate beats, instead of with emotional phrasing.

  2. 2 Ayo Awe-Joseph

    I love it and so damn helpful, simple and straight to the point.

  3. 3 admin

    Glad this approach to phrasing is helpful for you! Let me know how this (and my other practice tips) work for you.

    –David Motto

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