Sketches from Michele Trenti's essays

Planning and self-listening

Appunti di Michele Trenti

Anyone preparing to perform a piece undergoes a continuous dialectical process, in real time, between two activities: planning and self-listening, understood as monitoring the correspondence between the resulting performance and the intention that generated it. The interpreter divides his conception of a work into multi-level relationships—between the various parts, through a phrase, what comes before and after, and so forth—arranged in a kind of overall proportional balance. Now, since even in those cases of superior executive perfection what we perform does not correspond completely to the idea we have of it, the overall balance is re-formulated following each instance of incompatibility. This occurs to varying degrees at all levels. The more continuous and immediate this process is, the more effective the performer. Instead, it is less effective when there are gaps in this process, whether because of an inability to listen to oneself–even because of a temporary distraction–or to re-formulate the symmetries and conceived relations. Continuing a performance without reacting to the stimuli that surface from one’s own "mistakes"–or simply from new, previously unconsidered ideas–is a critical limit for a performer.