What should I know about the music tradition behind Music for Piano, I believe mugham? From what I gather, the notation is more of you'd call a guideline. I have the 1998 Musikverlag Hans Sikorski Hamburg edition:

  • Mismatched time between staffs

    • 1/32 (rest) + 5/16 = a 5/16 quintuplet

      I'm interpreting this as concurrent 1/16 note runs with one offset by a 1/32. But then why not write that?

    • 2/32 = 1/8

      I'm pretending they're 1/16 notes.

    • beamed notes in the lower staff arbitrarily positioned irrespective of duration

      I'm playing them based on where they're positioned on the page rather than the durations. Specifically the upper staff as the melody drives the rhythm and should be played as written. The lower staff as accompaniment should be more flexible and played as displayed on the page, in relation to the fixed upper staff. Still, it's a bit odd to see an arbitrarily positioned 1/16+1/2 note (see image: first note, last staff). If the timing was so arbitrary, why not just forego the 1/16 and write only the 1/2?

  • Use of tuplets without time signature or barlines

  • Recording by the composer differs significantly from the sheet music

    Wish I knew enough to do the same.

I also have some specific questions:

  • Do the upper-staff breath mark apply to the open-ended ties of the lower staff?
  • Do the tremolo-style feathered beams indicate the number of notes? Or do I play as many notes as I want (with gradual acceleration) in the duration of the left-staff?
  • Given a series of feathered (slow->fast) beams with each their own crescendo, is it alright to pause on the last (fast,loud) note to adjust to the next (slow,quiet) note?

enter image description here

1 Answer 1



  1. It doesn't matter, because the damper pedal is held.
  2. Play only as many notes as there are note heads. The feathering suggests accel/decel, nothing more.
  3. Yes, because that's in the spirit of ad libitum, improvvisazione.

Pulling off the amoroso may matter more than any rhythmic or dynamic quibble, especially when the composer's own recording seems to hold contempt for those quibbles.

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