I haven’t complained about this in more than 9 months, so here’s another go!
What I’m learning by notating everything is that I really have no idea how quietly or loudly I play (except when I’m really very loud!) I know when I play quieter, or louder, but not where my baseline is. Most of the time I just want to write p and leave that for everything, and obviously I do not play quietly all the time or even most of the time.
Working on Under the Greenwood Tree today. I have it complete except for the dreaded dynamics. What I do in Greenwood Tree is very basic and very repetitive. There is a certain shape to each phrase: begin quietly (or whatever is today’s calm baseline), swell to a certain point, then fade to a more quiet quiet. Lather, rinse, repeat. Did I say it’s quite repetitive? So my solution is to mark the piece p at the beginning, and I'm putting in crescendo/decrescendo marks for the swelling/ calming sound. Only it’s the same for each verse and each chorus. It’s driving me crazy! Why do I have to keep putting these marks in? It’s always the same.
Then I imagine the discussion a piano teacher and student might have: she marked it over there but not here ... is that because she wants it the same? ... or does she want it different? ... why didn’t she write what she wants? ... how am I supposed to know if this is right? ... blah de blah de blah.
I think of Bartók, who marked nearly every note in some scores with both a dynamic AND an articulation, and figure I just must really be a slacker. Or he was really controlling. Or some combination of both.
“It’s legato! It’s lyrical! It’s beautiful! Play it like that!” I want to write that at the beginning of the score, and then skip all the repetitive markings.
Hmmm ... maybe I will.