Stomping

July 7, 2006 at 04:18 AM · How prevalent is stomping among concert artists and do you think it is a distraction or adds to the performance visually and audio-wise? For performers, is stomping an unconscious act? For example, I think some of us who have seen Sarah Chang playing Shostakovich 1 will remember her stomping on accents or strong beats during the cadenza.

For this discussion I am excluding stomping of beginners desperately attempt to keep time in orchestra, non-classical performers (playing Paganini and tap dancing at the same time, or something of that variant), or stomping for comic effect (I seen a performance of the Hora Staccato ended with a stomp, which I thought was nicely done and appropriate for its setting, but different from the stomping in this discussion.)

Replies (33)

July 7, 2006 at 09:03 PM · I haven't seen any world renown concert artists do it, but once I was able to see the audition process for the concertmaster of UVA/Charlottesville Symphony Orchestra, and one of the finalists kept on stomping her foot during her solo. I think she was pretty unaware of that stomping but for me, it was sort of distracting. When she first stomped, I was like woah, and took a while for me to get back to her actual playing... but this is just my opinion. She didn't make it as concertmistress, though I hardly think it was merely due to her foot stomping (if the audition committee also viewed it negatively, that is).

July 7, 2006 at 10:04 PM · When Simon Fischer did a recital here at our little local conservatorium (seats 100), I was sitting in the front row, barely two meters from him. His performing 'stage' was just the platform where the grand piano sits, only a foot or so high (30 years after going metric, I still measure small distances in imperial). I tell you, that stomping wasn't just distracting - it was unnerving being so close. It was the first I had seen.

July 7, 2006 at 10:50 PM · Are you saying that Simon Fischer (the Basics and 'Practicing' author and Strad contributor) was stomping his foot?

July 8, 2006 at 10:39 PM · Oh my yes. He's a lanky kind a bloke, these great long legs stomping forward while his body reached backwards. Not a 'keep in time stomp' so much as an 'emphasise this bit' stomp. Acrobatic tres.

July 9, 2006 at 11:25 PM · Greetngs,

I went to a very good recital a few days ago by a 65 year old player who use t to lead the Vienna Phil (or a front rank memeber) Peter Waschal (sorry my brains gone). This guy is about sixty five and he was damn near doing the splits and swinging up and down to the left like nothing on earth with a few stomps thrown in for good measure. His playing in the Kreutzer was superb.

But, the interesting thing was that where he actually produced the best sound and music was when his weight was fairly evenly balanced and his body was in a relaxed upright position and frankly he wasn`t there that often.The audience commented a great dela about how moving all the moving was, which reminded me how much people stop actually listening when the visual kicks in too much.

I was speculating about the effetc aof all the gyrating had on his physique over the years when I bumped into my bone specialist who wa satteniding his first classical concertt. He quite liked the music but his first comment was `Gee, I was watching that guy walk and his left hip is veyr seriously displaced.`

I am not sure if I remember correctly but I few years back I heard a brilliant young violinist called Andrew Beiliow and he did very similar kinds of movements. I could be wrong but I think he studied with the same teacher who woud be Mr Grach(?)

Perhaps someone could clarify that for me?

Cheers,

Buri

July 10, 2006 at 09:55 AM · When I watched Sarah Chang, I did notice her excessive movements, but I sort of closed my eyes and what I heard was really moving...So a little advice would probably be to CLOSE your eyes if the soloist is moving around to much (although it takes away from the performance...)

Also, for sarah, I noticed that she started moving around a lot from the age of 10...there's a pbs documentery on her and she's performing great recital pieces concluding with carmen fantasy(sarasate) and she moves around quite a bit

July 10, 2006 at 03:26 PM · I was quite bothered by Sarah Chang's stomping. Didn't like it at all.

Plus: I was sitting in first row, really close to her, and when she had finished an expressive phrase she kept throwing her bow and arm away from her violin, kind of like Pete Townshend. And each time I was afraid she would hit me...

seriously *lol*

July 10, 2006 at 03:39 PM · Amy, it's a good thing you weren't at the Encore concert last Thursday so you can't comment on this thread :) :)

July 10, 2006 at 08:02 PM · guys I think we have a stomper...

My teacher stomps. I think it's cool.

July 13, 2006 at 10:29 AM · I had the pleasure of seeing a fantastic young violinist recently, but I must say I thought the stomping took away from the performance quite a bit. that and her tendency to snort....

July 13, 2006 at 12:38 PM · Counting good; stomping bad.

(My writing teachers always told me to be concise.)

Sandy

July 16, 2006 at 01:46 AM · I saw Sarah Chang play the shosty live too. I agree with patrick. She moves around a lot, but don't let that distract you from her musicality. I actually found her movments and stomping quite amusing. It kinda added to her performance. I think the audience liked it too, she got a standing ovation for nearly 5 min! ( You can also hear her stomping on her recent recording of the shostakovich 1 - it's a live recording with Berlin.)

July 16, 2006 at 04:24 AM · Midori tapped her foot in a performance of Brittin's concerto last week. A little distracting,

MP

July 16, 2006 at 11:14 AM · Grainne, was that an Irish violinist? Stomping is irritating, snorting unforgivable.

July 17, 2006 at 01:07 AM · Greetings,

farting is not appreciated either,

Cheers,

Buri

July 17, 2006 at 09:23 AM · rofl

But, Buri, if you don't do it loudly you can always blame it on the conductor.

July 17, 2006 at 12:52 PM · or the composer

July 21, 2006 at 05:16 AM · or your stand partner...

July 21, 2006 at 05:49 AM · I think it's ok if it on accents or staccato or so forth. I playing piano and do it all the time but not really a stomp more like a foot tap.

July 21, 2006 at 12:07 PM · I find this thread really amusing. I actually form a 1 man mosh-pit when playing paganini caprices.

July 25, 2006 at 05:02 PM · Well... different strokes for different folks!

January 9, 2007 at 03:02 AM · Depends on the desired effect. It's a mainstay of Barrage--their shows depend on a certain amount of stomping, dancing and choreography. If you've never tried playing and jumping at the same time, you're really missing out on a fun aerobic exercise.

January 9, 2007 at 07:03 AM · I don't mind your stomping if you don't mind my laughing.

January 9, 2007 at 08:04 AM · Just seen a great show in London called 'Stomp' where the audience was highly entertained for an hour and a half by choreographed rhythms.The musicians were sustaining four different rhythms at a time(each person that is using both hands and feet) using pieces of household equipment.Playing the broom or the kitchen sink did not lesson the intricisies of the techniques required to perform this show.I highly recommend it to anyone passing through London.It certainly gives food for thought.

January 9, 2007 at 08:24 AM · HAHA... I live right next to the original Stomp -- yeah I've seen Sarah Chang stomp her way through other concertos.

It's okay sometimes, but eesh, every accent? Maybe she shouldn't be in clangy heels anymore.

January 9, 2007 at 08:25 AM · Can't say I've seen much stomping. I did see a concert of Mozart's Symphonia Concertante where the violist stomped in the exact same place during concert and dress rehearsals. I'm sure it was intentional.

January 12, 2007 at 02:08 PM · Stomping...

hmmmmm

I haven never been bothered by it--only taken with the passion of the player that evoked it.

In excess you would wonder if there was a neurological issue but to emphasize an accent--well it conveys a physical abandon to the music that is compelling.

Now movement.

I like movement. It must enhance the performance not be the performance. I must move when I play.

As far as choreography---I've never tried the jumping about when I play, like the Irish fiddlers do-- though I've often thought that that would be the way I would like to blow my knees out...

However, bowing is choreography and how we appear as performers is all of a piece.

I want my listeners to see that I am fully invested in my offering to them. That is the question I ask as a listener. Is this person there in spirit-- and can I sense it wether they stand like granite or flow like water.

bon chance

January 12, 2007 at 03:01 PM · I saw Anne Akiko Myers play the Bruch in concert last year, and I was in about the fourth row from the stage. She sounded absolutely terrific, and did do a little stomp at just the right point--in context, and since she only did it once, it was kind of cool. :)

Another example, any of you guys ever seen the Takacs Quartet in concert? Check out their second violinist, the man is an insane gypsy fiddler. :) I just love his playing and he's fun to watch too--my quartet had inside jokes about "the Hungarian Foot-Stomp" for months after that (especially after I inadvertantly did the same thing the day after the Takacs concert as we were recording an audition video...)

January 12, 2007 at 10:07 PM · Considering the advances in my field (psychology) made in describing newly-identified syndromes, I now see that we have a new syndrome to add to the ever-growing psychiatric list:

FSS - Foot Stomping Syndrome. A condition prevalent among string players. It consists of stomping one's feet audibly while playing music. Individuals suffering from FSS who have a mild case will stomp in time to the music. In more severe cases, the stomping is more random. There is no known cure, although large draughts of beer can have an ameliorating effect.

January 12, 2007 at 11:01 PM · Greetings,

and everytime you hit a bedbug they are going to sue...

Cheers,

Buri

January 13, 2007 at 02:59 AM · Sarah Chang loves the ole stomp

January 13, 2007 at 09:32 PM · hahah Andrew, you're one to talk. :)

i remember you stomping quite a few times during beethoven 59 3...haha.

January 14, 2007 at 01:09 AM · Andrew's more of a swayer than a stomper I think. :)

I don't think it's neccessarily detrimental, but when used too often in performance it can often look planned out. I have seen the occasional stomp come out of amazing violinists totally on accident because they're digging in to their violin. I don't mind it then because you know it's just a reflex from being so passionate. If it happens all the time though, it just ends up being like a percussion section and it can get distracting.

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