In many ways this is an iconic question for addressing how one translates marks on paper into performance practices. Lerdahl and Jackendoff developed an elegant system of abstraction that basically translated the notations of durations into a hierarchy of stress patterns. Todd is one of many theorists who have embraced hierarchical representations. He not only admits this but also justifies it with the following argument:
It is important that music is organized hierarchically, because it enables the listener to comprehend the complex musical relationships. If it were not so organized all relationships would be local and transient, since the understanding of music places extraordinary demands on the memory of the listener.I can see the value of this approach when one is confronted with a full score for a piece of music occupying a significant duration of time. Nevertheless, I cannot shake the "inconvenient truth" that every act of performance must, of necessity, be "local and transient." Thus, what struck me about Kashkashian's coaching was that she was less concerned with performance as a phenomenon involving the translation of visual data into fingering and bowing techniques and more with how performing is a whole body experience and that, furthermore, composing may have more to do with trying to turn a composer's sense of such a whole body experience into a document than with the realization of abstract principles through marks on paper.
Once again I find myself confronted with the challenge of rethinking the relationship between acts of composition and acts of performance, and perhaps I shall have more time to think about it on the basis of recent reading.