I was reading a grammar book's lesson on modal auxilaries and came across the following two sentences in a reading exercise (which, I should add, do not directly follow each other).
(1) Anna spielt Klavier gern, nicht so gut aber wie die Mutter.
(2) Seine Stimme ist nicht stark, und doch nicht besonders schwach; sie ist aber schön.
The placement of aber in both cases bothers me. In the first, the English translation, if I'm not mistaken, should be
Anna likes playing the piano, but [she does not play it] as well as [her] mother.
But it's weird to me, as an English speaker, that the aber is placed in the middle of the clause, rather than at the beginning. There's a similar problem to me with the second sentence to me.
For what it's worth, the book I'm using is fairly old -- it was published in 1968, and it even gives Knabe as the translation for boy. (I'm borrowing it from a library.) So I'm not sure if it simply has outdated conventions or something. But regardless:
I'm assuming that there is nothing wrong with the placement of aber in either case. If so, is this the result of some more general rule or convention governing conjunctions? Is there thus some sort of flexibility with placement? Or does this have anything to do with the connotations of the two sentences here specifically?
Does said rule possibly depend on whether or not the conjunction is subordinating? If I'm not mistaken, aber isn't one of the subordinating conjunctions, and at least "intuitively" (and as someone whose German knowledge isn't that high), I imagine that it'd be more difficult to justify any potential word order change for subordinating conjunctions. (Naturally, I could be wrong -- again, my German knowledge isn't that high.)