Composers vs Engravers: Logic

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John Ruggero
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Composers vs Engravers: Logic

Post by John Ruggero » 28 Aug 2017, 18:10

In this thread I am going to give examples of logical notation found in the works of the best composers that has confounded engravers of the past.

In Chopin's Etude op. 10 no. 5 ("Black Key") Chopin writes the following famous left hand chord in which the top two notes, a third apart, are both played by the thumb. (First left hand chord in example.)
Chopin op 10 no 6 MS.jpeg
Chopin op 10 no 6 MS.jpeg (18.91 KiB) Viewed 339 times
It is clear musically why the thumb notes are quarter notes, since they resolve to the notes that follow. But why is the Cb also a quarter note? Doesn't it resolve the the Bb in the next measure, and therefore shouldn't it be held as a half note? Based on this entirely reasonable premise, the engravers of the first editions of this piece changed the quarter note to a half note,which would held in the pedal along with the lower notes as a half pedal (notated as a Ped mark without a terminating asterisk) clears the upper notes.
Chopin op 10 no 6 1st Ger.jpeg
Chopin op 10 no 6 1st Ger.jpeg (30.73 KiB) Viewed 339 times
Chopin op 10 no 6 1st Fr.jpeg
Chopin op 10 no 6 1st Fr.jpeg (24.83 KiB) Viewed 339 times
But the engravers made a mistake.

Chopin writes a third slur to show that the Cb takes a momentary detour up to the decorative tone Db, an escaped tone, before resolving to the Bb in the next measure.

Chopin's original notation was therefore correct, yet it continues to be mis-engraved to the present day.

I should add that there is little chance that this was a last minute change by Chopin because the Cb—Db exactly parallels and makes beautiful voice-leading with the Ab—Bb in the right hand.
Chopin op 10 no 5 voice leading.jpg
Chopin op 10 no 5 voice leading.jpg (15.02 KiB) Viewed 298 times
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Re: Composers vs Engravers: Logic

Post by John Ruggero » 01 Sep 2017, 11:39

Other engraving problems in Chopin's Etude op. 10 no. 5.

Autograph:
Chopin op 10 no 5 beams and oct MS.jpeg
Chopin op 10 no 5 beams and oct MS.jpeg (70.46 KiB) Viewed 284 times
First French edition
Chopin op 10 no 5 beams and oct 1st Fr.jpeg
Chopin op 10 no 5 beams and oct 1st Fr.jpeg (137.61 KiB) Viewed 284 times
1. Second measure, left hand. Measure 2, like measure 1, has resolutely square accentuation and measure 3 is syncopated—this conflict being one of the main ideas of the piece. The engravers of the first editions, perhaps attracted by the surface similarity between the left hand of measures 2 and 3, break the beam after the bass octave in measure 2, which asks the player to place an accent on the second eighth note and thus destroys the rhythm. Despite the fact that the original engravers were inconsistent and beamed some repetitions correctly as one sees in measure 6, most later editions use the broken version throughout.

2. Compare Chopin’s use of octave signs with that of the engravers in the same examples.
As with stemming and beaming Chopin only breaks up complete musical ideas visually when there is no alternative. Note that the engravers follow Chopin’s octave sign in measure one, but strike off on their own in measure 5 (and also measure 7). Which version does the Paderewski and Wiener Urtext edition (and most others) use? The version in measure 5 throughout!
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Re: Composers vs Engravers: Logic

Post by John Ruggero » 03 Sep 2017, 19:24

From the middle part of Chopin’s Etude op. 25 no. 5:
At the beginning of the middle section, the first melody note, B, is played by the right thumb, and therefore placed on the lower staff:
Chopin Etude op 25 no 5 MS1.jpeg
Chopin Etude op 25 no 5 MS1.jpeg (25.75 KiB) Viewed 240 times
This phrase continues on:
Chopin Etude op 25 no 5 MS 1B.jpg
Chopin Etude op 25 no 5 MS 1B.jpg (21.58 KiB) Viewed 240 times
and connects with the second phrase by replacing the B with a G#, shown by means of a slur and the new position of the right hand B:
Chopin Etude op 25 no 5 MS2.jpeg
Chopin Etude op 25 no 5 MS2.jpeg (10.94 KiB) Viewed 240 times
A central section follows with a cantabile left hand melody ending on the note F#:
Chopin Etude op 25 no 5 MS3.jpeg
Chopin Etude op 25 no 5 MS3.jpeg (15.95 KiB) Viewed 240 times
Then to avoid a break and complete restart at the following repeat of the opening phrase, Chopin replaces the initial B with an E, connecting in this way to the previous F#: This is also shown by the a slur and the position of the right hand B on the upper staff. To insure that the right hand does not predominate at this point, Chopin even writes p and leggierissimo for the right hand:
Chopin Etude op 25 no 5 MS4.jpeg
Chopin Etude op 25 no 5 MS4.jpeg (24.83 KiB) Viewed 240 times
Many editors have been confounded by these events and expecting the return of the first part to begin strongly on the right thumb note, have changed the notation in various ways. This started with the first French edition, where an accent was added to the B:
Chopin Etude op 25 no 5 1st Fr.jpeg
Chopin Etude op 25 no 5 1st Fr.jpeg (44.51 KiB) Viewed 240 times
Here the Cortot edition spells out this interpretation in excruciating detail:
Chopin Etude op 25 no 5 Cortot.jpeg
Chopin Etude op 25 no 5 Cortot.jpeg (23.97 KiB) Viewed 240 times
The Paderewski and Wiener Urtext editions also take this view. I don't.
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Re: Composers vs Engravers: Logic

Post by John Ruggero » 13 Sep 2017, 17:55

Here is one that really stumped the engravers from Chopin's Etude op 25 no 10. Why do the two long slurs break where they do? And what could those strange short slurs mean?
Chopin Etude op 25 no 10  MS.jpeg
Chopin Etude op 25 no 10 MS.jpeg (43.3 KiB) Viewed 108 times
The first French and German editors took different paths:
Chopin Etude op 25 no 10 1st Fr.jpeg
Chopin Etude op 25 no 10 1st Fr.jpeg (66.6 KiB) Viewed 108 times
Chopin Etude op 25 no 10 1st Ger.jpeg
Chopin Etude op 25 no 10 1st Ger.jpeg (63.15 KiB) Viewed 108 times
Here is the basic structure of the two measures. Motive x, the interval D-B, is being transferred down through three octaves so that it falls at the beginning, middle downbeat, and end of the passage. This required an acceleration from quarter note to eighth note motion to fit the motive three times within the two measures:
Chopin Etude op 25 no 10 correct slur structure.jpeg
Chopin Etude op 25 no 10 correct slur structure.jpeg (40.02 KiB) Viewed 108 times
Chopin was concerned that pianists would articulate “alla Bach”, which would make the D-B motive unrecognizeable:
Chopin Etude op 25 no 10 incorrect slurs.jpeg
Chopin Etude op 25 no 10 incorrect slurs.jpeg (78.41 KiB) Viewed 108 times
This is exactly what happens in the Cortot edition:
Chopin Etude op 25 no 10 Cortot.jpeg
Chopin Etude op 25 no 10 Cortot.jpeg (41.27 KiB) Viewed 108 times
So Chopin broke the large slur to point out the importance of the D-B motive at the beginning of the second measure and inserted the short slur in the first measure to caution against breaking the legato between the Ab and F. The short slurs (somewhat inaccurately drawn by the copyist) and hairpins in the second measure show the acceleration of the motive within the framework, but he didn't want these two last beats to be detached from the whole, thus the larger slur including them.
Chopin Etude op 25 no 10 correct slurs.jpeg
Chopin Etude op 25 no 10 correct slurs.jpeg (74.89 KiB) Viewed 108 times
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