Horizontal alignment of chords with offset notes

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Knut
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Re: Vertical alignment of chords with offset notes

Post by Knut » 08 May 2017, 11:00

John Ruggero wrote:
07 May 2017, 21:07
In this case, I don't think that placing the half notes directly over the bass tone, as Finale does by default, would be incorrect—just more orthodox and in accordance with the idea that the main parts be over each other when the voices are in different rhythms. Of course, the first edition was right in engraving the passage exactly as in the autograph.
I think this is the result of differentiating between moving and sustained voices, which I eluded to in my first post. While not exactly similar, the bass and the middle voices play a similar role of movement in contrast to the sustained upper voice, and their total rhythmic values are the same. This seems to be enough to warrant alignment, at least in many cases.

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Re: Horizontal alignment of chords with offset notes

Post by John Ruggero » 08 May 2017, 12:08

OCTO, your general principles are sound ones and would work in most cases, but not all, because there seem to be other factors such as the importance of the voices that must also taken into account. Here is a case from Chopin's Etude op . 25 no 5. Most modern editions engrave it as shown with the held voice given priority and the moving voice in the RH offset. The case is similar to the one from the Chopin Scherzo in a previous post and is engraved like my first solution to it:
Chopin op 25 no 5 Oxford.jpg
The Octave E is placed over the bass tone and not offset because it is the final note of the melody.

The autograph is very interesting at this point. Chopin's first instinct is to place the octave E with the bass because of the importance of this note and even places the middle voice after it. Having established it, he then offsets the middle voice in front, from this point on he follows our rule of placing similar rhythms over each other. However at the end, the middle voice is again offset.
Chopin op 25 no 5 MS.jpg
Here is another example (Bach WTC 1 Bb Fugue) where the faster moving voice is offset:
Bach WTC 1 Bbm Fugue.jpg
Also in the example that I gave at the beginning of this thread to show the important voices together, it is the faster moving voice in the first measure that is offset:
Offset positioning 1.jpg
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Re: Horizontal alignment of chords with offset notes

Post by Knut » 08 May 2017, 13:27

John, with regard to your first two examples, I much prefer the engraved version.

For starters, I don't see any practical reason to mix the direction or selection for the offsets like this. Secondly, the quarter notes are aligned in the MS, which leaves the left hand chord visually uneven. This might not be a big deal to pianists, accustomed to reading both staves at once, but to me, it just looks wrong. (BTW, the same thing can be said for your last attempt at the Op. 54 example, although the much slighter offset makes the problem much less obvious there.)

As an apropos, the engraved Chopin examples as well as the Bach example may suggest that we are neglecting the much more basic aspect of visually 'framing' a chord; if only one middle voice would need to be offset to clarify the voice leading, then all the other voices should be kept in line to minimize visual disruption and maintain a visual vertical line.

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Re: Horizontal alignment of chords with offset notes

Post by John Ruggero » 08 May 2017, 17:55

Knut wrote:
08 May 2017, 13:27
the engraved Chopin examples as well as the Bach example may suggest that we are neglecting the much more basic aspect of visually 'framing' a chord; if only one middle voice would need to be offset to clarify the voice leading, then all the other voices should be kept in line to minimize visual disruption and maintain a visual vertical line.
Or, as I might amend OCTO's rules, if something has to be offset, let it, if possible, be a subordinate voice, so that the main voices are placed on top of each other, even if the subordinate voice is in faster note values.

I too prefer the engraved version of the Chopin Etude op 25 no 5 ending from the visual point of view, but the autograph shows the thought process of the composer and its expression through notation which to me is far more important. The initial E must be played strongly enough to sound like the final melody note coming from the D# in the previous measure (and after a rest no less!) and hold through at least a little for many measures. Chopin is concerned that the accented inner voice will completely overwhelm the main melody, and he had a right to be concerned because that E is often overwhelmed in performance so that the listener wonders where the real final note of the melody is.

A measure like this (the remaining ones are not crucial) is a real conundrum for someone trying to engrave the composer's vision of a piece. Does one relegate it to a footnote or engrave it as it stands?

I think I prefer my first version of that measure from op 54 as well. As you said, pianists will not be put off by the slight offset (which was why it was slight) especially if the offset note head nests nicely inside the surrounding chord. Even the greater offset in the Etude op 25 no 5 ending as engraved in the Oxford edition is taken in stride as being "simultaneous". But the one in the op 54 Mikuli pushes the offset too far.
Last edited by John Ruggero on 08 May 2017, 19:40, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Horizontal alignment of chords with offset notes

Post by OCTO » 08 May 2017, 19:25

John Ruggero wrote:
08 May 2017, 12:08
OCTO, your general principles are sound ones and would work in most cases, but not all, because there seem to be other factors such as the importance of the voices that must also taken into account. Here is a case from Chopin's Etude op . 25 no 5.
Yes, my idea is not to keep these principles absolutely constant (for instance, avoid them if there is death threat), but as strict as possible. The Etude is really a tricky example. What about this, are they aligned or not?
shot 3.png
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Re: Horizontal alignment of chords with offset notes

Post by John Ruggero » 08 May 2017, 19:38

But where's the bass?
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Re: Horizontal alignment of chords with offset notes

Post by OCTO » 08 May 2017, 19:43

John Ruggero wrote:
08 May 2017, 12:08
Here is another example (Bach WTC 1 Bb Fugue) where the faster moving voice is offset:
I am in doubt, since there is no other exact parallel voice with the same rhythm, and all other voices are not aligned with each other.

But here is definitely respect for the fastest rhythm.

My proposal:
shot 6.png
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Re: Horizontal alignment of chords with offset notes

Post by Knut » 08 May 2017, 19:43

John Ruggero wrote:
08 May 2017, 17:55
Or, as I might amend OCTO's rules, if something has to be offset, let it, if possible, be a subordinate voice, so that the main voices are placed on top of each other, even if the subordinate voice is in faster note values.
I'm confused. A single voice may need to be offset from the others for the sole purpose of clarification, regardless of it's importance in the overall context. Anyway, I wouldn't call the middle voice in the Bach example above subordinate, but maybe I'm misunderstanding you.
John Ruggero wrote:
08 May 2017, 17:55
I too prefer the engraved version of the Chopin Etude op 25 no 5 ending from the visual point of view, but the autograph shows the thought process of the composer and its expression through notation which to me is far more important. The initial E must be played strongly enough to sound like the final melody note coming from the D# in the previous measure (and after a rest no less!) and hold through at least a little for many measures. Chopin is concerned that the accented inner voice will completely overwhelm the main melody, and he had a right to be concerned because that E is often overwhelmed in performance so that the listener wonders where the real final note of the melody is.

A measure like this (the remaining ones are not crucial) is a real conundrum for someone trying to engrave the composer's vision of a piece. Does one relegate it to a footnote or engrave it as it stands?

I think I prefer my first version of that measure from op 54 as well. As you said, pianists will not be put off by the slight offset (which was why it was slight) especially if the offset note head nests nicely inside the surrounding chord. Even the greater offset in the Etude op 25 no 5 ending as engraved in the Oxford edition is taken in stride as being "simultaneous". But the one in the op 54 Mikuli is pushes the offset too far.
I can appreciate that. I guess what I'm saying is that I would be a proponent of footnote clarification in many cases.

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Re: Horizontal alignment of chords with offset notes

Post by OCTO » 08 May 2017, 19:47

John Ruggero wrote:
08 May 2017, 19:38
But where's the bass?
My bad. Doing to quick. Sorry.

Here it is:
shot 7.png
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Re: Horizontal alignment of chords with offset notes

Post by OCTO » 08 May 2017, 19:49

Another option of better distinction:
shot 8.png
But I don't prefer this.
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