Composers vs. Engravers: Logic pt 2

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John Ruggero
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Composers vs. Engravers: Logic pt 2

Post by John Ruggero » 27 Mar 2018, 14:57

The first German Edition of Chopin's Etude op 10. no. 4:
Chopin op 10 no 4 FGE.jpg
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In Chopin's manuscript sketch, the three places marked * and ** match in spelling: F :ss -G :s -F :ss -E. Only the place marked *** is spelled G -A :f -G -E. This is supremely logical because the places marked * and ** have the same harmonic function: they represent the dominant, D :s , of the following V chord, G :s , which resolves, after a series of chromatic passing tones, to the I, C :s minor, on the first beat of m. 3 of the example. The place marked ***, while containing the same pitches as * and ** has a completely different function as only one of a series of chromatic passing tones connecting the last beat of m. 5 to the last beat of m. 8.

In other words, *** operates "within" a V chord, while * and ** are dominant chords in their own right. Chopin's spelling clearly differentiates these two different functions of the same pitches, which could have a strong influence on the interpretation. (Note that the last beat of m. 5 and the last beat of m. 8 are exactly the same notes in both hands so the 12 chromatic passing tones in between are simply bringing the last beat of m. 5 down one octave: three measures X four beats = 12 beats and 12 chromatic steps.)

To the editor/engravers of all the first editions, however, the fact that ** did not match *** seemed to be a composer's error. And thus they made them match. Almost every edition since, that I am aware of, has also made this change. (Edit: the Paderewski edition does the reverse and respells both ** and *** like *!)

Chopin's spelling is filled with this kind of subtlety that went right over the heads of the editors/engravers. For example, the Paderewski edition, which attempted to be a critical edition, made numerous enharmonic changes in Chopin's works with long, somewhat condescending commentaries about Chopin's spelling mistakes. Apparently one of the greatest minds in Western music needed to go back to harmony class. Most of these so-called "mistakes" are miniature works of notational genius that show how aware Chopin was of the multidimensional nature of musical structure vs. the editors/engravers who could understand music only in linear fashion.
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Re: Composers vs. Engravers: Logic pt 2

Post by erelievonen » 27 Mar 2018, 22:57

John Ruggero wrote:
27 Mar 2018, 14:57
(Note that the last beat of m. 5 and the last beat of m. 8 are exactly the same notes in both hands so the 12 chromatic passing tones in between are simply bringing the last beat of m. 5 down one octave: three measures X four beats = 12 beats and 12 chromatic steps.)
As far as I can see, the last beat of m. 5 and the last beat of m. 8 are not exactly the same notes in both hands. In m. 5 the r.h. has G natural, in m. 8 G sharp.

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Re: Composers vs. Engravers: Logic pt 2

Post by John Ruggero » 28 Mar 2018, 01:56

That is an error in the first German edition, erelievonen. Thanks for pointing it out. They left out the sharp. All of the other primary sources including Chopin's manuscript sketch have the G sharp as well as the later Mikuli, Oxford, Wiener Urtext, Paderewski and the New Polish National critical edition.

I was going to use the first French edition but decided against it at the last minute because the double sharps are so hard to distinguish from single sharps and forgot about the wrong note in the German edition. Here is the passage in the first French edition with the correct G sharp in the two identical areas:
Chopin Etude op 10  no 4.2 FFE.jpg
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Re: Composers vs. Engravers: Logic pt 2

Post by John Ruggero » 28 Mar 2018, 20:58

Here are two cases of unusual spelling from Chopin's Etude op. 10 no. 9:

At * in the example, Chopin uses a C :f instead of the usual B :n for the chromatic neighboring tone because he wants to emphasize the sense of a single hypnotic tonic harmony throughout the first 16 measures of the piece, and de-emphasize the independence of the chromatic neighboring harmony produced by the C :f and D :f :
Chopin Etude op 10 no 9 MS.jpg
Chopin Etude op 10 no 9 MS.jpg (54.93 KiB) Viewed 1530 times
Unfortunately, both the Wiener Urtext and Paderewsi editions respell the C :f 's as B :n 's.

The ninth 16th note in the left hand of m. 8 is an slip of the pen and should read A :f as one see's in Chopin's manuscript sketch for this piece:
Chopin Etude op 10 no 9 MS sketch 1.jpg
Chopin Etude op 10 no 9 MS sketch 1.jpg (142.06 KiB) Viewed 1530 times
As with most of Chopin's extant sketches, the piece is complete and in the form in which it is known today. Aside for the writing out of repeated patterns abbreviated or left blank in the sketch, only small details and marks of expression remain to be worked out. It is clear that we are dealing here with a master improviser who spewed out music as easily as speech. Even unusual notational features that are found in the final copy are present, such as the breaking of the 16th beams into groups of two to show a halting effect at the end:
Chopin Etude op 10 no 9 MS sketch 2.jpg
Chopin Etude op 10 no 9 MS sketch 2.jpg (62.95 KiB) Viewed 1530 times
At 1 in the next example, Chopin begins a enharmonic modulation from the D :f minor chord in m. 4 to the C chord in m. 6 using a reinterpretation of the notes of a diminished seventh chord. He stays in flats in spite of the double flats required because the change of harmony doesn't arrive until 3 in the example. Unfortunately, Paderewski changes the A :ff 's to G's in the interests of "traditional" harmony and easier reading.
Chopin op 10 no 9 ex 2 MS.jpg
Chopin op 10 no 9 ex 2 MS.jpg (54.79 KiB) Viewed 1530 times
Starting at 2 in the example, the melody outlines the diminished seventh chord D :f F :f G :n B :f , the first two notes of which might be interpreted as being part of a D :f minor chord and the last two as part of a C dominant seventh chord.

At 4 in the example Chopin converts the melody of the previous two measures into one and a half by means of an ingenious hemiola. Of course he must notate the notes of the melody exactly as in ms. 5-6, even though the overall harmony has changed to C, or the visual connection between the two phrases will be lost. This requires the use in the left hand of both E natural as the bass tone and F :f in the upper voices to avoid conflicts with the F :f in the right hand. Again, the Paderewski respells the F :f 's in m. 7 as E :n 's which requires the respelling also of the the G :f in the right hand as a F :s , which is exactly what Chopin was trying to avoid.

Starting at 5 in the example, Chopin begins a 8 measure "meditation" on the notes D :f and C, which were the two harmonies that he just modulated between!
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Re: Composers vs. Engravers: Logic pt 2

Post by John Ruggero » 29 Mar 2018, 20:32

Measures 45-48 of the first French edition of Chopin's Etude op. 10 no.10 use the spelling of the composer's manuscript:
Chopin Etud eop 10 no 10 FFE.jpg
Chopin Etud eop 10 no 10 FFE.jpg (244.68 KiB) Viewed 1502 times
The Paderewski edition, as shown in a re-engraving, respells the notes marked with * so that the chords will read as conventional "diminished seventh chords." This is explained specifically in the critical notes of this edition.
Chopin Etude op 10 no 10 Paderewski 2.jpg
Chopin Etude op 10 no 10 Paderewski 2.jpg (226.16 KiB) Viewed 1323 times
However, Chopin, like the great composers before him, considered ALL dissonances to be decorative: passing tones, neighboring tones, suspensions etc. to be used and resolved into consonances grammatically. He never "threw in" dissonant tones whose only function was color, as with many later composers. For this reason, simply identifying a dissonant chord in Chopin's music by giving it a name: "dominant seventh chord", "diminished seventh chord" does not justify its existence or tell one much. One must understand the function of every dissonant element in the chord, as with every consonant element.

So the double-flatted notes in the example need to be explained in order to understand why Chopin spelled them as he did. One cannot simply try to fit them into a preexisting construct like "diminished seventh chord".

Now it is clear that a D of some kind, must represent the passing note between an E of any kind and a C of any kind, and that Chopin would have considered spelling such a passing tone as a C of any kind, to be musically illiterate.

Bearing this in mind, Chopin's notation of this passage is, again, supremely logical. The following voice-leading analysis will show the actual voice leading that causes Chopin to use double-flatted notes in the middle part:
Chopin Etude op 10 no 10 analysis.jpg
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In the first measure, the structural melodic motion in the middle voice is E :f -D :f -D :ff -C :f with the D :ff chromatic passing tone connecting the D :f to the C :f in the next measure. Chopin then omits the D :f as shown by the parentheses in the analysis and allows the D :ff to "stand in" for the D :f as with any "altered note" in an "altered chord." This technique of "ellipsis" is exemplified in language, where in English, for example, one often omits the word "that" as understood, which often helps the flow of speech. In this case, omitting the passing tone (that) everyone supplies mentally in retrospect allows Chopin to use his chromatic passing tone and yet have only one passing tone between the two harmonic end points, E :f and C :f . This helps the rhythm and flow. And, of course, this passing tone must be a D of some kind, not a C as in the Paderewski edition. And no amount of talk about the "correct" spelling of a A diminished seventh chord as A C E :f G :f will change that.

The following measures are the same.
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Re: Composers vs. Engravers: Logic pt 2

Post by erelievonen » 29 Mar 2018, 23:21

How would you explain the A natural in the second half of m. 45? By analogy with the sequence in the following measures, shouldn't it be better notated as B double-flat? Isn't it a chromatic upper neighboring note to the A flat in m. 46?

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Re: Composers vs. Engravers: Logic pt 2

Post by John Ruggero » 30 Mar 2018, 14:03

To answer Ere's great question: I think that it may be because Chopin thought of the the second half of m. 45 along with the whole of m. 48 as providing the basic framework (shown at * in the accompanying example) within which the intervening diminished seventh passing chords work, and therefore that they should be spelled the same way since they constitute a single unit. Viewed this way, the A :n in ms. 45 and the A :n m. 48 lead to the B :f in the left hand of m. 49.

So why then did he not spell the G :f as an F :s in ms. 45 and 48, since it in turn would be considered a chromatic auxiliary to the G in m. 49? While the F :s would be fine in 48, it would appear quite strange in 45 rubbing up against F :n first melody tone of m. 46 and also disturb the appearance of the melodic sequence in thirds in the upper part: E :f -G :f F-A :f G-B :f A-C. Another factor is the fact that ms. 48-51 constitute a kind of musical pun on the notes F :s and G :f as shown at **. Chopin might be pointing out the fact that after achieving the G :n in 49 through an upward progression through G :f , the tenor line returns in m. 50 through the same G :f on the way down through F -F :f -E :f etc. a kind of free palindrome.
Chopin Etude op 10 no 10 FFE.jpg
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Edit: I should add that the D :ff in m. 45 and the C in m. 48 could not match in notation because of the different voice leading roles of the two notes: the D :ff, as a descending chromatic passing tone, and the C as a diatonic passing tone leading from B :f to D :f within the E :f dominant seventh chord that provides the outer structure of ms. 43-50.
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Re: Composers vs. Engravers: Logic pt 2

Post by John Ruggero » 02 Apr 2018, 02:07

In the next examples, Chopin seems to be trying to distinguish different levels of structure by means of his spelling.

The end of the Etudes op. 10 no. 1 and op. 10 no. 7, both in the key of C major, use G :s diminished seventh chords instead of B diminished seventh chords, which, of course, would often have the function of the dominant of C major.
Chopin Etude op 10 no 1 FFE.jpg
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In op. 10 no. 1, the chord in question at * is part of a passing sequence that elaborates the C triad in ms. 2-4 of the example. The most important right hand melodic note in these measures is E, elaborated by the notes in parentheses: E (G F :s F :n ) E. The harmonies that are produced by this melodic elaboration are: C7 -F :s dim 7 -G :s dim 7. The C dominant seventh doesn't resolve as expected to an F triad and results only from the passing note B :f leading from C to A in the F :s dim 7. The F :s dim 7 could be construed as the II chord resolving as a secondary dominant to the next chord, which could be construed as the dominant of C, if written as a B dim 7. Apparently, Chopin does not want this meaning attached to these harmonies. They are to be considered strictly passing notes functioning within a C triad and nothing more. He signifies this by misspelling the B dim 7 as G :s dim 7, even though the C triad follows immediately.

In m. 5 of the example, however, he has no problem writing a B dim 7 chord after the F :s 7 at ** because the basic harmony has now changed to V and both chords represent real primary and secondary dominant harmonies.

The next example from op. 10 no. 7 shows the beginning of the coda (m. 2 of the example) in which the main melody note C, moves downward by means of passing notes through two octaves. In this case, Chopin seems to be signifying that both the G :s dim 7 (which again would normally be a B dim 7) and the C triad that follow at *** are to be heard only as passing harmonies within an area that is actually functioning in the key of G major. There is a danger that the two chords in question might be heard as a cadence in the original key of C, which would break in two the phrase that he has carefully slurred as a unit.
Chopin Etude op 10 no 7 FFE.jpg
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Re: Composers vs. Engravers: Logic pt 2

Post by John Ruggero » 06 Apr 2018, 19:07

The most well-known example of esoteric accidentals in Chopin’s music occurs at the end of the first section of the Etude op. 25 no. 10. This piece is in a A-B-A form with a serene middle section in B major surrounded by stormy octave sections in B minor.
Chopin Etude op 25 no 10 Notatio example 1A.jpeg
Chopin Etude op 25 no 10 Notatio example 1A.jpeg (152.41 KiB) Viewed 1100 times
The area at * has even been held up to ridicule as absurd, and many have proposed the simpler spelling:
Chopin Etude op 25 no 10 Notatio example 1B.jpeg
Chopin Etude op 25 no 10 Notatio example 1B.jpeg (70.27 KiB) Viewed 1100 times
So why did Chopin write what he did?

As shown in the following example, Chopin is making a seamless connection between the first and second sections, no easy feat considering the drastic change involved. The solution is simplicity itself. The first part ends with three repetitions of an underlying pattern “x” shown at ** which breaks a F :s dominant seventh chord, the V7 of the piece, into a scale-wise series of thirds. On the final repetition, the last two thirds E-C :s D (#)-B are withheld until after a sudden interruption, and only appear in the new meter and tempo and mode, thus bridging the gap with a single chord.
Chopin Etude op 25 no 10 Notatio example 2B.jpg
Chopin Etude op 25 no 10 Notatio example 2B.jpg (253.08 KiB) Viewed 1098 times
To create the sudden interruption, Chopin decorates the F :s 7 with a a neigboring tone harmony, E :s diminished seventh, which represents the dominant of F :s . This chord in turn is transformed and connected back to the F :s 7 by means of one of those complex multi-layer modulations that Chopin is famous for. This is shown at **** in the example.

Crucial to this modulation is the transformation of the E :s diminished seventh chord into a dominant seventh chord by means of ellipsis: replacing the G :s with the passing tone G :n as shown at *** so that it can become a F :ss and lead as part of a V7 to the apparent key of B :s , which is itself a harmonized passing tone between the B in the E :s dim. 7 and the C :s in the F :s 7. Because of the complexity of this progression, it is crucial that the bass tone E :s be shown as a neighboring tone to F :s throughout, and not as an F :n , or the overall F :s -E :s dim 7-F :s progression would become lost to view. At the same time he must also show that the new sub-harmonies constitute a series of descending fifths V7-I-IV7 within the new key of B :s . The following notation would have preserved some of this, but aside from its awkwardness, it would misrepresent the B# as a C, and the B# major chord as a structural :f II6 in B minor, which it is not.
Chopin Etude op 25 no 10 Notatio example 1C.jpeg
Chopin Etude op 25 no 10 Notatio example 1C.jpeg (76.34 KiB) Viewed 1100 times
Or better, he could have used the following notation for the initial F :ss 7 chord, which supplies the rest of the “missing” altered E :s diminished seventh chord. Perhaps he should have, given the universal antipathy to the notation as it stands. Yet despite using such enharmonic tieing in other pieces, he decided against it here, probably fearing to add additonal complexity to an already complex passage.
Chopin Etude op 25 no 10 Notatio example 1D.jpeg
Chopin Etude op 25 no 10 Notatio example 1D.jpeg (74.13 KiB) Viewed 1100 times
Note that the slur in ms. 2 and 3 of the first example leads directly to the A :ss in the F :ss 7 chord to complete the first and second thirds of of pattern x: A :s -C :s D-B (=A :ss ). Chopin probably hoped that this slur would alert the player to the fact that the A :ss stands-in for an understood B, before it is transformed into an A :ss so that it may become the leading tone in the key of B :s major.

Another interesting notational feature occurs in m. 4 of the initial example. There are only three quarter notes in this final 2/2 measure! This anomaly was retained in the first and later editions. More recent editions cannot restrain themselves from correcting Chopin’s “mistake” and make the quarter rest, a half rest. When one understands the first measures of the Lento are actually the last part of pattern x, it becomes clear that Chopin would want only a small pause between the A and B sections. For that reason and for metric assonance, the 3/4 actually occurs one measure earlier than notated, and forms an additional bond between the sections. Actually placing the 3/4 meter change in the previous section would be visually disruptive, however, since the new mood is achieved only at the Lento. Thus Chopin’s solution, which was probably entirely intuitive, disturbs no one, provides interpretive help, and should be left as it stands.
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Re: Composers vs. Engravers: Logic pt 2

Post by worldwideweary » 09 Apr 2018, 05:42

Keep these up and, John, you could present a culmination of observations in a booklet and maybe put it on the market. At any rate, if you did do such a thing, don't forget that standard Unicode text provides the characters: ♯, ♭, ♮, 𝄫, 𝄪. The smilies are a nice feature for the boards, but if you're keeping track of these things also in a personal journal or the like, I'd suggest you use the standard Unicode characters. Merely a passive suggestion.
-- Thanks for the posts.

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