Lost Notation 8

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John Ruggero
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Lost Notation 8

Post by John Ruggero »

It is surprising how often even the most authentic editions of Beethoven’s piano sonatas disregard Beethoven’s beaming. A typical case would be in the first movement of the Piano Sonata op. 31 no 2 where the original edition beams in pairs:
op 31 no2.1 ex Simrock.jpeg
op 31 no2.1 ex Simrock.jpeg (111.44 KiB) Viewed 353 times
but with the exception of the new Wiener Urtext edition, all later editions that I am familiar with, including Schenker’s, beam in fours, apparently to conform to the time signature. What a disservice this does to the music, which is clearly in groups of two:
op 31 no 2.1 Schenker.jpeg
op 31 no 2.1 Schenker.jpeg (162.86 KiB) Viewed 353 times

But at least in this case, the slurring gives away the notational lie. In the following case, Beethoven uses beaming in a more subtle way, so subtle that it was disregarded even in the first edition:
op 26.1 Cappi .jpeg
op 26.1 Cappi .jpeg (326.7 KiB) Viewed 353 times
The right hand beaming almost exclusively in groups of 6 sends a visual message that the melody is exclusively in the left hand while the right hand plays only an off-beat accompaniment.

Yet the great variety in the beaming of the right hand in the manuscript makes It is clear that the right hand is to be shaped and brought out as an important counter line. The rests made this difficult to notate, so the always resourceful Beethoven makes use of the one means open to him: to break the beaming to show the notes of greatest intensity as at A and phrasing as at B:
op 26.1 MS p1.jpeg
op 26.1 MS p1.jpeg (357.4 KiB) Viewed 353 times
op 26.1 MS p2.jpeg
op 26.1 MS p2.jpeg (361.96 KiB) Viewed 353 times
What a loss of information simply for the sake of a uniform appearance. Again, the new Wiener Urtext edition. preserves Beethoven's beaming.
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Den
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Re: Lost Notation 8

Post by Den »

It seems that rarely any of the publishers respects the basic rule of the composer and that is that the musical edition is done exactly as he himself (Beethoven) imagined from the original manuscripts. The original is the original! and it should be followed - to the maximum! This is simplest ang strongest rule for publusher. Perhaps the publishers did not sufficiently realize his logic of the physics of the left and right hand, of ingenious sublimity, and at the same time of opening a new sound dimension. This happens as a failure in a more thorough harmonic analysis of the composer’s mind and his life. Lately, I have been analyzing some new editions from very well-known German and Italian publishers and I must say that I am disappointed, both in the look and design of the thread pages and in the non-compliance with engraver rules. The scores are too thick and the system itself is very uncomfortable for the eyes and mind, not to mention other things. Lots of mistakes in the setting of the bars, wrong places of notes, mark of dynamics ....
John ... this is exactly what you constantly emphasize in your analyzes and I am very glad that there is someone like you, because through your examples of Beethoven's analysis everyone can still correct and learn a lot!!!
I think many publishers should hire you as a corrective analytical deeper analysis of Beethoven’s works. Some works are totally set aside and forgotten or minimized. And about a different form of presentation of Beethoven's score and his life's work, they give the artist a different perspective and original ideological meaning. So that a musician / artist can only partially understand the work he is performing from such musical editions. If the "old school" were studied more thoroughly, there would be no passing in the original and "processed" originals. Maybe this is even a propisition for opening a new topic .... I'm not sure.

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John Ruggero
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Re: Lost Notation 8

Post by John Ruggero »

Thank you for your kind words of the support, Den. I greatly appreciate your compliment.

Several members have noted the decline in engraving quality of many current musical publications.

Until now, Wiener Urtext has upheld high engraving as well as editorial standards and for that reason has been my preferred edition. However, even Wiener Urtext has become problematic. Their new Beethoven Sonata edition does not have the same beauty of engraving as before. And while it has laudably reproduced more of what is in the manuscripts and first editions, it does not achieve the level of authenticity that would make it the "musical edition done exactly as he himself (Beethoven) imagined", as you put it so well.

I was also disappointed to see that one of the best things about the old Universal Edition, Schenker's remarkable fingering, has been replaced by other fingering in the new Wiener Urtext edition, which is a Universal-Schott venture that supposedly descends from Schenker:

"One of the first to affiliate himself with this new way of editing was Heinrich Schenker (1867-1935). His studies of the original sources of the piano sonatas of Beethoven, most of all of the surviving autographs, became the basis of his now legendary Urtext edition of the complete piano sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven, which appeared between 1922 and 1934 in the Universal Edition in Vienna. Heinrich Schenker can thus be considered the forefather of the Wiener Urtext Edition. To him we owe an essential step, which cannot be overestimated as a precursor for the principles of the Wiener Urtext Edition.At its foundation in 1972, the Wiener Urtext Edition was able, half a century later, to build almost directly on Schenker´s pioneering work. " from https://wiener-urtext.com/en/wiener-urtext-edition

How does one build on Schenker's work by disregarding it?
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Den
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Re: Lost Notation 8

Post by Den »

Everything you stated here, John, is true and correct.
And I wondered how this was possible, that the same works were incorrectly passed on from generation to generation ... which means only one thing - a problem for artists! A complete revision of these works should be carried out, in which an additional modification of the already existing original can be seen. Such modified note editions or "revisions" are under great question because they are copied with an already integrated engraver tool. It seems to me that the new generations rely too much on the settings (newer software) of the software itself, not giving the scorer more simple control of the notes or the global look of the score, but the way the application imagines it, and in most cases it suits many, regardless of the consequences of the final notation, it does not matter in which program it is done and later additionally graphically processed. There is a much bigger paradigm and confusion in this ... even at a higher artistic level it creates a completely different picture of what the composer "painted" in his work. The details are extremely important! This, of course, is about jeopardizing the fundamental original setting of the composer's work itself, in this case a genius like Beethoven, and such things should not happen under any circumstances.

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Den
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Re: Lost Notation 8

Post by Den »

Only example for changing size beam, different geometry in global page staff or staves, longer distance in bars, rest, dynamic sign, etc.
This is only short example how publisher don't go deep in real detail and copying first "design" of or first edition.

This is from 1796 :
1796.png
1796.png (76.46 KiB) Viewed 295 times
and new Urtex:
NewUrtex.png
NewUrtex.png (84.95 KiB) Viewed 295 times
I would like if some publisher give us design which is engraved with new music tools but with original look.
Even in first version (up) not as original. Am I right John? Even in your examples in both case is not right even in number of bars in one system...
Original have soul in movements and everything is clear for musician. Yes, first or even originals sometime have minor mistakes , but...in this case, that is not point.
I would like the publishers to follow the original so that at least everything is as the composer wrote and not as the software suggests, or if the designed proposal is already finished according to the Default layout of the score. Then by respecting the complete look of the original (even in some cases maybe with the original Music Font) you would achieve a lot!
Last edited by Den on 26 Jul 2020, 22:59, edited 1 time in total.

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John Ruggero
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Re: Lost Notation 8

Post by John Ruggero »

Den, you really ask the deep and very interesting questions. in this case, the ones that one must confront when trying to produce an edition of a work by a great composer.

Here is what I decided about some of these issues:

General layout: During the first part of Beethoven's creative life, piano music was generally printed in landscape format and Beethoven usually wrote out his music in landscape format. The advantages of this are a more spacious look and the possibility of more music on a line, which can help create better page turning possibilities, which were taken very seriously at the time. Later, however, his publishers started moving to the present-day portrait orientation, which makes the actual act of page turning easier. This is still felt to be the preferable format for solo piano music.

When I did my edition of Bach's Inventions and Sinfonias, I found that the music fit better on the page in landscape format like the original, and since each piece could be placed on a pair of facing pages, there were no page-turning issues, so I could retain Bach's preferred landscape format.

But the same cannot be said for Beethoven's Piano Sonatas, and for that reason, my edition will be in the standard portrait orientation. Clearly this makes a measure for measure simulation of the first edition impossible, nor is it really desirable, because there is no such correspondence between Beethoven's MS's and the first editions, nor would it be meaningful in a practical edition. The layout in my edition will be driven solely by page turns and clarity.

And one must realize that there is not a perfect correspondence between the first edition and the MS in many other matters, although the first editions are closer to the MS than many later editions. Generally I give greatest weight to the MS. And while Beethoven was almost superhuman as a composer and notator, he was human and made mistakes and omissions that have to be dealt with.

My goal then in producing yet another practical edition of Beethoven's piano sonatas is to:

1. Produce an edition that incorporates all of the meaningful nuances of the MS and first editions that have been lost in many later editions. This means that in cases where Beethoven's MS is missing, I correct the first editions according to information that I have gleaned from Beethoven's extant MS about his notational habits. For example, Beethoven preferred to use dotted quarter rests in 6/8 9/8 etc. meters, but the first editions replace this with quarter note-eighth rest. I replace all of these with Beethoven's preference even where Beethoven's MS is missing. This is not something that most Urtext editions have attempted.

2. Correct errors in the first editions and the MS based on analysis rather than on an historical basis.

3. To honor the superb fingering of Heinrich Schenker, but also to provide alternatives and corrections based on my own ideas concerning piano technique.

4. To produce an edition that has the best possible page turns without other considerations getting in the way.

5. The general aim being NOT to produce a facsimile of the 1st edition or of Beethoven's manuscript with current technology, but to get closer to the edition that I think that Beethoven wanted in the first place, but was thwarted by the matters of publishing during his lifetime. In doing this, I am retaining the notation that I think is superior to that of the present day: centered-beaming, placement of the notes on both staves, stem direction based on phrasing, position of the slurs and articulations, etc. But I am making a few changes where our present system is superior to his: the octave signs, placement of the initial tempo indications, position of some pedal indications etc. and filling in informational gaps where things that Beethoven could leave unsaid because of the performance practice of this time can no longer be left unsaid.

I will deal with the your actual example in a later post.
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Schonbergian
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Re: Lost Notation 8

Post by Schonbergian »

John, I think your edition might be the one that can finally surpass Schenker's, and I eagerly await its publication. I already recommend your Inventions & Sinfonias edition to all of my students.

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Den
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Re: Lost Notation 8

Post by Den »

John, that's UNIQUE & FANTASTIC!!!
This is exactly how I imagined this global music problem, especially around all the details you mentioned. It will be a very unique work and if you succeed in that you will provide a different picture and perspective understanding of the work itself ... any. Future generations will then have an accurate perception and ease of performing all the deeds...and also good for us just a litlle older people :-)

Just one more question, when classical composers who are no longer alive are being made, are there any sub-copyrights in the publishing houses around the sheet music, in this case Beethoven ...? Or is everything allowed and can copy anything?

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John Ruggero
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Re: Lost Notation 8

Post by John Ruggero »

The measures that Den has brought up are an excellent example of what one faces as an editor in Beethoven’s sonatas when no MS exists and the first edition is poor. Since this is the first movement op. 2 no. 1, the engraver was dealing with a young, relatively unknown composer and the problems are legion, particularly in the area under discussion.

The first example shows the ending of the exposition; the second shows the corresponding music at the end of the movement. Such parallel passages can be very helpful. I have numbered all the trouble spots:
op 2 no1.1 expos.jpeg
op 2 no1.1 expos.jpeg (137 KiB) Viewed 238 times
op 2 no 1.1 recap.jpeg
op 2 no 1.1 recap.jpeg (140.35 KiB) Viewed 238 times
1 in the expos. The sf is placed strangely between the two left hand notes. Knowing that Beethoven often placed his markings a bit ahead of the notes they apply to and comparing to other places such as 2 in the recap confirms that the sf applies to the half note. That is the way it will appear in the new edition.

3-6 in the expos. The right hand slurs breaks off at unexpected places and includes some very interesting slurs at 5-6. Comparison with 7 in the recap confirms our suspicions. All of these slurs were intended to be 4 measure long. There were probably line breaks in the MS at 3 and 4, which the engraver misinterpreted as the ends of the slurs. But we are still left with an engraving issue. Should we try to engrave the S-shaped slurs as at 7 which result from Beethoven’s preference for slurs to be on the note head side. The jury is still deliberating that one, but it is probably not worth it in this case.

8 in the expos. Where is the expected left hand slur that one sees at 9 and 10 in the recap? An intentional variation? Common sense says no; we are dealing with an engraver error or composer slip of the pen.

11 in the recap. The con espressione starts not at the beginning of the phrase, but on its third note. But at 12 in the expo. there was an attempt to place it properly, although crowding made this difficult. So what happened? Unfortunately the engraver found himself at the end of the line at 13, the con espressione wouldn’t fit, and he was forced to start it later. Should we do this in our new edition? No, we have the means to lay the music out better so the marking can start with the phrase.

14 in the recap. Why are the stems on the C’s up here but down two measures later at 15? And where is the sf on the C as at 15 and at 16 in the expos.? And where is the sf at 17 in expos.?

The engraver ran into crowding at 14, put the stems on the C’s up to get out of the way of the con espressione, had no room to put in the sf below the staff as at 15 and substituted a dash. Why he didn’t put the sf above the staff as at 16 is unclear. The missing sf at 17 is clearly an error.

All of this can and should be cleaned up in a new edition, and most later editions have done precisely that. Beethoven cannot have been not pleased with this mess in the first edition, nor should we be.
Last edited by John Ruggero on 30 Jul 2020, 14:50, edited 3 times in total.
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John Ruggero
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Re: Lost Notation 8

Post by John Ruggero »

As far as copyright, Den, I am editing music that is in the public domain using sources that are also in the public domain, such as Schenker's edition, so I am pretty sure I'm OK. However, I am going to consult an expert in intellectual property law and the internet before I publish my Chopin Etude edition, which is now finished, and the Beethoven Sonata edition, which is now in the polishing stages.

Thank you so much, Schonbergian. I hope the edition lives up to your expectations!
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