Thanks for replying!John Ruggero wrote:DatOrganistTho wrote:
It is precisely for this reason that Beethoven took great care to preserve his sketchbooks: he thought that it would be both interesting and enlightening for future composers.I wouldn't have thought twice about what Beethoven was doing, but this is interesting and I'm willing to revisit it again.
As I mentioned, the autograph under discussion is not a sketch. It is the finished work ready for the engraver. As we can see, Beethoven took great care to notate it carefully. None of the master composers that I am discussing notated final copies carelessly, even though it might appear that way on first glance; nor do master composers today notate final copies carelessly.When it comes to manuscripts, it is far more important to composers to get the idea on the paper FIRST before observing any rules of notation. I can't find a single composer who doesn't do this.
The whole point of my presentation is that these composers were VERY concerned about notating what they wanted people to hear, especially at a time when printed music was the only means of mass music communication. Therefore, as you say, they sacrificed notational conventions as necessary to get their point across; but they did not consider this less "professional" and were concerned that their innovations were passed on to the performers through the published score.Second, composers never intend to write what they want people to see, but rather what they want to hear. Therefore, often, notational conventions are sacrificed in order to maintain clarity of musical thought which will eventually be notated more professionally for someone else to read.
I totally agree with you that our notational conventions have evolved to produce the clearest possible communication between composer and performer. And these conventions work for the most part. However, there are times when they must be discarded to facilitate communication of a deeper kind. These master composers can show us when those times are.Third, notational conventions/practices have been developed over many years and, like book-typesetting, people usually can agree on the REASONS for their conventions - clarity. You switch stem direction in the middle of the staff to keep the page from bunching up and thus making it less clear to understand. Visually it is clearer and thus easier to play. This is much similar to when book typesetters choose to put a little extra white-space between paragraphs to help the reader adjust to the new line
If anything, I see a greater concern about adherence to the original notation in the original edition of this work than in current editions. But I may not completely understand your comment.And then, as with a lot of published composers of his time, there is less of a desire to apply what might otherwise be consequential to the performer to preserve clarity of thought, knowing full-well that someone else is about to re-imagine it's application in a much more readable format.
Browse around at IMSLP for Beethoven autographs from opus 28 through opus 78 or so (not many autographs have survived of his earlier music) and you will be very surprised. They look like this one, very clear and readable and with not that many corrections. Later, he let his handwriting go, possibly because of emotional and physical problems. But his clarity of thought in musical notation never wavers. It is all there as he wishes it to LOOK and SOUND. It's just a lot messier.Bonus thought: This is an astonishing example of Beethoven, because most of Beethoven is unreadable.
I'm afraid I see this as moot with some conventions (like unified stem directions). What deeper kind of thought can be communicated in the performance of such music without explanation to the audience that "stems from measure x-xx are up to communicate the line is unified and clarity of thought is clear?"However, there are times when they must be discarded to facilitate communication of a deeper kind. These master composers can show us when those times are.
I see these differences much like an author insisting the publisher use "ALL CAPS" instead of italics because he wants the reader to have a deeper understanding of what is happening in the text. In reality, it may be more difficult to read, and italics does just a fine job at doing the same thing.
Is it so possible and likely to you that one cannot understand what the composer intended when the stems might be "corrected" to notational conventions? That sounds like you are making an awful amount of assumptions about the performers ability to both interpret and communicate effectively.The whole point of my presentation is that these composers were VERY concerned about notating what they wanted people to hear, especially at a time when printed music was the only means of mass music communication.
I wouldn't want my editor at the engraver's office to miss what I'm trying to write upon the final editing of what should be printed. This does not improve implicitly nor logically that Beethoven (or any other composer from around that time) was concerned for how it was finally printed for mass production.It is the finished work ready for the engraver.
One thing that would be more convincing to me is to see correspondence from composers to their editors in the engraver's offices about the display of music and how their music turned out (such instances are far from rare in other publishing industries).