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#2112251 - 07/03/13 03:15 PM Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there?  
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Sometimes I'll listen to a piece and hear a note in the melody that is simply not part of the melody. This is usually a note that is part of the accompaniment that is just very close to the melodic line, but a few times it has been something my brain just made up.

For example, in this part of Schubert Impromptu in G flat (measures 31-34), I always heard the G flat as part of the melody. When I started playing the piece, I was surprised to discover that it really isn't (at least it doesn't have an up stem...). It is just so close to the melody that it is extremely difficult to differentiate it with the fingers (and this is one of the biggest difficulties of the whole piece).

[Linked Image]

Anyway, even though I know it should not be part of the melody, it is so hard for me not to hear it as such in my head. This happens while I'm playing, too, which makes it even harder to bring out the actual melody correctly.

Does this kind of thing ever happen to anyone else?

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#2112277 - 07/03/13 04:01 PM Re: Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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Yes indeed! (But not there.) grin

It's happened with me many times, and sometimes when I realized what was the story, I still liked it better the way I'd been thinking it and playing it. In that case, what I'd do is look for some excuse to keep doing it. ha

And sometimes there really are other editions that show the non-melody note as a melody note. A good example is Chopin's Mazurka in D, Op. 33 #2. I think many people reading this will know the note I mean (it comes in many times). If anyone wants to me to point it out, no problem. I think that in the way-back past, almost everyone played it as a melody note, then some people started saying it's not really, and I think now the state-of-the-art is that it's not a melody note. But it's still hard for me to get my head around.

(BTW you mean F flat!)

#2112288 - 07/03/13 04:10 PM Re: Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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G Flat? Unless I'm missing something, you circled an F flat. It's okay, slip of the key? G and F are right beside each other on a computer keyboard (as well as a piano keyboard, too!) wink

But yes, this happened to me. Classic mistake many students make in the intro to Chopin's 2nd Ballade:

[Linked Image]

#2112307 - 07/03/13 04:42 PM Re: Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there? [Re: Orange Soda King]  
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
.....Classic mistake many students make in the intro to Chopin's 2nd Ballade.....

Hey, you puttin' me on? ha

(Huh, you're right -- that's not a melody note!)

I always thought of it as one.

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#2112336 - 07/03/13 05:58 PM Re: Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there? [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
.....Classic mistake many students make in the intro to Chopin's 2nd Ballade.....

Hey, you puttin' me on? ha

(Huh, you're right -- that's not a melody note!)

I always thought of it as one.


It's not always necessary to make a distinction. Think of Bach on the organ - every note gets equal volume, and the result is more coherent (and complete) than interpretations on the piano that emphasize some notes over others.

#2112339 - 07/03/13 06:00 PM Re: Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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Whoops, I meant F flat! Yep, sorry.

#2112414 - 07/03/13 07:56 PM Re: Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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Yup, I've done it, but I've seen others do it more than I do laugh

My method for getting rid of playing the non-melody notes as melody is to just play the melody a few times separately, and then add the accompaniment back in again.

#2112424 - 07/03/13 08:19 PM Re: Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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Probably the most common one is in the slow movement (Adagio cantabile) of Beethoven's Pathetique Sonata, in the second bar, where the accompanimental figure in RH goes up to B flat, after two A flats. That B flat almost always sound like a melody note, so that the whole tune becomes C, B flat, E flat, B flat then D flat followed by rising quavers in the third bar. (Sorry, I don't know how to post the music score itself on here, but I'm sure you're all familiar with the music grin).

Even many professional pianists - consciously or otherwise - slightly emphasise that B flat just enough to make the listener think it's part of the melody, even though the way it's notated shows that the composer never meant it to be so. That is evident when the melody is repeated immediately afterwards (bar 10).
But when the accompanimental figure turns into triplets (in bar 52), the temptation to emphasise that B flat is again almost irresistible......


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
#2112450 - 07/03/13 09:29 PM Re: Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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Yes, quite a few times. smile



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#2112540 - 07/04/13 01:03 AM Re: Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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Schubert Piano Sonata in B-flat, D. 960, 1st mov., measure 4. Two inner intervals on beats 2 and 3: E flat-G to D-F. Some pianists, including Brendel, play them as part of melody. However, melodic octave of B-flat on beat 1 has dotted half-note value. (However, Brendel justified it by talking about it in one of his lectures). (My apology, I have yet to learn how to cut and paste in this forum).

Last edited by asiantraveller101; 07/04/13 01:09 AM.

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#2112559 - 07/04/13 02:17 AM Re: Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there? [Re: asiantraveller101]  
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Originally Posted by asiantraveller101
Schubert Piano Sonata in B-flat, D. 960, 1st mov., measure 4. Two inner intervals on beats 2 and 3: E flat-G to D-F....

What a great thread this is already, with such great examples.

By which I mean, this is another example that I'd been mistaken about. grin

I've played the piece -- although never studied it with a teacher, or else maybe I'd have known those aren't 'really' melody notes. I'd be very interested to know how Brendel explained that they are (or sort of are).

Even if they're not part of the melody per se, I can see that they're sort of 'beats'....not really beats, but, there just isn't a word for what I mean here. I'm talking about a similar thing to what's going on with that Pathetique note that Bennevis talked about -- a note that's not part of the melody but which I think most of us would still 'sing' if we were trying to sing the piece with a single voice, and a basic aspect of how we think of the melody even as we realize fully that it's not a melody note. (That's how I've always viewed the Pathetique note.) When I 'sing' such stuff, or when I just think of 'how it goes,' some non-melody notes are such an intrinsic part of it that I'd never leave them out. When these ancillary notes are in the bass, it's more obvious that they are what they are, but when they're in middle voices, they're more easily confused as the melody, including to ourselves. If I do realize that such notes are inner voices (as in the Pathetique), I sing or think them in a subsidiary way -- but I wouldn't fail to include them.

Anyway, I wonder if the way Brendel justified it was something like that Schubert notated it this way simply to mark the B-flat octaves as the peak of the phrase (?) and to indicate that their sound should carry through as part of the continuing accompaniment as well as part of the melody. That is, Schubert never meant that those next notes aren't part of the melody; he just felt this notation would better emphasize those other aspects.

#2112561 - 07/04/13 02:23 AM Re: Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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Originally Posted by WinsomeAllegretto
Sometimes I'll listen to a piece and hear a note in the melody that is simply not part of the melody. This is usually a note that is part of the accompaniment that is just very close to the melodic line, but a few times it has been something my brain just made up.

For example, in this part of Schubert Impromptu in G flat (measures 31-34), I always heard the G flat as part of the melody. When I started playing the piece, I was surprised to discover that it really isn't (at least it doesn't have an up stem...). It is just so close to the melody that it is extremely difficult to differentiate it with the fingers (and this is one of the biggest difficulties of the whole piece).

[Linked Image]

Anyway, even though I know it should not be part of the melody, it is so hard for me not to hear it as such in my head. This happens while I'm playing, too, which makes it even harder to bring out the actual melody correctly.

Does this kind of thing ever happen to anyone else?


How do you know it's not a melody note? Because of the way it's engraved? How do you test it? Exaggerated voicing? And who's to say you can't fudge it by ...mmm... say, subtle voicing? I mean, this one, especially, looks like a step stool in the melody phrase. I think there's a reason your mind's ear hears it as melody, and it's not just placement on the staff.


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#2112574 - 07/04/13 02:52 AM Re: Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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This comes up in hymns, and can be an organist's nightmare.

A good example:
[Linked Image]
In measure seven (3rd system), the soprano melody (which most congregations will sing) is in quarter notes, yet how often does this end up sounding like a melody in 8th notes on the 2nd and 4th beats?



Jason
#2112578 - 07/04/13 03:09 AM Re: Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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I can't help but hear this EVERY TIME:

http://picosong.com/Rfnv/



Slightly off topic, but have you ever wanted to actually change a measure in a piece? This is what my ear was expecting the first time I heard the piece:

http://picosong.com/RfFA/


#2112583 - 07/04/13 03:28 AM Re: Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there? [Re: JoelW]  
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Originally Posted by JoelW
I can't help but hear this EVERY TIME:

http://picosong.com/Rfnv/

Another good example!

Quote
Slightly off topic, but have you ever wanted to actually change a measure in a piece? This is what my ear was expecting the first time I heard the piece:

http://picosong.com/RfFA/


#2112587 - 07/04/13 03:32 AM Re: Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there? [Re: Mark_C]  
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Quote
Originally Posted by JoelW
I can't help but hear this EVERY TIME:

http://picosong.com/Rfnv/

Another good example!


Wait, are you saying you've heard this too?

Quote
Quote
Slightly off topic, but have you ever wanted to actually chnge a measure in a piece? This is what my ear was expecting the first time I heard the piece:

http://picosong.com/RfFA/




Agreed!

#2112595 - 07/04/13 03:51 AM Re: Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there? [Re: argerichfan]  
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Originally Posted by argerichfan
This comes up in hymns, and can be an organist's nightmare.

A good example:
[Linked Image]
In measure seven (3rd system), the soprano melody (which most congregations will sing) is in quarter notes, yet how often does this end up sounding like a melody in 8th notes on the 2nd and 4th beats?



Hey--if the congregation can sing it that way, applaud them for their virtuosity! wink


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but at least I'm slow.
#2112689 - 07/04/13 09:10 AM Re: Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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One of the best examples I know of this is the beginning of the Menuetto 3rd movement of Beethoven's D major Sonata op. 10 no. 3. The pickup A is tied to an A on the first beat of the first measure, but the accompaniment F# just sounds like melody. My OLD copy of this from high school has a significant "reminder" from my teacher of what is and isn't the melody here. The same pattern recurs throughout the movement.

#2112733 - 07/04/13 10:41 AM Re: Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there? [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by asiantraveller101
Schubert Piano Sonata in B-flat, D. 960, 1st mov., measure 4. Two inner intervals on beats 2 and 3: E flat-G to D-F....

What a great thread this is already, with such great examples.

By which I mean, this is another example that I'd been mistaken about. grin

I've played the piece -- although never studied it with a teacher, or else maybe I'd have known those aren't 'really' melody notes. I'd be very interested to know how Brendel explained that they are (or sort of are).

Even if they're not part of the melody per se, I can see that they're sort of 'beats'....not really beats, but, there just isn't a word for what I mean here. I'm talking about a similar thing to what's going on with that Pathetique note that Bennevis talked about -- a note that's not part of the melody but which I think most of us would still 'sing' if we were trying to sing the piece with a single voice, and a basic aspect of how we think of the melody even as we realize fully that it's not a melody note. (That's how I've always viewed the Pathetique note.) When I 'sing' such stuff, or when I just think of 'how it goes,' some non-melody notes are such an intrinsic part of it that I'd never leave them out. When these ancillary notes are in the bass, it's more obvious that they are what they are, but when they're in middle voices, they're more easily confused as the melody, including to ourselves. If I do realize that such notes are inner voices (as in the Pathetique), I sing or think them in a subsidiary way -- but I wouldn't fail to include them.

Anyway, I wonder if the way Brendel justified it was something like that Schubert notated it this way simply to mark the B-flat octaves as the peak of the phrase (?) and to indicate that their sound should carry through as part of the continuing accompaniment as well as part of the melody. That is, he never meant that those next notes aren't part of the melody but that Schubert felt this notation would better emphasize those other aspects.

Exactly your thought. wow
Brendel thinks the 2-note "G-F" forms the the basic germinal motive that becomes the unifying factor throughout the entire sonata. It is quite true that the 2-note motive is found all over, for example: the opening theme of the second movement also contains the 2-note motive, and also the opening theme for the 4th.
However, my argument is that we can always find 2-note slur in virtually any music. Does bringing out the 2-note motive in the first place justify the compromise/distortion in the opening melody? Do audience recognize the importance of the 2-note motive as one of the unifying factor of the sonata?


JN
#2112737 - 07/04/13 10:48 AM Re: Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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Here, as opposed to there
Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there?

Do you hear voices as well? If so... well... =p



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#2112746 - 07/04/13 11:09 AM Re: Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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I hope I hear voices! I hope I hear all the individual voices when I'm playing the piano. wink

#2112754 - 07/04/13 11:34 AM Re: Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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Last week my teacher complained, "I'm not hearing that D... it's part of the inner melody!"
My brilliant reply was, "Oh, is it? I thought it was just there."
Well, my first Brahms intermezzo...
So now I am more concerned with *not* hearing melody notes that *are* there!

#2112760 - 07/04/13 11:45 AM Re: Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there? [Re: asiantraveller101]  
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AT101: Thanks! And I want to say, these occasional moments when we figure out something like this feel very good.

About the two-note slur thing: In a situation like this, where the figure is something that's just very common, I would always wonder the same thing. But in this case, I think it really does work. I'd also say that in order to make it work not just in our mind but for a performance, we need to not just consider those 'inner voices' as part of the melody; we need to mark them in some special way, either right from the start or very soon after. It's ironic -- a few seconds ago we were basically talking about having 'discovered' that they need to be subordinated, and now we're talking about making them more important.

And of course, this is all about what we call "interpretation." smile

#2113481 - 07/05/13 11:28 PM Re: Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there? [Re: Cinnamonbear]  
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Originally Posted by Cinnamonbear
Originally Posted by WinsomeAllegretto
Sometimes I'll listen to a piece and hear a note in the melody that is simply not part of the melody. This is usually a note that is part of the accompaniment that is just very close to the melodic line, but a few times it has been something my brain just made up.

For example, in this part of Schubert Impromptu in G flat (measures 31-34), I always heard the G flat as part of the melody. When I started playing the piece, I was surprised to discover that it really isn't (at least it doesn't have an up stem...). It is just so close to the melody that it is extremely difficult to differentiate it with the fingers (and this is one of the biggest difficulties of the whole piece).

[Linked Image]

Anyway, even though I know it should not be part of the melody, it is so hard for me not to hear it as such in my head. This happens while I'm playing, too, which makes it even harder to bring out the actual melody correctly.

Does this kind of thing ever happen to anyone else?


How do you know it's not a melody note? Because of the way it's engraved? How do you test it? Exaggerated voicing? And who's to say you can't fudge it by ...mmm... say, subtle voicing? I mean, this one, especially, looks like a step stool in the melody phrase. I think there's a reason your mind's ear hears it as melody, and it's not just placement on the staff.


Good question. I mean, I assume it wasn't meant as a melodic note because it is notated like the accompaniment and the G flat half note continues over it. But I agree - I think the melodic line is more poignant and has more build with the F flat as a "step stool." Maybe I ought to look into more editions and see if there is any divergence of opinion.

#2113483 - 07/05/13 11:34 PM Re: Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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Originally Posted by WinsomeAllegretto
....Maybe I ought to look into more editions and see if there is any divergence of opinion.

There won't be. grin

Sure, it's plausible with the F-flat as part of the melody. But, I think, just barely -- in view of how the other way is so much more in line with what's going on there, like, how that segment sits within the phrase. Subjective, of course -- but, I think, very very clear. I see that both you and Cinnamonbear like it better that way, but.....the F-flat just isn't a melody note.

Maybe look at it this way: assume for a few moments that it's not, and, for the sake of argument, try to see what gets accomplished for the overall phrase by not having it as a melody note, even if you have to contrive it at first. Once you appreciate what the possible advantages might be, then see if it maybe really does make more sense than with the F-flat. I have to believe you're just missing some aspects of the advantages. In any event, that's what I try to do after I see that I've been reading or hearing something mistakenly.

As I said, looking into more editions is what I sometimes do to try to justify my mistaken versions. But, need I say, it almost always fails.

Last edited by Mark_C; 07/05/13 11:48 PM.
#2113489 - 07/05/13 11:46 PM Re: Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there? [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by WinsomeAllegretto
....Maybe I ought to look into more editions and see if there is any divergence of opinion.

There won't be. grin

Sure, it's plausible with the F-flat as part of the melody. But, I think, just barely -- in view of how the other way is so much more in line with what's going on there, like, how that segment sits within the phrase. Subjective, of course -- but, I think, very very clear. I see that both you and Cinnamonbear like it better that way, but.....the F-flat just isn't a melody note. Maybe look at it this way: assume for a few moments that it's not, and, for the sake of argument, try to see what gets accomplished for the overall phrase by not having it as a melody note -- and then see if it doesn't work better that way for you. If you like it better with the F-flat, I have to believe you're just missing some aspects of the other way.

As I said, looking into more editions is what I sometimes do to try to justify my mistaken versions. But, need I say, it almost always fails.


I think you're right. I just want to be right ha (I should know not to question Schubert. He is a god.)

#2114837 - 07/08/13 06:42 PM Re: Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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I hear melodic 'lines' where they aren't 'there' in the sense of not technically there musically. To be honest there seems to be confusion around the concept of melody for me anyway - is there always an 'official' melody in any given phrase or section? Is it musically wrong to mess with that?

As an example, sometimes when playing a series of accompaniment figures in a row, the lower note sounds like a line of sorts. In Beethoven's Sonata Op. 2 No. 1 you have this section:

http://i.imgur.com/IugFmWC.png

The base notes of the accompaniment patterns starting on the 3rd measure (C, G, Ab, Bb) seem to constitute a melodic line of sorts, especially when you see that it leads to a C which starts a 'left hand melody' of broken triads against a right hand scale in the following several bars. Or I guess someone might think the scale is the melody here, but if anything the scale is more static than the broken triads and their sforzandos.

By the way, how do you imbed pictures so well into your forum posts like that?

Last edited by Roland The Beagle; 07/08/13 06:50 PM.

Danzas Argentinas, Alberto Ginastera
Piano Sonata Hob. XVI: 34 in E Minor, Franz Joseph Haydn
Nocturne, Op. 15 No. 1 in F Major, Frdric Chopin
Prelude, Op. 11 No. 4 in E Minor, Alexander Scriabin
Prelude and Fugue in G Major, Well-Tempered Clavier Vol. 2, Johann Sebastian Bach
#2114883 - 07/08/13 09:05 PM Re: Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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I'm hearing melodic notes that aren't there right now. And I'm nowhere near my piano...

#2114953 - 07/09/13 12:23 AM Re: Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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I'm afraid I don't see what makes for a "nightmare" for the organist in that hymn. Is it the eighth notes in the alto?

Doesn't the congregation read the soprano melody line anyway?

Organ was only my minor instrument in college, so I wouldn't be surprised if I'm missing something here.

#2115016 - 07/09/13 04:38 AM Re: Do you ever hear melody notes that aren't there? [Re: RealPlayer]  
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Originally Posted by RealPlayer
... Doesn't the congregation read the soprano melody line anyway?...


Even in the 60s members of congregations for the most part read nothing more than the words. Jason is right in that several habits of (unimportant) inaccuracy became established.


Vasa inania multum strepunt.
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