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Sheet music discrepancies, is there a final authority? #2721164
03/14/18 03:46 PM
03/14/18 03:46 PM
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JayWalkingBlues Offline OP
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So, I'm just about finished with Chopin's Funeral March (Sonata No.2 Op.35 3rd movement). In an effort to commit the last few left hand measures of the middle section to memory, I've been doing some written exercises with printed scores and blank sheets. Well, I came across a couple notes I thought I must have mis-remembered. These are in measures 35 (7th left hand note F vs Ab), and measure 42 (3rd and 7th left hand notes Gb vs F). So I took a look at another source for the sheet music, and voila, it was the way I remembered it. So I started to check 3rd, 4th, and 5th sources, etc., to see which was correct. Well don't you know, they're split about 50/50 on measure 35. Even worse, I found 3 different combinations for measure 42. WTF..... so here's my question. Is there a highest authority on these things? If not, I 'll just stick with the score I've been working from, but I feel a need for resolution now.


Currently working on:
Asturia (Leyenda) - Isaac Albeniz
Mia and Sabastian's Theme - Kyle Landry arrangement
also working on some vocal training



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Re: Sheet music discrepancies, is there a final authority? [Re: JayWalkingBlues] #2721185
03/14/18 05:19 PM
03/14/18 05:19 PM
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Hi JWB, there may not be a highest authority for each passage, or the highest authority may be the one recognized ( by whom?) as such. Would it be possible for you to learn the variants and decide which ones you prefer? The pitfalls of scholarship! ("Those who know her know her less, the nearer her they get." And, "It is as if someone were to buy three copies of the morning paper, to convince himself that what it said was true.")

Last edited by agraffe; 03/14/18 05:23 PM. Reason: Wittgenstein quotation

"When life gives you a lemonwood Gaveau [piano], make a place for it (or, what is the same thing, find a wealthy foreign collector/enthusiast to sell it to)." --adapted from and inspired by _The Piano Shop on the Left Bank_ by Thad Carhart
Re: Sheet music discrepancies, is there a final authority? [Re: JayWalkingBlues] #2721187
03/14/18 05:28 PM
03/14/18 05:28 PM
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There's a thing called "Urtext" which is supposed to be as close as you can get to what the composer wrote. There are handwritten relics in museums and libraries which have been photographed.


-- J.S.

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Re: Sheet music discrepancies, is there a final authority? [Re: JohnSprung] #2721191
03/14/18 05:36 PM
03/14/18 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnSprung

There's a thing called "Urtext" which is supposed to be as close as you can get to what the composer wrote. There are handwritten relics in museums and libraries which have been photographed.
But even "Urtext" is not always "Urtext". Sometimes composers rework their pieces, and it's not possible to determine which version the composer preferred.

In the end, the highest authority is the pianist performing the piece.


My grand piano is a Yamaha C2 SG.
Re: Sheet music discrepancies, is there a final authority? [Re: JayWalkingBlues] #2721192
03/14/18 05:37 PM
03/14/18 05:37 PM
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To put the matter another way, piano is interpretive, and interpretation requires creativity. Ultimately you as the pianist must confer authoritativeness on your sources. Best of good fortune to you in your quest!


"When life gives you a lemonwood Gaveau [piano], make a place for it (or, what is the same thing, find a wealthy foreign collector/enthusiast to sell it to)." --adapted from and inspired by _The Piano Shop on the Left Bank_ by Thad Carhart
Re: Sheet music discrepancies, is there a final authority? [Re: JayWalkingBlues] #2721469
03/15/18 02:44 PM
03/15/18 02:44 PM
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David Farley Offline
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If the question is specific to Chopin, this site might be of interest.

Chopin Early Editions at the University of Chicago Library

Re: Sheet music discrepancies, is there a final authority? [Re: JayWalkingBlues] #2721525
03/15/18 07:22 PM
03/15/18 07:22 PM
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I vote for urtext versions 100% of the time if they are available! Especially G. Henle Verlag (Germany) where the Henle PHD's have put in a relentless amount of research and documented such in their beautiful bound editions. Maybe go to their website and check it out. I also highly respect and love Weiner Urtext editions (Vienna, Austria). They do the research extremely well too. Modified editions published by others don't make me feel comfortable that the music is what the composer originally wrote but has been modified by someone who thinks they are better than the composer.

The poster above who said Urtext isn't always Urtext was off base in my opinion. Every urtext edition I have dealt with is for composers who are long deceased. The researchers go back to the latest known sources and even include changes noted by the composers in letters to students, etc. Chopin wrote many letters during his short life. There is even of book called Chopin's letters. G. Henle Verlage takes these into account for example.

Best of luck to you!

Steve

Last edited by Lakeviewsteve; 03/15/18 07:27 PM.

Bösendorfer 170
Re: Sheet music discrepancies, is there a final authority? [Re: David Farley] #2721748
03/16/18 02:17 PM
03/16/18 02:17 PM
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JayWalkingBlues Offline OP
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Originally Posted by David Farley
If the question is specific to Chopin, this site might be of interest.

Chopin Early Editions at the University of Chicago Library


This was pretty cool.....I went and looked at the early publications from 1840, 1843, 1851, and found the same discrepancies I've been seeing. This has been fascinating and educational. Thank you everyone for your input.


Currently working on:
Asturia (Leyenda) - Isaac Albeniz
Mia and Sabastian's Theme - Kyle Landry arrangement
also working on some vocal training



Re: Sheet music discrepancies, is there a final authority? [Re: JayWalkingBlues] #2721776
03/16/18 03:37 PM
03/16/18 03:37 PM
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I second the vote for Henle...not only are they thorough with scholarship; the bindings are such that the books stay open by themselves.


Piano teacher.
Re: Sheet music discrepancies, is there a final authority? [Re: JayWalkingBlues] #2721907
03/17/18 06:09 AM
03/17/18 06:09 AM
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I can't fault the scholarship of the Henle editions, but I do sometimes wonder what the point is. i wonder how often a composer of the 18th or 19th century produced something that was intended to be absolutely definitive and untouchable? Even that fact that something was engraved and published did not always discourage a composer scribbling out a revised version later.

Over the latest fifty years or so we've developed an almost religious reverence for the works of long-dead composers. In my view, if one edition has a D and another an E, we should go with the one that sounds best, the ones we think our listeners will most like to hear.

I'm aware, of course, that there are strong opinions on all sides of this discussion.

Re: Sheet music discrepancies, is there a final authority? [Re: JayWalkingBlues] #2721929
03/17/18 09:17 AM
03/17/18 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by JayWalkingBlues
So, I'm just about finished with Chopin's Funeral March (Sonata No.2 Op.35 3rd movement). In an effort to commit the last few left hand measures of the middle section to memory, I've been doing some written exercises with printed scores and blank sheets. Well, I came across a couple notes I thought I must have mis-remembered. These are in measures 35 (7th left hand note F vs Ab), and measure 42 (3rd and 7th left hand notes Gb vs F). So I took a look at another source for the sheet music, and voila, it was the way I remembered it. So I started to check 3rd, 4th, and 5th sources, etc., to see which was correct. Well don't you know, they're split about 50/50 on measure 35. Even worse, I found 3 different combinations for measure 42. WTF..... so here's my question. Is there a highest authority on these things? If not, I 'll just stick with the score I've been working from, but I feel a need for resolution now.

The latter question is easier to answer. The original autograph is lost, but a copy (thought to be made by Chopin's pupil Gutmann) has survived, and the copy uses a repeat symbol in measures where notes 5-8 in the LH are the same as notes 1-4, but in measure 42 all the notes are written out, with 3rd note G flat and 7th note F. There is also a change of pedal halfway through the measure, which makes sense for a changing LH harmony, in contrast to pedal running throughout the measure in the preceding bars. (Source: National Edition, which is justifiably criticized by some for being pricey, printing the posthumous works separately, not opening well, and having some bad page turns, particularly in the mazurkas... but in my opinion is very insightful and helpful when it comes to questions like this.)

Measure 35 is probably the same as measure 51 in the LH, in your edition? I'm not familiar with 7th note F. National Edition gives 7th note A flat and 8th note D natural, while commenting that the first English edition has a higher 8th note F, which may have been an intentional change of mind by Chopin to avoid doubling the D natural with the RH.

P.S. If you learn the first movement of this sonata, don't assume that a repeat mark at m.5 is correct, because it probably isn't!


(Used to post as SlatterFan)
Re: Sheet music discrepancies, is there a final authority? [Re: JayWalkingBlues] #2722256
03/18/18 02:31 PM
03/18/18 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by JayWalkingBlues
Originally Posted by David Farley
If the question is specific to Chopin, this site might be of interest.

Chopin Early Editions at the University of Chicago Library


This was pretty cool.....I went and looked at the early publications from 1840, 1843, 1851, and found the same discrepancies I've been seeing. This has been fascinating and educational. Thank you everyone for your input.



You may want to check out the Online Chopin Variorum Edition, too. It's a bit tricky to use, but has a great deal of source material. Basically, it looks like they try to put every last scrap that is available online.

Re: Sheet music discrepancies, is there a final authority? [Re: JayWalkingBlues] #2722321
03/18/18 06:06 PM
03/18/18 06:06 PM
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I am among those who do not believe that there is necessarily a definitive way to play many, if not most, pieces. Composers who feel compelled to play their own pieces the same way over and over again tend to grow tired of playing them.

What gets sold as "urtext" often has to be heavily edited, like the case that there are more than one source, and the editor makes decisions of what sources are used, and whether the sources are correct. One should not make assumptions that these editions are 100% correct, especially if you have not read the critical report.


Semipro Tech
Re: Sheet music discrepancies, is there a final authority? [Re: kevinb] #2722605
03/19/18 12:26 PM
03/19/18 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by kevinb
. In my view, if one edition has a D and another an E, we should go with the one that sounds best, the ones we think our listeners will most like to hear..


And I'd hope that both options would be performed by different pianists.


-- J.S.

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Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690
Re: Sheet music discrepancies, is there a final authority? [Re: JayWalkingBlues] #2722829
03/20/18 12:59 AM
03/20/18 12:59 AM
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The main value of Urtext is to get rid of editors marks. Sometimes this s difficult to sort out for composers from earlier centuries where it’s hard to find original manuscripts.

Re: Sheet music discrepancies, is there a final authority? [Re: RubberFingers] #2722938
03/20/18 01:40 PM
03/20/18 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by RubberFingers
The main value of Urtext is to get rid of editors marks. Sometimes this s difficult to sort out for composers from earlier centuries where it’s hard to find original manuscripts.


Where did you hear that was the main purpose for Urtext? I've never heard that. How does that make sense to you?

I agree with how it is stated on Wikipedia:

"An urtext edition of a work of classical music is a printed version intended to reproduce the original intention of the composer as exactly as possible, without any added or changed material."

Last edited by Lakeviewsteve; 03/20/18 01:46 PM.

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Re: Sheet music discrepancies, is there a final authority? [Re: BDB] #2722939
03/20/18 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by BDB
I am among those who do not believe that there is necessarily a definitive way to play many, if not most, pieces. Composers who feel compelled to play their own pieces the same way over and over again tend to grow tired of playing them.

What gets sold as "urtext" often has to be heavily edited, like the case that there are more than one source, and the editor makes decisions of what sources are used, and whether the sources are correct. One should not make assumptions that these editions are 100% correct, especially if you have not read the critical report.


What editions do you prefer then? Highly edited without regard to the composer or what?


Bösendorfer 170
Re: Sheet music discrepancies, is there a final authority? [Re: Lakeviewsteve] #2722940
03/20/18 01:56 PM
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It does not matter. If you study enough of the music, you get a good idea of how it should go. Sometimes it is even better than the composer's idea, and even more often, it is better than what is written down.


Semipro Tech
Re: Sheet music discrepancies, is there a final authority? [Re: Lakeviewsteve] #2722966
03/20/18 03:55 PM
03/20/18 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Lakeviewsteve
Originally Posted by RubberFingers
The main value of Urtext is to get rid of editors marks. Sometimes this s difficult to sort out for composers from earlier centuries where it’s hard to find original manuscripts.


Where did you hear that was the main purpose for Urtext? I've never heard that. How does that make sense to you?

I agree with how it is stated on Wikipedia:

"An urtext edition of a work of classical music is a printed version intended to reproduce the original intention of the composer as exactly as possible, without any added or changed material."


I don't see a contradiction here. If one "get[s] rid of editors marks" isn't the result "reproduc[ing] the original intention of the composer as [much] as possible..." without the addition of editors' marks?

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: Sheet music discrepancies, is there a final authority? [Re: JayWalkingBlues] #2723165
03/21/18 10:52 AM
03/21/18 10:52 AM
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This was a fun learning experience for me. Thank you all who provided some guidance. I did look at some sheets published in 1840, 1843, and 1851. In the end I decided to go with the sheets I was already working off of. I have finished the piece, and found a little extra education along the way. My teacher enjoys watching me chase these rabbit holes. My wife is a bit less amused with my pursuits.

edit...fixed dates

Last edited by JayWalkingBlues; 03/21/18 10:53 AM.

Currently working on:
Asturia (Leyenda) - Isaac Albeniz
Mia and Sabastian's Theme - Kyle Landry arrangement
also working on some vocal training



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