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Hey guys. I can't figure out what this doodly do means. In the two measure on the bottom of the page it says the 5 notes are together (against the six in the left hand), but the fourth note has this weird thingie which indicates (in the first measure) both B natural AND B flat, and in the second measure A natural and then A flat. Does anyone know what this means?

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I think it written like that for geography reasons - can't display the notes under each other - so it's just another chord; but I'm guessing...

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Yes, exactly. In the next to last measure, play B and Bb together, as one of your quintuplet. In the last measure, play A and Ab together. I've actually seen this in a book about notation. And it's just as LaValse says: in an augmented unison, there is no room to show the notes stacked as a third or larger would be, or even nestled by each other as a second would be.


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I think they are meant to be played at the same time. They should have scored
the B natural as Cb and the A natural as Bbb.

Last edited by Studio Joe; 02/16/12 08:11 PM.

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Thanks for the help. I'm still confused though. It looks like there would be plenty of room to print the two notes side by side as a second is normally written! Why not write it that way? This notation seems to take up even more room. Or am I missing something?


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Originally Posted by Sam Rose
Thanks for the help. I'm still confused though. It looks like there would be plenty of room to print the two notes side by side as a second is normally written! Why not write it that way? This notation seems to take up even more room. Or am I missing something?


Yes, the notes are on the same space (B) and same
line (A). A second is written on adjacent line/space.

My suggestion above Cb,Bb would allow them to be
spaced like a second in the score.

Last edited by Studio Joe; 02/16/12 08:22 PM.

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[cross-posted with StudioJoe: this is in reply to Sam Rose]

Do you mean, move the augmented unisons closer to each other horizontally until they kiss, and have the stem run between them -- instead of having the bifurcation that is shown? There would be no room to put the flat sign if you did that.

The accidentals are solved for seconds by moving one accidental farther to the left than the other, but this works because the note centers are on different vertical levels, so each accidental can be matched up with its proper note.

Last edited by PianoStudent88; 02/16/12 08:24 PM.

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Originally Posted by Studio Joe
My suggestion above Cb,Bb would allow them to be
spaced like a second in the score.


Yes, but there are two voices in the RH, and my suspicion is that for harmonic reasons A natural is the proper spelling for one voice, and Ab the proper spelling for the other voice (and similarly for B natural and Bb in the previous measure). Or perhaps there's some other harmonic reason that dictates "augmented unison" is the proper name of what's going on here, and not "minor second."

Even if not, if Chopin wrote it that way, I'd rather see what Chopin wrote than an enharmonic respelling. I'm assuming that the editor didn't already choose some enharmonic spellings that necessitated this notation!

Last edited by PianoStudent88; 02/16/12 08:34 PM.

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Oh, I get it now. I was imagining the way it would be written if it was two notes which are a half step away and are written as a second on the staff (E and F, and B and C). In fact, I can't remember ever hitting two notes which are a half step away together in any music I've done so far, which is why this notation is so unfamiliar.


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I got it now. Thanks people smile


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I've tried playing those two notes together, but it sounds horribly dissonant. Is it possible that it means something else? What I understood was to play the notes together. It does NOT sound right. Advice?

It's also possible that it's only sounding wrong because I'm playing it very slowly right now. I just want to be sure it's the correct way to play it before I try to make it faster.

Last edited by Sam Rose; 02/17/12 02:42 AM.

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Yes, this is something that will sound bad slow, and will smooth out nicely once you have the passage to tempo. I listened very carefully to a couple of recordings along with the score, and I am quite certain that it must be played together. Its late and I don't want to go to the piano to test for myself though. laugh

Here is a screenshot of the measures in question from a .pdf version of the G minor Ballade that I have saved:

[Linked Image]

Perhaps it will be of some use. smile

[edit] This youtube audio of Rubinstein is the clearest I've heard. The link is set up to start the video a couple measures before.

Last edited by Horowitzian; 02/17/12 05:46 AM. Reason: added link

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Hi Sam,

They have to be played together. There are some things that make it sound beautifully.

1) If you bring out the melody line in these right hand intervals. The so called differentation of notes.

2) When it is played almost like in a movement of kind of a galant type waltz. So the movement on -3- feeling has to stay.

3) The tempo is also a parameter but not the most important to make it sound beautifully. It can also be played nicely in a slow tempo.

4) Listen very carefully to the harmony and paint it all out. Make this dissonance sound as a beautiful sharp colour that spices up the place.

I am sure you will succeed.
My best wishes to you.
Jaak


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Interesting discussion!

And IMO the key to it is:

Originally Posted by Jaak
If you bring out the melody line in these right hand intervals. The so called differentation of notes.

Exactly -- what we sometimes call "voicing."
You need to 'voice' the top notes strongly -- not just in this dissonance but in all these R.H. 2-note combos.

Plus, ideally, to shape the melody (i.e. those top notes) -- shape it like how you might sing it, rather than just getting the notes.

This little passage really could be an etude, and it sort of is. In fact, there is an etude sort of like this -- the 3rd from Trois Nouvelles Etudes.

That's what makes this passage very hard, although I imagine it's not what most of us think of when we think of the hard parts of this ballade. You have to voice those top notes, plus shape the melody. That's hard.

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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Interesting discussion!

And IMO the key to it is:

Originally Posted by Jaak
If you bring out the melody line in these right hand intervals. The so called differentation of notes.

Exactly -- what we sometimes call "voicing."
You need to 'voice' the top notes strongly -- not just in this dissonance but in all these R.H. 2-note combos.

Plus, ideally, to shape the melody (i.e. those top notes) -- shape it like how you might sing it, rather than just getting the notes.

This little passage really could be an etude, and it sort of is. In fact, there is an etude sort of like this -- the 3rd from Trois Nouvelles Etudes.

That's what makes this passage very hard, although I imagine it's not what most of us think of when we think of the hard parts of this ballade. You have to voice those top notes, plus shape the melody. That's hard.


Yes, this part sounds super easy when you hear the masters play it. Now the challenge will be to make it sound good to my own ears when I play it. It's gonna be TOUGH.

When you say "voice the top notes," does that mean the top RIGHT hand note has to be louder than the bottom one? Or do you mean the two right hand notes have to be louder than the ones in the left hand?

When you hear people discuss this ballade they usually say that the fast bits are hard, but the more time I spend with it the more I realize that the fast bits are pretty easy to master with practice, but the slow bits require an emotional depth that is much harder to perform convincingly. I hope I succeed smile

Last edited by Sam Rose; 02/18/12 08:21 PM.

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Originally Posted by Sam Rose
....When you say "voice the top notes," does that mean the top RIGHT hand note has to be louder than the bottom one?....

Yes! I would have said so, except I thought it was obvious. Just goes to show, we should never think anything is obvious! smile

But let me ask, isn't this how you play any melody -- by playing that voice louder than the rest? If you don't, then you've just learned something:

That's how you play any melody. smile

Usually "the melody" is on top, so it means you play the top louder than the rest.

Sure, this is an oversimplification -- but not much. It's an oversimplification for a lot of reasons: you don't want to be pounding out the melody, many melody notes are actually soft, and sometimes there are notes in other voices that might be more prominent than the melody. But that principle is a very basic one, and you'll never go too wrong if you follow it. The reason I thought this was obvious is that it's such a basic principle.

Getting back to the current example, here's another principle: The closer other notes are to the melody note -- I mean 'geographically' closer -- the more important it is to make the melody note louder than the rest, especially louder than the notes that are right near it, because since there's less 'separation' to the melody note, the harder it is for the ear to hear them as being differentiated. Like, if you have just a L.H. accompaniment way down there, and a single melody line up there, even if you don't do a very good job of 'voicing' the melody it will still be heard, because there's so much separation. But with stuff like the current passage, where some of the melody notes are very close to the notes just below them, even to the extent that some of them have notes immediately adjacent to them, it's the opposite: unless you do a very good job of voicing the melody, nobody will hear what's going on unless they know the piece and so they have it in their head anyway.

As I said, this is hard. smile

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Thanks for the explanation!! I think I do some of this subconsciously, but having you spell it all out I now know what to pay attention to smile

This is hard stuff, but I think I'll figure it out.

Thanks again thumb


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