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#3158458 09/21/21 05:22 PM
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I have the Henle edition of the Nocturnes, and I'm puzzled by what seem like ties between the left hand chords in measure 37, 39, and 40. Every recording I've listened to does NOT play these chords with ties, which is a relief, because when I tried to play them with ties, the long gaps don't sound right. Maybe I'm just an idiot, and don't know how to distinguish ties from slurs. If there's anybody else out there with the Henle, can you confirm or deny that their printing of these measures is (or is not) a bit confusing? Thanks!


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Also the same confusion in measure 58.


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Originally Posted by Mark Alexander
Maybe I'm just an idiot

You're not. grin

It's a great question.

Maybe I'm an idiot, because even though this is one of my most favorite pieces and I've played it for 100 years, I never noticed that those chords have what look like "ties." I've always thought them to be slurs, which indeed I think they are but I never realized that they look like ties and that therefore there's a question at hand.
Probably the reason I never noticed or wondered, and just 'assumed,' was that every performance I had ever heard did them as slurs.

When I saw your post, I wondered if maybe the ones that cover just 2 chords are indeed supposed to be ties -- i.e. ties of the upper note. (The ones covering more chords seem more obviously to be slurs.)
I realized it's possible that some or many performances do tie that upper note and that I didn't notice -- so, I went and checked out one recording (that was as much 'research' as I had in me) grin to see if he did that.
("He" in this case being Rubinstein.)

He didn't. He played the 2-note things as slurs too.
It's possible that some people might do those as ties. But we're on solid ground considering them all just slurs.

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Take a look at the Mikuli edition. (If I'm looking at the same thing) Bar 37 has a tie, but subsequently the slurs are purposefully drawn over the repeated triads so as not to be confused with ties.

(I don't know why the Mikuli edition seems to carry less weight than say, the Paderewski. But Mikuli was Chopin's pupil!)

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Originally Posted by cygnusdei
Take a look at the Mikuli edition. (If I'm looking at the same thing) Bar 37 has a tie....

I think that's a slur too.

(It's exactly what I was talking about up there.)

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The Henle edition seems to notate the same way the slurs and the ties. In any case in the National Edition, they do make the diffetence between slurs and ties and in those bars they indicate slurs. In addition they have put a specific comment that the upper notes should be repeated.

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I do not play those chords as ties. This section in Ab Major has a syncopated rhythm which is brought out by these repeated chords. I took a few lessons on this piece and my teacher did not correct my interpretation. I also have the Henle edition.



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Originally Posted by Sidokar
The Henle edition seems to notate the same way the slurs and the ties. In any case in the National Edition, they do make the difference between slurs and ties and in those bars they indicate slurs.....

From what I've seen, I don't think they show a difference. I'll put it this way: Those things that you consider to be ties and not slurs, how would they be written if they were slurs??

I would say they would be written the same way -- essentially.
Maybe what you mean is that the curved line going from top note to top note, rather than 'around the edges' of the top notes.
I don't consider that a clear distinction. I mean, if I were doing the typesetting, indeed I'd make the curved lines different according to whether I mean a tie or a slur (!) but I don't assume that music publishers do, nor that composers necessarily do.

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The Wiener Urtext Edition clearly states that the D flats in bars 37, 39, 40, and 41 "should be struck again."

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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Sidokar
The Henle edition seems to notate the same way the slurs and the ties. In any case in the National Edition, they do make the difference between slurs and ties and in those bars they indicate slurs.....

From what I've seen, I don't think they show a difference. I'll put it this way: Those things that you consider to be ties and not slurs, how would they be written if they were slurs??

I would say they would be written the same way -- essentially.
Maybe what you mean is that the curved line going from top note to top note, rather than 'around the edges' of the top notes.
I don't consider that a clear distinction. I mean, if I were doing the typesetting, indeed I'd make the curved lines different according to whether I mean a tie or a slur (!) but I don't assume that music publishers do, nor that composers necessarily do.

Yes in the National Edition, the difference is quite clear. The ties go from the center of the note head; the slurs go all around the note. There are several cases of ties in the same piece and it is very easy to see the difference. Now that is not necessarily the printing model of other publishers like Henle who does not differentiate. Similarly there are also publishers who have decided to not make differences between dots and strokes and other who do. Each publisher has its own editing and printing models.

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Originally Posted by Sidokar
Yes in the National Edition, the difference is quite clear. The ties go from the center of the note head; the slurs go all around the note....

OK -- now we're going to be arguing about what a particular edition says!

Which just goes to show something or other, and I think I'd rather not know what. grin

I'm looking right at the National Edition!
And it has it differently than you're saying. Those lines don't go from head to head.

And not only that, but also this:
That line going across those notes has asterisks (in m. 37) indicating a footnote at the bottom of the page, saying "the upper notes are repeated" -- i.e. it is not a tie.

However, in fairness to you.....I have to also say:

This might be a different National Edition. ha
I mean, it says National Edition, looks exactly like it, and it's bound exactly like it, and it says "Edited by Jan Ekier," and it has a page with stuff by him at the beginning of the book, with a nice photo of him.
But, it's different than all my other National Edition volumes in that some of the writing is in some Asian language.

So maybe that's it: it's an Asian printing of the National Edition?

Well anyway, it's some version of the National Edition -- and it has it as I described.
Whoever did this National Edition interpreted those lines as slurs.
As I said, I'd interpret them as slurs even if the lines went "head to head" -- but these don't.

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I am not sure we understand each other. What I am saying is that the National Edition is making a difference in the way they print slurs and ties unlike some others editors. In bar 37 they did notate a slur with indeed the asterisk and the footnote, which I mentionned in my earlier post.

So I think we both agree that in bar 37 and subsequent similar, it is a slur. However if you look at bar 42-43 there is a chord with ties that go across the bar line and these ties are clearly notated with a different model than slurs, where the tie is going from the center of the note head.

It is the same in the rest of the piece. So NE has a different way to notate slurs and ties in a more precise way; in bar 37 those are slurs and in bar 42 they are ties. Other editors dont make any difference and thus it is up to the pianist to decide which is which. For example Henle who is notating exactly the same way.

There are pros and cons in making a difference or not, just like some editors dont make a difference between dots and strokes, so Henle is not wrong. It is an editorial choice.

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Originally Posted by Sidokar
I am not sure we understand each other....

Yes -- that's on me....

Quote
....we both agree that in bar 37 and subsequent similar, it is a slur....

I thought you were referring to places like m. 37 when you talked about "head to head" lines.

Quote
However if you look at bar 42-43 there is a chord with ties that go across the bar line and these ties are clearly notated with a different model than slurs....

Sure, those kinds of places in the passages are ties, but I didn't think we were much talking about them because they're not in question, and they're of a pretty different sort.

So yes -- we agree on how all these things should be played.
But I don't agree that we can necessarily tell from how the figures are marked, i.e. from whether the lines go "head to head" or not.
I wouldn't assume that the "typesetting" (or manuscript copying) is necessarily that precise.

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Thanks, all, for the very interesting replies. I may still be an idiot, but with your help, my level of idiocy is being reduced gradually.


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Just to note that, in situations like this, it can be helpful to consult the remarkable Online Chopin Variorum Edition, which allows you to see at a glance all of the extant primary sources (autograph manuscripts, copyist manuscripts, first editions) for any given measure or group of measures in almost all of Chopin's works.

This link might take you directly to measure 37, where Chopin's notation in one of his autograph manuscripts suggests a slur (by virtue of beginning well before the first dyad, and finishing well after it). The English first edition (based on a now-lost autograph manuscript) extends the slur all from the first note to the fourth note of the LH - so the ambiguity about what Chopin meant can go in the opposite direction.

Chopin op. 62 no. 1 bar 37 OCVE

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Jeff, thanks for that link! Fascinating stuff. I like Chopin's own notation; it seem pretty clear to me.

Last edited by Mark Alexander; 09/22/21 02:47 PM.

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I'm confused perhaps, but if Chopin didn't mean the notes to be repeated, wouldn't he simply notate them as half notes rather quarter notes?


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My understanding is if two identical notes are connected by the curved line this automatically means the notes are tied. If the two notes are different, then it's a slur. And if I understand Jeff Kallberg's post correctly, it shows there's a simple mistake in many editions, including Henle. Is all this correct?

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
My understanding is if two identical notes are connected by the curved line this automatically means the notes are tied. If the two notes are different, then it's a slur. And if I understand Jeff Kallberg's post correctly, it shows there's a simple mistake in many editions, including Henle. Is all this correct?

I didn't mean to suggest that there was a mistake in many editions. In my view, Chopin intended the signs to be read as "slurs" (here, given that the notes are repeated from dyad to dyad, meaning that the pianist should try to minimize the gap between playing the dyads, giving the impression of "connecting" them in the way of a slur).

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I believe the piano part of Elgar's Salut d'Amour, Op. 12 has a motif with similar rhythm and articulation, and it looks like he solved the ambiguity of slur vs tie twofold: (1) reversing the stems, so the slurs do not face the noteheads, and (2) explicitly marking the first and second groups with tenuto and portato signs, so there is no doubt that the second group is to be played.

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