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This 26 message thread spans 2 pages: [1]  2  > >  
  Musicology  MartinY at 12:40 on 15 September 2010

Antonio de Cabezon (1510-1566)

You will see there is a 500th anniversity of Cabezon's birth this year. I have been doing some arrangements / editions of the organ music so that it can be played by a wider group of people. There is evidence that Phillip II played this music on viols so I have edited string parts, recorder parts and guitar duet arrangements, which could be converted to lute / vihuela duets from the 19th century Pedrell edition..... They are on the Werner Icking site.

I am not aware anyone has written new music celebrating this anniversary. In fact the only piece I can remember based on Cabezon is written ages ago, the variations by the Mexican composer Manuel Ponce (1882-1948). I am thinking if there is any way in the remaining months of this year I could write a modern piece based on something, maybe the numerology of the Spanish organ tablature could inspire me rather than the notes.......

  Re: Musicology  MartinY at 12:56 on 15 September 2010

Johann Joachim Quantz (1697-1773)

I thought it would be useful to have a musicology thread where the ancient music concerned has some bearing on the general discussions. Quantz has come up several times in arguments about ornamentation and articulation... Quantz's Op. 2 duos are pieces which flute players can play perfectly well from a copy of the original print, and indeed this is the preferred way they should be read. They are not in the French violin clef or anything silly like that, just normal treble clef.

However if you want to play them on other instruments they need transposing, so I have re-edited them. (This involves no intellectual work at all, just following exactly what Quantz had engraved, presumably the way Quantz would have liked it, telling us what to do.) However getting all the ornaments in and checking against the original has been a very laborious job.

Soon all 6 should be available so I would recommend people interested in the history of baroque music to play through them and ponder on how they relate to the music of the great J. S. Bach, (he is a bit younger so the influence can only go one way....)

How many ornaments per page should an Allegro have???? Perhaps the EU should set a standard in the spirit of Quantz and composers who deviate from it should have their grants cut.

  Re: Musicology  Fusion at 15:38 on 17 September 2010

The attempt of your arrangement of Organ music is praise worthy.Keep it up.


The attempt of your arrangement of Organ music is praise worthy.Keep it up.

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  Re: Musicology  Misuc at 11:30 on 19 September 2010

I have been following your editions, transcriptions and original compositions on IMSLP, Icking and elsewhere and I find your work, the ideas you come up with for our forums and now your idea of a musicology thread most interesting and valuable.

I do think, however, that we should all emulate your breadth of vision and not restrict the subject matter at all - in fact do all we can to breakdown artificial barriers between 'genres' methodologies etc. within music, between performers, listeners and composers etc.

I find it a great pity that we don't have access to a blog or forum where we can raise such issues freely, openly and prominently on a site that belongs to all of us equally and which is free, not interfered with by would-be 'stars', people plugging things for personal gain/vanity etc. and one not in danger of domination by commercial ventures and people with a 'conflict of interest'

There is one which perhaps goes some way in this direction: 'Bright Cecilia'[]. Maybe we should shift camp there? or should we start a new one?

  Re: Musicology  calper99 at 11:31 on 27 September 2010

Cabezon doesn't fit in general news anymore, I live in Spain and nobody talks about 500th anniversary of the greatest spanish renaissance composer ... so sad ..


  Re: Musicology  MartinY at 08:51 on 24 November 2010

Looks like a Cabezon based piece will not be finished in 2010 as I have done lots of editing of other people's music but only a bit of original work, largely due to the effects of being ill. However I have input a lot of other people's notes into the computer and learned a little bit.

One issue I have noticed is the modernisation of key signatures in baroque and renaissance music, where frequently music is oroginally in one less flat than the modern key would imply, let's call this a Dorian key signature, though the use of mode names can be misleading. You also get Mixolydian key signatures, sometimes Gabrieli says the canzona is in the Mixolydian mode. You frequently get pieces in D-major with no sharps as initially sharp key signatures were not used. (Almost all Praetorius' music looks as though it is F-major.....)

Anyway for years I used to use original key signatures and got used to the look of them. However when you transpose the music, typically about 3 times round the cycle of fifths, for guitars or clarinets or whatever, (sometimes music fits on violins best in a significantly remoter key), it looks horrible with a piece in A-minor having an E-minor signature or much worse when you are round at 4-sharps. So I have taken to completely modernising key signatures and sometimes eliminating musica ficta. However I do draw the line at excessive blackening of note values and still make orchestral players get lost in the middle of 4/2 bars when they would have liked 4/4.

Another reason for needing extreme keys is when the musuc director decides to have the voices at A=460, and the instruments at 415 or 440. Enough said. It certainly does feel strange playing Orlando Gibbons anthems in 3 sharps.


Sorry 'music director'. When I said eliminating musica ficta, I of course really meant incorporating....

  Re: Musicology  Misuc at 14:48 on 24 November 2010

The issue of how many sharps or flats may seem a piddling little point, but I appreciate Martin's approach.

The serious underlying question is 'what is tonality?' - or, in idiot exam music 'theory' terms: what is meant by being in a key? e.g. does D minor have to have a b flat? Why not a c sharp, then? The truth is that there is no such thing as a minor key. The idea of two 'types' of minor scale [melodic and harmonic] was invented by piano teachers who were perhaps interested in efficient finger-waggling but who lacked sufficient interest in a] music b] their pupils and c] how ideas are formed and how they are learned [in other words, people who lacked all the necessary requirements of a piano teacher]

The minor mode is itself an artificial construct invented for the convenience of teachers in order to be able to formulate inquisition-questions whose answers can easily be subject to computer-marking. Composers, who were originally quite scathing about the reduction of the richness of the modes into simple divisions of music into those pieces which used the major third and those which used the minor third - eventually came to accept the terms as a sort of rough-and-ready convenience, while they got on with composing things. The implications of what composers actually do - the richness of combinations that the play of imagination gives rise to - is very, very inadequately covered by 'theory'. This is a general law and applies every bit as much to contemporary music of all kinds as to old music

  Re: Musicology  MartinY at 09:24 on 29 November 2010

Misuc is quite right about major minor, melodic harmonic, the problems of which partially caused my post. What I am doing is chosing a presentation of the piece which is clearest for the kind of players who are likely to play it. There are all kinds of possible objections to this, including some specialists who say you should only play early music from copies of the original parts / print! (therefore in original clefs, notations, no bar numbers, and mistakes, incomprehensibilities etc...).

Wanting to confine practice to fit labels is not confined to music, neither is the almost human desire of objects not to be pigeon-holed. Richard Dawkins points out the classification of species is to some extent arbitary and for many animals, though they evolved through a tree structure, exhibit ambiguity in their classification. And of course it is not true that different species cannot interbreed.

However two classic pieces I have recently worked with immeditaly come to mind as being ambiguous tonally, the Canzona in the First Tone, Charteris 170, and the Canzona in the Seventh Tone, Charteris 172, by Giovanni Gabrieli. You can immediately speculate about exactly what do the titles mean, particularly as surviving figured bass parts make it quite clear that they do not mean what some early scholars thought they meant as from the 'church' mode there are lots of accidentals. (If you are really interested you will find modern editions on the internet but ideally you need to look at the original parts and a good scholarly edition. By good I mean accurate and not intrusive, unlike what I have done with my parts to make them as clear as possible to the masses!.)

There is also the issue of bitonality, does it really exist, or are composers just creating extended modes, not writing in two conventional keys at once.........

  Re: Musicology  MartinY at 09:30 on 29 November 2010

I am experimenting with a piece for treble recorders at A=440 and A=415. With recorder fingering being quite basic this layout gives you no extra microtones but it does give you facility in keys five round the cycle of fifths from each other. Recorders do not like playing in B-major though I understand modern woodwind ave fewer problems due to the extensive keywork.

  Re: Musicology  MartinY at 09:38 on 29 November 2010

I forgot to mentioned that sometimes in baroque music you read: the key of D with the lesser third or the key of D with the greater third. I quite like this. What about the key of D with thirds in all shapes and sizes.

  Re: Musicology  Zak at 00:08 on 30 November 2010

"the key of D with thirds in all shapes and sizes."
Why not? More extensive use of microtonality could greatly enrich our harmonic vocabulary. Even just triads would gain a whole new freshness, as the old major third/minor third can be quite boring, and you could also have bigger/smaller fifths.

On the issue of tonality...I am actually now in the process of formulating a theory of tonality. I have taken my start in doing so from something Schoenberg said (in a footnote!) in his Theory of Harmony: "Everything implied by a series of tones (Tonreihe) constitutes tonality, whether it be brought together by means of direct reference to a single fundamental or by more complicated connections".
So the basic idea is that tonality does not only mean having a tonal center (or key), but rather having a tonal organization of some sort. Though I will be taking "Misuc's law" into mind! Of course, that's partially what I'm trying to do: formulate a theory which can most adequately account for musical phenomena conceived by the imagination, though "most adequate" still falls short, and it is my first foray into theory at that.

  Re: Musicology  wholesaleviolin at 23:45 on 05 December 2010

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  Re: Musicology  wholesaleviolin at 23:46 on 05 December 2010

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  Re: Musicology  Zak at 01:35 on 06 December 2010

"a flute could drive the fear away"

And what, pray tell, would drive you away?

  Re: Musicology  MartinY at 15:57 on 18 December 2010

Misuc's comment about the artificiality of the two minor scales.... I am editing some 18th century music which has two features to comment about... There are some running passages which are in the 'harmonic' minor scale. Some editors might correct these putting in sharps but I have elected to just present the original without even a (sic.) there. And the harmonic minor is what I play. In the Thomas Ford lute song book at least one song has the two forms of the melodic minor the wrong way round. It is undoubtably what he intended because it is in tablature not notes.

Another part of the 18C piece has apparantly some sharps missing in the 2nd subject when it first appears in the dominant in a conventional sonata form. In the recapitulation where it is in the tonic a fifth lower these sharps go in automatically from the key signature. I am wondering whether this warrants bracketed sharps. I tend to think one should have confidence in the print and follow it verbatim but we do have Paccaloni. Nobody has attempted a modern scholarly edition of Paccaloni because they can't sort out the intentional discords and lacunae from the ones generated by the voluminous misprints. Some early prints are incredibly accurate and others look like both printers and proofreaders (??) were never sober.... The critical commentary might end up being 4 times longer than the 'right' notes.

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