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This 26 message thread spans 2 pages:  < <   1  [2] > >  
  Re: Musicology  MartinY at 09:04 on 20 January 2011

There is an old science saying in theory theory and practice are quite similar but in practice they are quite different.

I suddenly thought of this as I was adding musica ficta to pieces from Glareanus' Dodecachordon, (the twelve modes, not the twleve tones, Schoenberg was not anticipated by 400 years). Do you add ficta to a piece which is in a book explicitly about modes? The book is on the internet but it is in Latin so I think I will wait to ask someone who is supposed to know......

  Re: Musicology  MartinY at 07:47 on 17 April 2011

This is a comment related to the errors which composers make when preparing their scores for publication, but as in the 16th century.

I have now got Als ick u vinde by Hubert Waelrant but made into a lute quartet by Emmanuel Adriaenssen in the computer and what Adriaenssen wrote has some pretty horrific dissonances, which are not in the Dowland Consort of Lutes recording! I am been speaking to several people about how to publish these Adriaenssen pieces which all have at least 1 unlistenable error in them, and no doubt if you added the 4 sung parts there would be more. I am going to release scores and midi files of exactly what Adriaenssen wrote, warts and all but also corrected versions which will become the parts. I should support this by a critical commentary which says exactly what the errors are and what processes lead them to occur, for instance, forgetting that you are in A-lute fingering and intabulating as though it was a G-lute, forgetting that the chords must be major / minor in all parts regardless of what the commonest chord on the lute in question is etc. (I do not know whether brass band scorers have all these problems but I suppose Sibelius or some other typesetter now removes most difficulties.) Adriaenssen is perfect compared with Paccaloni's publication so I do not know when anyone will start on tackling that!

The interesting questiuon is why Adriaenssen has so many errors but Quantz's prints are perfect..... Is it because Quantz was so anal that he would not let anything slightly defective go out, (his manuscript is really neat too). Or was it the culture of 16th century Antwerp was that everyone drank beer all day because the water was not fit to drink. Whatever it is the errors tell you quite a bit about how the arrangements must have been made starting from printed parts of the chanson of course, because there were no scores printed then.


Adriaenssen produces a couple of early examples of bitonality. But these are certainly caused by him intabulating on a lute in A as though it was the more common lute in G and would not have been apreciated by listeners then.

  Re: Musicology  Misuc at 08:02 on 17 April 2011

I used to work for Michael Morrow, whose 'Musica Reservata' did so much to pioneer the period performance movement.

Through this work we saw how many irreparable mistakes crept in as a direct result of writing the parts separately. Very often you would see that each part obeyed the 'rules' in relation to every other single part but not necessarily together [e.g. each pair A/B B/C A/C B/C might work out fine, but ABC make up an unbearable discord - try it!1

Interesting to see if it would be possible to develop a musical language for our age in which it would be possible to make such mistakes!

  Re: Musicology  MartinY at 11:48 on 17 April 2011

Yes Musica Reservata did some ground breaking stuff, including the 1st recording of the 1592 Intermedio. I was most disappointed in the more recent TV version that the producers missed out the Marenzio singing contest number, which I would really liked to have seen.

Yes - how would you correct wrong notes in some of the music written now. I suppose you could spot passages where a series was not complete.... I have played some of my serial music with people who had never played any Schoenberg or Webern, or Smith-Brindle for that matter. They said things like, is this final chord right it has a D and an Eb in it and this other one has a D and a C-sharp. This shows that as Nicholas said somewhere here, not only do many musicians not know we exist but they do not even know Schoenberg exists.

I did enjoy the interview with Gunther Schuller about Milton Babbitt on Radio 3 the other week. I am just about to go and look for some Milton Babbitt on that American composer's website which has substantial excerpts from works. I had also almost forgotten that Gunther Schuller exists too, so I need to look up pieces there. Babbitt is so famous that some of the web-browsers say did you mean Bobbitt!

  Re: Musicology  MartinY at 11:54 on 17 April 2011

To digress on discords, sometimes in Giovanni Gabrieli you get a complete minor 9th chord doubled at an octave or two. It makes a splendid perfect cadence with the semitonal crunches.

  Re: Musicology  Misuc at 12:36 on 17 April 2011

As it happened I played a modest part in the preparation of that recording. I realised 'blueprint' harp parts [i.e. suggestions in case the harpists could not realise their own - in the end they could]

  Re: Musicology  MartinY at 07:58 on 11 August 2011

There has been some discussion on the Lute forum about the first bitonal piece Hans Newsidler's 1544 Judentanz as transcribed by Willi Apel and Adolf Koczirz ages ago in Denkmaler der Tonkust in Osterreich (Volume number not yet obtained, I think it will be online at the Bavarian National Library. For many years this was thought to have been a musicological aberation by otherwise competent editors and that old editions of Grove were wrong to say it was the first bitonal piece. (I understand it has been removed from more recent editions.) People have many times taken the piss about how eminent editors could be so stupid.......

It now seems almost certain that what Hans Newsidler allowed to go through the press, what Willi Apel published and what got into Grove is correct. It really is a piece with a drone in D and a melody in C# modal. At first it was thought he was imitating peasant bagpipes but a more plausible theory is that as the Turkish army got very near to where Neusidler was living in Bratislava it is an imitation of what European lutenists saw as Turkish music. The simplest way to imply the different pitch system was to wtite in two keys at once.

  Re: Musicology  Misuc at 09:57 on 11 August 2011

re 'Judentanz' - Really? I can't quite believe it [even though the 'corrected' version does not quite work either]. Was it then an early exsmple of antisemitic propaganda?

  Re: Musicology  MartinY at 16:51 on 11 August 2011

I wondered about that too as it could easily have been called the Turk's Dance and confusing Jews with Ottomans is not very likely for someone in Austria. Also if bitonality was used to simulate Gypsy, Turkish, North African or Jewish music why do not more examples survive. Arthur Ness, a Harvard PhD and the editor of Francesco da Milano believes the bitonal piece is definitely correct.

I am wondering whether it still could be a mistake, though if more bitonal pieces much earlier than Biber's Battaglia and Rebel's Elements exist it could be right. Biber uses polytonality to simulate drunkeness, it succeeds.

I know touring groups have removed The Jew's Dance and JudenTanz from their Middle East and North African touring programs just as a precaution.

I am afraid there is no shortage of real vocal music from the past with anti-semitic and anti-disability texts. It is a problem and in some cases the words must be altered in the interests of both performers and audiences.

One perfectly innocent piece of text in Henry Lawes' Wine Works Wonders Every Day can be a problem as though the printed text is unproblematic what you actually hear with a brain brought up in contemporary culture could be construed as offensive to a racial group and people of a given sexual orientation. I do not feel able to reproduce the text here but listen to recording if you can find one.

Psalm 150 in German as set by Schutz - Lobet Ihr mit Pauken, mit Seiten und Pfeiffen, mit Seiten und Pfeiffen, mit Seiten und Pfeiffen...., comes out as a chorus of Syphon the Python, in every performance and recording I have heard.

  Re: Musicology  Misuc at 17:28 on 11 August 2011

Yes. I know that amazing, bisarre Biber piece too. It almost made me a teetotaller. [It was not music which saved me from that fate]

Also the Rebel is astounding for its depiction of sheer chaos the only other example I can think of is the famous Haydn one from the Creation - and the means is also similar: chromatic chord sequences of completely unresolved or mis-resolved dissonances - 'mis-resolved, that is, from the point of view of the formalities of the existing musical grammar - but there are higher principles than these temporary 'laws' as had been shown from as far back as Monteverdi]

These 'wierd' exceptions are not only astounding in their own right: they are interesting offshoots which show how every movement sparks off ideas which it cannot fulfill - which are 'ahead of their time'. The full consequences of the innovations of e.g. Lawes and his generation have perhaps not been fulfilled to this day.......

  Re: Musicology  MartinY at 07:01 on 20 August 2011

There now seems to be a majority on Lutenet favouring the normal piece transcription of Judentanz because as Misuc says there are problems with producing either solution and the bitonality explanations are not convincing in the abscence of any other evidence. (This abscence has convinced me it is a small notational mistake.)

There are probably some small errors in the tab but the pitch allocation to the strings is the problem and it is confused by when you have an octave 4th course there are TWO potentially high melody strings and how you number them is open to interpretation.

So we think the Biber is the first polytonal piece unless someone out there has a polytonal Josquin motet. (Do not forge one because the musicologists will want to examine the provenance and the manuscript very closely! We know what happened when someone forged some Haydn a few years ago. They should have gone the whole hog and forged the manuscript as Beethoven's hand copy to make it a real find.)

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