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#551432 - 12/26/01 11:36 PM Bach Invention
CrashTest Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/01
Posts: 4110
In the Bach C major 2 part invention, there are mordent signs (or are these trills according to Bach's time?) above the notes in the Henle edition. The sign is above a B, I have been playing that ornament as follows- B-C-B. In the Schirmer edition, that ornament is written out as B-A-B (Inverted Mordent?). I know ornamentation was not standardized in Bach's time, but what is the correct execution of that ornament?

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#551433 - 12/27/01 12:11 AM Re: Bach Invention
Rodion Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/01
Posts: 296
Loc: Salt Lake City
i have the henle edition for the 2 part inventions as well, and in the preface it shows bach's little guide for all the different trills and mordents, etc. (doesn't yours have this too?).

anyway, if it is a trill sign over a 'b', then it should be played c-b-c-b. (or c-b-c-b-c-b, depending on how long you make it). baroque and classical trills always begin on the beat - not before - and on a standard trill will always start on the note above the principle note, not the principle itself.

there are mordents as well in this piece, the trill sign with a line through it. the first one is in measure 5 on a 'c', and should be played c-b-c, on the beat once again, not before.

[ December 27, 2001: Message edited by: Rodion ]
_________________________
Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils. - Hector Berlioz

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#551434 - 12/27/01 12:31 AM Re: Bach Invention
Rodion Offline
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Registered: 06/06/01
Posts: 296
Loc: Salt Lake City
here is the ornamentation table on a site that seems to have some good information...i haven't read through it yet...

bach's ornamentation table
_________________________
Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils. - Hector Berlioz

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#551435 - 12/27/01 11:15 AM Re: Bach Invention
CrashTest Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/01
Posts: 4110
Thanks for the explanation, but why does the Schirmer edition write out a mordent instead of the trill? Is it possible to interpret these signs differently? I looked in a music dictionary, and that trill in the Bach invention is called an upper mordent (Like the ones in the first movement of Beethoven's Pathetique), maybe this is a modern usage of it?

[ December 27, 2001: Message edited by: CrashTest ]

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#551436 - 12/27/01 11:48 AM Re: Bach Invention
Nina Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 6467
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Hi, Rodion:

Thanks for posting the Bach ornamentation page... that was really helpful. But I have a question, I thought a mordent (or "turn") was a 4-note sequence, turning around the main note.
For example, a mordent for b would be c-b-a-b. Have I been wrong all these years? (A distinct possibility :p )

As for the ornamentation issue, there's always a lot of disussion on which is the "correct" ornamentation. My personal preference is to follow the Henle edition when I have it (read, can afford it!), because they seem to be the most likely to follow the original composer's notation when it's available. But even in Henle there are multiple manuscripts and multiple scholarly interpretations that need to be aligned, so there's some flexibility there as well.

I have been working on a few Haydn Sonatas using a Carisch edition, and recently compared my version to Henle and Schirmer. There were wide variations in the ornamentation markings in each.

My solution, right or wrong, is to at least use the ornamentation style appropriate for the period. So, as Rodion says, a trill would be on the beat and start with the upper note, for example. After that, I pick which sounds best to my ear or which I can play better in the given measure.

Nina

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#551437 - 12/27/01 05:51 PM Re: Bach Invention
Rodion Offline
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Registered: 06/06/01
Posts: 296
Loc: Salt Lake City
since i'm not a scholar, especially not on bach, i could be wrong about this - but from what i understand it was okay in his time to add mordants and trills and what-not freely. for example, in alfreds editions they basically have the original in dark text, then add all sorts of suggestions in vogue with the style of the period in lighter print. so it could easily be that the trills and mordants in the henle and schirmer could have been added based on common practice of the times, or different manuscripts that had completely different notation. but i trust the henle more for the original, also some of schirmers additions were edited way back in the day. if i'm not mistaken they even publish czerny's well tempered clavier. things that were okay in those times would be severly frowned upon now.
_________________________
Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils. - Hector Berlioz

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#551438 - 12/27/01 06:02 PM Re: Bach Invention
Nina Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 6467
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Hi, Rodion

I agree completely. I'm curious, though about the mordent issue. From what you know, have I been playing them wrong? or just "differently"?

This is a serious question (sometimes I wonder if questions end up sounding like hostile challenges instead of simple questions on this board... )

Thx
Nina \:\)

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#551439 - 12/27/01 07:27 PM Re: Bach Invention
Bernard Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/06/01
Posts: 3857
Loc: North Groton, NH
 Quote:
things that were okay in those times would be severly frowned upon now.


Rodion, I think you'll find that when it comes to Bach, it's still quite acceptable to embellish quite liberally.
_________________________
"Hunger for growth will come to you in the form of a problem." -- unknown

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#551440 - 12/27/01 10:28 PM Re: Bach Invention
Matt G. Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 3789
Loc: Plainfield, IL
Nina,

In most baroque playing styles the mordent, written like a trill with a vertical line through it, is a three note figure starting on the main note, to the note below, then back up. A mordent written on C would be played C-B-C.

The turn, which is written like a sideways S over a note, is a four note figure starting on the note above the main note, then the main note, the note below and finally the main note. A turn written above a C would be played D-C-B-C.

Those are the cut-and-dried definitions for most baroque keyboard playing. But things definitely start blurring as the styles started changing in the mid 18th century, especially in the works of the sons of J.S. Bach and their contemporaries who composed in the 'galant' style. There the ornaments are basically up for grabs: if you don't like a turn, do a mordent; if you don't like the mordent, try a trill with a 'Nachschlag'.

(That's what I get for studying with a musicologist/organist for a period of time. I swear, ornaments were her religion!)

[ December 27, 2001: Message edited by: Matt G. ]
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#551441 - 12/27/01 10:33 PM Re: Bach Invention
Brendan Offline



Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5289
Loc: McAllen, TX
 Quote:
Originally posted by Bernard:


Rodion, I think you'll find that when it comes to Bach, it's still quite acceptable to embellish quite liberally.[/b]


I agree with Bernard.

Improvisation was and always be an integral part of (dare I say) "authentic" performances of Baroque music. In Bach's tocattas, fantasies and some Partita movements, the character of the music suggests that Bach simply sat down and improvised the movement.

While teachers now mostly don't encourage their students to improvise more when playing Baroque music (which is unfortunate), but don't feel constricted by the norm; improvisation in such music is surely precedented.

Edit:

As far as ornaments in editions go, most of them are editorial (especially the cheaper editions such as Alfred and Schirmer). By no means are they required.

[ December 27, 2001: Message edited by: Brendan ]
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#551442 - 12/28/01 05:59 AM Re: Bach Invention
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17843
Loc: Victoria, BC
 Quote:
Originally posted by Matt G.:
Nina,

(That's what I get for studying with a musicologist/organist for a period of time. I swear, ornaments were her religion!)

[ December 27, 2001: Message edited by: Matt G. ][/b]


It must be a very "pretty" religion!
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#551443 - 12/28/01 10:44 AM Re: Bach Invention
Nina Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 6467
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Hi, Matt G:

Thanks for the clarification... guess I REALLY need to wear my glasses now. I went back to look at my current Haydn Sonata and realized that some of those turn markings DO have little lines through them. Duh.

I was obviously thinking that mordents and turns were the same thing. I'm really grateful to learn otherwise.

I guess my teacher is from the 'galant' school as well, since she never mentioned anything to me. I really find all this ornamentation debate to be very interesting, even if it means I may be drifting dangerously close to the music geek category.

Regards,
Nina

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#551444 - 12/28/01 06:28 PM Re: Bach Invention
Rodion Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/01
Posts: 296
Loc: Salt Lake City
hello everyone, i've been busy the past couple of days. i don't really play bach's music so i thought (especially with this being the time of the urtext) that adding ornaments and whatnot freely wasn't something people really did nowadays. but i've learned something new!
_________________________
Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils. - Hector Berlioz

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#551445 - 12/31/01 09:41 PM Re: Bach Invention
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3914
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
As I was taught these things (and read them, my source being Tovey, both in his WTC commentary and elsewhere) all of the ornaments applied to any B in the C major invention are called a "Schneller" or "Pralltriller", and would be played CBCB. The ornament generally begins on the upper note. IF, however, the immediate previous note in the melody is that upper note, then it is not repeated in the ornament, so that in measure 1, the ornamented note is played BCB, but in measure 6 it is played CBCB. It seems also permissible to lengthen the ornament to five grace notes (CBCBCB) or even to an ordinary trill.
Performers of the Baroque (and later*) eras spntaneously added ornaments as they felt necessary (presumably for accent, color, or whatever), so that Tovey's advice (see Instructions for the Associated Board edition of WTC I) makes perfect sense: viz., to learn the main lines of the melody, and learn the harmony, before adding the ornaments, which are introduced gradually, as the player comes to feel the need of them. (I've paraphrased, to avoid copyright problems.)
And you should try dropping in a few ornaments of your own, here and there. They'll be awkward at first, but eventually you'll become quite fluent with them.

*Chopin at times writes "senza ornamenti" to prevent performers from ornamenting his music, and this was 70 years after Bach's death.
_________________________
There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians

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#551446 - 12/31/01 10:33 PM Re: Bach Invention
magnezium Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 722
Loc: Singapore
could you please give an example of such notation in Chopin's music? i haven't come across it yet...

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#551447 - 01/01/02 01:26 AM Re: Bach Invention
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3914
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
Well, I've seen that quoted. Simply going to Google and putting in "Chopin senza ornamenti" produces an obscure set of variations (recorded by Nikolai Demidenko on Hyperion, along with all the scherzi):

Introduction and Variations in E major [6'54] on a German national air ('Der Schweizerbub'), Introduction: A capriccio - Theme: Andantino [semplice senza ornamenti] - Var Elegantemente - Var ii: Scherzando - Var iii: Tranquillamente - Var iv: Meno mosso - Tempo di Valse - poco più animato

I hope that helps.
_________________________
There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians

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#551448 - 01/01/02 05:13 AM Re: Bach Invention
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17843
Loc: Victoria, BC
Palindrome:

Interesting observation on the performance indication in the E major variations.

It might, however, be stretching a point to say that Chopin "at times writes senza ornamenti, which suggests that he does so more than once. This, as you stated, is an obscure set of variations, written (1826) when Chopin was 16 years of age. I have never seen any such designation on any other of his works, several collections of which I have in Urtext editions.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#551449 - 01/01/02 08:54 AM Re: Bach Invention
magnezium Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 722
Loc: Singapore
thanks Palindrome for the example... \:\)

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#551450 - 01/06/02 07:58 AM Re: Bach Invention
Aura Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/02/01
Posts: 92
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
interesting...

when did the rule change from mordents starting on the note above the pricipal note to mordents starting on the principal note itself? After or before Mozart? How should I execute Mozart's mordents and trills?

thanks. \:\)
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cheers

Aura

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