Chopin first ballade, measure 170 - weird stem

Posted by: JoelW

Chopin first ballade, measure 170 - weird stem - 07/09/13 11:13 PM

What is this weird stem? The whole set of notes prior to the grace is notated in a group of 5 but there are six note values.

?
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Chopin first ballade, measure 170 - weird stem - 07/09/13 11:26 PM

What's weird about it?

I mean, don't get me wrong -- it is a little weird.

But what's weird about it? grin

It's just like any other whatever-let figure -- y'know like "triplet" or whatever. This is just a quintuplet. smile
Posted by: Kuanpiano

Re: Chopin first ballade, measure 170 - weird stem - 07/09/13 11:28 PM

It's to notate that you play an B flat and an B natural simultaneously. It's not really an additional stem, it's just that without it you can't notate the two at the same time.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Chopin first ballade, measure 170 - weird stem - 07/09/13 11:30 PM

Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
It's to notate that you play an B flat and an B natural simultaneously. It's not really an additional stem, it's just that without it you can't notate the two at the same time.

Oh -- so that's what he meant!
Posted by: JoelW

Re: Chopin first ballade, measure 170 - weird stem - 07/09/13 11:30 PM

Ah okay. Thanks! Couldn't he just have used a double accidental though?
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Chopin first ballade, measure 170 - weird stem - 07/09/13 11:35 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
It's to notate that you play an B flat and an B natural simultaneously. It's not really an additional stem, it's just that without it you can't notate the two at the same time.

Oh -- so that's what he meant!

Actually upon second look -- I don't see anything resembling an additional stem at all. That's why I didn't get it in the first place -- and I still don't. smile

Joel and Kuan: I wonder if maybe you're seeing the vertical-line portion of the flat sign as a stem-looking thing?

And Joel: I have no idea what you mean by "double accidental"! But anyway -- how about saying what "stem" thing you're talking about? I see nothing.
Posted by: Kuanpiano

Re: Chopin first ballade, measure 170 - weird stem - 07/09/13 11:40 PM

I'm guessing he's looking at the thing that looks like
B Bb
\ /
|

Where one of those arms is a stem.

You can't double notate it, because you can't have two accidentals on the same note. So in this case (and in a lot of 20th century music when this happens more often) is that you just notate it like two notes, then join them with a single (forked) stem.

edit: the forum is not letting me play with whitespace so looks weird..
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Chopin first ballade, measure 170 - weird stem - 07/09/13 11:44 PM

OK -- what confused me was when you talked about something not being an extra stem, which made it seem like the issue was that something seemed like one.

I'm still not sure what he thinks is weird. Yeah, a bit unusual, but I wouldn't think it's weird or unclear.

However, it is hard. grin
Posted by: JoelW

Re: Chopin first ballade, measure 170 - weird stem - 07/09/13 11:49 PM

I meant double flat or double sharp.. but on second look he, to my not-so-advanced understanding of theory, could have just made the flat a sharp and bunch them up into a chord together.

Mark, in my Henle edition the chord is notated like this:

Posted by: JoelW

Re: Chopin first ballade, measure 170 - weird stem - 07/09/13 11:51 PM

Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano

B Bb
\ /
|


Why didn't I just think of this...
Posted by: Kuanpiano

Re: Chopin first ballade, measure 170 - weird stem - 07/09/13 11:56 PM

Don't forget the notation is consistent with the

C - Bb - E - Bf - E
D - Ab - D - Ab - D
C - Eb - C - Eb - C

sequence he has going on in the inner voices for that phrase.
Posted by: JoelW

Re: Chopin first ballade, measure 170 - weird stem - 07/10/13 12:01 AM

Originally Posted By: Mark_C

However, it is hard. grin


Yes. I'm sitting at my piano right now working it out. It's pretty awkward. Comparable to that segment at the end of the fourth scherzo IMO.
Posted by: BruceD

Re: Chopin first ballade, measure 170 - weird stem - 07/10/13 01:45 AM

Originally Posted By: JoelW
I meant double flat or double sharp.. but on second look he, to my not-so-advanced understanding of theory, could have just made the flat a sharp and bunch them up into a chord together.

Mark, in my Henle edition the chord is notated like this:





If I understand what you are asking - and I'm not sure that I do - how would a double flat or a double sharp solve the issue of having to play a B-flat and a B-natural (measure 170) and an A-flat and an A-natural (measure 171) at the same time?

An A-sharp and a G-sharp are not in accord with the harmonic "vocabulary" of the key in question. Chopin, it appears, knew his theory.

Regards,
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Chopin first ballade, measure 170 - weird stem - 07/10/13 03:01 AM

Originally Posted By: BruceD
....Chopin, it appears, new his theory.

Don't you mean old? grin

(Sorry Bruce, couldn't resist.)
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Chopin first ballade, measure 170 - weird stem - 07/10/13 06:17 AM

If you have 1 notehead and a flat and a natural together it means something else: It means that you are going from a double flat to a single flat.

In this case Chopin wants YOU to play both Bb and B natural. And there's no other way to write that, unless you misspell the B natural into a Cb and get it over with! wink
Posted by: JoelW

Re: Chopin first ballade, measure 170 - weird stem - 07/10/13 06:40 AM

Why does a Bb and an A double sharp not work?
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Chopin first ballade, measure 170 - weird stem - 07/10/13 06:41 AM

First of all you'd have a clash of TOO MANY ACCIDENTALS. And secondly it would be off theoretically. and thirdly (just thought about it) you would confuse the heck out of the pianists: the A would actually sound higher than the Bb which is as confusing as it can get.

A bad idea!
Posted by: JoelW

Re: Chopin first ballade, measure 170 - weird stem - 07/10/13 06:57 AM

Haha
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Chopin first ballade, measure 170 - weird stem - 07/10/13 11:22 AM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
....and thirdly (just thought about it) you would confuse the heck out of the pianists: the A would actually sound higher than the Bb which is as confusing as it can get....

Yes. I think some people will think this is nuts, and will wonder what you're talking about at all -- but in a pure sense it is so. Not, of course, in how they sound on the piano ha but in a pure sense.

Which, by the way, is actually part of what you had said just before that:

Quote:
it would be off theoretically

Chopin was into the theory of the music and of the voice leading as much as anybody, I think even including Bach. He wouldn't have been caught dead writing it as an A#, because, in terms of what's going on in the line of that voice, it's not an A-sharp and can't be an A-sharp. smile
Posted by: BDB

Re: Chopin first ballade, measure 170 - weird stem - 07/10/13 11:32 AM

What this demonstrates is the flexibility and universality of the notation system. Although this is unconventional, it should be immediately obvious what it means and how it is played, even to one who has never seen something like this before.
Posted by: Mark_C

Re: Chopin first ballade, measure 170 - weird stem - 07/10/13 11:35 AM

Well, I wouldn't say it "should." I think that if someone like Joel found it confusing, that's enough right there to make us realize there's no 'should' about it. This might be kind of circular, but that's how I think it is.
Posted by: Orange Soda King

Re: Chopin first ballade, measure 170 - weird stem - 07/10/13 12:29 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark_C

Quote:
it would be off theoretically

Chopin was into the theory of the music and of the voice leading as much as anybody, I think even including Bach. He wouldn't have been caught dead writing it as an A#, because, in terms of what's going on in the line of that voice, it's not an A-sharp and can't be an A-sharp. smile


I've noticed that with most major composers.

This isn't mean to be a snarky reply, by the way.
Posted by: jazzyprof

Re: Chopin first ballade, measure 170 - weird stem - 07/10/13 01:29 PM

I like this notation better.

Keeps the stems pointing in the right direction.
Posted by: BruceD

Re: Chopin first ballade, measure 170 - weird stem - 07/10/13 06:14 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: BruceD
....Chopin, it appears, new his theory.

Don't you mean old? grin

(Sorry Bruce, couldn't resist.)


Thanks for catching the typo. Corrected!