Schumann 15-7 "Träumerei", strange notation in first measure

Posted by: Marco M

Schumann 15-7 "Träumerei", strange notation in first measure - 01/08/13 11:56 AM



I have some problems with understanding the notation of the first measure of Schumann 15-7 "Träumerei/Reverie/Dreaming". Part of it was discussed years ago already here in the forum, but I still do not understand all I would like to understand about it.

RH: How can the 1st finger be used on the 4th beat, if it still is holding the F since the 2nd beat? And obviously another finger has to be released for the last eighth of that measure! The answer is to us the sustain pedal. OK, so far. Why then not tie the F-C up to the next measure, as done for the C-A in the LH? That notation does not appear consistent, but I would assume that Schumann knew very well how to consistently write a sheet.

LH: Why are there two times F on the 1st beat written? Just to not write a rest-sign? But Schumann didn´t refuse to write a rest-sign for the RH. Again, that notation does not appear consistent, but I would assume that Schumann knew very well how to consistently write a sheet.

Now, I can see how the big ones play it, how pedalling solves the pretended problem with the fingering. But why did Schumann write the sheet in such a way? Could it be that he already included some suggestion on how it could be broken down for playing it with 4 hands???
Posted by: Andy Platt

Re: Schumann 15-7 "Träumerei", strange notation in first measure - 01/08/13 01:26 PM

Oh, what problems the composers have in trying to document their requests in musical notation. I think the answers to all your problems can be summed up in one word: voices.

Schumann is trying to show the voices that are in the piece. Yes, you can't do everything exactly as written - but you can get the feel of it. So the idea is we have the hanging long duration notes and, within that the melody as separate voices and you need to convincingly present that.

I assume that you have heard several interpretations of this beautiful piece - perhaps study those with voicing in mind and see if that makes more sense. I'm listening / watching to the Horowitz performance right now ... magical.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Schumann 15-7 "Träumerei", strange notation in first measure - 01/08/13 01:33 PM

[cross-posted]

Schumann is notating the "voices" of his music, not quite so simple as what sounds are heard.

The melody is the stems-up notes in the treble clef. The melody has a triplet at the end of the first measure, so that's what he notated. Even though it will sound like a pile of held notes when you play it with the sustain pedal, the artistry of playing the piece is to give the impression that this is a melodic triplet.

The low bass is an F sustained for five beats.

There is a middle voice, or voices, shown by the stem-up notes in the bass clef and the stem-down notes in the treble clef. This voice starts with a quarter note F, and then jumps up to the CAFC chord (one might see this as four middle voices, but I'm lumping them together as one in the effect they give). Notice that this leap up a fifth (from F to the C, the lowest note of the following chord) is repeated in the second measure with the Bb F grace notes. This is part of Schumann's artistry, to build similar effects in various ways.
Posted by: wouter79

Re: Schumann 15-7 "Träumerei", strange notation in first measure - 01/08/13 03:58 PM

1. As andy says, this is how the composer wants to *hear* it. How you manage to do it is your business.

2. You do not *need* any pedal for this.

3. Are you sure these are Schumann's fingerings? I would suggest using 4 instead of that 1 so that you can hold the chord just as written with RH.

4. Who placed the pedal marks?

5. (LH: Why are there two times F on the 1st beat written? Just to not write a rest-sign? ) Schumann again is indicating a melody line, now in the LH.
Posted by: Marco M

Re: Schumann 15-7 "Träumerei", strange notation in first measure - 01/08/13 04:24 PM

I still have to think longer about your advice about the 'voices' (and for sure will have to try to hear it clearer) to fully understand it, and maybe my subsequent question then will become dispensable. Anyway, as I am unpatient with this, maybe you can help me once more:

I see in the original sheet that already there fingering is recommended to play (hands overlapping) the initial chord CAFC with CF in the LH and AC in the RH.

If emphazising voices in the sheet, why then also complicate the fingering so much on that first chord, instead of just recommending CAFC to be simply covered by the LH? If the lowest (bass) F is anyway kept sounding by the pedal, then the LH would be completly free to alone play the CAFC, while the RH could fully concentrate on the intonation of the melody (highest F and following eigths). Can´t the pianist respect voicing with such simlified fingering?

Sorry, if I am asking stupid questions, I am beginner and obviously am close to the point where I can´t develope well anymore without a teacher...Next Sunday I will win in the lotterie the necessary cash!
Posted by: Marco M

Re: Schumann 15-7 "Träumerei", strange notation in first measure - 01/08/13 04:31 PM

About the fingering and pedal signs: they are already in the very old sheets to be found in the IMSLP, and I assume that Schumann reviewed that edition before the publisher published it. Maybe I am wrong?
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Schumann 15-7 "Träumerei", strange notation in first measure - 01/08/13 04:36 PM

Originally Posted By: Marco M
If emphazising voices in the sheet, why then also complicate the fingering so much on that first chord, instead of just recommending CAFC to be simply covered by the LH?


You don't have to play the treble clef notes only with the RH, and the bass clef notes only with the LH. So rearranging the hands and playing that CFAC combination with the LH might be a completely workable way to play it.

Sometimes the particular arrangement of the hands as written might bring certain desired musical consequences -- I heard an example last summer of a grace note written about two or three octaves above the note it decorated, where it made a noticeable difference if the shortcut was chosen to play it RH then LH, vs. the better-sounding way of playing both the grace note and the regular note with the LH. But you have to judge that musically: I don't think there's any hard and fast rule.

There's another subtlety going on where Schumann notated CA in the bass clef and FC in the treble clef, instead of what might seem more obvious: CF in the bass clef and FA in the bass clef. I think this is partly related to showing the similarity of the lower middle voices CA a fifth apart in the first measure, to the lower middle voices FD a fifth apart in the second measure. More of the patterns of what Schumann is indicating musically, as opposed to solely "pressing the right key at the right time", would probably become apparent from looking at more of the piece.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Schumann 15-7 "Träumerei", strange notation in first measure - 01/08/13 04:51 PM

Originally Posted By: Marco M
About the fingering and pedal signs: they are already in the very old sheets to be found in the IMSLP, and I assume that Schumann reviewed that edition before the publisher published it. Maybe I am wrong?

Can you link to the score you are using?

At the IMSLP page for Kinderszenen, the oldest score is labeled as an 1845 reissue of the 1839 first edition, published by Breitkopf and Härtel. No fingering, and very few pedal marks -- certainly, fewer than your two measures already show.

The next score has no date, and has no fingering and no pedal marks.

The third score was edited by Clara Schumann, was also published by Breitkopf and Härtel, between 1879 and 1912 (apparently), and also has no fingering and no pedal marks.

Paying money for a good critical edition, or a good student's edition, is often well worth it if you are interested in the subtleties of a piece.

[ETA: AIUI, the fact of very few or no pedal marks in a piece of this era does not mean that you are to only pedal only at the pedal marks.]
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Schumann 15-7 "Träumerei", strange notation in first measure - 01/08/13 05:13 PM

Ah! I wonder if this score of Träumerei alone is the score you are using. This looks like a modern score -- judging by the "19990528" in the lower right-hand corner, I would say it dates from May 28, 1999. It appears that the pedal marks and fingering are added by the setter, or perhaps are from an earlier (but probably not Chopin-era) edition that the setter is using.
Posted by: Marco M

Re: Schumann 15-7 "Träumerei", strange notation in first measure - 01/09/13 06:33 AM

I indeed refered to the IMSLP page for Kinderszenen, which you mention.
I assume, that the "first edition" publication from 1839 by Breitkopf & Härtel is the one in which Schumann originally published his work in, and the score from 1845 is just a reprint of it. The recommendation "Ped." to use the pedal is given in there right below the 1st measure of the staff. Although fingering is not recommend by given numbers in that publication, I thought that it would be recommended by the way notes are distributed to the treble and bass clefs, also because later publications recommending particular finger numbers coincide with the RH to stay in the treble and the LH to stay in the bass clef.

[edit: here I refer to the Roland sheet music which came with my digital piano; I found pieces in there to be very well written, music not different than in old IMSLP or in the pianostreet editions; so no arrangements, but reliable sheet music; but with extensive fingering and expression marks for supporting the student]

Well, good I brought up my thread: I quickly learned a lot from you, and really appreciate your very helpful answers!
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Schumann 15-7 "Träumerei", strange notation in first measure - 01/14/13 04:41 PM

Marco M asked elsewhere:
Quote:
I am still wondering if this piece is originally written for 4 hands. I can see in the bass clef almost the same melody than in the treble clef, just a little bit delayed: And a little bit shortened, it is not a canon in the end. Members in the forum explained me about "voices", and I now see this. Anyway, my "4 hand" question is still not answered. Actually, having voices, and each of them is even individually a nice one, would point even more towards a 4-hand idea, or? Each player stays with a similar melodie!


Ah, many pieces have me wishing I had four hands, or more, to play them with! Unfortunately, composers all seem to be brilliant pianists and expect me to play their pieces with just my two hands.

Have you ever seen four-part choral music written out? Perhaps in a hymn book, on a treble and bass clef so the piano can play it easily? The soprano and alto lines are typically in the treble clef. The tenor and bass lines are typically in the bass clef. A quartet could sing the hymn, each line being sung by one person. When the hymn is sung this way, you can clearly hear the four voices, because of the difference in vocal quality of each of the singers.

When a pianist plays the hymn, she is using two hands to play all four voices at once. Composers often use this idea, or related ideas, as they compose. There might be a melody, which usually is the highest notes: like the soprano line, or voice. There is typically some kind of low notes forming a foundation for the accompaniment. This is usually the lowest notes: like the bass line, or voice. Then there might be notes in between the highest and lowest notes, filling in the harmony and creating a pleasing effect. These are like the alto and tenor lines, or voices.

Since the composer isn't limited to a quartet of four people singing at the piano, she doesn't have to stick with just four notes at a time. She can have just a few voices at a time, with rests in the other voices, or she can multiply the voices by filling out the chords with more notes. We see this kind of effect in Schumann's Trämerei.

The music is often written in a way that is similar to how a hymn would be written. In a hymn written in 4-part harmony on two staves, the soprano notes are written with stems up; the alto notes with stems down; the tenor notes with stems up; and the bass notes with stems down. If you look at Träumerei and pay attention to which notes on the treble clef have stems up, you can see the melody -- the "soprano" voice. On the bass clef, the notes with stems down give the underpinning of the harmony -- the "bass" voice. The other notes (stems down on the treble clef, stems up on the bass clef) fill in the middle parts of the harmony -- "alto" and "tenor" voices.

One reason why this is done is to help the player see the structure of the music. For example, in a piece which is basically melody plus accompaniment, which notes should be brought out (usually the melody)? Which notes form the framework of the harmony (usually the bass)? Which notes are middle voices and usually played softer? It might seem obvious on a piece which notes are melody and which are accompaniment, but part of what makes it obvious is the engraver's choice of stems up and stems down.

So I don't think this piece was literally originally written to be played by two pianists/four hands. But Schumann's conception of it may well have been of the separate voices each having their own identity and integrity, which needs to be brought out even when playing it with just two hands.
Posted by: Marco M

Re: Schumann 15-7 "Träumerei", strange notation in first measure - 01/15/13 03:37 AM

I thank you very, very much for your patience in explaining this in detail!
These insights are so helpful, not only for this particular piece, but in general for my piano playing (learning). Especially that you pointed out, that it can be derived, that not only melody could be (dynamically) emphasized over the rest when playing it, but that in the rest it might again be recommended to balance accentuations. I obviously missed this in my organ classes, which I received as a youngster. You will have seen, that I was rised mainly on electric organ, and there you don´t have any dynamics coming from the key action, but only from a volume pedal - or from emphasizing tones by slightly varying the timing of them.

So, its really helpful to know about this 'hidden' information in the sheet. Looking forward to learning about the other things to come (whatever comes up) in your newly startet analysis thread. See you there!