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HPSCHD-L  April 2001

HPSCHD-L April 2001

Subject:

Re: A wrong note in Boehm's F major Suite?

From:

David Pickett <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Harpsichords and Related Topics <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 18 Apr 2001 07:57:22 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (71 lines)

Hendrik scripsit:

>David asks:
> >
> >The note in question is the second quarter note in the tenor voice of the
> >left hand of bar 6.  Ferguson has this as a d1, which gives, to my way of
> >thinking, a most unlikely harmony of d minor in first inversion, with a
> >seventh to boot.  If I read this note as f1, it makes more sense to me: the
> >f1 then completes the tonic cadence on the weak beat, and the move to the
> >dominant begins on the third beat.
> >
> >Maybe this is a mistake in the Ferguson edition: I should be grateful if
> >anyone who has an alternative edition would check it for me.
>
>The Baerenreiter edition also gives this note as d1.  To my ear it is
>more correct since it establishes the chord on the second quarter as
>a first inversion d chord (the subsequent treble f'', a', c'' figure
>turns it into a 6-5 and, since you avoid the implied parallel fifth
>that results when one simply moves around in root position triads,
>all's right with the world).  But it does look weird, I'll give you
>that.

What fun to be discussing an abstruse musical point here for a
change.  Thank you for responding!

Assuming that Boehm wrote d1, I of course defer to him; but my grounds for
suspecting that he may have meant f1 are:

1. This is the first real cadence.  Harmonies have been changing faster
than normal, the second half of bar 5 having four chords.  Therefore F
major is expected.

2. This is not an interrupted, or deceptive, cadence.  Try replacing the c1
with a d1 -- it doesnt work at all, indicating that the basic harmony is F
rather than d minor.  Thus, in the printed text, I read the harmony of the
first half of bar 6 as F with an added 6th, rather than first inversion of
d-minor with a seventh -- though I guess either way it's a 6/5 chord!  The
tie in the bass is significant here.

3. Replace d1 with f1 and the structure is clarified by a brief
articulation where it is needed.  Some would argue that this reading is
less interesting; but I think that would be to argue with ears used to the
developments of the classical, romantic and modern schools.

4. This is a pleasant, though not ground-breaking allemande; and a cadence
on the tonic, followed by a striking out in the direction of the dominant
is a normal baroque gambit. In many cases, particularly late baroque, the f
would continue, giving a third inversion chord.

5. Assuming F major, G major, are the harmonies of bar 6.  I do not find
any parallel fifths in the voice leading, actual or implied.  This, rather
than the roots of the chord being the criterion.  Indeed the outer voices
are in contrary motion, which is rather nice, and the fifth is omitted from
the G major chord.

The evidence against me is:

1. I do not know any other of Boehm's suites well enough to make
comparisons, and if I encountered this in a Roseingrave allemande I would
not notice it.  (But that composer is often completely out to lunch as far
as I am concerned.)

2. Bar 8 of the Courante, where d minor is interposed between F and G at a
similar point in the structure.  Bar 6 of the Gigue might also be adduced.

3. Bar 7 of the Sarabande -- which can only be described as a cataclysmic
happening -- can someone explain this?

I rest my case.

david

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