I have worked for a while with Segovia's edition of 20 Fernando Sor studies. This particular piece he numbered as 17 of 20. It's a particular favourite of mine, and while listening to a few other guitarists playing it I realised that Segovia had "recomposed" some of this, as he seemed to feel compelled to do sometimes. He changed the bass notes in bars 6 and 7 to start with. What I would like to discuss here, though, is what Segovia changed in bar 9, specifically, and also what guitarists seem to make of this, whether they work from Segovia or the original score.
In bar 9, we have an E minor arpeggio with G as the top melody note. In the original edition there is a C natural that comes in, followed by a C sharp. This leads chromatically to the note D of the D-major chord that appears in bar 10 following.
Segovia either did not like the C natural or thought it might be a 'typo', which does happen quite a lot in these scores. What he did was take out the C natural altogether so the C sharp is left coming in as the last note in the bar. When I was practicing and learning this piece, I found that bar 9 was awkward to play, and not very pleasing to the ear. The C sharp seems to just "jump in" unannounced. I felt very uncomfortable with it.
I then listened to different players and found that the best solution, for me, was to bring in the C sharp earlier, replacing the C natural in the score. This seems to work much better, is more comfortable to play, and makes more sense to me musically. Some players do this, some don't. But I have not yet heard anyone playing it with the C natural as in the original edition.
At ths stage I started to study the original score and tried all the different ways of playing bar 9. I came to the conclusion that the C natural, the original version of the score, was exactly what Fernando Sor intended. What I can't understand is, why do all the players that I have heard leave out or alter the C natural when there was nothing wrong with it in the first place? Is it that Segovia has planted seeds of doubt by leaving it out, so that we think, "Oh it must be wrong...!"
Firstly, the C natural is part of the key, not an accidental. The C sharp is an accidental and forms a very nice dissonant "E minor 6th" feel while leading to the D note in the next bar. Dissonance is very important to this piece of music, as anyone will know that has learned it by playing it very slowly at first. Once you get it up to tempo, the dissonance is less apparent, but it is integral to the music.
The chromatic run in E minor from the note B to C natural to C sharp is not uncommon in all kinds of music, not only classical. The most famous example is the James Bond theme! Composers from the early 19th century were doing a lot of beautiful stuff with chromatics, and this piece is a fine example. In my view, it rates with the all-time greatest melancholy studies, alongside Chopin.
Not only that, but if you play bar 9 exactly as written in the score, you then find that it is mirrored by the extremely dissonant A-sharp, for example, that appears played as a chromatic against the chord G-major in bar 20.
I would be interested to hear how others might have tackled this, and especially, if there is anyone who wants to try playing this with bar 9 exactly as in the original score, or that already does it like that.