I thought I'd add to the inception of this analysis forum by submitting something for consideration that I actually did several years ago in another (that other guitar) newsgroup (with some slight recent editing)- so it's possible some here have already seen it. But I thought it worthwhile because this analysis was not set out upon with the aim of explaining the whole piece, or a dissection of its parts in accordance to the accepted codifications of theory. It was precipitated by an inquiry as to one particular, even small, point just about the end of the piece. And yet I found that I could not
respond to the inquiry without subjecting the whole piece to examination, and the answer I came up with did have to do with that ending's relationship back to the entire body of the piece. There's something almost sort of fractal about it. Maybe that's the mark of a masterpiece by a major composer.
Also, my methodology was exemplary of what "stevel", and maybe others, here have suggested, that analysis is best predicated first upon listening, and using theoretical language in order to articulate what one hears, rather than arrive at a paper-driven prescription of what one should
The piece in question is Villa-Lobos' fourth prelude, and the question posed concerned the very last chord -- as to whether it actually should have a G in the bass as indicated in the score, or was that a printing or manuscript error, and is it "supposed" actually to be an E? ( the piece is prevailingly in E minor).
So, what I've included below is much of the discussion that occurred on that newsgroup. It is interesting, because both options had people expressing favor for them, or divided opinions, and for various reasons -- simple preference, evidence (on both sides!) suggesting historical manuscript authority, and theoretically driven conclusions (again, on both sides!). Except for the aftermath of a couple of people who found, or seemed to find what I said credible, the discussion didn't continue after what I submitted, so I don't know what most people thought of it.
Now, this what I suggest here. Go ahead and read it if you like, but for those of you inclined, think about it yourself, and come up with your own answer first....
(edit: This will turn out to be made convenient, because in trying to submit this, I've just now encountered a character limitation- and so I will divide this in two, with the second post consisting of my submission)
...Is the question answerable on simple terms, or are there complexities involved? And, once you do read what I came up with, do you think my response complex, or ultimately, simple? Did I go overboard? Is any
such answer "right"?
BTW, the other forum is a public one, so there isn't much of an expection of privacy as to anyone who contributed to it, but neither did they necessarilly thereby consent to having their identities bandied about on other boards, so, except for my own (JonLorPro, from my e-mail address), I've rendered the various contributors' identities into initials. I don't think anyone would actually have been offended otherwise, so maybe I'm overly cautious- but it just felt more courteous to do so.
Posts are separated by the:
mine follows the:
A Real Controversy
A. S. Jun 30 2008, 12:55 am
Yes, we've had a lot of controversy here in the last few weeks and some people feel it's too much, that it's shaken up the community in an unhealthy way. So, I have been hesitating to post about something that may provoke some people a lot more than 9/11, or for that matter, any other topic we've had yet, but I feel it's something we need to deal with if we are to continue as a viable NG.
Does the final chord in Prelude #4 by Villa-Lobos have a -G- in the bass as written, or is that a mistake and the correct note is actually -E-?
Jun 30 2008, 1:03 am
I'm partial to the E. the G, as written, feels as if I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop. My teacher is very liberal about this to the effect "If you enjoy it that way, then just do it." I like him
Mon, 30 Jun 2008 05:29:13 -0700
I have a manuscript that one of the Blain brothers gave me that is in the hand of a copyist. Who made the copy, I don't know. R. Blain told me that VL gave it to him when VL was at Columbia doing a lecture . It is from the 1940s before the piece was published by Eschig. It ends with an E in the bass tied to the previous E.
Jun 30 2008, 11:24 am
The recently published 2007 Eschig edition of the 5 Preludes edited by Fredric Zigante has it as a G not an E. I like the G. All available sources were consulted for this new edition of the Preludes. I highly recommend it and the Carlevaro books on the Etudes and Preludes.
Jun 30 2008, 11:38 am
On Jun 30, 12:24 pm, "D. S." wrote:
> The recently published 2007 Eschig edition of the 5 Preludes edited by
> Fredric Zigante has it as a G not an E. I like the G. All available sources
> were consulted for this new edition of the Preludes. I highly recommend it
> and the Carlevaro books on the Etudes and Preludes.
This is one of those interesting moments in music, and since AG mentioned it some time ago here, saying it was a mistake and should be -E-, I've been asking various people, players & composers. The answers are mixed. Some, like Fred Hand think the -G- is more interesting, as obviously does Zigante, etc.
I prefer -E-.
Jun 30 2008, 12:31 pm
D, Frédéric Zigante works with the criteria of a musicologist: his aim is to prepare a text after an accurate comparison of all the available, reliable sources, and none of them shows an E. When expressing my opinion, I was not concerned as a musicologist with the publication of a text, but as a musician who should read the same text in view of practical performance: the question had been formulated by S. Y., who - if I correctly remember - preferred an E. As a reader, I joined his view. If I had to prepare the text for publication, I would have left the G.
Jun 30 2008, 1:32 pm
I find it to be a very interesting situation. The solution M has suggested based on the copy given to him, with the tied -E-, really feels most "right" to me. But there is a quality to the -G- that is maybe a little more interesting, although that may be so because we are so used to it.
Wouldn't it be nice if the original MS. is found.
Jun 30 2008, 7:22 pm
On Jun 30, 6:59 pm, M wrote:
> Hi A,
> I don't exactly how to finger this because I change my mind often
> with these kind of things, according to my nails, strings, guitar. It
> is an easy thing to change without creating confusion and error (as
> the saying goes)
> The manuscript I have is old and made by a very skilled copyist. The
> least thing one can say is the "real controversy" is also and old
I like the upper -E- on the 5th string. And I think the tie is just right.
Any background on how far back this has been talked/written about? I confess it was AG's comments in the previous thread that brought it to my attention; I'd never doubted the -G- and didn't know it had long been considered controversial.
On the other hand, this explains why Alan Lewis would get so angry when he occasionally walked by (usually to grab a chocolate covered strawberry or two) when I was playing the end of the piece; he'd scream "E! E!!". Now I know why.
D. R. A.
Jul 1 2008, 9:00 am
On Sun, 29 Jun 2008 22:55:41 -0700, A. S. wrote:
> Yes, we've had a lot of controversy here in the last few weeks and some
> people feel it's too much, that it's shaken up the community in an
> unhealthy way. So, I have been hesitating to post about something that
> may provoke some people a lot more than 9/11, or for that matter, any
> other topic we've had yet, but I feel it's something we need to deal
> with if we are to continue as a viable NG.
> Does the final chord in Prelude #4 by Villa-Lobos have a -G- in the bass
> as written, or is that a mistake and the correct note is actually -E-?
It is not a mistake. The lowest note in the chord immediately preceding is d. The e preceding that is an octave higher than in previous instances, because of the sustaining low e, which means that the harmonic e is played on the 5th string instead of the 6th and thus sounds an octave higher.
Put a bit more dynamic emphasis on the d and you will hear the logic of it much better. d. A.
Jul 1 2008, 11:11 am
On Jul 1, 10:00 am, D.R. A. wrote:
> It is not a mistake. The lowest note in the chord immediately
> preceding is d. The e preceding that is an octave higher than
> in previous instances, because of the sustaining low e, which
> means that the harmonic e is played on the 5th string instead of the 6th
> and thus sounds an octave higher.
> Put a bit more dynamic emphasis on the d and you will hear the
> logic of it much better. d. A.
OK, interesting point, makes sense.
How is this then, the piece is in G, not Em.
D. R. A.
Jul 1 2008, 2:54 pm
Who says you have to end on a root position chord? This is in D but ends on Bm, for a completely different reason than in the HVL:
There are other possible reasons for ending on an inversion. Do you say that a piece ending on a Picardy 3rd was major all the time?
The low e does not persist in actuality but it does in memory. You could sustain the low e on one of those extra strings you have.
See Carcassi Op. 59 part III #25. It is a challenge to thumb the ostinato a's softly enough, but overall this is a very easy piece. The f and p at the end are explicit. If you add the low a to the final chord it sounds all grumbly. If you play the end piano enough, it's better as written. If you ignore the dynamics, expressed and implied, it doesn't sound like anything anyway.
I think it is a sort of pseudocadential feeling that HVL wanted at the end, but extreme diminuendo would be another possible rationale for the g bass. One rationale suffices, since HVL wrote what he wrote.
A few minutes of effort to make it sound right as written is worth a thousand hours of trying to rewrite it, and even if you do end in rewriting it, the result will be a million times better if you do the few minutes first. d. A.
Jul 1 2008, 6:36 pm
On Jul 1, 3:54 pm, D. R. A. wrote:
> > How is this then, the piece is in G, not Em.
> > A.
> Who says you have to end on a root position chord?
Anyone think this piece is in G, not Em?
Jul 1 2008, 7:59 pm
Well ... I think it's an E minor piece that end on a Gmajor add6th chord.
Jul 1 2008, 9:03 pm
> Anyone think this piece is in G, not Em?
In the Eschig edition, at least in mine, there is a tie from the low E in the second last measure to nowhere! Could that be to the low E in the last chord? The chord in the 2nd last measure clearly an Em6, so it would make sense to the last chord to be Em6 for me. But I think this guy HVL was really a troublemaker!
J. the thoroughly confused %(
Jul 1 2008, 9:20 pm
Em6 would be with a C# ... you probably mean Em7 (with the D)
Jul 1 2008, 10:24 pm
> Em6 would be with a C# ... you probably mean Em7 (with the D)
Yeah, that too!