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Two Problems From A Piece By Cabezon


davidh
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There are two points in Cabezon's "Diferencias sobre la Gallarda Milanesa" where I would welcome advice.

See http://www.hitchin.plus.com/Cabezon/

 

In the first case there is D held for a semibreve, while a scale from B flat to A in semiquavers passes through it. There would be no problem if the top notes were played on one manual, and the lower notes on another (if one could stretch enough, the aid of the pedals probably being inappropriate). I suspect that this was intended to be playable on a single-manual organ, so how would it be done?

 

In the second extract there is a similar problem, apparently requiring a large stretch.

 

Any suggestions, please?

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I once made a point of playing some English virginal pieces marked with original fingering and came to the conclusion that they couldn't always have held long notes for their full written value. The example you quote is not at all untypical of domestic keyboard and organ music or this period and in your example I would have no hesitation in repeating the D as you pass through it, continuing to hold it as the scale moves on. I cannot cite any authority for this, however.

 

There are many cases in Bach's Orgelbüchlein of similar messinesses. I do wonder whether some long notes in Bach's chorale melodies might actually have been cosmetic only and not held at all in practice. Jesu meine Freude has a particularly glaring example, if memory serves, where, although you can hold the offending note and repeat it where the adjacent part collides, doing so merely entangles the counterpoint. It just feels wrong to sustain that note - and other similar ones. I would love to know what the contemporary practice was.

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There are two points in Cabezon's "Diferencias sobre la Gallarda Milanesa" where I would welcome advice.

See http://www.hitchin.plus.com/Cabezon/

 

In the first case there is D held for a semibreve, while a scale from B flat to A in semiquavers passes through it. There would be no problem if the top notes were played on one manual, and the lower notes on another (if one could stretch enough, the aid of the pedals probably being inappropriate). I suspect that this was intended to be playable on a single-manual organ, so how would it be done?

 

In the second extract there is a similar problem, apparently requiring a large stretch.

 

Any suggestions, please?

 

A lovely piece in my opinion. I lived in Spain for 4 years and got to know and love some of this music. In your first example I drop the alto d while the b flat and c are played (ie after playing it for a quaver - not semiquavers surely, David?) and hold it after sounding it for the rest of the scale passage; maybe not authentic but seems to make sense musically on a one manual instrument). In the second example the only stretch really is the alto d to the sop e flat - assuming the d isplayed by the right hand?

 

Glad to see players taking an interest in this composer, and, after all, who couldn't love a composer whose name tranlsated as "Big Head"?!! :(

 

Peter

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A lovely piece in my opinion. I lived in Spain for 4 years and got to know and love some of this music. In your first example I drop the alto d while the b flat and c are played (ie after playing it for a quaver - not semiquavers surely, David?)

Yes, quavers!

 

Thank you for the useful suggestion. I'm now getting to know music by Cabezon, Heredia, Correa de Arauxo and Pablo Bruna. Wonderful music, not too difficult for an amateur, and a useful reminder that there was interesting Spanish music long before the trompeta real became popular.

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There are many cases in Bach's Orgelbüchlein of similar messinesses. I do wonder whether some long notes in Bach's chorale melodies might actually have been cosmetic only and not held at all in practice. Jesu meine Freude has a particularly glaring example, if memory serves, where, although you can hold the offending note and repeat it where the adjacent part collides, doing so merely entangles the counterpoint. It just feels wrong to sustain that note - and other similar ones. I would love to know what the contemporary practice was.

 

This is the way that I've been steered in a couple of works from the Orgelbüchlein - hold the longer note until the collision, but don't repeat it if it obscures the counterpoint.

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In the case of the Spanish music, there may be an explanation for it. Some of the repertoire originated on the vihuela - an instrument like a guitar, but with double strings - and it was transferred to keyboards, including harpsichord, clavichord and organ with minimum changes.

 

On the vihuela a long note may continue sounding on one string while passages including the same note can be played independently on another string. When transferred to keyboard there has to be some compromise.

 

Even music which originated on the organ needs some work-arounds. Large stretches possible with a short octave can't be done with the hands, and need the odd insertion from the pedals. The split keyboards, allowing different registrations in the treble and bass, can be simulated on modern organs by the use of two manuals, but there are cases where one hand spanned the break in a way which doesn't permit the same stretch on two keyboards.

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