[publishing] Notation issues at The Boston Early Music Festival

Several people brought up notation issues:

  • At her fringe
    on Wednesday morning, Judith
    spoke of the difficulty in playing 17th and 18th century
    keyboard music from modern editions for organ on a clavichord without
    pedals. The facsimiles apparently are printed on two staves like
    modern piano music, and may or may not have an indication of which
    voices to play on the pedals. The modern editions for organists
    insist on putting the voices they play on the pedals of a modern organ
    onto a third staff, which may make it some easier for someone playing
    an organ with pedals, but makes it harder for anyone playing an
    instrument without them.
  • At the same concert, Dr. Stuart
    gave it as his opinion that people had not in fact played
    from keyboard tablature, but used it as a convenient shorthand for
    notating ideas arrived at at the keyboard. He based this on his
    observation that the existing keyboard music from the 18th century
    which is in staff notation has drips of candle wax and spilled liquids
    on it, but surviving tablature is comparatively pristine.
  • At her masterclass, Ellen
    Hargis discussed the problem of singers’ deciding where to breath in
    long florid passages. She believed that the regular beaming of notes
    in modern editions makes the problem harder, as the beams obscure the
    shape of the melody, and she urged people doing their own editions to
    avoid beaming which doesn’t occur in the original editions.
  • I wasn’t there, but several people told me that John Tyson at his workshop and
    , plugged this site
    as one of the best sources of Renaissance music in existence based on
    the provision of unbarred parts and original beamings in legible,
    modern clefs.

I don’t remember this much discussion of notation at previous
BEMF’s. So maybe what I’m doing is really on the cutting edge and
everybody will be doing it that way any minute now.

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