Your favorite sheet music flaw

February 17, 2006 at 06:57 AM · Everyone has seen a flaw in a composition before...what was (were) the worst flaw(s) you have ever come across in your music?

(I guess I could start it off...

I love when they write an F below the staff in violin music but don't specify that you should retune the instrument for the song!

Also, when I played in the pit orchestra for Seussical the Musical, my favorite mess-up was when I found four natural harmonic F#'s on one page...I even checked with my teacher to make sure they were nat. harmonics and not false harmonics and she said it was a mistake!)

Replies (18)

February 17, 2006 at 01:56 PM · galamian's constant open Eb's

February 17, 2006 at 02:14 PM · second finger on d string where F# would be is a natural F# harmonic, not that im saying your teacher is wrong or anything.

February 17, 2006 at 02:56 PM · John---is it really??? Let me try that and get back with you on it...

February 17, 2006 at 03:23 PM · yep. Youre speaking with a double harmonics, trilling and semiquavering in harmonics champ here.

February 17, 2006 at 06:42 PM · semiquavering? what's that?

(get this (not a music typo, but a class schedule typo, and a major one, at that!): I just found out my music appreciation class has been meeting on Fridays. I've shown up for class on Monday and Wednesday all year, because that's what the student bulletin said and that's what my schedule says, and all this time I've been wondering why the class seems so far ahead of me on Mondays! I've been skipping without even trying!)

February 17, 2006 at 08:05 PM · I love it when they leave out a beat in a measure of orchestra music. Throws the whole thing off into chaos.

February 17, 2006 at 08:11 PM · I once had a piece written for me where the composer wrote a double stop on middle C and the Open G string. He quickly corrected it, and cursed himself, as he had just made fun of a composer for doing something similar that day. Luckily we could joke about it.

February 17, 2006 at 08:54 PM · I remember my teacher showing me one Brahms sonata (no. 3 I think) where it is written "poco a poco", without any indication of what must be "poca a poca"!!

February 18, 2006 at 02:12 AM · Is it a flaw or not? It's another debate without an answer:

In the Anna Magdelena manuscript of Bach's unaccompanied G minor sonata there is no flat on the bottom note of the chord on the third beat of measure three (an E). Modern editions "correct" this and thus everyone learns it with an E-flat.

While there is an E-flat in beat one (an octave higher), at this point in history the whole "accidental carries through the measure" thing has not yet been established--at least certainly not standardized. In fact, in the rest of the manuscript notes are "re-accidentaled" all the way through the measure if there is more than one note between two instances of the same altered pitch. In beat four, the E-flat in the same register as the note in question is marked with an accidental. Was Anna already making errors three measures into the 41 page manuscript, or is it supposed to be E natural?

I vote for E natural. It doesn't sound "bad" at all... we're just used to hearing it the other way.

'Erie (-:

February 18, 2006 at 03:34 AM · I picked up a score of the Tchaikovsky concerto once in a music store. It had 5th fingers in it everywhere.....hmm....

February 18, 2006 at 04:44 AM · Kelsey - two possible explainations:

1) were you looking at the Piano Concerto accidentally?

2) Failing that, I should get that edition for one of my new students, who insists that she can play with her thumb as well as her fingers.

February 18, 2006 at 08:18 AM · In some violin music 5 means stretched 4. Could that apply here, too?

February 18, 2006 at 09:32 AM · 'Erie, you are not alone with that theory, but I would say it is a typo, she did a few of those. If we think that it is an eb then the chord sequence makes sence. And even the chords function.

Or do you play the top note in m.6 as a eb or as she wrote; a E natural ;-)

February 18, 2006 at 03:32 PM · I have also seen "5" as meaning extended 4th finger.

February 18, 2006 at 04:47 PM · The use of the 5th finger was extensive and not in places that would be appropiate for a 4th finger extension. I believe the editor was a pianist which might have explained it. Unfortunately it's been a few years since I've seen the score so I cannot remember who the editor was but the edition was one that I had never seen before for violin music.

February 18, 2006 at 06:16 PM · Mattias...

Oh goody, more good-natured debate! The very first note of m. 6 is E-flat of course, it is repeated from the last note of m. 5 with no intervening pitches. (Bar lines mean a lot less in Baroque music... more of a convenience than anything!) The rest of the measure is E-natural.

As far as harmony, E-natural works just as well as E-flat in m. 3. The diminished vi is quite common in harmonic minor. Furthermore, at this point in history harmony is not conceptualized vertically like now, but linearly. I'd have to buckle down and do some Schenkerian analysis type thinking, but the E-natural could fit into a couple interpretations of linear movement in the lower voice--even a chromatic descent from F at the beginning of the measure to the D on beat one of m. 4.

'Erie-for-the-E (-:

P.S. I concede... Anna Magdalena hasn't exactly been heralded as the pinacle of accuracy in the world of music scribes. :-)

February 20, 2006 at 03:47 PM · 'Erie - yes, it is nice with a friendly debate!

How long do you recon that a accidental shold last in this score? One measure?, a eight? an sixteenth?

And regarding the harmonic line I agree with both you and me :) The embellishments are harmonic based, and tied to the vertical chords. At the same time :)

Your time to punch! :)

February 21, 2006 at 07:46 AM · I think this one is well known but aren't the notes in measures 33 and 37 of the Allegro molto moderato in Kreisler's Praeludium and Allegro supposed to be the same? They are not in the editions I've seen.)

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