Mistake in Dvorak op. 96 The American- bar 102, V1 part?

March 25, 2019, 4:42 PM · Henle suggests that the fifth note in this bar would better if an A-flat rather than an F. It would follow the pattern better, but I cannot find a score with an A-flat. Any opinions or information?

Replies (8)

March 25, 2019, 5:28 PM · Play it how you like it. Who cares if it's in the edition or not? What if it's a mistake?
March 25, 2019, 5:29 PM · Why don't you listen to some professional performances on Youtube and see what most people do?
Edited: March 26, 2019, 6:02 AM · It can happen that a composer makes a typo but I think this is no typo. I think that the F is deliberate for several reasons:

When Dvorak heard the quartet first time I believe he would have corrected this if it needed correction. The urtext edition on IMSLP has an F.

The music builds up to a climax after the 2dn vl. solo (bar 96), the 1st vl. enters (bar 98) followed by the viola. Then at the bar in question (bar 102) a climax is reached when the cello enters and to me that climax is underlined by the fifth note F in the 1st violin instead of A-flat.

The 1st vl.'s fifth note happens on the second beat. At that beat both the viola and the cello have an A-flat and the 2nd. vl. has a C. If the 1st. vl. also had an A-flat the music would have a temporary A-flat major colour. By playing an F in the 1st. vl. the F-minor colour is stressed and I think that aligns very well with the musical expression. It is passionate and powerful in my opinion.

March 26, 2019, 7:10 AM · Thank you Lars for your thoughtful, and persuasive, analysis. I too have seen the urtext score but the Henle comment had me wondering.
Edited: March 27, 2019, 1:09 PM · I think it's good that you ask this question Mari! I don't quite agree with Cotton or Mary's suggestions in this case, at least not in the early stage since I think it's very important to know -why- something is the case. After you understand the reasoning, then you can trust your instinct or see what other people do.

I agree with Lars that it should be an F, but for not quite the same reason. Having A flat in the 1st violin instead of F would not actually create a temporary A flat major colour, since there is no E flat in the chord to concretely establish this. The key of the entire bar is F minor, therefore the chord of this 2nd beat would be i6, (tonic in 1st inversion).

If we follow the conventional rules of voicing in 4 part harmony, there cannot be a tripled 3rd. The most that is allowed is 2 A flats, which is why Dvorak wrote an F in the violin part.

Edited: March 27, 2019, 7:24 PM · Interesting answer, James.
I am well aware that there is no E flat in the chord, but with 3 A flats there is a strong stress on A flat which can give it an A flat major feel. So my argument on this was just that the F in the 1st vl. reinforces the F minor colour.

Regarding your comment that there cannot be a tripled 3rd. A good reason for such a rule could be that a tripled third can put so much stress on that note that it can make it feel like the root note for the chord.

To Mari I would say: It does make an impression when a well-known publisher like Henle makes such a suggestion especially since the idea is easy to follow. But composers sometimes make patterns with one or more deviations.

March 28, 2019, 1:45 PM · Given all these reasonings we have to keep in mind that the people at Henle are not amateurs. They know what they are doing and I am sure they have good reasons for their theory.

Having said that the chord in question will sound for far less than a second. IN the context of a whole movement it is rather unimportant which version you play and you better focus on more consequential things when rehearsing rather than wasting time on ultimately unanswerable questions of minor importance.

March 28, 2019, 4:11 PM · @Albrecht Zumbrunn actually it is not a question of which version you play since there exists only one version. At least so far nobody has shown documentation that other versions might exist. Thus any other ideas on what to play than what is written in the score is speculation, it can certainly be qualified speculation but nevertheless speculation.

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