Hearing Schubert D779n13

Friday, October 17, 2014


I am in process of moving posts about rising gestures and cadence figures in music other than Schubert's generation to a new blog: Ascending Cadence Gestures in Traditional Tonal Music. The first of those moved will be the recent "Kidson" series, but other, older posts will follow.

Posts relating primarily to design in small compositions, and especially those concerned with William Caplin's form theory, are being moved to my blog Dance and Dance Music, 1650-1850.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Telemann, Partita for Oboe, Aria no. 2

Telemann published a set of 6 partitas for oboe and continuo in 1716 (facsimile available on IMSLP). Ever practical, he said they could be performed on flute or violin or even on keyboard alone. At first glance, the design of the partitas seems a bit unusual: an opening named movement followed by six "arias." These latter, however, are all small binary-form pieces in familiar types, and so the result is a more or less typical partita/suite design.

The second partita is in G major. Its second aria is a gigue that rewrites its first cadence in order to rise at the end -- see the second graphic below. The form of the rising cadence is one of those that works around the cadential dominant figure's two "suspensions" with a reaching-over (Forte's overlap): D5-E5-drops back to D5 but simultaneously G5 reaches over and completes the cadence with F#5-G5.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Pot Stick

Another in the "Kidson" series--melodies from Frank Kidson's Old English Country Dances (1890). One more tune of early to mid-18th century origin, according to Kidson, and better known as "Over the Water to Charlie," but with quite a few other names, including "Shambuie," "The Marquis of Granby," "Ligrum Cush," "The Quaker's Wife," and "Wishaw's Delight." The last of these is a strathspey, and the violinistic character of the tune certainly supports that use, while the "pentatonic" cadence gesture suggests that the tune is much older than the 18th century. The second cadence (bars 7-8) mitigates the ^6-^8 gesture with a ^7 that, however, precedes the ^6, The first and third cadences are pure ^5-^6-^8, the older cousin of the ^5-^7-^8 cadence one finds in the later 18th and early 19th century, including in Schubert.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Yanky Doodle

Another in the "Kidson" series--melodies from Frank Kidson's Old English Country Dances (1890). There are many versions of this tune, dating from about 1750 throughout the second half of the century. The first section of this one is stuck on D5, giving an overall shape of D5-C#5-D5. The second half is peculiar enough in its 6th bar to suggest a misprint or other error. Regardless, motion below and to D5 is clear.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Punch Alive

Another in the "Kidson" series--melodies from Frank Kidson's Old English Country Dances (1890). A curiously heterogeneous tune with a strong ^3-^2-^1 frame in the first phrase, the Romanesca bass in the second (^8-^5-^6-^3), and a simple rising scale in the third. It was published in Playford's edition of 1728, but did not appear in earlier editions. The scale and final cadence suggest an 18th century origin, as an improvising second player would very likely get into trouble playing against the sudden leap to D5 but voice leading through ^7 to ^8.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

If All the World were Paper

Another in the "Kidson" series--melodies from Frank Kidson's Old English Country Dances (1890). This is an old melody -- it appeared in John Playford's first edition of the Dancing Master in 1651, and its rhythms and modal shapes suggest that it was very likely at least a half-century or more old by then. With the clarity and simplicity of dance-song, every phrase rises, the first and third subverting the ascent in the last detail but the second and fourth realizing it. In improvised duets, the final phrase is a clichéd invitation to the clausula vera, ^7-^8/^2-^1, exactly what a musician would expect.