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Cantata BWV 175
Er rufet seinen Schafen mit Namen
Discussions - Part 3

Continue from Part 2

Discussions in the Week of June 17, 2007 [Continue]

Alain Bruguières wrote (June 20, 2007):
[To Cara Emily Thornton] Cara, it's nice reading from you! If I remember well, you are the person who did this (or am I getting things mixed up?). I enjoyed very much your report on this experiment. Thanks again for that!

By the way, another list member told us about a similar experiment, namely Xavier (who is currently away from the list - I hope he'll show up again sooner or later because I enjoyed his postings tremendously).

Xavier told us that some time back, he used to meet every sunday with a group of frends who were young professional musicians, and they would perform a Bach cantata 'extempore' (without preparation).

I don't have access to his posting here (but it's in the list archives).

In a nutshell, he told us that they enjoyed the experience greatly, and after a few week they were able to perform with hardly any mistake. He also added that after a few months of that, they dedecided to perform in public, in a church nearby. And when it came to performing in public, they started to rehearse.

I asked Xavier why they felt compelled to rehearse. He said (I hope I'm not distorting overmuch) that they rehearsed because it's much better when one rehearses.

However I conclude from this experience that it is possible to perform Bach cantatas extempore - that of course the result is not as good as what one can achieve with rehearsal; that with time and practice one gets better at it.

Now the questions are :

- how good at it can one become if performing able to perform extempore is the primary aim of one's entire musical formation and not just a hobby?

- what level of perfection was expected in Bach's time in Leipzig?

But all this has been discussed at length, I don't care to repeat the arguments any further, the archives are here for all genuinely interested to read.

Neil Halliday wrote (June 20, 2007):
Russell Telfer wrote:
>You have asked some very good questions.<
Maybe, but all I can remember is the personal attack on another list member. Free debate and expression of ideas, without fear of personal attack, is obviously highly desirable in a list of this type.

Alain Bruguières wrote (June 20, 2007):
Alian Bruguieres wrote:
< - how good at it can one become if performing able to perform extempore is the primary aim of one's entire musical formation and not just a hobby? >
Awfully sorry for the mess: I meant

- how good at it (performing extempore) can one become if being able to perform extempore is the primary aim of one's entire musical training and not just a hobby?

Nicholas Johnson wrote (June 20, 2007):
[To Cara Emily Thornton] In my experience with fairly good amateurs, instrumental players are usually safe while keyboard players are expected to play anything at sight. However accompanying singers is more hazardous. Playing with singers who are themselves sight-reading is unheard of. In any case the French have rather an antiquated method of learning how to sight-read.

Cara Emily Thornton wrote (June 20, 2007):
[To Nicholas Johnson] All bets are off if the singer has absolute pitch :)

Bradley Lehman wrote (June 20, 2007):
[To Neil Halliday]
<>
Sticking to the material: the context of my initial remark was about the practical impossibility of sight-reading unfigured bass parts in isolation, because the correct harmonies can't be guessed without the musical context and rehearsals, and/or reading from full score. As I'd already said, I went through and identified at least 20 spots in a
four-minute aria where tricky decisions have to be made on choosing the notes to play. Ask any other keyboard specialist who plays this same repertoire and you'll get the same answer: the score doesn't tell us everything we need to know, and even though we're playing by ear like mad, using 20+ years of experience doing so, we're still going to misguess the surprising harmonies where there's no visual clue they're coming. There are too many surprises cropping up in Bach's music to get every single one of them right, from a naked bass line, without figures indicating what the harmony really should be. That's exactly the type of thing that MUST be worked out in rehearsal, and it serves as evidence that there WAS rehearsal (circumstantial evidence, yes, but better than zero). Add to that the problem of having other players and a singer supposedly sight-reading all at the same time, and it becomes even more absurd. There's just no way to guess what all Bach wanted, without WORKING ON it in several read-throughs and in serious rehearsal.
<>
Obviously there are differences in musical practices, from any other time vs now. Duh. But I dare say it's more reasonable to apply musical training and experience to solve practical musical problems, than to discount all such experience/training/specialty as worthless, or worse, as a LIABILITY!, next to non-musical speculations. Ye wanna have a piece of Bach's music played at all? Ye give it to a musician to work on, not to a person who doesn't play and who doesn't have an apparent clue about the problems involved. Duh.

I have a four-year-old harpsichord student right now. I focus on showing her the basics, and encouraging her to have fun and to do creative things with it, thinking inside the musical language. It's all a game of discovering how the notes fit together into ideas, and then making beautiful sound. But if instead I'd tell her with every sentence that she is stupid, misguided, and never going to get it as well as dead people did, she'd probably just take (rightful) offense, and go off to quit in tears.

Bradley Lehman wrote (June 20, 2007):
Alain Bruguières wrote:
< - how good at it (performing extempore) can one become if being able to perform extempore is the primary aim of one's entire musical training and not just a hobby? >
VERY good, if the music is completely written out, which Bach's isn't (as to which harmonies to play, etc.).

When I was a kid, I used to go to most of my piano lessons and just sight-read things I hadn't practiced during the week, and it was good enough for that teacher. We'd move right on to the next thing in the book, and zipped through a huge amount of repertoire. I didn't really learn much from that teacher except how to sight-read; we never worked on phrasing or balance or anything else. Then I got really frustrated in later years with different teachers who actually made me work on stuff for more than several weeks in a row. I'd also sight-read (and scarcely practice) all the stuff I was playing for church services, and I got really good at faking things I hadn't worked on.

Thank goodness for my better teachers, at college/university level, who didn't let me get away with all that bluffing anymore; they forced me to really LEARN the music and work on technique, to improve. Why get stuck with semi-adequate sight-reading as a dead end in itself?

As part of the music-major curriculum we also had compulsory sight-singing classes, using solfege; good training of that useful skill. But it's not an argument for sight-reading in performance! It's simply a learning skill among others, to save huge amounts of time in rehearsal or before rehearsal. I always found that particular bunch of coursework annoying, because I could already get all the notes just fine on first read-through, but the trick was fitting all the solfege syllables into it (which forced my brain to read the music in a different and unfamiliar way). The syllables are of course not printed in the music; one has to figure them out and interpolate them at sight, from scale positions, and therefore from understanding the musical structure of the passage (plus its modulations).

I still sight-read straight through entire books of keyboard music, for fun, and sometimes perform some of that in concerts in church (but if so, I do work on it for at least a day or two ahead, or for weeks if there's anything challenging in it). I played through all of Francois Cover several months last year, and am doing a bunch of early English music right now. In May for a friend's funeral I learned a previously unplayed Scott Joplin piece in about 20 minutes, and went and did it (along with a medium-tough Brahms piece); but I'm not saying that this is optimal behavior. Music can be so much better than merely avoiding stupid mistakes, if there's sufficient time to work it up and consider interpretive options. Good music deserves good work.

Cara Emily Thornton wrote (June 20, 2007):
[To Alain Breuguieres] Ah, yes, Alain, thank you for reminding me about Xavier's exploits in this department. I don't suppose they were in it as an experiment to see how fast they could do it, but rather to simply enjoy the music. But yeah, they seem to have gotten pretty good results, don't they?

Thomas Braatz wrote (June 20, 2007):
Brad Lehman wrote:
>>Sticking to the material:...<<
The focus, as I remember it, was upon an incompletely figured, transposed continuo part for this cantata, which, as it turns out, may have been completely unfigured for the first performance and with figures, only possibly written by Bach, added for a subsequent performance years later and covering only the recitative-type mvts.

This is very shaky evidence indeed upon which to base arguments that would preclude any instrumentalist from Bach's time from sight-reading any continuo part from any cantata or larger sacred work composed by Bach.

We also discussed the possibility that, in lieu of the absence as yet of evidence for rehearsals conducted by Bach and in view of what appears to be a fairly common practice among non-court-appointed musicians in Saxony during Bach's time, that such unfigured continuo parts may have been glanced over silently (possibly before or during the beginning of the church service before the actual 'sight-reading' performance of the cantata). It is conceivable that the continuo player (not Bach who would have had access to the score and knew the music quite well from having freshly composed the it only a few days before and would not be playing from this unfigured continuo part) may also have been allowed to examine the score and note those places which might appear to be 'trickier' for continuo players today. Such a possible scenario, which also acknowledges that Bach's continuo players could otherwise play just about anything that Bach set before them because they were 'in continual practice' playing his newly composed music week after week, would explain the existence of this somewhat unusual, partially figured continuo part for BWV 175.

Bradley Lehman wrote (June 20, 2007):
< It is conceivable that the continuo player (...) may also have been allowed to examine the score and note those places which might appear to be 'trickier' for continuo players today.>
Yes, and that's why I suggested that very possibility on 6/17, myself, as part of this list:

[REPEATING]
Some possibilities:

- The organist just didn't play at all.

- The organist played from full score.

- The organist at least studied it from full score long enough to memorize the oddities.

- The organist rehearsed it enough with singer and/or instrumentalists to figure out the oddities, and memorize where they are.

- The organist was Bach, not sight-reading but fully aware of what the piece should do since he composed it.

- The organist indeed performed the thing without ever having seen or heard it before, but had some incredible psychic connection with both Bach and the ensemble to be able to do it perfectly.

- The organist performed the thing without ever having seen or heard it before, and there were just dozens of clashes where he guessed wrongly; oh well, Bach's fault for not letting him practice.
[/REPEATING]

And then, also last week, somebody correctly pointed out that the full score and the separate basso continuo part are written in different keys; so it wouldn't necessarily help a whole lot if the continuo player did look at the full score ahead, given that he wasn't going to mark any notes to himself in the transposed part anyway. Or if he tried to play it from full score in performance, instead of using that part, he'd be transposing all the left-hand part plus all the harmonies as he went along.

Bradley Lehman wrote (June 20, 2007):
< We also discussed the possibility that, in lieu of the absence as yet of evidence for rehearsals conducted by Bach and in view of what appears to be a fairly common practice among non-court-appointed musicians in Saxony during Bach's time, that such unfigured continuo parts may have been glanced over silently (possibly before or during the beginning of the church service before the actual 'sight-reading' performance of the cantata). >
"Glancing silently over" the unfigured continuo part DOES NOT tell the player what the harmonies must be; this is the important point that you refuse to get. The player STILL has to guess at a bunch of the spots, if he hasn't heard or rehearsed the piece before. THAT'S THE POINT. No matter if he's "glanced over" or even memorized the thing for a 45 solid minutes while sitting there not playing, waiting for cantata time to come around, IT WOULD NOT WORK. His part doesn't tell him what the other players and singer are doing at those crucial points where the harmonies are ambiguous!

And then you've slipped in your same old premise again, asserting that "the actual 'sight-reading' performance of the cantata" actually existed. How clever.

Enough of this garbage. I have better things to do.

Jean Laaninen wrote (June 20, 2007):
[To Bradley Lehman] I don't want to be rude, but Thomas has not heard Bach play as far as we know, and as far as we know he has not been to any of Bach's performances unless he owns a time machine--I seriously doubt that he does. So I think it would be really, really nice if Thomas would be so kind as to say these pronouncements are his opinion of history, and stop acting like the almighty. What is so terrible about saying something is your own opinion??? That's just honesty.

Thomas Braatz wrote (June 20, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
>>Yes, and that's why I suggested that very possibility on 6/17, myself, as part of this list<<
Among a few unreasonable suggestions as well (like psychic powers or creating musical clashes to ruin the performances).

BL: >>And then, also last week, somebody correctly pointed out that the full score and the separate basso continuo part are written in different keys; so it wouldn't necessarily help a whole lot if the continuo player did look at the full score ahead, given that he wasn't going to mark any notes to himself in the transposed part anyway. Or if he tried to play it from full score in performance, instead of using that part, he'd be transposing all the left-hand part plus all the harmonies as he went along.<<
The transposed parts (nor any other original parts) do not give any indication that the person who performed from the part ever made any personal notations nor did they correct obvious mistakes which Bach had left as is.

The ability to transpose at sight was necessary even more during Bach's time with all the movable clefs that they required to work from. This is another of your empty arguments which lead to nothing unless you believe that musicians in Bach's time had the same difficulties in transposing at sight as musicians do today (the usual empirical argument you wish to force upon readers today).

Bach would probably be the only one to perform from the score directly, but a continuo player glancing over the score could glean the necessary information he would need for this transposed part.

BL: >>"Glancing silently over" the unfigured continuo part DOES NOT tell the player what the harmonies must be; this is the important point that you refuse to get. The player STILL has to guess at a bunch of the spots, if he hasn't heard or rehearsed the piece before. THAT'S THE POINT.<<
It is possible that with the experience gained from performing Bach's music under his direction a good continuo player would intuitively know how to guess correctly. <>.

BL: >>No matter if he's "glanced over" or even memorthe thing for a 45 solid minutes while sitting there not playing, waiting for cantata time to come around, IT WOULD NOT WORK. His part doesn't tell him what the other players and singer are doing at those crucial points where the harmonies are ambiguous!<<
If he has had an opportunity to view the score, it could work quite well. Only present-day continuo players who have not had the opportunity to learn from working with Bach week after week and month after month would make such a claim. Just because they are unable to play from these parts without previous study and rehearsals, does not mean that Bach's musicians must have experienced the very same difficulties that you describe from your personal experience.

BL: >>And then you've slipped in your same old premise again, asserting that "the actual 'sight-reading' performance of the cantata" actually existed.<<
This is a working, tenable premise until we can find other evidence (not empirical evidence based upon your personal experience) that could help to correct the notion that all this previous study and rehearsals that your suggest are necessary. Even some Bach scholars like Rifkin (although I do not support any of the 'arguments' thus far advanced for OVPP) are beginning to realize from non-empirical evidence as well that Bach's performances of sacred music took place without almost any rehearsals at all.

BL: >>Enough of this garbage. I have better things to do<<
Since when is bringing credible evidence to the table called 'garbage'? There may be those who have read your comments and now believe that sight-reading a reasonable performance in Bach's time is impossible because some trained musicians with university degrees in music today are unable to duplicate these conditions. I think, however, that there may well be others, musicians and non-musicians, who perceive a flaw in your argumentation which insists: "If it is not possible for some experts today to duplicate the conditions that existed under Bach's direction in Leipzig in the 1720s, then it is a logical impossibility for Bach's musicians to have performed his music adequately." Indeed, some experiences have been related by professional musicians who have been capable nonetheless of doing so. This matter is far from being settled and there is a need for a fresh approach which attempts to reconstruct, although ultimately and never completely achievable, the historical conditions that once existed for Bach. The evidence from the autograph scores and the original performing parts points clearly toward Bach's cantatas having been composed and performed on a tight schedule which appears to make no allowances for extended study and rehearsals. We also know that Bach was dissatisfied with the level of performances in the churches of Leipzig, noting that more musicians with better pay would be needed to bring the standard of performance up to that found at the court at Dresden. In his Entwurff, Bach deplored the very fact that his musicians could not perfect the singing and playing of their parts in the same way that court musicians obviously did. By implication this means that study and rehearsal of parts for Bach's performances were kept at a minimum or were non-existent. Add to this the evidence from the composing scores and the method and individuals employed for copying the performance parts and we have definite indications that all of this composing and performing was done in a great hurry as if to meet an imminent deadline, not a deadline weeks in advance of a performance so that private study and rehearsals could commence, but simply so that the materials would be 'ready-to-go' for actual performance, sometimes even barely, as in this cantata, without Bach even completing the necessary process of revision.

Neil Halliday wrote (June 21, 2007):
BWV 175: Koopman's [8] bass aria

Can any one here shed some light on Koopman's decision [8] to add timpani in performance of the bass aria?

Neil Mason wrote (June 21, 2007):
[To Bradley Lehman] Please rest assured that those of us on the list who are practising musicians recognise that there is bound to be more similarities than differences between the way we rehearse Bach cantatas nowadays and that of Bach's time.

Of course it is true that we will never have evidence of this, except our own experience as musicians. But it is certainly not true that that experience counts for nothing.

Also, while it is IMHO quite reasonable to believe that JSB may have been the finest musician who ever lived (and of course that is debatable), it is quite unreasonable to believe that others in his coterie were of the same ilk.

We all get so frustrated when our own experience as musicians is continually discounted by one list member in particular. I just wanted to say that I also find his comments most offensive, even though they are not directed at me personally. It is one of the reasons I contribute so little to this list.

[To Casimir Vetter] Yes, Neil H is right that your comments were a bit over the top, but you have pointed out the nub of the matter in double quick time.

In my opinion your questions are extremely salient, but you won't ever get answers.

[To everyone else] While I appreciate that some of you think that the weekly cantata should be the main activity of this list, I respectfully disagree that this is necessarily the case. I apologise to those of you who might think my remarks above out of place, but as a professional musician one's integrity is of highest importance, and it is certainly not OK for Brad's to be so often put down in these posts.

Thomas Braatz wrote (June 21, 2007):
Neil Halliday wrote:
>>Can any one here shed some light on Koopman's decision [8] to add timpani in performance of the bass aria?<<
Here is what I found:

NBA KB I/14 p. 211

This bass aria, although the origin of it cannot be traced back to an earlier original setting (another indication of how Bach is working against the clock to assemble this cantata in time), has all the appearances of being a parody. If it was not a parody of another vocal aria, then it must have pre-existed as a movement with 'strong' orchestral instrumentation ("als stark instrumental konzipiert").

Prinz (Bachs Instrumentarium) p. 105 finds that timpani were used only once with only 2 trumpets (BWV 59, possibly also BWV 249 early version). The usual combination is with either 3 or 4 trumpets. Prinz also comments that "The bass aria (BWV 175/6) is the only one to have this orchestration: 2 trumpets without timpani.

Thérèse Hanquet wrote (June 21, 2007):
[To Thomas Braatz] Is the text between brackets ("another indication of how Bach is working against the clock to assemble this cantata in time") part of the NBA page which you refer to?

Thomas Braatz wrote (June 21, 2007):
I had written:
>>Prinz also comments that "The bass aria (BWV 175/6) is the only one to have this orchestration: 2 trumpets without timpani.<<
What is missing here is the earlier context which I had forgotten to include: in comparison to a long list of mvts. orchestrated with two horns and no timpani.

Peter Bright wrote (June 21, 2007):
[To Thomas Braatz] Thanks Thomas,

The Oxford Composers Companion is entirely consistent with your comments. At the risk of repeating what may already have been said (I only rarely check the list contributions these days), this is an unusual work in many ways. Perhaps Bach was keen to distance BWV 175 from the earlier work(s) on which it was based. It is unusual for the use of three recorders (in mvts 1 & 2); for the tenor aria (modelled on BWV 173a), Bach 'took the unusual step of fitting lines 3 and 4 to a repetition of the first section of the original aria' with the remaining lines distributed over the two concluding sections; the scoring for two trumpets in the bass aria is also rare (only BWV 59 shares this feature) - Bach normally wrote either for 1 or 3 trumpets. BWV 59 also, however, features timpani - and perhaps this guided Koopman [8] to include timpani in the bass aria for BWV 175 too...

Casimir Vetter wrote (June 21, 2007):
[To Thérèse Hanquet] That is a good question! Does anyone have a scan of that "NBA" book page so we can see if it says what he thinks it says, in his book report? I will not believe it unless I see it.

I am also wondering, how can anything "have all the appearances of being a parody" if the "origin cannot be traced back to an earlier original setting?" That just looks like a statement of fluffy cotton candy based on no facts. If the song is some copy or rewrite of an older one, but the older one does not exist and maybe never did, how can they say this?

I remember some old TV show called "Beat The Clock" where people would race to do stupid tricks. Like carry 15 raw eggs on spoons to a basket in 60 seconds. Maybe if Bach beat HIS clock his prize was extra time to go help people with music practices, or play ball with his kids or something. Or sleep! If he even had a clock in his house.

Peter Bright wrote (June 21, 2007):
Casimir Vetter wrote:
< I am also wondering, how can anything "have all the appearances of being a parody" if the "origin cannot be traced back to an earlier original setting?" That just looks like a statement of fluffy cotton candy based on no facts. If the song is some copy or rewrite of an older one, but the older one does not exist and maybe never did, how can they say this? >
Sure, but it does seem to be classified as "in part" a parody of previously existing parts in every publication, CD booklet etc that I have come across (in which the work is discussed!). You could try Christoph Wolff if you are so keen to know the basis on which it is classified as a parody: cwolff@fas.harvard.edu . He's usually a reliable source of current thinking on these matters...

Bradley Lehman wrote (June 21, 2007):
[To Peter Bright] The 1998 edition of BWV (Bach-Werke Verzeichnis) states clearly that movement 4 and movement 7 are both parodies, and it says where they came from. Nothing about movement 6 (the bass aria) being a parody. Want to see it? I'll put up a scan, directly, so it's clear that I'm not making anything up here.

Bradley Lehman wrote (June 21, 2007):
Ready at: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/files/ at "BWV 175". Take a look.

This terrific book is the NBA's published summary of its own positivistic work, from the 1950s through 1998. First performance of this cantata May 22 1725; later undated performance. Text compiled from the sources it says here. Instrumentation per movement as it says here. Cross-reference between the Bach-Gesellschaft volumes and NBA volumes. Notes about the parody (or not!) movements. Leading musical theme of every movement. List of the manuscript sources. Selective list of recommended further reading.

And they do this for every piece by Bach.

Peter Bright wrote (June 21, 2007):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
< The 1998 edition of BWV (Bach-Werke Verzeichnis) states clearly that movement 4 and movement 7 are both parodies, and it says where they came from. Nothing about movement 6 (the bass aria) being a parody. Want to see it? I'll put up a scan, directly, so it's clear that I'm not making anything up here. >
That would be good - although when I stated 'it does seem to be classified "in part" a parody of previously existing parts' I meant that the cantata does seem to be classified "in part" a parody of previously existing parts. Through the use of "in part" I meant to imply that 'at least part of' the cantata might not reliably be known as a parody.

Sorry for the confusion and keep up the good work.

Thanks,

Alain Bruguières wrote (June 21, 2007):
[To Bradley Lehman] Thank you for making this available. However I don't find this text in contadiction with what Thomas said.In telegraphic style the text you give states that two numbers are identified as parodies of specific pieces which arementioned. There are no stylistic comments.

Thomas said that the Basso aria appeared to be a parody of an unknown piece. This is a stylistic remark, to the effect that the style of writing suggests that the piece is a parody. Makes sense. One may assume that when Bach parodies a secular work the result shows certain characteristics which betrays its origin. Indeed I have already noted, for instance, that BWV 66, which I adore and which is a parody of a former secular work, has a definitely different flavor which I believe can be ascribed to its secular origin.

That the telegraphic version, which quite understandably restricts to factual observations, should not go into that kind of detail, is not very surprising in itself.

So we would have to go to the original work to prove that Thomas got it wrong. Pehaps he did get it wrong, but in my opinion if you think you proved it, you got it wrong.

I hope that the fact that a humble mathematician dares speak after an eminent expert will not be too shocking on the list.

Thomas Braatz wrote (June 22, 2007):
Re: BWV 175 possible additional parody in mvt. 6 (Bass Aria)

First of all, I am sorry if I caused any confusion by not immediately including the context for Prinz's statement "The bass aria (BWV 175/6) is the only one to have this orchestration: 2 trumpets without timpani." which is true when compared with his immediately preceding statement: in comparison to a long list of mvts. orchestrated with two horns and no timpani. So "In comparison to a long list of mvts. orchestrated with two horns and no timpani, Prinz finds that BWV 175/6 is the only one to have 2 trumpets (instead of two horns) without timpani; however, there is only one mvt. in all of Bach's works having the orchestration of two trumpets + timpani and that is BWV 59 and possibly BWV 249 in its early version, but the latter is a tentative supposition.

As far as the information from the NBA KB I/14 p. 211 is concerned:

>This bass aria, although the origin of it cannot be traced back to an earlier original setting (another indication of how Bach is working against the clock to assemble this cantata in time), has all the appearances of being a parody. If it was not a parody of another vocal aria, then it must have pre-existed as a movement with 'strong' orchestral instrumentation ("als stark instrumental konzipiert").<

Peter Bright verified and clarified subsequently this insight as one found in a CD booklet that there is another mvt., not officially classified as a verifiable parody, that that 'at least part of' the cantata might not reliably be known as a parody and this is the bass aria, mvt. 6.

To Thérèse Hanquet: Parentheses are or can be asides in English. It was obvious that I was giving a summary translation of the main idea presented in the German originals, hence the parentheses are natural signals of an aside on my part. Have you observed whether Brad Lehman is as careful about this as I am?

To Casimir Vetter: <>

To Brad Lehman who stated: >>The 1998 edition of BWV (Bach-Werke Verzeichnis) states clearly that movement 4 and movement 7 are both parodies, and it says where they came from. Nothing about movement 6 (the bass aria) being a parody. Want to see it?<< has missed the point entirely by not recognizing that the BWV Verzeichnis does not give the detailed information necessary to help Neil Halliday determine why Koopman [8] has decided to use timpani in BWV 175/6. This can only be found in Prinz's "Bachs Instrumentarium" and the NBA KB I/14 p. 211 where the details regarding this insight are given and discussed. I did not have time to include all of the information from this page this morning, but I felt that I had shared sufficient information so that Neil Halliday would begin to understand some possible reasons for Koopman's performance decision. Brad Lehman's comments did nothing at all to help anyone in this regard. On the contrary, by indicating that the only trinformation is found in the Bach Werke Verzeichnis, a reader might come to believe that the investigation and knowledge about BWV 175 stops there. This, of course, is not true.

Here is some additional information about BWV 175/6 as researched and prepared by Alfred Dürr and Arthur Mendel on pages 211-212:

1. The original date of origin of this mvt. remains in doubt (this indicates that it most likely was not originally composed in the week preceding the first performance on May 22, 1725).

2. BWV 175/6 appears to be based upon an earlier work no longer extant.

a). The instrumental parts in the autograph score have remarkably few corrections. This is comparable to the generally fewer corrections in the parodied mvts. of this cantata.

b). The immediate correction of the time signature from 3/8 to 6/8 at the beginning of this mvt. could easily point to the original having the former time signature.

c). The vocal part has a substantial number of corrections which stems from attempting to make the new text agree with the parodied musical line.

d). The NBA KB gives musical examples of differing text placements for the same musical figure

e). If the obvious problems with the placement of text do not give sufficient evidence for a parody, then surely the fact that the entire mvt. is conceived very much as an instrumental work does.

f). Another indication of a possible parody is the relatively high number of corrections of high notes whereby the original notes are quite noticeably often a third higher than the note which is finally chosen.

g). The former observation could point to the original having been in F major with the obbligato parts then being 2 horns in F. This would make a comparison with BWV 208/2 (Aria: "Jagen ist die Lust der Götter" possible.

h) A change in the vocal range appears to be evident in the parody process in that there are a number of corrections which are always off by a 2nd.

i). It would appear that the original text would have been quite different from the Ziegler text which Bach used in this mvt.

Summary:

Alain Bruguières commented to Brad Lehman as follows:

>>So we would have to go to the original work to prove that Thomas got it wrong. Pehaps he did get it wrong, but in my opinion if you think you proved it, you got it wrong.<<
Even without access to the original parody, there is sufficient evidence as given above to state that this is not an original composition.

Obviously Brad Lehman has gotten it wrong.

BWV 175: only mvts. 1, 3, 5 are original compositions, all the rest are parodies. Just because the original which has been parodied has not turned up as yet, does not mean that we can assume that BWV 175/6 was an original compositions because the Bach Werke Verzeichnis does not give this information.

Once again: Bach only composed three recitative mvts. of BWV 175. All the rest are parodies or reworkings of music he had already composed for earlier occasions. Only 24 measures of recitatives are original compositions!!! If that is not an indication of Bach working under great pressure of time, then I do not know what else is necessary to qualify for this description!

Bradley Lehman wrote (June 22, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< Re: BWV 175 possible additional parody in mvt. 6 (Bass Aria) (...)
To Thérèse Hanquet: Parentheses are or can be asides in English. It was obvious that I was giving a summary translation of the main idea presented in the German originals, hence the parentheses are natural signals of an aside on my part. >
First of all, here's the passage of yours to which Thérèse raised an objection:

< Here is what I found:
NBA KB I/14 p. 211
This bass aria, although the origin of it cannot be traced back to an earlier original setting (another indication of how Bach is working against the clock to assemble this cantata in time), has all the appearances of being a parody. If it was not a parody of another vocal aria, then it must have pre-existed as a movement with 'strong' orchestral instrumentation ("als stark instrumental konzipiert"). >
OK then. One of your parentheses here simply presents a direct quote from the book, and the other one is totally made up by you, or as you put it: "an aside on my part". The same punctuation, therefore, apparently means two different things to you, and too bad if it's not perfectly clear to readers. Too bad if anyone has been misled by your conflation here, which can't possibly have been deliberate on your part: inserting (conveniently) your own premise into the passage, as an aside, to help along the translation in ways it wasn't going to go!

And furthermore, your header to this, "Here is what I found: NBA KB I/14 p. 211" implies that the whole thing was from that volume of NBA. No asides on your part.

It isn't "obvious" that you were giving a "summary translation". What was obvious, at least to me, was that it was extremely convenient to have your own premise about the working-against-the-clock business right there, purportedly springing out of that particular page in the NBA.

Does the NBA, in fact, in the discussion of this piece, say anything about any time pressures one way or the other? Or is that all you? Alain B was correct to point out that we won't know, until we see that source; but you're reluctant to give us that source to prove that everything you said is on the level. You give us only your manipulation and interpretation of that source, not the source. Why?

< Have you observed whether Brad Lehman is as careful about this as I am? >
What does that have to do with anything? The challenge was to something you had written and were bringing in, allegedly as information from the NBA.

<>

< To Brad Lehman who stated: >>The 1998 edition of BWV (Bach-Werke Verzeichnis) states clearly that movement 4 and movement 7 are both parodies, and it says where they came from. Nothing about movement 6 (the bass aria) being a parody. Want to see it?<< has missed the point entirely by not recognizing that the BWV Verzeichnis does not give the detailed information necessary to help Neil Halliday determine why Koopman [8] has decided to use timpani in BWV 175/6. This can only be found in Prinz's "Bachs Instrumentarium" and the NBA KB I/14 p. 211 where the details regarding this insight are given and discussed. >
The correct truth can "only be found" in the two books you happen to have? Only?! Only as presented by you?

How do you know that the information absolutely does not exist elsewhere? It's a universal negative you've stated here. Those are notoriously unprovable.

< I did not have time to include all of the information from this page this morning, but I felt that I had shared sufficient information so that Neil Halliday would begin to understand some possible reasons for Koopman’s [8] performance decision. Brad Lehman's comments did nothing at all to help anyone in this regard. >
Gee, I guess (according to you) the person who wrote to me personally off-list, thanking me for the BWV scan and my explanation, is just chopped liver.

"Nothing at all to help anyone"? Who are you to state such a universal negative, with such incredible authority? Especially since you're mistaken on that point, according to the thank-you note I received?

< On the contrary, by indicating that the only true information is found in the Bach Werke Verzeichnis, a reader might come to believe that the investigation and knowledge about BWV 175 stops there. This, of course, is not true. >
I "indicated" nothing of the sort. I simply pointed out (correctly) that the BWV summarizes the positivistic findings of the NBA...which is from the same publishing house, and has some of the same editors (led by Dürr)!

Your step here to "only true information" is your mantra: that the only true information has to come from you, and especially not by listening to Brad Lehman. You said it yourself, above, that the timpani thing can only be figured out by consulting the two books that you yourself happen to have!

< Here is some additional information about BWV 175/6 as and prepared by Alfred Dürr and Arthur Mendel on pages 211-212:
1. The original date of origin of this mvt. remains in doubt (this indicates that it most likely was not originally composed in the week preceding the first performance on May 22,
1725).
2. BWV 175/6 appears to be based upon an earlier work no longer extant.
a). The instrumental parts in the autograph score have remarkably few corrections. This is comparable to the generally fewer corrections in the parodied mvts. of this cantata.
b). The immediate correction of the time signature from 3/8 to 6/8 at the beginning of this mvt. could easily point to the original having the former time signature.
c). The vocal part has a substantial number of corrections which stems from attempting to make the new text agree with the parodied musical line.
d). The NBA KB gives musical examples of differing text placements for the same musical figure
e). If the obvious problems with the placement of text do not give sufficient evidence for a parody, then surely the fact that the entire mvt. is conceived very much as an instrumental work does.
f). Another indication of a possible parody is the relatively high number of corrections of high notes whereby the original notes are quite noticeably often a third higher than the note which is finally chosen.
g). The former observation could point to the original having been in F major with the obbligato parts then being 2 horns in F. This would make a comparison with BWV 208/2 (Aria: “Jagen ist die Lust der Götter” possible.
h) A change in the vocal range appears to be evident in the parody process in that there are a number of corrections which are always off by a 2nd.
i). It would appear that the original text would have been quite different from the Ziegler text which Bach used in this mvt. >
Thank you for a string of what appear to be reliable facts, mixed in among your other bits.

< Summary:
Alain Bruguières commented to Brad Lehman as follows:
>>So we would have to go to the original work to prove that Thomas got it wrong. Pehaps he did get it wrong, but in my opinion if you think you proved it, you got it wrong.<<
Even without access to the original parody, there is sufficient evidence as given above to state that this is not an original composition.
Obviously Brad Lehman has gotten it wrong. >

This is not "obvious", because you still have not told us exactly what the NBA says -- no more and no less, and not as interpreted (or "summary translated") by you. How about simply putting up a scan of the disputed page, which might settle at least the questions of content raised by Thérèse, Casimir, Neil, and Alain?

< BWV 175: only mvts. 1, 3, 5 are original compositions, all the rest are parodies. Just because the original which has been parodied has not turned up as yet, does not mean that we can assume that BWV 175/6 was an original compositions because the Bach Werke Verzeichnis does not give this information.
Once again: Bach only composed three recitative mvts. f BWV 175. All the rest are parodies or reworkings of music he had already composed for earlier occasions. >
But this is still not established, because that movement 6 (the bass aria) has no extant earlier source. It is only presumed to be a parody, if you're telling the truth about what the NBA says in its speculations. "Just because the original which has been parodies has not turned up yet" is an important phrase!

< Only 24 measures of recitatives are original compositions!!! >
Not established. It's predicated on your tentative conclusion that you just stated. And the second and third exclamation points don't make it any more true than the first exclamation point does.

< If that is not an indication of Bach working under great pressure of time, then I do not know what else is necessary to qualify for this description! >
A set of definite working dates would certainly help to clarify things. Unfortunately, they are not available and we have nothing but speculation on this point: by the NBA, by you, and by others. At least in points a) through i) above, you have helpfully presented some of the basis of the NBA speculation.

Also, I notice: since Alfred Dürr is the same guy who prepared both your NBA report and the later BWV entry about it...if he had some firm or credible-enough speculation in hand, that the mvt 6 bass aria is indeed a parody, he could have (at least) thrown a "vielleicht" or something stronger into his BWV entry for that movement. But he didn't.

As for your statement that you "do not know what else is necessary", I simply highlight it and move on. Other people, including me, are perhaps able to come to their (our) own conclusions as to what else might be necessary, independently of your frankly stated lack of knowledge/enterprise in that epistemology. Thank you for at least stating your lack, so directly.

=====

Here's a fresh thought: what if that bass aria is indeed a parody, but it's a parody of a piece not originally by Bach? I'm merely raising the question as a possibility. Would it lower the value of the resulting music in BWV 175, in anyone's estimation here? (It wouldn't lower it in mine. It's a nice piece of music, no matter where it came from.)

Neil Mason wrote (June 22, 2007):
You wrote:
< One may assume that when Bach parodies a secular work the result shows certain characteristics which betrays its origin. >
Not to me. I had no idea, for example, that the first movement of the Christmas Oratorio was such a parody until years after I first performed it.

Ed Myskowski wrote (June 22, 2007):
[To Neil Mason] Well, who would suspect it, given that Bach had plenty of time to compose fresh music.

Let's see, sometimes a parody is evidence that Bach was working in a rush, and sometimes it is not. It depends on whether he was in a hurry. Hmm.

Thérèse Hanquet wrote (June 22, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< [...]
To Thérèse Hanquet: Parentheses are or can be asides in English. It was obvious that I was giving a summary translation of the main idea presented in the German originals, hence the parentheses are natural signals of an aside on my part. Have you observed whether Brad Lehman is as careful about this as I am? >
This is not a question of persons, and not even of ideas (knowing whether in that particular case Bach was under time pressure or not does not really matter to me).

The problem is a methodological one. In my opinion, creating ambiguousness as to whether some texts are quotes (possibly translated) or summaries, and do include personal comments or not (all the more when the source is not easily available) discredits the whole approach from a "scientific" standpoint. Why not put the "aside" in a distinct sentence or §?

Thomas Braatz wrote (June 22, 2007):
Thérèse Hanquet wrote:
>>This is not a question of persons, and not even of ideas (knowing whether in that particular case Bach was under time pressure or not does not really matter to me).<<
This issue is nevertheless an important one that has been under discussion for a few months with new reliable information being added as we examine a new cantata each week. It is an important underlying theme that is currently being investigated and also helps to connect the cantatas that are being presented chronologically.

TH: >>The problem is a methodological one. In my opinion, creating ambiguousness as to whether some texts are quotes (possibly translated) or summaries, and do include personal comments or not (all the more when the source is not easily available) discredits the whole approach from a "scientific" standpoint.<<
It does amaze me that you, Brad Lehman, and others have difficulty in discerning material which I quote directly. I always have used quotation marks for this. Summaries do not need quotation marks in that not only am I not quoting the exact original text in German but I would then have to be giving a close translation of the original as well for quotation marks to be warranted.

I see no problem with my current method in this forum (BCML) and format (simple, non HTML e-mails) in quickly obtaining the information that other BCML members are sin attempting to understand
specific aspects of Bach's life and work.

TH: >>Why not put the "aside" in a distinct sentence or §?<<
How about highlighting with a different color, using a different font or font size, putting this information in a footnote at the end of long message? The inserted comment needs to stand in close proximity to the material which evokes the comment, otherwise it may not even be noticed in an e-mail. Parentheses (called 'round' brackets in English) and brackets (these are called 'square' brackets in English) can serve a similar purpose for inserting an 'aside'. Since these quick e-mail responses are not intended for formal publication in a journal, but rather serve to get otherwise reliable information to group members who have a keen interest in the subject matter being discussed in a fast and efficient manner, the very strict editorial guidelines for submission of materials for formal publication are relaxed. I do believe that many list members understand what I am doing, often under the pressure of time and can rather easily discern the difference between original ideas or research being relayed and the commentary that I insert from time to time.

Thérèse Hanquet wrote (June 22, 2007):
[To Thomas Braatz] I have not enough time to discuss your answer in detail, but for the point hereunder, I for one thought at first reading that you quoted something (because of the line you wrote in the beginning which referred to a given page).

But the main problem is that these discussions will be archived for years, and that someone can google any post without knowing its context, and believe that the NBA KB says that Bach worked under great pressure of time for this cantata. If this is not true than it is a problem.

I am aware in my work that something wrong repeated often enough may become a "truth" just because a sufficient number of unaware persons have relayed the information. This is particularly acute with the Internet. And I find that a serious problem. This is why I feel concerned.

Thomas Braatz wrote (June 22, 2007):
Thérèse Hanquet wrote:
>>I have not enough time to discuss your answer in detail, but for the point hereunder, I for one thought at first reading that you quoted something (because of the line you wrote in the beginning which referred to a given page).<<
Correction! I gave a specific reference and I did not use quotation marks except for phrases which were directly quoted. The remainder of the information is my summary translation of the ideas and evidence contained therein.

TH: >>But the main problem is that these discussions will be archived for years, and that someone can google any post without knowing its context, and believe that the NBA KB says that Bach worked under great pressure of time for this cantata. If this is not true than it is a problem.<<
I had thought that you were not concerned about this issue (Bach working under great pressure of time) which is currently being investigated and for which this cantata offers ample evidence.

TH: >>I am aware in my work that something wrong repeated often enough may become a truth" just because a sufficient number of unaware persons have relayed the information. This is particularly acute with the Internet. And I find that a serious problem. This is why I feel concerned.<<
Your concern is certainly justified. This not only occurs on the Internet but also in the book and journal publishing business. Simply consider what happens when unsuspecting, unaware persons read the book on temperament by Ross Duffin with its comic book illustrations directed at the layman (or is it more PC as 'layperson"?). How are they to know that statements like "There is no question that Lehman convincingly solved Bach's puzzle" and "In fact, the.temperament.is Bach's own "well temperament" as deciphered by Lehman. This was Bach's ideal for keyboard music.." are not to be trusted? Here ambiguity which you shun has become rampant, so rampant that some musicians, eagerly wanting to jump on the bandwagon, unthinkingly accept these statements as fact and are willing to change the way we listeners will hear Bach in concert and on recordings in the future. Should not your concern be directed toward this blatant error arising from 'ambiguous' information which is being repeatedly stated as a fact?

Ed Myskowski wrote (June 23, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< To Thérèse Hanquet: Parentheses are or can be asides in English. It was obvious that I was giving a summary translation of the main idea presented in the German originals, hence the parentheses are natural signals of an aside on my part. Have you observed whether Brad Lehman is as careful about this as I am? >
Wrong on all counts:

(1) Parentheses within a citation are always interpreted to be part of the original. No assumption of 'natural signal' will excuse this. Anyway, 'natural signals' are customarily exchanged among friends? Not for material intended to be archived for reference, or in exchanges among potential adversaries (that is as kind as I can state it).

(2) 'It was obvious'. The first line of defense of the unclear writer. It was in fact 'obvious' to some of us that you tried to sneak one by, and got caught, once again. Alas, it will be in the archives, but we have done our best to provide some commentary..

(3) Even brackets are not absolutely clear, so it is essential to be precise when making deletions, insertions, and especially comments, within citations. All the more so, when citing your presumed ultimate authority, NBA.

(4) The gratuitous jibe at Brad Lehman is out of place. But since you brought it up, my observation is that Brad is much more careful than you. None of us is perfect.

<>

Ed Myskowski wrote (June 23, 2007):
Thérèse Hanquet wrote:
>>I have not enough time to discuss your answer in detail, but for the point hereunder, I for one thought at first reading that you quoted something (because of the line you wrote in the beginning which referred to a given page).<<
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< Correction! I gave a specific reference and I did not use quotation marks except for phrases which were directly quoted. The remainder of the information is my summary translation of the ideas and evidence contained therein. >
Please read that statement carefully, and then consider the original Braatz post:

As far as the information from the NBA KB I/14 p. 211 is concerned:

>This bass aria, although the origin of it cannot be traced back to an earlier original setting (another indication of how Bach is working against the clock to assemble this cantata in time), has all the appearances of being a parody. If it was not a parody of another vocal aria, then it must have pre-existed as a movement with 'strong' orchestral instrumentation ("als stark instrumental konzipiert").

Notice that the first parentheses contain a thought, where Braatz has subsequently acknowledged that the parentheses are his 'natural signal' that he is deviating from the text, while the second parentheses contain the only directly quoted phrase.

Consistency is the measure of small minds, but it does not necessarily follow that lack of consistency is always the sign of a great mind.

Ed Myskowski wrote (June 23, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< My question to Thérèse Hanquet was:
>>Have you observed whether Brad Lehman is as careful about this as I am?<<
To which Brad Lehman responded:
>>What does that have to do with anything?<<
Well, we could consider statements from your journal article on Bach's temperament where you state as a title: "Bach's extraodrinary temperament: our Rosetta Stone"
Should not this title have read more correctly according to a scientific standpoint which you and Thérèse want to uphold >
I did not notice Thérèse arguing this particular point. If she did, welcome aboard!

< so rigidly in this forum: "A Bach temperament: a possible Rosetta Stone?" rather than the one the editors (peer group) >
The editors and the peer group are distinctly separate. You might want to consider the value of this process? More likely not. Parentheses (natural signal?) duly noted.

< allowed to slip through without criticism sthere were other previous 'Bach' temperaments quite similar to yours and one or more of them even based upon the very same Bach squiggles on the WTC1 title page that you have attempted to interpret? >
The interpretation is there. It is hypothesis, not attempt. As usual, the language is long and lame.

< There is nothing here to alert or warn the reader that this is simply one out of a number of similar hypotheses that have been propounded in recent years. >
I would be interested to hear what is 'the number', and where I can consider the propounding.

< The following claim is made as a fact later on without any footnote or parenthetic explanation:
"Bach's WTC title-page...is a precise abstraction of his preferred tuning method, in the form of a pen stroke with 11 large loops."
This has led directly >

This grossly distorts both Brad Lehman's scholarly presentation, and its acceptance by Duffin.

< to other authors like Ross W. Duffin in his book, "How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony" Norton, 2007, p. 148, to claim: "There is no question that Lehman convincingly solved Bach's puzzle....In fact, the "sample" irregular temperament given back in figure 7 is Bach's own "well temperament" as deciphered by Lehman. This was Bach's ideal for keyboard music, not ET [Equal Temperament]."
Perhaps a more careful assessment and statement of an hypothesis on your part along with a short summary presentation of all previous efforts toward uncovering a possible temperament that Bach might have used, including a specific up-front reference to Sparschuh as the pioneer who first thought of analyzing the squiggles as a coded indication of a temperament would have helped to avert such one-sided, obviously incorrect and certainly biased statements as those quoted above from Duffin's book. >
My favorite contradiction, repeated ad nauseam in these pages:
(1) The squiggle interpretation is invalid
(2) Sparschuh thought of it first.

Once you decipher it (the contradiction) from the squiggles and loops of the convoluted language (ooh, I like that one).

< Who would bother now to read a later isolated recantation regarding the omission of such important information which has now been relegated to appear hidden somewhere in a subsequent issue of the journal? Obviously Duffin has not considered the latter to be of any importance in reaching his assertions. >
Obvious to whom? What if Duffin says otherwise?

Neil Halliday wrote (June 23, 2007):
BWV 175: Koopman's [8] bass aria/summary

My thanks to Thomas for supplying information from the NBA KBs about the bass aria with two trumpets, BWV 175/6. In summary, we may conclude:

1. This movement (175/6) may be a parody of an unidentified instrumental movement with "strong" instrumentation.

2. The possibility of two parodies in this cantata (BWV 175), and the fact of two parodies in the previous day's cantata (BWV 68), may point to Bach's workload being exceptionally onerous, over the three-day period during which cantatas BWV 74, BWV 68 and BWV 175 were performed, from May 20th to May 22nd inclusive (in 1725).

3. The consideration of the first point above may have informed Koopman's [8] decision to add timpani, in his performance of the aria.

My original thought, in comparing Koopman [8] and Rilling [3] (who uses modern trumpets), that Koopman simply wanted to achieve a sound that has more impact than could be supplied by his period trumpets alone, remains plausible to me.

Summary of the text: "Open both ears (in order to hear Jesus' words), because Jesus has assured us that he has overcome the devil and death." The more exciting the actual sound of the music, the better, IMO.

Neil Mason wrote (June 23, 2007):
[To Neil Halliday] I really do appreciate the measured language of this posting.

May I however, respectfully disagree that the use of parody indicates a heavy workload.

That is not to say, of course, that Bach's workload was not heavy; it was.

What I mean is that the use of parody does not of itself support this conclusion. I believe that as often as not it merely indicates that Bach thought that the music was good enough to use again.

Thérèse Hanquet wrote (June 23, 2007):
[To Thomas Braatz] A few thoughts about your answer quoted below:

1. I react on what I read. I have not read the book you mentioned. I do not know enough about tuning and temperament to give an opinion and I do not have time to explore this question. Here I was puzzled by the presentation of your text, having also noted from previous posts that you eagerly want to prove some hypotheses.

2. It is true that for me this issue of "Bach working against the clock" (or not) has not much to do with my appreciation of his music. Where I feel concerned is that you seem to consider normal to include personal comments in summaries. Then you might do that with all issues, not only this one.

About your previous answer:

3. Brackets may indicate asides, but by whom? they may be in the original text, or reflect some sort of aside in the original text. Hence the ambiguousness.

4. Avoiding ambiguousness does not require many more words. An example of the controversial text slightly changed:

"Here a summary of what I found in NBA KB I/14 p. 211: this bass aria, although the origin of it cannot be traced back to an earlier original setting, has all the appearances of being a parody. If it was not a parody of another vocal aria, then it must have pre-existed as a movement with 'strong' orchestral instrumentation ("als stark instrumental konzipiert").

By the way, I see this possible parody as another indication of how Bach is working against the clock to assemble this cantata in time."

Uri Golomb wrote (June 23, 2007):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
<< To Thérèse Hanquet: Parentheses are or can be asides in English. It was obvious that I was giving a summary translation of the main idea presented in the German originals, hence the parentheses are natural signals of an aside on my part. Have you observed whether Brad Lehman is as careful about this as I am? >>
Ed Myskowski wrote:
< Wrong on all counts:
(1) Parentheses within a citation are always interpreted to be part of the original. No assumption of 'natural signal' will excuse this. >

Quite. Normal parentheses (....) are usually meant as part of the quotation. In all the academic literature I've read, and in all the ways I've been taught to read and write academic materials, from BA to PhD, I've been told that one's own omissions or additions to a quotaiton should be indicated by SQUARE brackets -- [....] -- whereas normal, round parentheses -- (....) -- are part of the original quotation. If you're emphasising a word that was not emphasised in the original, you indicate this by adding [my emphasis -- U.G.]. Some writers also add [emphasis in original] when they want to make double sure that their readers understand that the emphasis was indeed there in the original text.

You may, of course, adopt a different system, but in that case you need to spell it out in advance. Certainly, if you use normal parentheses to add your own contribution, you risk confusion.

Thomas Braatz wrote (June 23, 2007):
A peculiar aspect related to e-mails on the BCML is the wide range of statements and utterances spanning the gamut from the demands of a research paper being prepared for publication to emotional expressions uttered in the crudest street language imaginable. It is even possible for a single BCML member to incorporate this entire range in the same e-mail.

One of Aryeh Oron's tasks is to remove the sometimes rather large volume of clutter found on the lower end of this spectrum and preserve on the BCW only those portions of e-mails which are deemed worthy of preservation. The latter includes quoted materials from various sources (often translated from the German) as well as personal reactions reflecting on Bach's life, music, and the musical performances that exist. It has now been pointed out by various list members that the distinction between original sources and personal commentaries (speculations, conjectures, hypotheses, theories, etc.) becomes unclear and that a confusion of material presented by an original author with ideas or parenthetical comments interpolated by the conveyor of such quoted material creates an ambiguity that needs to be addressed.

Where material is being quoted and/or translated directly from an original source, the solution is easily solved by the use of quotation marks around the original followed by (in the case of translation) the translation into English which, in addition to being enclosed with parentheses (round brackets), should use quotation marks as well.

A problem area appears to arise when the original material is given directly as a summary of ideas or a paraphrase which does not require either quotation marks or parentheses except where certain words or phrases are nevertheless quoted directly from the original source for clarification.

Here the suggestions made by Thérèse Hanquet that a simple 'btw' precede the 'parenthetical' statement and that square brackets (thanks Uri Golomb) surround such an insertion or addition are good ones and easy to follow/use in e-mails where such summary/paraphrase statements are being quoted.

As a result, my original statement from 6/21:

NBA KB I/14 p. 211

This bass aria, although the origin of it cannot be traced back to an earlier original setting (another indication of how Bach is working against the clock to assemble this cantata in time), has all the appearances of being a parody. If it was not a parody of another vocal aria, then it must have pre-existed as a movement with 'strong' orchestral instrumentation ("als stark instrumental konzipiert").

should be corrected to yield a new version that incorporates suggestions made by list members:

NBA KB I/14 p. 211

This bass aria, although the origin of it cannot be traced back to an earlier original setting [btw, this is another indication of how Bach is working against the clock to assemble this cantata in time], has all the appearances of being a parody. If it was not a parody of another vocal aria, then it must have pre-existed as a movement with 'strong' orchestral instrumentation ("als stark instrumental konzipiert").

I will try to abide by this simple method from now on to avoid further confusion/ambiguity.

Footnote to the above on the matter of ambiguity:

Brad Lehman's article on temperament is entitled:
"Bach's extraordinary temperament - our Rosetta Stone". There is no way for the reader to discern immediately whether this is a factual statement as subsequently assumed by Ross Duffin in his book and a large number of readers, or simply an assertion which remains to be proven. As Lehman has subsequently admitted, this title was chosen for reasons other than the normal accuracy required by scientific papers. Lehman should have added as a footnote a disclaimer to this title: "To avoid any ambiguity, the analogy chosen here should not to be construed literally, but rather as a 'come-on' advertisement to attract readers who might otherwise not take an interest in this article [BL]." Possibly a simple question mark at the end of the title would have removed the cloud of ambiguousness that surrounds this title since the assertion that this is indeed Bach's temperament is still far from being resolved among well-renowned, proven experts in this field. Thérèse Hanquet's concern that such unproven hypotheses can be repeated so often in subsequent literature and by practitioners that they can then eventually be assumed by them to be true is one that any wary reader or listener will share. In the absence of such an immediately appended disclaimer, the former claim then becomes a reality assumed by those not capable of penetrating the cloud of ambiguity that exists and by those not able to give equal attention to the many similar temperaments that do exist, even some based upon the same decorative squiggles. As Brad Lehman so aptly put it this morning: "There's always some "other side" being put up, not credible on its own merit at close examination, but as a foil that gets equal time -- making everything in the end look merely sensational and incredible." It is quite possible that Brad Lehman is on this "other side" and that his Bach temperament hypothesis, which is now getting much more than equal time and by virtue of constant repetition is attaining some degree of cult status among some Baroque music practitioners, is the one that is "not credible on its own merit at close examination". This all remains to be seen with some formidable opponents to Brad's hypothesis already uncovering the numerous flaws and oversights which it contains.

 

Continue on Part 4

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Last update: ıMarch 30, 2011 ı12:25:28