Cantata BWV 51Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen!
Discussions - Part 4
Continue from Part 3
New article added - Bach Notes [Continue]
Bradley Lehman wrote (October 6, 2004):
Thomas Braatz wrote:
< In recent decades there has been an effort to 'demote' Bach's sacred cantatas to 'chamber-music' performances by radically reducing the vocal and instrumental forces employed based upon a number of erroneous assumptions that have been discussed at length on these mailing lists. >
An effort to "demote" Bach's music? Really? Evidence, please. The way that accusation is framed here, it looks like some malicious plot. But where's the real evidence that any alleged wrongdoing has actually taken place, other than offending one person's listening preferences?
< To be sure, single arias extracted from the Bach cantatas lend themselves more easily to a chamber setting because they are already reduced to the bare minimum of performers needed for performance. It is quite likely that certain arias might have been performed in the Bach house from time to time just for the pleasure of doing so, but Bach, with his keen ear for acoustic properties, would certainly have recognized the difference between a small room in a house and a large church setting. >
So would a hearing-impaired person. Differences among rooms are pretty obvious to any of the five senses, except maybe the taste buds. (It would be pretty strange to go around licking rooms to assess them.)
< A small, facile voice coupled with some of the 'muffled-sounding' tromba reconstructions that are currently being used and played might work out well in a chamber setting. >
The erroneous assumption here is that the writer's preferences and assessments of quality are automatically Bach's own. If he has some meaningful evidence in this regard, beyond a "remote viewing" session or something, it hasn't been presented to make a sufficient case. And no, it won't do to trot out the Csibas and Tosi/Agricola yet again and again and again, twisted and turned every which way to deliver the writer's own preferences as if it were sufficient documentation. Those aren't the only sources that professional players and singers take into account in deciding how to do their jobs.
< However, the sound inherent in BWV 51 demands more than a room in a house, or even an intimate hall with 250 people soaking up the reverberations, so that the trumpet and voice can truly develop the magnificent sound in space that BWV 51 requires. >
What sound is "inherent" in BWV 51? Isn't this yet again a bunch of assumptions drawn primarily from personal preferences (i.e. liking it big and loud)?
Another question suggests itself: has the writer ever heard a live performance of BWV 51? Yes or no. If not, how does he know what sort of space works out well for it? Even if he has, what's his basis for comparisons with other spaces, performed by exactly the same cast?
< Anything less than a church setting comparable to those found in Leipzig and Dresden would be doing an injustice to the intentions that Bach probably had in composing this glorious music. >
Well, at least the assertion about "erroneous assumptions" above is right. Guess at Bach's intentions that he "probably" had, and then everybody who delivers something even slightly different has transgressed and committed an injustice. Yea, even unto a punishable offense. Yea, even unto deserving public derision. But it still seems to me that such a presumptuous process of criticism and castigation is more of an injustice here than anything anyone has done musically.
How is it an "injustice" to perform Bach's music in additional milieus different from the original one or two? Seems to me that the more his fine music gets heard, the better. At least, that's an operating assumption that I as a musician bring to performing his music. I try to make it sound as good as possible in whatever setting is available for the gig.
Thomas Braatz wrote (October 6, 2004):
Sean Burton wrote in reply to my comment:
""we weren't there and we don't know" is a lame one and may simply be an excuse to avoid the necessary work of researching and coming up with a more reasonable theory than the one you have offered."
To which Sean Burton replied:
>>It is my understanding that this is a forum for discussion. It is not, by any means, the Journal of the American Musicological Association or any other scholarly publication. I thought the whole point of this operation was to have a free exchange of ideas.<<
This is true, but musicological issues do come up from time to time as perceptive listeners begin to examine more carefully the elements surrounding their listening experiences. All list members are free to express their opinions within the limits of the guidelines established.
>>That anyone would offer up their explanations/theories as the only answer is extremely irresponsible.<<
When Bach personally writes something in explanation of his score and we are still able to examine it as definitely issuing from his hand, it is irresponsible for any listener or even performer who has engaged in insufficient basic research on a topic, to omit and/or pretend that such information as indicated on Bach's score does not exist. The only correct answer is offered for such an individual to ponder and to correct, if possible, the misinformation that has been given to listeners who wish to inform themselves about some of the basic facts regarding a certain composition. If such an obvious correction (not just a plausible theory) is not accepted by the listener/performer or countered with the notion "we weren't there, we don't know," the onus of remaining in error is upon such an individual and not the one who offers the obvious correction.
>>I certainly did not profess my theory as fact. If my comments came across in that fashion, the subscribers have my sincerest apologies. Nonetheless, whether or not anyone likes it, none of us were alive and living in Germany from 1685-1750. This may be the only indisputable fact in the entire discussion and is not merely a "lame" comment.<<
Here is the same 'lame argument' being used once again as a standard formula for those who have not even bothered to find out precisely what Bach himself wrote about BWV 51 on his title page and the apparent complete refusal on the part of the correspondent to recognize an indisputable fact when one is cited from Bach's own pen.
>>A comprehensive understanding of historical musicology recognizes its purpose as a search for answers. In the search process,questions arise. This process is fundamental to scholarship.<<
But the only question regarding the occasion and purpose for which Bach composed BWV 51 is passed over and cast aside as not worth even mentioning. Also, the statement that there is no connection between the Gospel reading and the text of the cantata was a glaring oversight that can not simply be excused with "we weren't there, we don't know."
>>You may be correct about BWV 51. Indeed, Durr's theory is plausible and I will be sure to read the entire passage you cite in its intended context.<<
This theory, along with Marshall's should have been checked out before including them in program notes. (Program notes are obviously not the same as comments made on this forum.)
>>What concerns me more is your tone of response. How arrogant and presumptuous of anyone to accuse a contributor of giving "an excuse to avoid the necessary work."<<
By offering your notes in this forum, the correspondent should expect scrutiny from others. In this case, some basic research would have prevented such a statement about BWV 51 from slipping through, all because the assumed theory would not be enhanced, but rather cause more questions to be asked by the reader: "Why did Bach write "for the 15th Sunday after Trinity?" And then, perhaps, the answer might be "we weren't there, we don't know." It is this which I find indefensible and misleading when issued by a practising musician who abhors 'armchair criticisms.'
Sean Burton wrote (October 6, 2004):
"When Bach personally writes something in explanation of his score and we are still able to examine it as definitely issuing from his hand, it is irresponsible for any listener or even performer who has engaged in insufficient basic research on a topic, to omit and/or pretend that such information as indicated on Bach's score does not exist. The only correct answer is offered for such an individual to ponder and to correct, if possible, the misinformation that has been given to listeners who wish to inform themselves about some of the basic facts regarding a certain composition. If such an obvious correction (not just a plausible theory) is not accepted by the listener/performer or countered with the notion "we weren't there, we don't know," the onus of remaining in error is upon such an individual and not the one who offers the obvious correction. "
SB: I already addressed this point and you obviously haven't comprehended it.
"Here is the same 'lame argument' being used once again as a standard formula for those who have not even bothered to find out precisely what Bach himself wrote about BWV 51 on his title page and the apparent complete refusal on the part of the correspondent to recognize an indisputable fact when one is cited from Bach's own pen."
SB: Again, you have not comprehended the response I wrote earlier this morning.
"Also, the statement that there is no connection between the Gospel reading and the text of the cantata was a glaring oversight that can not simply be excused with 'we weren't there, we don't know.'"
SB: I would encourage you to actually read the Gospel and note the differences.
"By offering your notes in this forum, the correspondent should expect scrutiny from others. In this case, some basic research would have prevented such a statement about BWV 51 from slipping through, all because the assumed theory would not be enhanced, but rather cause more questions to be asked by the reader: "Why did Bach write "for the 15th Sunday after Trinity?" And then, perhaps, the answer might be "we weren't there, we don't know." It is this which I find indefensible and misleading when issued by a practising musician who abhors 'armchair criticisms.' "
SB: Please review the notes in their entirety because you certainly do not understand them.
Sean Burton wrote (October 6, 2004):
[To Bradley Lehman] In response to the debate outlined below:
I would encourage all concerned to read (or re-read) "Bach's Choral Ideal" by Joshua Rifkin, Dortmunder Bach-Forschungen, Herausgegeben von Martin Geck, Band 5, Klangfarben Musikverlag, Dortmund 2002. Rifkin clearly explains why the vast majority, but not all, of Bach's sacred cantatas are intended to be performed with non-Romantic performing forces or what is, by virtue of genre, inaccurately labeled "chamber music." The musicological evidence is overwhelming and indisputable.
Bradley Lehman wrote (October 6, 2004):
[To Sean Burton] Won't work. Mr Braatz has already decided that Dr Rifkin isn't smart enough (i.e. an ad hominem attack against Rifkin) to have written the article. Mr Braatz has read Andrew Parrott's book: http://homepages.bw.edu/bachbib/script/bach2.pl?22=15864
which contains some of the earlier Rifkin material, and has decided it's wrong. He'll talk your ear off about it. Don't get him started.
Anything that appears overwhelming and indisputable to us ordinary scholars (or even "plausible" and "very likely") is to Mr Braatz something he can dismiss in a matter of a few hours, by putting up various fallacies that make it look as if the scholarly information should be beneath consideration. Whatever he judges to be beneath consideration by himself is automatically supposed to be beneath consideration by everybody else, too; that's the way it works. If an article has even a chance of offering something contrary to his own decisions, he'll come up with an excuse not to have read it, an excuse to dismiss it without even looking...lest it poison the way things are, the way things have already been decided. He tells us the only way to think; praise be to the high priest Braatz who could not possibly be mistaken. He must shelter any and all from independent thought, or from taking seriously any scholarship that challenges the status quo of his own head. No discussion of other possibilities is allowed to take place, as long as he has a say in it.
Parrott's book has also given Mr Braatz the unfortunate notion that the way to disprove something musicologically is simply to go back to the sources and retranslate them to one's own preference, and then claim that everybody else has been too stupid to read the German properly. (Parrott and Rifkin didn't do that, of course, but that's what Mr Braatz has taken away from the book as a potentially useful technique for himself.) This strategy has served Mr Braatz often, not that it's anything beyond any other fallacy in his quiver, but it does keep him occupied. He likes to use it especially against Dr Dreyfus et al, to try to prove that we continuo players don't know how to read music. He used it again last week, over on the BachRecordings list, trying to prove that everybody has misunderstood what Forkel intended to write about the proper purpose of the Goldberg Variations. I didn't buy any of his arguments, but at least I learned some interesting things about Chinese outsourcing of a German dictionary for a CD-ROM. There's always something to learn.
His other strategy is to try picking away at any small and hardly significant detail of whatever he's trying to disprove, as if (like destroying a knit pullover) the whole thing might unravel if he picks at it diligently enough and persistently enough. He obviously has a lot more fun trying to destroy other people's work and other people's reputations, than listening to Bach's music and learning how to perform any of it himself. If he looks at Rifkin's article at all, we can be sure he'll find some sentence or two to quote and belittle in public, as if the whole thing therefore crumbles to the ground.
By the way, another good article about Bach's performing forces in the cantatas is Dr Geck's own, in an issue of Early Music from last year. In there Geck doesn't really take sides either with Rifkin or Rifkin's opponents, but contents himself with asking some other basic questions as a way to keep the reasonable dialogue open. This article: http://homepages.bw.edu/bachbib/script/bach2.pl?22=19549
Thomas Braatz wrote (October 6, 2004):
[To Sean Burton] There is much that is disputable in R(eduction) i(n) f(orce)kin's theory. It is only that certain individuals would wish that it were entirely indisputable. The above article's date (2002) betrays that fact that the main content and thrust of this theory was first propounded by the great German Bach scholar, Arnold Schering in "Johann Sebastian Bachs Leipziger Kirchenmusik" [Leipzig, 1936.] It was Rifkin, with the 'shell-game' that he devised based on the Bach's 'Entwurff,' who managed to take this theory to its exaggerated extreme from which it will eventually recover. In a number of passages Schering addresses the problem of huge choirs singing Bach in the 19th and early 20th century Bach cantata performances including for the solo parts operatic singers who, in the tradition of the late Romantic period, were unable to adjust their voices to the very different circumstances demanded by Bach's sacred music. Schering examines the 'Entwurff' carefully and comes to the conclusion that the minimum number of singers (for instance in the primary choir) was 12 with a good possibility that as many as 16 might be used with the help of the "Supernumerarii" who might be available at any given time (pp. 19-22.) Readers interested in the issue of the "Entwurff" might consult the discussions on this matter, all of which can be found on Aryeh's Bach-Cantatas Site after they read Rifkin's book suggested above.
Charles Francis wrote (October , 2004):
[To Bradley Lehman] As is so often the case, Mr. Lehman presents an extensive ad hominem argument in response to the reasoned commentary of Mr. Braatz. Indeed is there anything in the above apart from ad hominem? To encourage Mr. Lehman to broaden his repertory somewhat, I present sixty musicological fallacies from which he can pick and choose: http://csml.som.ohio-state.edu/Music829C/methodological.potholes.html
Thomas Braatz wrote (October 6, 2004):
Bradley Lehman wrote: >>There's always something to learn<<
if the dialogue is kept open and the respondents remain fixed on a specific target trying to get to the bottom of a specific issue without digressing or engaging in guess work regarding another list member's strategies or motivations.
>>[Geck] contents himself with asking some other basic questions as a way to keep the reasonable dialogue open. This article: http://homepages.bw.edu/bachbib/script/bach2.pl?22=19549<<
What a noble approach which does not seem to spill over at all in the respondent's comments!
BWV 51, and Chorton/Cammerton organ
Nicholas Emmeson wrote (January 30, 2005):
I wonder if anybody could clear something up for me?
I've just been working on BWV 51 lately and I noticed in the Bärenreiter edition that the preferatory clef of the continuo shows the key signature (and starting note) as Bb yet on the facsimile of the first page printed in the preface to the volume, the key signature (and starting note) is C.
Can anyone shed any light on this? I am aware that some scholars have suggested that the organ may have transposed to match the trumpets (and other instruments) in relation to the change in use of Kammerton and Chorton, though I was under the impression it was to accomodate a higher pitch?
Bradley Lehman wrote (January 30, 2005):
[To Nicholas Emmeson] Because the organ was tuned at a higher pitch (Chorton, vs the Cammerton of the ensemble), its part is notated at a lower pitch so it offsets that.
And the specific temperament of that organ is presented in the lead article of the February 2005 issue of Early Music.... I also included a secondary transposed version of that temperament, so it can be set up today on organs that are using the modern transposed C part, and thereby result in the right sound as if the organist is reading in Bach's B-flat.
See also the back section of Laurence Dreyfus's book Bach's Continuo Group: Players and Practices in his Vocal Works for a handy roster of the extant transposing-organ parts in the cantatas.
Nicholas Emmeson wrote (January 30, 2005):
Bradley Lehman wrote:
"Because the organ was tuned at a higher pitch (Chorton, vs the Cammerton of the ensemble), its part is notated at a lower pitch so it offsets that."
This confirms what I had understood originally and presumably there is an extant organ part written in Bb? (the facsimile of the score shows the part notated in C)
Something has confused me a little about all this though.....
I recently heard a suggestion that all trumpets used in Bach's works were the same pitch (i.e. the trumpets in C and D where actually the same instrument), and that pitch being the higher pitch of "D". Consequently, those Cantatas including parts for trumpet in C would have actually sounded a tone higher than expected and the organ would have to transpose up a tone......hence my confusion!!!
I can't quite remember where I came across this idea so I will have to see if I can track down the source of it.
Many thanks for the two references - I'm actually doing some research into temperaments (specifically in relation to trumpets), so I'll be sure to look those up.
Dale Gedcke wrote (January 30, 2005):
[To Nicholas Emmerson] Perhaps what you have read is that the tromba instruments used by Bach were normally pitched in D, but had a crook that could be added to lower the pitch to C. That was a common solution during the Baroque period.
Thomas Braatz wrote (January 30, 2005):
[To Dale Gedcke] According to the Csibas in their book "Die Blechblasinstrumente in J. S. Bachs Werken" [Merseburger, Kassel, 1994] pp. 28-29:
In essence they say:
>>The natural trumpets such as the tromba in D did not have the obvious extension such as the tromba da tirarsi which is found pitched primarily in C and Bb.) You could take a tromba in C or a tromba da tirarsi in C and add an extension (crook?) to make them become a trombas (or trombas da tirarsi) in Bb. The tromba da tirarsi in Bb was used in BWV 46 and the tromba in Bb in BWV 90. The tromba in Eb is modeled after the tromba in D, but constructed to sound a half-tone higher. The tromba in Eb is used in BWV 243a. The tromba in F and the tromba in G, in contrast to the above, are of completely individual construction. They belong to the category of 'short trombas.' The tromba in F is used in BWV 1047 and the tromba in G in BWV 75. However, Bach most commonly wrote out parts for the tromba in C and the tromba in D. The tromba da tirarsi in C is completely identical to the tromba in C with the exception of the extra extension. In reality, the tromba da tirarsi is not really a different instrument in the tromba family, but rather is different only from the tromba in C by virtue of replacing a very short extension with a long one.<<
It does not appear to be true that the tromba in D would be lowered to a C by means of a crook, whereas lowering a C instrument to Bb was normal procedure.
Dale Gedcke wrote (January 31, 2005):
[To Thomas Braatz] RE: The appended posting by Thomas regarding the C and D trumpets used by Bach:
I recollect having read somewhere during the last two years that crooks and bits were used to change the pitch of the natural trumpet (tromba) for different keys. Unfortunately, I can no longer remember the exact source. So I cannot thoroughly substantiate the information.
An aside for clarification: A "bit" was a fixed length of tubing inserted between the mouthpiece and leadpipe in order to lengthen the trumpet and lower the pitch. A "crook" refers to the section of tubing that reverses the direction of the tromba tubing by 180 degrees. In modern trumpets one would think of this as being the main tuning slide. Basically, the length of the tubing in the crook was increased to lower the pitch. By replacing the D crook with a C crook the pitch of the instrument was lowered from D to C. As seen in pictures from one of the references below, the crook may consist of a 360-degree coil, to achieve the extra length in a small space.
I am certainly open to your contention, Thomas, that Bach's trumpeters never used the crook to lower the pitch of the tromba they played, choosing instead to switch to an entirely different instrument for the lower key. The book by the Csibas is certainly the best reference on Bach's trumpet usage. If you cannot find any documentation in that book stating that the crook was used by Bach's trumpeters, then that is likely the most we can know. Brass instrument construction and availability in the 1700s was certainly not as universal and homogeneous as it is today. So, even if we can determine that crooks were used by some, it does not necessarily mean that Bach's musicians utilized the scheme.
I did a brief search on the Internet for background information on the use of crooks in trumpets. Here is what I found.
At: http://www.music.ed.ac.uk/euchmi/ucj/ucjth3.html, you can see a picture of an early 18th century Eb trumpet with crooks (item 3284). This is a museum piece, thought to have originated in England. This documents that crooks were used, at least in England, but not necessarily in Leipzig.
At: http://www.deutsches-museum.de/ausstell/dauer/musik/e_musik4.htm#tromp (a museum web site) you can find the following statement about crooks:
"... Once its [tromba] use was no longer restricted by the guilds after 1750, numerous attempts were made to expand on this range of notes. One such was the 'invention trumpet' made by Saurle which could be played in four different keys by using interchangeable tube loops of different length, or the key trumpet in which it was possible to shorten the columns of vibrating air, rather like the action of woodwind instruments."
That statement indicates that crooks were an invention of the second half of the 18th century, in contrast with the "early 18th century" mentioned above for the English instrument.
Finally, at http://www.matthewparkertrumpets.com/periodin.htm, you can find this explanation about natural trumpets, crooks and bits:
" ... Natural instruments have a number of crooks or bits to change the pitch of the instrument to match the key of the piece of music played. This explains why trumpet music is often written for trumpets in different pitches. ..."
Unfortunately, this latter reference does not tie down the historical period in which crooks and bits were used.
The University of Alberta web site: (http://www.cs.ualberta.ca/~wfb/cantatas/minst.html) documents the fact that Bach wrote for a variety of types of trumpets, i.e.,
1) tromba (natural trumpet) (a long instrument with two 180-degree turns),
2) tromba da tirarsi (essentially the first instrument with a extendable slide between the mouthpiece and leadpipe), and
3) the corno da caccia (basically a trumpet coiled like the modern French Horn).
(Examples of these instruments can be found at: http://www.matthewparkertrumpets.com/periodin.htm.) But, the U of A site doesn't tell us anything about bits and crooks.
If you search the index in the back of the book by the Csibas, can you find any sections discussing the use of crooks and bits? If so, do they shed light on when and where?
Thomas Braatz wrote (January 31, 2005):
Dale Gedcke wrote:
>>If you search the index in the back of the book by the Csibas, can you find any sections discussing the use of crooks and bits? If so, do they shed light on when and where?<<
There is no index, but I know that 'Stimmbogen' means 'crook' and there is very little discussion that says anything about 'crooks' being used.
One place where the 'crook' is mentioned is in regard to the Corno da caccia with its tightly curled tubing. The famous portrait of Reiche is with a Corno da caccia in D. This instrument could be tuned down to a C by means of a crook, but not any lower than this because the inner diameter of the tubing was too small (16 to 18 cm) to allow this. The larger instruments with larger coils could be tuned by means of larger 'crooks.' For instruments with an inner diameter of at least 9.6 mm, there were diverse 'crooks' (a set of 4) that could change a large-sized Corno da caccia in D to either C, Bb, G, and F.
When discussing the trombae, the Csibas refer only to short extensions ("der kurze Zug.") In referring to the manner in which the Trombae da tirarsi in C and the Trombae in C were changed to become the Trombae da tirarsi in Bb and the Trombae in Bb -- this was done by means of "Aufsteckbögen" ['stick 'em in bows') which I assume could be called 'crooks' although the word has been changed from "Stimmbogen." The Csibas say that the horns of this period used the same principle for changing pitch. The Csibas also explain that you can take a Tromba in C and make it into a Tromba da tirarsi in C by exchanging the short extension tube ["kurzer Zug"] (between the mouthpiece and the rest of the instrument, I assume) for a long one ["langer Zug"] which allows for otherwise inaccessible notes to be played. There is no mention of 'crooks' being involved here.
Dale Gedcke wrote (January 31, 2005):
[To Thomas Braatz] Thanks, Thomas, for going back to look for evidence of crooks and bits in the book by the Csibas. (see appended posting).
No doubt, "Stimbogen" (voice bow) refers to what is called a "crook" or "bow" in English. This is the 180-degree bend at one end or the other of the natural trumpet (tromba). It is a similar concept to the main tuning slide on the modern trumpet.
"der kurze Zug" (loosely translated: the short conveyance) is undoubtedly what is often called a "bit" in English. It is a short length of pipe added between the leadpipe and mouthpiece to lower the pitch.
I suspect "Aufsteckbögen" (loosely translated: insertion bows) differs from Stimbogen (crooks) in the following way. Instead of a straight tube inserted between the mouthpiece and leadpipe, a 360-degree bend (coil) is inserted. On the tromba da tirarsi, this would have been a much more compact and convenient solution. On the tromba da tirarsi, the trumpeter already had the inconvenience of moving the leadpipe slide in and out. The
Aufsteckbögen would have helped to minimize the additional arm's reach in the key of C.
The tromba was made with two 180-degree bends, one beside the bell and one beside the mouthpiece. This essentially made the mechanical dimensions for the tromba approximately one third the total length of the tubing. That configuration has been mimicked in modern trumpets, which have about one half the length of a tromba. Those 180-degree bends are often called "bows". Some of the historically preserved trombae that one can examine today made no provision for a slip-joint where those bows joined the straight section of tubing. If any tuning was done on that structure, it had to be accomplished by a short, sliding tube between the mouthpiece and the first straight section, the leadpipe. To tune by moving one of the bows on slip-joints required a different structure, like the main tuning slide on modern trumpets. From what I have learned from other sources, the tuning-bow came later in the 18th century. But, that information is subject to verification from better references.
If anyone is interested in perusing more history on the natural trumpet, go to http://www.goucher.edu/physics/baum/nattrump.htm. You can view museum examples via that link.
For examples of currently available reproductions of the tromba, tromba da tirarsi, corno da caccia, and corno da tirarsi, go to http://www.matthewparkertrumpets.com/periodin.htm,
Curiously, the various techniques used to change the key of the Baroque trumpet are still used on modern trumpets. A good place to view all the following examples is at http://www.wwbw.com/.
Piccolo Bb/A trumpets tune their pitch by means of a short slide inserted between the mouthpiece and leadpipe. The length of this inserted slide is increased to change from a Bb to an A key.
Bb trumpets can be lowered to an A pitch by pulling out the main tuning slide. The Vincent Bach company makes a C trumpet for which a longer Bb tuning slide can be inserted to convert it to a Bb trumpet.
A scheme that has become popular for Eb/D trumpets is to replace the Eb bell with a longer bell for the key of D. There is a sliding joint between the bell and the main tube at the first valve for this purpose. That slide also functions as the fine-tuning adjustment.
Of course, with the valved trumpet, the length of the 3 (or 4) valve slides also has to be changed when changing the key.
Changing the pitch of a trumpet by more than half a tone is usually not too successful, because the extension makes it difficult to get all the chromatic notes on pitch in the modified key. The Vincent Bach Bb slide for the C trumpet is thenotable exception. Also Kanstul (http://www.kanstul.net/) makes a Bb/A/G piccolo trumpet by changing the bell, leadpipe slide, and valve slides.
Charles Francis wrote (February 1, 2005):
Chorton / Cammerton & Bach's Tuning
I noticed the recent discussion on Chorton / Cammerton (Dale Gedcke, Thomas Braatz et al.) in relation to BWV 51, and thought some of you might be interested in an article of mine that touches on this topic. It's an abridged version of a longer document that I shortened for technical reasons. But, even so, the PDF-file is still over 2 Megabytes in size and will take a while to download. The title is "The Esoteric Keyboard Temperaments of J. S. Bach" and the document can be found in the files section of the group: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/BachCantatas/files/
Bradley Lehman wrote (February 2, 2005):
[To Charles Francis] Quite entertaining.
Some salient remarks and questions. (Well, I'll keep it to twelve, in honor of twelve semitones on a keyboard) :
1. Dr Rudolf Rasch has debunked John Barnes's method as presented in that article, already some 20 years ago. The premise that Bach would pick key signatures with a statistically valid correlation to interval (im)purity is the most flawed part of it; it's only ameliorated slightly by enlarging the data set as seen here (in the brute-force search through key signatures in the BWV). That is, the Barnes premise itself doesn't really do much to convince people who weren't predisposed to take it as a foregone conclusion.
2. Information about the "Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy" is available here, and elsewhere:
The Texas-sharpshooting method is of course made a whole lot easier by scooping various unacknowledged postings of mine to BachRecordings and BachCantatas, and then drawing the target around the results (in the permutations discussed in this article) that I presumably would find most appealing. For example, I recall a conversation with Dale Gedcke and others here where I made some remarks about the sound of Bach's D-major tonic. Sure enough, the coincidence here in this article seems rather strong. So is the coincidence that this is released on the first day of the month when the author had heard that my research is being published. But, let us move along to more interesting questions and remarks.
3. The fundamental flaw in the Sparschuhe-Zapf methodology is the premise that the loops in that drawing have anything to do with seconds of time, whatsoever.
4. The thoroughness in trying all the permutations is admirable, celebrating the author's virtuosity with computers and other electronic equipment. Nevertheless, it is a truism that all temperaments sound pretty good (and pretty close to equal temperament) if all the beat rates in the fifths are kept slow, like the rates that are common to all the temperaments investigated here. So what? Where's the proof that any one in particular, among the scattershot possibilities presented here, would have any pride of place? I see there are some "Euclidean distance to other temperaments" proposing to offer such a correlation, but it is not adequately explained. How would a man like Bach come to decide on any one of these possibilities over any of the others; what musical reasons might motivate him? What features of this particular "glyph" might swing such a balance? These things are not explained, and it doesn't appear to matter to the author that they are missing.
5. Pendulums were in use several thousands of years ago. See, for example, the discussion in the book _Uriel's Machine_ by Knight and Lomas, where it is demonstrated that pendulum length was a unit of measurement that united time and distance, way back among megalithic-age astronomers. The claim here that Christiaan Huygens's 1656 findings validate the Sparschuhe-Zapf premise is tenuous at best.
6. To see which keys people in the 18th century really expected to sound the most harmonious, why not consult and cite standard reference works such as Owen Jorgensen's gigantic red tome _Tuning_ and Rita Steblin's dissertation, and the many standard articles by Mark Lindley? That would seem to me useful to improve Tables 35ff, markedly. Likewise, the definition of the new term "goodness" in footnote #2 strikes me as rather arbitrary, and in need of explication.
7. Whatever happened to the esoteric temperaments allegedly derived from BWV 924, and presented in June?
That temperament (or should I say "set of four temperaments" to amuse any fans of Carl Nielsen), too, would seem to deserve some attention here: at least to explain why its own author has abandoned it in favor of this new presentation. It gives me an impression once again as an example of Texas sharpshooting.
8. Have any classically trained musicians, and preferably specialists in historically-informed performance practices, tried any of these dozens of temperaments in practice to inform the musical decisions offered in the present paper? If not, why not? Or if so, why aren't they credited?
9. Why would Bach have any interest in the material presented as Tables 4 to 25, or any stake in that manner of calculation by long fractions? By his own son's admission in the historical record, Bach disliked "dry, mathematical stuff".
10. As the present paper is so long on raw undigested data, and so parsimonious on explication, it's not clear (at least to me) what it is expected that historically-informed musicians should do with these results. Are we supposed to plug these 144 different temperaments into electronic tuning devices, or what?
11. The paper doesn't really present much proof of anything, does it? It just looks to me pretty much like a warmed-over version of alt.music.j-s-bach discussions seen here from January 2001: http://tinyurl.com/3uks4
In short, the present paper gives me the distinct impression of other people's work (most notably Sparschuhe's and Zapf's), but dressed up to look impressive and new with a bunch of colors and charts. I didn't happen upon that 2001 discussion thread myself in any archives until July or August 2004, at which time I read it with amusement at the author's remarks about children scribbling. He dismissed this particular drawing (which he's now calling a "glyph") of Bach's as non-evidence, at: http://tinyurl.com/6vxlr . I'm wondering what has compelled the author to change his mind about its relevance.
12. Has Dr Sparschuhe himself been contacted about this enthusiastic further running with his work? Or, for that matter, Michael Zapf from whom that discussion thread mentioned in my point #11 originated? It would seem that they should be very excited about this.
Well, one more practical question to make it a baker's dozen:
13. When tuning or doing other maintenance on a harpsichord that has flat-topped and unthreaded (i.e. smooth) pins, when one taps a loose tuning pin more firmly into the instrument's pinblock with the top of the tuning hammer, does the string's pitch go up or down?
Appropriate trumpet style for playing Cantata 51
Dale Gedcke wrote (October 18, 2005):
For all of you trumpet enthusiasts and HIP vs. non-HIP aficionados, there is an interesting paper published in the October 2005 issue of the ITG Journal on J. S. Bach's Cantata BWV 51, "Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen"
The title of the paper is, "J. S. Bach's Cantata 51, Jauchzet Gott in Allen Landen: Historical Observations and Insights for Modern Performance", by Randy Tinnin, Oct. 2005, pp 34 - 38.
The author focuses on the different roles the trumpet plays in the aria (martial fanfare, solo voice, obbligato voice to the soprano, and orchestral accompaniment) and prescribes difstyles for these separate sections. He also deals with the differences in tone and articulation inherent in HIP instrumentation and modern instrumentation. Particularly interesting are the articulation limitations of the natural Baroque trumpet, and how the hard and soft tonguing translates to tongued notes and slurs when performing this composition on a modern piccolo trumpet. The Baroque trumpet used uneven articulation for the 16th note runs, and this is often translated to slur-2 tongue-2 or slur-2 tongue-4 on valved trumpets.
He talks about the contrast between the Baroque stringed instruments and the modern versions, mentioning that the original strings produced a lighter sound. He also contrasts the timbre of the Baroque trumpet with the more piercing tone of the modern piccolo trumpet.
The paper is replete with references to other publications, most of them since the 1950s, but one by Girolamo Fantini that dates back to 1638.
If you are a member of the International Trumpet Guild, simply open the October 2005 edition of the ITG Journal and read the paper. If you are not a member, you can order a copy for about 16 US$ at http://www.trumpetguild.org/.
Thomas Braatz wrote (October 18, 2005):
Dale Gedcke wrote:
>>The title of the paper is, "J. S. Bach's Cantata 51, Jauchzet Gott in Allen Landen: Historical Observations and Insights for Modern Performance", by Randy Tinnin, Oct. 2005, pp 34 - 38.<<
>>The author focuses on the different roles the trumpet plays in the aria (martial fanfare, solo voice, obbligato voice to the soprano, and orchestral accompaniment) and prescribes different styles for these separate sections.<<
It is interesting to see these things pointed out this way, but do you think that all the great (and sometimes not so great) trumpeters who have played this part during the past half century, were not essentially already performing it this way, if not consciously, then at least according to the sensitivities required of a trumpeter for a good chamber music performance. Such trumpeters were and are capable of adjusting the volume of sound and even playing style (fanfare vs. accompaniment) as musically required by good musicianship.
>>He talks about the contrast between the Baroque stringed instruments and the modern versions, mentioning that the original strings produced a lighter sound.<<
Do you happen to know on what he bases this opinion other than that string instruments did increase in volume with a number of factors that were changed: reconstruction of the violin (as a prime example of a string instrument) to withstand greater string tension of steel strings (formerly all gut) and the greater pressure exerted on all the strings by the newer bow style (after 1750)?
Does he cite historical evidence in the form of written reports from Bach's time (since there are not really any string instruments of great value that survived the watershed of c. 1800)? It could easily be that Bach's strings had a fuller resonant sound (not louder than present-day strings) which would not necessarily translate into a 'lighter' sound such as that which is generally produced by present-day reconstructed period instruments. 'Lighter' might too easily be construed here as part of a recent development and performance characteristic created by many representatives of the HIP movement.
Thanks for giving us a short summary of key ideas contained in this article.
Dale Gedcke wrote (October 18, 2005):
[To Thomas Braatz] The questions you raise are all good ones. But, you should not rely on my summary for an accurate representation of the paper's content. My summary is subject to my perceptions, and distorted by the need to write a short synopsis.
You will have to take a look at his paper and check the references he quotes. I suspect you will recognize several of those references.
Yes, he did mention the change in style of bow, and changing from gut strings to steel.
And, there is much more interesting content than I presented in my synopsis.
Boyd Pehrson wrote (October 19, 2005):
[To Dale Gedcke] Thank you Dale for the reference. It sounds interesting. I'll enjoy having a look at the paper.
Continue on Part 5
Cantata BWV 51: Details
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Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10
Article: The Need for Bach: A discussion of his life, Jauchzet Gott in Allen Landen, BWV 51 and Ich habe genung, BWV 82 [S. Burton]