Preparing Critical Editions of Music
This course wil be taught face-to-face
This course is aimed at students preparing critical editions of music as part of course-work and musicians seeking to create performing material from original sources. A significant task in the preparation of any edition of old music is the act of transcription itself, for which knowledge of historical musical notation is required. A part of the course will be devoted to problems of transcribing historical notations from the sixteenth century and later, including lute and keyboard tablatures. Attention will also be given, however, to other tasks relevant to critical editions, especially the process of interpreting the source texts (where more than one source exists) and how editors can convey the results of their interpretation in ways that meet musicological and performing needs. Each session will comprise of lecture portions supported by practical work in the form of analyses of different types of editions and exercises that explore the different stages of the editorial process, including source identification and research, transcription, the construction of critical commentaries/editorial policies, collating the sources, and preparing the final music text.
What are critical editions and for whom are they made?
This session will survey the practice of editing old music from the eighteenth century to the present, while introducing some longstanding problems, including the relationship of notation to performance, the urtext concept, and the different user groups that editions target. The session will seek to clarify the sort of edition that participants will be encouraged to create, one that offers an interpretation of the source materials while ensuring editorial choices remain transparent and that performance options from the sources are made available in a user-friendly manner. The session will include group work in which students will seek to identify the intended user groups of sample editions and to make judgements about their value from their own perspective and that of other potential users. If there is time there will be a visit to the CESEM library to explore the critical editions that are available for consultation there.
Identifying and transcribing the sources.
Research on the sources is an important part of the editing process that begins with an assessment of their relationship to the original milieu of the music to be edited. This session will address generic and some repertory-specific resources available. The second part of the session will address problems of transcription from sixteenth- and seventeenth-century lute tablatures. The session will include group work where there will be opportunities to explore some of the research resources discussed in the first part of the session; in the second part of the session exercises in transcribing from lute tablatures will be tried out.
Preparing single-source editions.
It is at the point of transcription that the editorial work begins, even in editions that aim to be faithful to a single source. This session will address problems when transcribing from part-books and choir-books into score and when transcribing keyboard sources, including those written in open score and tablatures that do not specify how the music is to be distributed between the hands. Transcription exercises will be tried out in the class individually and then shared with other participants for discussion.
Preparing a Critical Commentary and Editorial Policy.
This session will seek to define the purpose of these two essential components of a critical edition and how they complement each other and in relation to editorial interventions that can be represented directly within the music pages. Examples of critical commentaries and editorial policies in recent editions based on more than one source will be studied in groups with examples of the source materials to enable comparison; students will be asked to identify the scope of the commentaries, their relationship to editorial policies, and offer a judgement about the effectiveness of the studied editions.
Collating the sources.
An essential step in preparing a critical edition is to not only record differences between sources but also to come to judgements about how the sources relate to one another, a process called collation. This means that while an edition may be based on a principal source, in practice other sources (where available) are used to check its accuracy and completeness with respect to performance information. Critical commentaries can easily become overly complex when more than one source is involved, and choices usually need to be made about which types of variants between sources to record. Exercises where choices need to be made will be tried out in class, including works that survive in sources in different notational formats.
Preparing the music text and introductory material.
The process of preparing of the music text begins in tandem with collating and interpreting the source texts. However, some further correction and interpretation will usually be needed; for example, decisions will need to be reached about how to treat accidentals and whether variant parallel passages need to be corrected according to one or the other version. Further problems for presenting the music text may arise when there exist variants of equal validity and in these cases the editor will need to find a way of presenting them and making them available to the performer. Exercises will be tried out to explore some of these problems. Afterwards an exam paper, consisting of a short keyboard piece, will be handed out for completion and submission before 15 September.
- John Caldwell, Editing early music, 2nd edition (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995).
- James Grier, The critical editing of music: history, method, and practice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996).
- Richard Rastall, The notation of Western music: an introduction (London: J. M. Dent, 1983).
- Access to a computer with a music notation program installed (e.g. Sibelius). will be an advantage but is not essential. Please bring a pencil and manuscript paper (paper ruled with stave lines) to the classes.”
- The lecture portions of the classes will be given in English. However, communication with the teacher in Portuguese will be possible.
For more details see table in informações úteis.
Andrew Woolley é um Investigador Convidado do CESEM e membro integrado do grupo de Estudos de Música Antiga.