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This is Bar 47 of the 2nd movement of Mozart's K545. I noticed the lower notehead in the circled part is smaller than all the others. I suppose it's not a printing defect? What does it mean, and how should it be played? Mozart K545, Mvmt 2, mm. 45-48

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Smaller notehead meaning

The smaller notehead here means that the editor is uncertain, based on the sources consulted, whether the note is authentic -- that is, intended by Mozart -- or not. More specifically, the editor either believes:

  1. The note is should be played, so has been added, but cannot be confirmed; or
  2. The note is questionable, but the performer can decide on its inclusion.

A definitive edition

The Henle Urtext edition does not include the note and does not mention it in the critical notes. Henle consulted two editions in the preparation of their urtext, implying those are understood by the Henle editors as definitive. It can further be inferred that neither contains the note in question as Henle would have at minimum included mention in the critical notes. Henle's sources are:

  • First Edition Bureau d'Arts et D'Industrie, Vienna, plate no. 416, 1805 (F).
  • André Edition, Offenbach, plate no. 2142, 1805 (AE).

"F and AE to be regarded as being on an equality with each other as regards sources consulted."1

Reasoning behind inclusion or exclusion

Argument for: The F# is included in the parallel G major measures: 13; 31; 63; 69; and 71.2 Parallel notes (i.e., a fourth below the primary melody note) are also included in measures 23 ad 39.3

Argument against: The (presumptive) omission in the primary sources alone would be sufficient reason. That this was Mozart's intent is reinforced by a critical harmonic difference between m. 47 and all of the other similar instances mentioned above: in m. 47, the F# forms a diminished fourth against the Bb; whereas, in all other cases, the lower pitch forms a perfect fourth. The diminished fourth dissonance can easily be heard as out of place in an otherwise "peaceful" movement.


1 Mozart Klaviersonaten I (Henle 1977/1992), page VII.

2 In m. 13, the F# is in parentheses, meaning that it is omitted from the sources, but the Henle editors believe it was omitted inadvertently. The parallel occurrences (specifically those in G major) back up the decision.

3 In m. 39, Henle notes in the Preface and in the critical notes linked above that the A appears only in the First Edition and not in the André Edition.

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  • Thank you! No wonder I saw quite a few people performing without that note.
    – seamurmurs
    Feb 2 '21 at 16:14

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