7

I am using the "Edition Peters" and there are notes which have a staccatissimo sign under some notes. Should these be observed? It seems to me that it disrupts the overall tonal quality of the piece. Copies of the pieces I am playing have to be provided to the examiners. Would appreciate some advice as this is for a Diploma exam.

4
  • A reasonable way to answer this for yourself: go to www.imslp.org, find editions of the piece other than the Peters edition, and check them for staccatissimos.
    – Dekkadeci
    Dec 5 '21 at 15:32
  • 2
    Just leaving a comment to say that I’m working on a long answer about why we have permission to disregard interpretative markings that are from editors rather than the composer, and in general how one might approach the question of choosing editions and interpreting a work with such a long history. Dec 5 '21 at 18:45
  • 1
    @AndyBonner Good idea for a post, but it seems likely that posting it in a question specific to Bach would mean lots of potential readers would miss it. I have a vague memory that there's an existing question for your answer, but if not, I suggest creating one.
    – Aaron
    Dec 5 '21 at 19:23
  • 3
    @AndyBonner Also, I suggest addressing the differences between creating one's own interpretation versus interpreting for an exam — as is the case in this particular question — in which the adjudicators may have biases toward "traditional" interpretations.
    – Aaron
    Dec 5 '21 at 19:25
6

In an autograph copy of the fugue, staccato markings are present, though somewhat inconsistent.

BWV 851 mm. 1–2 autograph
(SOURCE: above link to autograph)

The Henle Urtext edition1 places a staccato dot on every instance of the main subject, second measure, second beat. Additionally, in measure 30 through 32, where the middle and lower voices both have quarter notes on beats 2 and 3, staccato dots are specified on both beats above the middle voice. A complete list is given below.

However, in the recording by Andras Schiff, he does not observe the staccato markings, instead giving those notes their full duration.

Richter also does not observe the staccato.

In contrast, Wanda Landowska, in her harpsichord recording, treats the staccatos as strict eighth note / eighth rest pairs.


The Henle editions places staccato dots as follows:

Hand.measure.beat.note
RH.m2.b2.Bb4
RH.m4.b2.F4
RH.m5.b2.E5
LH.m7.b2.B3
RH.m9.b2.Eb5
RH.m10.b2.D5
RH.m11.b2.C5
LH.m12.b2.Bb3
RH.m14.b2.F5
LH.m15.b2.A3 (editorial insertion)
LH.m16.b2.B3 (editorial insertion)
LH.m18.b2.F3 (editorial insertion)
RH.m19.b2.F4
LH.m22.b2.F3
RH.m23.b2.G4
LH.m24.b2.A2
RH.m28.b2.C#5 (editorial insertion)
RH.m29.b2.Bb4 (editorial insertion)
LH.m30.b2.F#3
LH.m30.b3.A3
LH.m31.b2.E3
LH.m31.b3.G3
LH.m32.b2.D3
LH.m32.b3.F3
RH.m33.b2.E5
LH.m40.b2.Bb3
RH.m41.b2.Bb4


1 J.S.Bach, Das Wohltemperierte Klavier Book I, ed. Ernst-Günter Heinemann (G. Henle Verlag, n.d.), 28–29.

3

I do not know exactly what you mean by that (it would be useful to include a picture of an example). Before the use of the staccatissimo wedge it was common to use a little vertical dash in some places, which might be confused with a staccatissimo. It is assumed that these dashes were used to indicate some form of accent shift, or to mark notes that should receive more weight.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.