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As an example, in the Joseffy edition of the Chopin Nocturne op.62 no.1, there are many instances where a "left parenthesis" is used in front of a chord. I have always assumed this means a rolled chord, but the usage is inconsistent as oftentimes the same editor uses the standard wavy line. Am I misinterpreting this? Is there a distinction to be made in performance?

Example: Chopin Op. 62, No. 1, mm. 29–32, Joseffy Edition

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  • see also: music.stackexchange.com/a/115472/54823
    – rfbw
    Mar 2, 2022 at 16:32
  • I've always interpreted that notation as indicating not "rolling" the notes, though it was never clear to me (in some of those specific spots) why anyone would get the idea, or feel a need, to roll them in the first place. In the measure-four case, a small hand might need to, but, still, it's a "short tenth"... Mar 2, 2022 at 18:23
  • related: secco, non-arpeggio, indicated by square bracket. music.stackexchange.com/questions/109683 May 6, 2022 at 0:09

1 Answer 1

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TL;DR

The vertical slurs and wavy arpeggio markings both indicate arpeggios.

Summary

It seems that Chopin's arpeggio notation evolved over time. In the autograph of his Prelude in A minor, the final chord (m. 23) is clearly marked by a wavy line. However, the Nocturne Op. 55 employs a vertical slur for its final chord (m. 99). In the latter case, however, there is no doubt that an arpeggio is intended. Similarly, Op. 62 No. 2 uses vertical slurs.

The available evidence suggests that the Joseffy edition's use of arpeggio (wavy line) marks in mm. 5, 35, and 36 are editorial/proofreading mistakes. For consistency, all should be vertical slurs.

The Written Evidence

The below table gives the markings used for chords in measures 4 – 9 of Op. 62 No. 1. Note the overall inconsistency in which marking, or none, is used.

Legend

n = no mark
a = arpeggio
s = vertical slur
Edition m. 4 5 6 7 8 9
Chopin Variorum Editions
Stichvorlage autograph 1 p n p p p n
Stichvorlage autograph 2 p p p p p n
French First Edition p p p p p n
French First Edition (Dubois) p p p p p n
French First Edition (Franchomme) p p p p p n
German First Edition p n p p p n
German Second Edition p n p p p n
German Second Edition — corrected p n p p p n
English First Edition n p p p p n
Complete Works (German) a a a a a n
Kullak a a a a a n
Klindworth n n n a a n
Mikuli p a p p p n
Scholtz p p p p p p
Joseffy p a p p p n
Cortot a a a a a n
Elkier a a a a a n
Personal Editions
Paderewski(1) p p p p p n
Henle Urtext(2) a a a a a n

(1) The Paderewski edition contains the following note:

the original editions in this work always use a vertical slur to indicate the arpeggio, and not a wavy line. We have retained this peculiarity.

The edition further notes the German First Edition's bar 5 omission of the arpeggio.

(2) The Henle Urtext, like the Paderewski edition, notes the German First Edition's bar 5 ommission, and includes further reference to the parallel moment in bar 30, which contains an arpeggio (wavy or smooth) mark in all editions.

SOURCES:

  • All autographs and first editions come from the Chopin Variorum Edition.
  • All editorial editions, excepting Paderewski and the Henle Urtext, are from ISMLP.
  • The Paderewski and Henle editions are from my own bookshelves.
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  • If your TL;DR has 'vertical slur means arpeggio', I think it would be more direct. Unless I misunderstood your answer. May 6, 2022 at 0:11
  • 1
    @MichaelCurtis You're right. Updated.
    – Aaron
    May 6, 2022 at 3:49

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