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In seeking the score for this piece, I came across 2 frequent editions: one that shows to use the pedal for half the bar, the other to use 2 bursts of pedal

Which pedaling is correct?

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  • 2
    Have you checked out the IMSLP page for this piece? It has a manuscript, first edition, and many other versions. Sep 19 at 11:32
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    Which editions are these?
    – Aaron
    Sep 19 at 13:46

2 Answers 2

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TL;DR

The edition shown in the second video is correct insofar as it matches Chopin's hand-written copy.


The source editions

Video #1

The edition used in the first video I am not able to identify. It's not any of the editions currently on IMSLP, and several Google searches, including image searches for different parts of the score, did not turn it up.

Video #2

This is the Peters Sämtliche Pianoforte-Werke, Band X: Berceuse, Barcarolle, etc. edited by Herrmann Scholtz, which can be found on IMSLP.

Chopin's original

There is an autograph copy, available on IMSLP, that was used for the first German edition. It clearly shows pedaling at the half-measure.

Chopin, Op. 57, autograph mm. 1-4

Almost every edition on IMSLP follows this autograph. The variations are the French first edition — the piece's first publication, the German came next — and editions clearly based on the French edition. These are wrong, based on the evidence of the autograph.

Why the variation

The Video #2 edition — the Scholtz — correctly follows Chopin's autograph. The Video #1 edition, however, seems to follow neither the French nor German editions. The French edition has twice-per-measure pedaling in mm. 13–14, for example; whereas, the Video #1 version maintains the first-half-of-the-measure pedaling in those measures. The departure from the autograph/German editions is obvious from the first measure.

This leaves three possibilities.

  1. The Video #1 edition is just sloppy and poorly written, based on the French edition.

  2. The Video #1 edition is based on the French edition, but the editor figured that the French edition's departures from first-half-of-the-measure pedaling (e.g., mm. 13–14) were errors.

  3. The edition is an editorial performance edition, reflecting not Chopin's "urtext" (which may or may not have been available to the editor), but rather reflecting how the editor felt the piece was best performed.

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  • If we ignore the authority of each source, which version is "musically correct", and why? Sep 20 at 5:21
  • @ElementsinSpace Are you suggesting ignoring the authority even of Chopin's hand-written copy?
    – Aaron
    Sep 20 at 5:26
  • "these are wrong based i'on the evidence of the autograph":the first edition could have been based on another autograph that has not survived.
    – phoog
    Sep 20 at 5:37
  • Your answer so far is excellent research and certainly useful. But manuscripts can have mistakes, and musically informed "improvements" can sometimes be made. I don't think your answer has yet gone to why (musically) the pedalling change might have been made, and whether it makes the piece any "better" or "worse". I think "Which version is 'musically correct?'" is more interesting. Sep 20 at 5:55
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    @ElementsinSpace Your point is perfectly valid, but well beyond the scope of the question. The question simply asks why there are different editions, and I've covered the possibilities: mistakes or different interpretations. Whether one interpretation is more valid than another is a separate question. One worth asking, but separate, and requiring a very different, and much deeper, and potentially highly subjective, kind of analysis. I would welcome the opportunity to consider it, but it's too far beyond the scope here.
    – Aaron
    Sep 20 at 6:02
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Often an editor will add his own fingering, phrasing or pedalling into a score which doesn't make it right or good. It just is.

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