I'm learning Kuhlau's Sonatina Op. 55 No. 2, 3rd movement. I have the book of Kuhlau sonatinas edited by Keith Snell (see pic). I also watched the score shown in this youtube video. I found they differ in Measures 79~81, as you can see in the pictures. I watched a couple of players playing it on youtube and both seem to be playing the version in that youtube score. Which is correct?

Book ed. by K. Snell Score from Snell book

Score from youtube video

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  • Does the Snell edition give any indication of what was used as source material?
    – Aaron
    May 7, 2023 at 1:36
  • For that matter, does it have any kind of Introduction, Preface, or Commentary?
    – Aaron
    May 7, 2023 at 1:39
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    @Aaron Not really, only a short bio intro to Kuhlau the composer, and an intro to sonatina form. The book has a supplementary CD recording (which I don't have), "Ms. True's interpretations follow this edition closely as a practical example for students." May 7, 2023 at 1:50

1 Answer 1


Note: I've attempted to contact the editor, Keith Porter-Snell, to ask how he decided on his edition of the measures in question.

The first edition (1823, IMSLP) published the passage consistent with the YouTube video, and all other editions to which I have access follow suit.1

There is no evident musical justification for the difference. The closest parallel to Snell's version would be the occasional use of the "down a second, up a third" figure that appears in the A section (e.g., mm. 3-4). However, There are two good reasons for the 1823 version:

  1. It provides a climactic moment by hitting the highest note in the piece, the A6 in m. 81, and hitting it on beat 1 (where Snell's high point occurs on beat 3).
  2. It is roughly parallel to the opening of the piece where there is an upward scale followed by the upward leap of the third into the corresponding descending scale.

Snell well may have had access to other editions or autograph copies that justify his variation, but in the absence of knowing what those might be, I would take the 1823 edition, published in the year of composition, as authoritative.

1. Accessible editions:

  • Schirmer/Klee (1893, IMSLP)
  • Ricordi/Pozzoli (no date, IMSLP)
  • Mississippi College Piano Pedagogy (2019, IMSLP)
  • Louis Gregh/Rummel (arr. 4 hands, 1873, IMSLP)
  • Thank you so much for the answer and for the links. That "climactic moment" in the other editions does sound so much better! I downloaded one you linked and compared the rest of the movement, and there are a few more discrepancies in Measures 86~88 (not only differ in up/down, but it's 8 octaves lower!), and Measure 125~126; I may take picture to upload here. Really a hassle for me--glad I asked before continuing from there. May 7, 2023 at 3:10
  • I added a picture to show the other discrepancies (see the blue marks). You can tell the difference by comparing to the versions you linked. :( May 7, 2023 at 3:17
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    @GrandAdagio Those are identical except for the beaming of the first beat. No effect on how it's played. Notationally, I think I prefer the YouTube version, because it makes completely clear the end of one phrase (the G4) and the beginning of the next (E6). It's also clear in the Snell, but very slightly obscured by the beam. The beam advantage, of course, is that it's more clear which notes are part of beat 1.
    – Aaron
    May 9, 2023 at 2:33
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    You don't need to @ the person whose post you're commenting on. That person receives all messages, even if you @ a different person on the comment thread.
    – Aaron
    May 9, 2023 at 3:04
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    @GrandAdagio Unfortunately. Not a word.
    – Aaron
    May 21, 2023 at 3:28

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