7

I'm learning the Tempest sonata, and I don't know how to read measures 72-73:

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In the measure right before the crescendo, that A-C chord with the right hand: is the A sustained while the C is released to hit the B-natural, or are both the A and the C released at the same time, i.e., is that line connecting the A's a tie or a slur?

It looks like a tie to me, but I've consulted many editions, and some write it as a slur, and others as a tie.

  • According to the context, I guess it should be a slur, i.e. you should play the A note twice, to follow the pattern of the bars around. However if I were the editor, I would have the slur/tie curve removed to avoid misconception. – hillin Nov 10 '17 at 5:11
  • What do you mean by "some write it as a slur"? Aren't two-note slurs indistinguishable from ties? – Kilian Foth Nov 10 '17 at 7:47
  • @Kilian Forth, at least on Musescore, the tie tends to hug the notes more closely than the slur. – Dekkadeci Nov 11 '17 at 1:12
3

Your best guide would actually be to listen to recordings & read the writings of acknowledged Beethoven specialists. That said, analysing the lines in the right hand provides some insight.

If we remove the octave transpositions & the rests we have this progression in the 4 bars you provided: reduction of the OP right hand So you can see from what's happening in the counterpoint, both the A in 2nd & 3rd bars and the B♮ in the 3rd & 4th bars should be tied: the A being a suspended 7th on the prevailing B-dim harmony, delaying the onset of E-maj to the 4th bar. So re-striking the notes in both instances would undermine the harmony & counterpoint in the passage.

Update:

I listened to a few recordings & concentrated on the passage in question.

  • Schnabel: doesn't re-strike the A & B♮ (tie)
  • Brendel: doesn't re-strike the A & B♮ (tie)
  • Barenboim: doesn't re-strike the A & B♮ (tie)
  • Pollini: doesn't re-strike the A & B♮ (tie)
  • Grimaud: re-strikes the A & B♮ (slur)

So, in my non-representative sample the majority interpret the A-A & B♮-B♮ joins as ties.

Also, another clue is provided by the editor in the choice of rendering the A against B♮ in the 3rd bar in 2 voices. Some other editions have all of the chords in a single voice through this passage, others are rendered as yours.

1

The A would be held as a tie through the bar and the C would change to a B natural. If there was a marking like staccato on the second a there would be a break but since there isn't it would just be sustained. I also think the C to B would be a slur, so it would not be released in between.

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Judging by the preceding and following two note 'chords' that all change, but with both notes changing, it should sound more uniform to replay the A at the beginning of that bar.

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