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Talking about Mahler's Ninth Symphony
(score-reading with Derek Wong)

(C)1996, 1998 by
José Oscar Marques
marques@newsguy.com


This is a short text meant to be used as a quick reference for simple questions about
the multiple versions of Bruckner symphonies. I compiled it for my own use but I came
to believe it could be useful for other people with the same doubts I had at the time I
started looking into the problem. Almost everything that is in it I learned from the
excellent postings of David Griegel, Henry Fogel and Juan Cahis in rec.music.classical.
Of course they aren't responsible for the mistakes it may contain. Also, I apologize for
my far from perfect English.


Date: Tue, 16 Jan 1996 00:23:00 -0800
To: mahler-list@eskimo.com
From: derekw@direct.ca (Derek Wong)
Subject: Mahler 9th score reading

Hi all,

This is the continuation of a Mahler 9th thread started in r.m.c a while ago (...)

Most of my scores are Universal Edition, including the 9th.

I really can't say I have any "insight". Just bits and pieces here and there I would like to share wiht others who are interested. (Please excuse my sp and grammar.)

OK, let's start with the first movement. (open your text book... )

This movement is very loosely in sonate form. Two (may be three) themes. Rhythm is often irregular. Against the main 4/4 pulse. Much like how Mahler's walking is described by some. Take the very first bars. These dotted rhythms, with ties, creates ambiguity of pulse. Look at the 4th horn, pulsating off beat. The first solid 4/4 is developed by Harfe in 3rd bar. Then the muted horn let out a sigh, again in jerky rhythm. Then we have the main melody (D major) played by 2nd Vl, echoed by the horn in background. Notice the horn sighing in echo is always step-wise downwards until the cadence point right before the 6/4 bar. There it goes up a bit then fall down again. (I guess you'd have to listen to understand the effect of that.) We then hear the theme again. And then cadence with a 6/4 bar and ends the first theme's exposition.

Double bar line, Second theme (D minor) played by 1st Vl, has more anger. Much poly rhythm here in the accompaniiment. 3 against 4. A lot of these happen in low strings and other soft inst. 8th note triplets, 16th notes, etc, sometimes tied togehter. You don't really hear this as it happens in low str and soft inst. So you feel the uncomfortness and tension rather. The second theme again cadence in a 6/4 bar. Double bar line (bar 47).

We have the first theme return in the same key, D major. This 7 bars of the first theme is, I think, quite typical of the 9th symphony's orchestration. In short, very fragtmented. Individual parts often don't make much sense playing by themselves. Only when they are played together do they form a coherent picture. That's why i said it takes great skill of orchestral players. Like chamber music, you are often on your own.

Let's look at this 7 bars in a bit more detial. The main theme is played by 1 and 2 Vl. Try to play the 2 parts separately (on piano) and you'd know what i mean by fragmented. Almost as if they are playing mostly wrong notes. But put them together and the main theme *emerge* out of those "wrong" notes. Quite amazing! Try it to believe.

Mahler drops in inst colouration of the theme here and there. End of the first (of the 7) bar we have the high Kl Fl (piccolo) colouring a note and a half. The Eb clar is there, too, colouring two full notes. The 4 flutes are doing backup of the theme pretty much all the way. But notice how they couldn't make up their mind to support the first or the second Vl (!).

The three oben have been there since bar one, supporting 2nd Vl. On the third bar, though, they take a rest. We have the trumpet (one only!) taking over instead. Only for one and a hlaf bar. He then tosses it back to three oben. And they are quite "faithful" to the 2nd Vl until the end.

Another group of instruments playing the 6-tuplets motive. They are low str, fag and A klar. Kbass and fag play that on the first beat. The rest play on the second and third beat. (Usually.)

3 4 Hr are doing the staccato version of the tuplet motive. They are given a ff "licence" on the fourth bar. (God, I looove that part!!!!)

1 2 Hr are doing the step-wise downward legato echo.

The Harfe are doing their own thing. Don't ask me what! (They sound pretty drunk to me.)

And last but not least, some very peculiar things happen in the A Klar from the 5th bar onwards. They are playing this very active (and nice!) melody. Try play it. I have no idea where this melody comes from. I mean, I don't htink it appears elsewhere in the piece. The 3 of them blasting in ff unison. Still, I haven't noticed it surfacing in any CD recording. It would be nice to hear it.

With such fragmented orchestration, I don't know how the orchestra can hold together to form a full tone. Although my expereince is very limited, I think this is the kind of mistake inexperience composers often make. Too dangerous. Too "orchestra unfriendly". Relying too much on the players. Require huge effort to bind the sound together and make it work. (And it can sound quite awful on some recordings.) but in this case it shows how skillful and confident Mahler is.

After that we have bits and pieces of theme one strung together. Double bar line. Notice that this (and a number of other) double bar line is very tough for the orchestra and the conductor to jump across. On many recordings the first bar after the jump is a huge mess. They have to wait till the 1st Vl come in on the second bar (playing the theme) before they would stop looking at each other! (Yes, I can see them thru my speakers.) The 1st Vl play theme two, in Bb major this time, wiht a lot more anger. The triplet motive (brass) dominates and build up to a climax. Then dies down. Ending in (relative) G minor. We have full orchestra rest, except for Pk doing trio and Kbass sustain in pp. Double bar line, a very important one. (bar 107) It was actually a repeat sign in the orig draft score, marking the end of exposition (in terms of sonate) and we probably would have repeated from the very beginning.

Need a rest. There you have the expo. The first 7 minutes.

I have bedroom-conducted the first movement many many times. (Who doesn't have the Kaplan dream?!) It was very tough at first. Got lost a lot. The rhythms are very irregular. Often the instruments don't form a main pulse. And their pulses often don't agree with the 4/4 bar lines. So you have to be very carefull. I had to make manymany markings on the score to guide me. Now I don't need the markings anymore. But I still can't do it without score. I can't imagine how those guys do it!

Derek.


Date: Wed, 24 Jan 1996 03:53:41 -0300
To: mahler-list@eskimo.com
From: Jose Marques <jmarques@originet.com.br>
Subject: Re: Mahler 9th score reading

Derek Wong wrote a perceptive commentary on the exposition of the 1st mov. of Mahler's Ninth Symphony. I take the opportunity to make some observations. All page references are to the Dover score.

Three themes, I believe. Third theme appears on page 13, four bars before cue 6. It is a very expressive melody (reminds me of the "Alma" theme in the Sixth). Always appear with cymbals, and associated with the climaxes.

It is amazing how many things come from these four notes (F# A B A). The sextuples figure (ascending third and descending second) is based on it, and also this passage for the horns that Derek liked so much:

Pity they don't sound so ff in my recording... I never noticed them until you pointed.

I couldn't hear them either. But the harps play in part the same melody.

I am curious at how Derek will describe the structure of the following development section. In the meantime, I'd like to suggest an analysis I've seen that divides it in 3 interludes and 2 song episodes:

P. 16 (double bar) First interlude - The introductory fragmentary material of the beginning of the movement is presented again. A melody in the violins (just before cue 7) looks as something new but is in fact a derivation from those four notes of the harp in bar 3. A chromatic transition leads to the:

P. 20 (Tempo I.) First song episode - The violins divide between themselves a quote from a waltz by Strauss called "Enjoy life", just before the first theme is played by the horn. The three themes appear in this episode.

P. 34 (cue 13) Second interlude - Very short. Again a chromatic transition leads to the:

P. 36 (Tempo I.) Second song episode - The Strauss quote now appears in solo 1st and 2nd violins. There are two successive climaxes built on the third theme.

P. 46 (cue 15) Third interlude. Very menacing, with the four notes hammered ff in timpani. They are reduced to three afterwards (F# A B) and provide a recurrent basis for the distant trumpet fanfares (wie ein schwerer Kondukt). The tonality returns to D major and the recapitulation begins at page 49 double bar.

That's it for now. I'll wait to see more proposals.

Jose Marques


Date: Wed, 24 Jan 1996 14:33:20 -0800
To: mahler-list@eskimo.com
From: derekw@direct.ca (Derek Wong) Subject:
Re: Mahler 9th score reading

At 3:53 1/24/96 -0300, Jose Marques wrote:

That is *exactly* where i have marked on my score in bracket: (Th III).

Yes, emotionally this is similar to the Alma theme. Melodically I found another connection. I have always thought of this theme as a quotation from the first symphony last movement. If you have the score handy, its first occurrance is at the last movement [18], but it appears many many times.

True, isn't it?! I think they are closely related to theme I. In fact, it is possible that theme I is built around this motif. I can't remember where i read it, but it is said that Schoenberg after seeing this score used the 3 notes in his Klavierstuecke Op.19 last piece.

Fantastic! I just finished typing up my version before I received this mail. Let's compare...

I, following some books, refer the first 3 pages after the double bar line as Funeral March. There are 3 Funeral Marches in the movement. I think of them as the structural strong points of the development. The first and third of which coincide with your First and Third Interlude, but the second doesn't.

No kidding! It's Johann, you mean? I have always thought of that theme as a variation of theme I.

I can't quite figure out how this interlude is related to the other two. Or are they not? The first two Interludes have what you called chromatic transition with violins slowly "crawling" back to the Strauss waltz (or theme I var). But the third one doesn't. But the first and third are what i called Funeral March.

This development section is very unstructured. Some have said of it as through composed song for instruments and I think that's quite reasonable. Oh well, I guess development is never meant to be very structured anyway. And i think Mahler had never been too keen on Classical forms either.

PS: It seems Dover page numbers are simply 2 less than Universal Edition. The UE that i have starts on P.3 and ends on P.60. Could it be the Dover starts on P.1 and ends on P.58?

Best regards, Derek.


Date: Thu, 25 Jan 1996 05:27:14 -0300
To: mahler-list@eskimo.com
From: Jose Marques <jmarques@originet.com.br>
Subject: Re: Mahler 9th score reading

Derek Wong wrote about the third theme in the 1st movement f Mahler's Ninth:

Indeed! I am so familiar with this melody and never realized it belongs to two symphonies! But it doesn't come always with cymbals and in climaxes, as I said. In the coda it is played pp by the first horn. It is interesting that this theme doesn't appear in the recapitulation - this is the reason perhaps it has to figure in the coda.

I think so, too. The theme I begins exactly with the descending second (twice) and the ascending third.

Yes, the three notes have a very prominent role there, not as a melodic shape but in the form of a chord A F# B. It is played in the right hand in seven of the ten bars that constitute op. 19/6. I didn't know that it originated in Mahler's work!

Yes, John Jr., op. 340. The amazing thing is that it is a quotation from Strauss AND a variation of theme I. Look at what the second violin alone is playing here and compare to what it plays in the exposition (cue 2). The Strauss melody only appears when first and second violins combine. A bit of irony this "Enjoy life" in the middle of a movement so dominated (apud Redlich) by the vision of death.

Hmm. What you called the second funeral march, I interpreted as a mere preparation for the second theme, still in the context of the first song episode. Does it sound like a march to you?

Yes. Dover goes from 1 to 58.

I'll look better into your analysis and will come back later.


Date: Thu, 25 Jan 1996 21:32:38 -0800
To: mahler-list@eskimo.com
From: derekw@direct.ca (Derek Wong)
Subject: Re: Mahler 9th score reading

At 5:27 1/25/96 -0300, Jose Marques wrote:

>Indeed! I am so familiar with this melody and never realized it belongs to two symphonies! But it doesn't come always with cymbals and in climaxes, as

Same problem here! The themes are so familiar that their identities are lost. I do remember that the first time I heard those I jumped up, "what the ... ?!"

Pity I didn't note down those connections. And now it takes great effort to rediscover them.

>Yes, the three notes have a very prominent role there, not as a melodic shape but in the form of a chord A F# B. It is played in the right hand in seven of the ten bars that constitute op. 19/6. I didn't know that it originated in Mahler's work!

Yes, I remember once playing that piece. You need a pretty big right paw to play those three notes!

>Hmm. What you called the second funeral march, I interpreted as a mere preparation for the second theme, still in the context of the first song episode. Does it sound like a march to you?

I understand what you mean. Compared to the first and third march this one only half qualifies. In fact, this one doesn't even have that ff dotted brass rhythm, only the timpani hammers. But by ear I still link it to the other two. Perhaps because of massive chord right at [11] and the chaos that came before it.

But why is the second interlude called an interlude? I mean, why shouldn't the first song episode, the second interlude and the second song episode be joint together and called just one song episode?

Is it because of the fermatas that are at the second interlude? Does the second interlude has start and end points? I guess what I am trying to find out is what charteristics qualify a section as interlude and another as song episode.


Date: Wed, 24 Jan 1996 14:33:26 -0800
To: mahler-list@eskimo.com
From: derekw@direct.ca (Derek Wong)
Subject: Mahler 9th (1st Movt Devel/Recap)

Hello all,

I did the exposition last time. This time I will carry on with the rest of the first movement. First, let me outline the whole form. This is what the form would look like if you use sonata as the model.

Note: "D+" means D major, "D-" means D minor. Pages in score refer to Universal Edition. If you are using other editions you can still follow quite easily by the rehearsal numbers and the key signatures. Also the sections listed are almost always divided by double bar lines. These analysis are almost entirely my own, so you know... don't risk your life on it.

9TH SYMPHONY FIRST MOVEMENT

EXPOSITION (7 minutes)

D+ before[1] p.3 Th I
D- before[3] p.5 Th II
D+ before[4] p.8 Th I
Bb+ after[5] p.12 Th II

DEVELOPMENT (14 minutes)

Bb+ after[6] p. 18 *Funeral March
D+ before[8] p. 22 Th I
Bb+ after [8] p. 23 (Th I, etc.)
p. 24 (Trumpet, motif from "Titan")
G+ [10] p. 26 development of brass triplet theme
Bb+ before [11] p. 29 thematic development
D- [11] p. 31 *Funeral March
Bb- before [12] p. 32 Th II
D+ before [13] p. 35 fermatas ("hopeless sighings")
D+ after [13] p. 38 Th I, etc.
B+ before[14] p. 41 thematic development before[15]
before [15] p. 47 *Funeral March
(Preparation for Recap)


RECAPITULATION (8 minutes)

D+ after[15] p. 50 Intro
D+ before [16] p. 51 Th I
D- after[16] p. 55 (Th II)
D- p. 56 Cadenza
D+ p. 57 Coda

(ends in D+)

The development section (starting bar 108) occupies half of hte total time of the movement. Whereas the outer sections are tidily structured the development is much more freely composed. You will hear all the different themes and motives fragmented, transformed and merged into each other. And sometimes we even get fragments from earlier symphonies, the most distinct one is the offstage trumpet motif from the 1st symphony.

The entries I listed above really are not of much structural importance. Mostly, I simply listed out the double bar line points put in by Mahler.

KEYS:

The keys are even less meaningful. They are the "official" key signatures written in the score. But you can expect to find 3 or 4 key changes in each section without "official announcement". A quick glance at the key signatures may lead you to think that Mahler is using standard Romantic modulations by third (G, B, D). That could be what Mahler had in mind at first, hence the keys' official status. But all of them are so unstably presented that the effect is much diluted.

Two things of interest. Notice that theme I is never presented in any other keys other than D+. This is true in the expo, the recap but also in the development. Surely this is a deliberation. May be Mahler wanted a certain distinctive atmosphere attached to the theme.

The other thing I am quite puzzled with is the extra key changes that occur in some (and only some!) intruments between [14] and [15]. The big key signature here is B+. However, some instruments change to Ab+. Then some of them change back to B+. Then all of them change back to B+.

FUNERAL MARCHES:

Of greater structural importance are the 3 Funeral Marches that occur at the start, middle and end of the development. This is where you hear the timpani hammering out the pentatonic motif. All are very atonal-ish and modulatory. The last one (before [15]) is possibly the climax of the movement, with Hr, Pos, Btb marching. The trombone section plays at fff, mit hoechster Gewalt (with greatest strength), schalltrichter auf (bells up) - one of those big moments in live performance.

PREPARATION FOR RECAP:

After the greatest despair comes the grandest beauty. We are preparing for the recapitulation. All the motives slowly reappear, with the tam tam and bass drum decorating the atmosphere. The pentatonic motive, trumpet motif from "Titan", downward motif from theme I, one after the other. Slowly the music modulates upward, until we finally reach D+ at the double bar line.

RECAP:

We have a much expanded intro, both in terms of orchestration and length. The tiefe Glocken, temporarily substituting the timpani, plays the pentatonic theme with great solemness. The downword motif is played by 4 Horns in sf, with help from trombones. 1st Vl plays the broken pentatonic theme, not in the usual 6-tuplet form but in 32nd's. (The only recording I know that "demonstrates" this new rhythm is Sinopoli's.) The texture gradually thins out. And finally, the return of theme I (Wie von Anfang??). It is presented twice. The first time with calm, the second time grandiose.

CADENZA AND CODA:

The key changes to D- after the double bar line. Following a very brief moment of theme II we have another double bar line. We then have free playing from Fl and Hr at what may be called the cadenza.

We shift back to home key D+ in the coda. Voices become more and more gentle and longing. The movement ends with detached fragments of themes, dying away, inconsolably.

FINAL CHORD ORCHESTRATION:

How did Mahler orchestrate the final chord? We have piccolo, harp and cello, all playing D's. The rest of the strings join in for the attack, playing the same note as the cello, pizzacato, harmonic (Flag) on open ("o") G-string (auf der G-saite). It may be the highest pitch a cello can make (?).

The harp is playing harmonic, too. (Two bars before you will notice that their second group of [F#, A] Flag sounds an octave higher than the first, non-Flag.)

The chord sustained by oboe and horns (basically a dominant chord) is given one extra beat as a dissonant suspension. (Side note: That extra beat is observed by none of the recordings I have. Probably out of breath!!)

PS: Want to have some fun? Start at bar 7, play on the piano 2nd violin on the right hand and contrabass on the left.

PPS: Next time I'd like to talk about the first ten bars of the 4th movement.


Date: Wed, 24 Jan 1996 19:22:47 +0001 (EST)
From: Gerry Seixas <gerbs1@world.std.com>
Subject: Re: Mahler 9th (1st Movt Devel/Recap)
To: mahler-list@eskimo.com

On Wed, 24 Jan 1996, Derek Wong wrote:

> FINAL CHORD ORCHESTRATION: How did Mahler orchestrate the final chord? We have piccolo, harp and > cello, all playing D's. The rest of the strings join in for the attack, playing the same note as the cello, pizzacato, harmonic (Flag) on open ("o") G-string (auf der G-saite). It may be the highest pitch a cello can make (?). The harp is playing harmonic, too. (Two bars before you will notice that their second group of [F#, A] Flag sounds an octave higher than the first, non-Flag.) The chord sustained by oboe and horns (basically a dominant chord)

Concert pitches are F#-A horns, E oboe. This is a D9, no?

> is given one extra beat as a dissonant suspension. (Side note: That extra beat is observed by none of the recordings I have. Probably out of breath!!)

I think dovetailing the oboe/horn suspension into the piccolo/harp/ cello D would seriously mar the effect of this "final chord". The oboe/horn parts are marked "morendo", and perhaps the extra beat should not have been written, so the usual interpretation seems appropriate to me.

Gerry


Date: Thu, 25 Jan 1996 14:15:59 -0800
To: mahler-list@eskimo.com
From: derekw@direct.ca (Derek Wong)
Subject: Re: Mahler 9th (1st Movt Devel/Recap)

At 19:22 1/24/96 +0001, Gerry Seixas wrote:

>> The chord sustained by oboe and horns (basically a dominant chord) > >Concert pitches are F#-A horns, E oboe. This is a D9, no?

Ha ha, I did say basically, didn't i? :-)

I agree with you, D9 is a perfectly valid explanation. However, I prefer to see that part as D+ juxtapose with A+, that is, the tonic and dominant. (Same thing, you said!) THe horn chord shifts from dominant to tonic. Oboe (probably the loudest intrument here) goes from tonic to dominant. And the harp plays tonic only. On paper both explanations work equally well. On listening, I feel more like being pushed and pulled by tonic and dominant rather than hearing a D9. That is subjective, of course.

>> is given one extra beat as a dissonant suspension. (Side note: That >> extra beat is observed by none of the recordings I have. Probably out >> of breath!!)

>I think dovetailing the oboe/horn suspension into the piccolo/harp/cello D would seriously mar the effect of this "final chord". The oboe/horn parts are marked "morendo", and perhaps the extra beat should not have been written, so the usual interpretation seems appropriate to me.

I did not check that "morendo" means dying until you pointed out. Like you, I also thought that the extra beat would harm the final chord. However, I have doubts that Mahler (!!!) would have made such a mistake. And even in that unlikelyhood, it still doesn't make sense cos that beat is an EXTRA beat and therefore would require concious effort to put it in, wouldn't it?

May be the intended effect of "morendo" is to create a fade out. (Pretty tough from ppp!) But that extra beat is there to make sure there is no actual silence before the final chord. Just my guess.

My feeling is that Mahler as a composer is very conscious about those tiny details. Notice those little rests in between dotted rhythms to ensure clarity? (Quite irratating!) Therefore sometimes I look very very closely at the scores (1 cm!) to discover these tiny little decision making. Fascinates me! What was he thinking? You can catch Mahler's moment of thought when he was writing that part.

Regards, Derek.


Date: Fri, 26 Jan 1996 18:41:53 -0300
To: mahler-list@eskimo.com
From: Jose Marques <jmarques@originet.com.br>
Subject: Re: Mahler 9th (1st Movt Devel/Recap)

At 19:22 24.01.96 +0001, Gerry Seixas wrote:

>On Wed, 24 Jan 1996, Derek Wong wrote:

>> FINAL CHORD ORCHESTRATION:

>> The chord sustained by oboe and horns (basically a dominant chord)

>Concert pitches are F#-A horns, E oboe. This is a D9, no?

It is interesting that in the countless times we have the descending F# E figure in this first movement, it NEVER comes all the way to the D, and our expectations to hear the tonic are always frustrated.

The same thing happens in the last bars of the movement. The oboe plays F# E and gets stuck in it. It simply can't descend from the ninth to the tonic, although the other instruments are all sounding a pure D major. Finally, the piccolo loses its patience and provides the missing D (well, two octaves higher than expected, but hey it is a piccolo!).

Jose Marques jmarques@OrigiNet.com.br


Date: Fri Jan 26 19:30:43 1996 To: derekw@direct.ca (Derek Wong) From: Jose Marques <jmarques@originet.com.br> Subject: Re: Mahler 9th score reading

At 21:32 25.01.96 -0800, you wrote:

>But why is the second interlude called an interlude? I mean, why shouldn't the first song episode, the second interlude and the second song episode be joint together and called just one song episode?

I'm beginning to think this is what we should do in the end. Neither my second interlude nor your second funeral march seem to be of the same order as the 1st and 3rd.

I'm posting this privately to you first, to hear your opinion.

The development section would have roughly the following structure:

- Funeral March I (development of the introductory material), with transition to

- Development of theme A, concluding with brief appearance of theme C

- Transition (11) (this is your second F. M.)

- Development of theme B

- Transition (13) (this was my second interlude)

- Development of themes A and C

- Funeral March II

>Is it because of the fermatas that are at the second interlude? Does the second interlude has start and end points? I guess what I am trying to find out is what charteristics qualify a section as interlude and another as song episode.

I'm willing to abandon the distinction. But I don't know what fermatas you are referring to. Can't see them in my score.

I'm waiting to see your opinion.

Jose Marques


Date: Fri, 26 Jan 1996 19:20:32 -0800
To: Jose Marques <jmarques@originet.com.br>
From: derekw@direct.ca (Derek Wong)
Subject: Re: Mahler 9th score reading

Hello Jose,

At 19:32 1/26/96 -0300, Jose Marques wrote:

>The development section would have roughly the following structure:

> - Funeral March I (development of the introductory material), with transition to

> - Development of theme A, concluding with brief appearance of theme C

> - Transition (11) (this is your second F. M.)

> - Development of theme B

> - Transition (13) (this was my second interlude)

> - Development of themes A and C

> - Funeral March II

This latest model is highly tempting! March, A ... B ... A & C, March.

So very organized. I am quite willing to accept it (if that means anything).

This could well be the best model of the three. But it's not without its fair share of problem. I have listed out the total no of pages for each section:

March 4 pages
Dev Theme A 9 pages
Transition 1 pages
Dev Theme B 3 pages
Transition 3 pages
Dev Theme A and C 9 pages
Funeral March 3 pages

All is well and fine except Dev Theme B may be too short as a main section and the following Transition is too long. It's not a big problem. The other one is that, do the 3 thematic development sections contain substantial portion of those individual theme(s) so that it is capable of putting the theme name as the title of that sections? I haven't gone thru the music myself. So I don't know the answer.

This is a quick reply so there could be things I overlooked. For example, do no of pages really represent the "amount" of music?

All in all, I think all 3 models have their merits as well as problems. If I must pick one, I would pick this latest one, which tried to take the best from the first two. I don't think we should be overly worried though if we can't fit the music into a clearly organized structure, especially when we are dealing with a highly creative composer.

>I'm willing to abandon the distinction. But I don't know what fermatas you are referring to. Can't see them in my score.

There are 3 fermatas in my score. All at around [13],

1: The bar before [13] 2 & 3: After [13], the bar before Shattenhaft.

Regards, Derek.


Date: Sat Jan 27 20:27:32 1996
To: derekw@direct.ca (Derek Wong)
From: Jose Marques <jmarques@originet.com.br>
Subject: Re: Mahler 9th score reading

Hi, Derek,

>This could well be the best model of the three. But it's not without its >fair share of problem. I have listed out the total no of pages for each >section:

>March 4 pages
>Dev Theme A 9 pages
>Transition 1 pages
>Dev Theme B 3 pages
>Transition 3 pages
>Dev Theme A and C 9 pages
>Funeral March 3 pages

>All is well and fine except Dev Theme B may be too short as a main section >and the following Transition is too long. It's not a big problem.

But observe that if we include the two "transitions" in the B group (as indeed we should, for they have material associated with B), the number of pages of each part will be quite well proportionate.

>The other one is that, do the 3 thematic development sections contain substantial portion of those individual theme(s) so that it is capable of putting the theme name as the title of that sections? I haven't gone thru the music myself. So Idon't know the answer.

This is really a problem. In fact the three themes, or fragments of it, as well as a lot of secondary motives, appear everywhere. So one shouldn't take too seriously the names "A section", "B section", etc. It is not so much a question of the themes in themselves but the climate associated with each. May be the dominant tonalities in each section could give us a clue: (D) major for the A group and (D) minor for the B group.

>All in all, I think all 3 models have their merits as well as problems. If I must pick one, I would pick this latest one, which tried to take the best from the first two. I don't think we should be overly worried though if we can't fit the musci into a clearly organized structure, especially when we are dealing with a highly creative composer.

Yes, you are right in this. What we are doing isn't "discovering" a hidden structure Mahler followed in composing the movement. He obviously didn't follow anything of the sort. As I understand, we are looking for convenient ways of ordering the material of the movement so that we can encompass it at a glance, and know, so to say, where we "are" while listening. This involves a lot of simplifications, of course.

May be we are making too much of the idea of sonata development. This movement is frequently called a rondo - wouldn't it help to look at it that way? Then we would have:

[Expo] Intro, group A, group B, group A, group B (with C)

[Devel] Intro (F. M.), group A (with C), group B, group A (with C), F. M.

[Recap] Intro, group A, group B (this comprises the cadenza), group A with C (coda)

The recurrence of the D major group A characterizes the rondo. I believe this model isn't incompatible with the sonata structure.

Another possibility that suggests itself from the above is to think of a first movement in the Bruckner manner: the exposition is followed by sections that are in fact repetitions of the exposition, with similar structure. Have to think about it yet.

Jose Marques


Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 18:50:00 -0800
To: Jose Marques <jmarques@originet.com.br>
From: derekw@direct.ca (Derek Wong)
Subject: Re: Mahler 9th score reading

Hello Jose,

At 0:54 1/28/96 -0300, Jose Marques wrote:

>But observe that if we include the two "transitions" in the B group (as indeed we should, for they have material associated with B), the the number of pages of each part will be quite well proportionate.

That's true. So there will be 3 parts in between the Marches.

>This is really a problem. In fact the three themes, or fragments of it, as well as a lot of secondary motives, appear everywhere. So one shouldn't take too seriously the names "A section", "B section", etc. It is not so much a question of the themes in themselves but the climate associated with each. May be the dominant tonalities in each section could give us a clue: (D) major for the A group and (D) minor for the B group.

I can't make much out of the tonalities. I have looked at them before and just relooked.

I think we can now sectionalize it this way:

March
Development part A
Development part B
Development part C
March

>Yes, you are right in this. What we are doing isn't "discovering" a hidden structure Mahler followed in composing the movement. He obviously didn't follow anything of the sort. As I understand, we are looking for convenient ways of ordering the material of the movement so that we can encompass it at a glance, and know, so to say, where we "are" while listening. This involves a lot of simplifications, of course.

I couldn't have put my view clearer! Theory always follows music.

>May be we are making too much of the idea of sonata development. This movement is frequently called a rondo - wouldn't it help to look at it that >way?

You can look at this movement from so many angles, can't you? Yes, rondo is fine model as well, I agree.

In fact sometimes I think that there is only one form: [home] [excursion] [home]

And all other forms (sonata, etc.) are just variations of this form.

>Another possibility that suggests itself from the above is to think of a first movement in the Bruckner manner: the exposition is followed by sections that are in fact repetitions of the exposition, with similar structure. Have to think about it yet.

I don't know much about Bruckner's music. I went thorugh the score of his 4th once. Is that how he composed? But wouldn't that be just a specific kind of sonata? I mean, if you structure a development the same as the expo, then all 3 sections will have the same structure. Or is it too simplistic?

Let the exploration continue, Derek.


Sat Feb 03 03:25:02 1996
To: derekw@direct.ca (Derek Wong)
From: Jose Marques <jmarques@originet.com.br>
Subject: Re: Mahler 9th score reading

Hi Derek,

>That's true. So there will be 3 parts in between the Marches.

>I think we can now sectionalize it this way:

>March
>Development part A
>Development part B
>Development part C
>March

I'm glad we are arriving at something. Why don't you break the news to the list?

>I don't know much about Bruckner's music. I went thorugh the score of his 4th once. Is that how he composed? But wouldn't that be just a specific >kind of sonate? I mean, if you structre a development the same as the expo, >then all 3 sections will have the same structure. Or is it too simplistic?

Yes, you are right, it would be sonata form, with the peculiarity that all themes would be present in the development.

>Let the exploration continue, Derek.

I've noticed some interesting motive connections in the first movement. I will post something in the list, but would like to see you presenting there the whole structure first. And you owe us a comment on the fourth movement too, isn't it?


Date: Sat, 3 Feb 1996 13:50:59 -0800
To: Jose Marques <jmarques@originet.com.br>
From: derekw@direct.ca (Derek Wong)
Subject: Re: Mahler 9th score reading

Hello Jose,

>I've noticed some interesting motive connections in the first movement. I will post something in the list, but would like to see you presenting there the whole structure first. And you owe us a comment on the fourth movement too, isn't it?

I will do that within the next few days. The forth moevement comment will come at a bit later. I have been quite busy lately. But do hang in there!

Derek.


Date: Sun, 11 Feb 1996 23:02:23 -0800
To: mahler-list@eskimo.com
From: derekw@direct.ca (Derek Wong)
Subject: Re: Mahler 9th score reading

Hello,

My awfully busy schedule lately has kept me from indulging myself into my favourite passtime - enjoying Mahler's music. A while back we were chatting about the formal structure of 9th symohony's first movement. And we had many views on hwo to divide the development section. After some further "under the table" exchange of views, Jose and I finally reached a best compromise. So, here it is again, together with all other sections.

9TH SYMPHONY FIRST MOVEMENTEXPOSITION (7 minutes)

D+ before[1] P.3 Th I
D- before[3] P.5 Th II
D+ before[4] P.8 Th I
Bb+ after[5] P.12 Th II

DEVELOPMENT (14 minutes)

Bb+ after[6] P.18 Funeral March
before[8] P.22 Development part A
[11] P.31 Development part B
after[13] P.38 Development part C
B+ before[15] P.47 Funeral March (Preparation for Recap)

RECAPITULATION (8 minutes)

D+ after[15] P.50 Intro
D+ before[16] P.51 Th I
D- after[16] P.55 (Th II)

D- P.56 Cadenza
D+ P.57 Coda

(ends in D+)

I must say, this is only a best compromise. There are many other ways of looking at it. Jose has suggested Rondo or a Bruckner first movement form. I have heard others said this movement is an amalgamation of various "traditional" forms into one. (A hybrid, if you like.) Mahler was certainly creative enough to let these forms merge into one another.

The best is of course just take the music as the music and not worry about using any one form to explain it. But Jose put it better:

>Yes, you are right in this. What we are doing isn't "discovering" a hidden structure Mahler followed in composing the movement. He obviously didn't follow anything of the sort. As I understand, we are looking for convenient ways of ordering the material of the movement so that we can encompass it at a glance, and know, so to say, where we "are" while listening. This involves a lot of simplifications, of course.

Yours, Derek.

PS: The earlier promised 4th movement is still to come. I am glad to hear some on this list has been enjoying the thread. I know I am greatly rewarded from it.



To: mahler-list@eskimo.com Subject: Mahler 9th (4th Movt, first 10 bars) From: derekw@direct.ca (Derek Wong) Date: Thu, 4 Apr 1996 02:30:30 -0800 (PST)

Hi all,

If I have to pick a single movement out of all the symphonies, this last movement of the 9th would be my favourite. It is still a mystery to me how this half an hour of music is fit onto just 17 pages of score. And very sparse and simple scoring, too. Often with minimal instrumentation. Expression symbols are as saturated as in other Mahler symphonies, but the notes in this movement are often in clear and tidy 4/4 rhythms. Very simplistic looking. Giving no sign of the incredible amount of emotion it contains.

The main theme can be found in the first ten bars in the first violin part. There are many emotions that I feel from listening to it. After many repeated listenings and examining the melody, I have conveniently simplified and codified how the melody is related to the emotions.

ascending: active struggle descending: passive acceptance diatonic interval: optimistic hope chromatic interval: pessimistic despair

For example, if we look at the first two bars (Sehr langsam und noch zurückhaltend - very slow and still restrained) where the violins play the introduction. The first bar is an ascending melody with chromatic intervals. The feelings I have is of active struggle and pessimistic despair. In the second bar, the melody is descending in diatonic intervals. I have the feeling of passive acceptance and optimistic hope.

Bar 3 (stets großer Ton - big tone throughout) and 4 is a descending diatonic line, if you ignore the octave displacement of the Gb.

Bar 5 ascends in diatonic interval but gets more chromatic in bar 6.

Bar 7 and 8 is similar to bar 3 and 4, a descending diatonic line.

Bar 9 is descending, this time in chromatic intervals. But in bar 10 it changes into diatonic intervals.

So, it is a mixture of struggle vs acceptance, hope vs dispair. This can be applied to the rest of the movement. For example, on the second page, second system, second bar, first violin part, the four groups of stepwise 8th notes, if you ignore the octave displacements, are actually a straight diatonic descending line that gives a feeling of passive acceptance and optimistic hope. Of course, the octave leap is an ascending interval and so it also contains a sense of struggling.

The four 32nd note group in bar 1 form an important melodic motif. It is scattered in all the string parts. (They are easy to find as they form "dark blops" on page.) Sometimes it is played in 8th notes, augmented form, eg. bar 6 first violin. This motif is played sometimes in diatonic, other times chromatic intervals to show different emotions.

The harmony in this ten bars is quite ordinary for the time period. One chord per beat. Firm tonality. I have listed out all the chords below, transposed to C major. (I know this is unprofessional, but in the case of Db major the temptation is just too great!)

"+" means major. "-" means minor.

4/4 |1 2 3 4 |

bar1 | (C-) | bar2 | (C-) |

bar3 |C+ G+ G#+ E- | bar4 |F+ G+ C+ C+ | bar5 |G+ G- F+ F+ | bar6 |A- A- E- E- |

bar7 |C+ G+ G#+ D#+ | bar8 |E+ E+ B+ B+ | bar9 |G#+ G#+ F+ F+ | bar10 |C+ C+ G7 G7 |

(I am not certain about this as there are some enharmonic accidentals that don't agree with my chord names and Mahler seemed to care about correct enharmonic accidentals, eg. first violin bar 8 grace note Cb goes to B natural.)

We can see this is a tonic/dominant based progression. One thing I would like to point out. How can we explain the G#+, D#+, etc.? This belongs to a technique Mahler uses also in the first movement (possibly in the inner movements) as well as in the tenth symphony. And as far as I know, not in the previous symphonies.

He temporarily displaces the harmony, and/or the melody, one semitone upward or downward. The effect is like a suspension or temporary modulation. (Strauss Richard also uses this technique, eg. Zarathustra.)

The first G# is a displacement from the G that comes before. Then we have the E which resolves into the F that follows. Unlike normal suspensions, this displaces the whole triad, or the entire harmony.

Bar 6 is possibly in A minor. Back to C major in bar 7, we again have G to G#. Then D# to E.

Then I think we are temporarily in E major for a bar and a half. The closing is back to simple diatonic C major.

Other things I noticed in this movement include frequent use of glissando in strings which many orchestras shy away from doing. Also the grace note(s) in upper strings at the beginning of a bar, or before the beginning of a bar. For example, first violin bar 6 to 7. They are often preceded, as in this example, by a lower note with glissando. The grace notes sometimes have extremely wide intervals, like the ones in viola bar 7.

(As for glissando, of course the "glissing" need not start at the very beginning of a note. It is up to the performer to decide when to start. For my taste, I would start at about 3 quarters into the duration. But on the recordings I have, they gliss only at a fraction of a second at the end or not at all.)

Another thing, I don't understand why Mahler scored this movement such that the pulse is at half of what I think is the natural speed. In other words, the conducting beat pattern moves at "half" speed. Obviously a normal 4/4 beat pattern is not enough to keep the subdivisions in time. I have only seen two conductors performing this work, Rattle (live) and Berstein (tv). I couldn't remember how Rattle did it as I was too young. Berstein beated out the half beat very clearly, so much so that I can't tell, by visual, the difference between the main beat and the half beat. It would be more like an 8/8 instead of 4/4.

Regards, Derek.

PS: The analysis is mostly my own and therefore may contain many mistakes.

======== To: mahler-list@eskimo.com Subject: Re: Mahler 9th (4th Movt, first 10 bars) From: jmarques@super.zippo.com (Jose Marques) Date: Thu, 4 Apr 1996 13:38:15 -0800 (PST)

derekw@direct.ca (Derek Wong) wrote:

>If I have to pick a single movement out of all the symphonies, this last >movement of the 9th would be my favourite. It is still a mystery to me how >this half an hour of music is fit onto just 17 pages of score. And very >sparse and simple scoring, too. Often with minimal instrumentation. >Expression symbols are as saturated as in other Mahler symphonies, but the >notes in this movement are often in clear and tidy 4/4 rhythms. Very >simplistic looking. Giving no sign of the incredible amount of emotion it >contains.

As always, Derek provides us with much material for thought in his ongoing examination of selected parts of Mahler's Ninth symphony. I think that his analysis of the several emotions that can be associated with motives found in the first ten bars of the final Adagio is very perceptive and able to enrich our musical experience of this powerful music.

What I want to discuss, however, are some of Derek's observations related to the harmony of the first bars of the movement.

>The harmony in this ten bars is quite ordinary for the time period. One >chord per beat. Firm tonality. I have listed out all the chords below, >transposed to C major. (I know this is unprofessional, but in the case of >Db major the temptation is just too great!)

>"+" means major. "-" means minor.

>4/4 |1 2 3 4 |

>bar3 |C+ G+ G#+ E- | >bar4 |F+ G+ C+ C+ | >bar5 |G+ G- F+ F+ | >bar6 |A- A- E- E- |

I believe that in the third beat of bar 3 we should read an A flat major chord instead of G#. The notes (transposed) are G#, Eb, C. What we have here is the familiar harmony of the flattened sixth major chord.

In the actual D flat major key, Mahler writes an A natural in the bass perhaps to avoid the double flat in Bbb.

The following chord is C major first inversion, with passing B in the melody.

>bar7 |C+ G+ G#+ D#+ | >bar8 |E+ E+ B+ B+ | >bar9 |G#+ G#+ F+ F+ | >bar10 |C+ C+ G7 G7 |

First beat of bar 7 is A minor first inversion (look at the A in the melody).

The third beat again should be read as an A flat major chord, as in bar 3. But the next chord, instead of going back to the tonic harmony, moves to E flat major, the dominant of the previous chord, but *reinterprets* the E flat as D sharp (in the actual key, compare the F flat of the melody in beat 3 and the E natural of the bass in beat 4).

This leads to a modulation, and the whole bar 8 is in B major: first two beats in the subdominant and last two beats in the tonic.

In bar 9 we start to go back to the original tonality, again through the flattened sixth degree harmony of A flat major and then the subdominant. (lots of enharmonic reinterpretations here)

>(I am not certain about this as there are some enharmonic accidentals that >don't agree with my chord names and Mahler seemed to care about correct >enharmonic accidentals, eg. first violin bar 8 grace note Cb goes to B >natural.)

As Mahler started in a key with so many flats, the move to the flattened sixth would add four more, and this is the reason - in my opinion - for he not being quite rigorous in some of his choices of notation, and writing the A for the B double flat, for instance.

>We can see this is a tonic/dominant based progression. One thing I would >like to point out. How can we explain the G#+, D#+, etc.? This belongs to a >technique Mahler uses also in the first movement (possibly in the inner >movements) as well as in the tenth symphony. And as far as I know, not in >the previous symphonies.

Well, as I see it, there's actually no G# nor D# but Ab and Eb, that is, flattened sixth and third degrees, chords that are quite common in Bach, harmony, for instance. But I agree that in bar 7 there's a reinterpretation of the E flat as D sharp, to introduce the E major chord in bar 8.

In my view, this is the harmonic structure of the eight bar melody:

Bar 3: I V bVI I(6-5, 3) Bar 4: IV V I(4-3) - Bar 5: V6 I7 IV6 - Bar 6: VI - III - Bar 7: VI6 V(4-3) bVI bIII (go to B major) Bar 8: IV - I - (back to C major) Bar 9: bVI(9-8) IV6 Bar 10: I(6,4) V7 - -- Jose Marques jmarques@super.zippo.com

======== To: mahler-list@eskimo.com Subject: Re: Mahler 9th (4th Movt, first 10 bars) From: derekw@direct.ca (Derek Wong) Date: Sat, 6 Apr 1996 19:27:51 -0800 (PST)

Hello all,

At 13:37 4/4/96, Jose Marques wrote: >What I want to discuss, however, are some of Derek's observations >related to the harmony of the first bars of the movement.

Thank you for your kind comment.

Oh, I am already regreting transposing to C major. Going back and forth between the two keys are just total headache! I shall never be tempted to do that ever again. Be a real pro from now on. At least in this regard!

>>"+" means major. "-" means minor. > >>4/4 |1 2 3 4 | > >>bar3 |C+ G+ G#+ E- | >>bar4 |F+ G+ C+ C+ | >>bar5 |G+ G- F+ F+ | >>bar6 |A- A- E- E- | > >I believe that in the third beat of bar 3 we should read an A flat major >chord instead of G#. The notes (transposed) are G#, Eb, C. What we have >here is the familiar harmony of the flattened sixth major chord.

Of course, I have forgotten all those flat 6th chords. German, French, Itlaian, Neppolitan, are u refering to those?

Not to confuse matters further, from now on I will use and only use real pitches, no transposition anymore. (Sorry about that earlier!) The real pitches in bar 3 beat 3 are A, Fb and Db.

Now the pitches of the flat 6th chords in Db are:

Fr6 Bbb Db Eb G Gr6 Bbb Db Fb G It6 Bbb Db G N6 Gb Bbb D

So the closet resemblance is the German 6th. Now, if you ignore all these national 6ths and simply call that chord a flattened 6th then what you were saying would be true if Mahler used A in place of Bbb.

On the other hand, if my assumption is correct that that chord is a semitone upward displacement of the V chord, then it doesn't matter how the pitches are presented.

>In the actual D flat major key, Mahler writes an A natural in the bass >perhaps to avoid the double flat in Bbb.

He did use Bbb in bar 1 and 2 though. (pretty cool.) But nowhere else in the first 10 bars. But we see Bbb elsewhere.

>The following chord is C major first inversion, with passing B in the >melody. > >>bar7 |C+ G+ G#+ D#+ | >>bar8 |E+ E+ B+ B+ | >>bar9 |G#+ G#+ F+ F+ | >>bar10 |C+ C+ G7 G7 | > >First beat of bar 7 is A minor first inversion (look at the A in the >melody).

I think you must be refering to transposed pitches here. (My fault!) OK, the real pitches in bar 7 beat 1 are Db, F and Bb. So you say it's Bb minor. I can agree with you. (The reason I chose to call it Db major is because i feel the Bb in the melody is only a suspension tone that resloves into Ab, chord proper.)

>The third beat again should be read as an A flat major chord, as in bar >3. But the next chord, instead of going back to the tonic harmony, >moves to E flat major, the dominant of the previous chord, but

I think you are right. lt does have a tonic > dominant feel.

So, let's see. The third beat is a flat 6th major, which is supposedly a Bbb major. The moment we hear the next chord though, we realised that the Bbb major is more than just a flat 6th chord, we really have modulated there already! We can call the Bbb a tonic if we wanted to. Anyway, now we are hearing the dominant of it, which should be spelt as a Fbb major (!).

>*reinterprets* the E flat as D sharp (in the actual key, compare the F >flat of the melody in beat 3 and the E natural of the bass in beat 4).

Good observation. Using Fb in one beat and E the next should well be a concious decision. But I can't make sense out of either chord. They can't be given any common names. I think you could be right that he used A in place of Bbb for convenience. As I looked at the first two pages every time he made use of Bbb it is right next to an A(b), perhaps to advoid confusion.

>This leads to a modulation, and the whole bar 8 is in B major: first two >beats in the subdominant and last two beats in the tonic.

I agree.

>As Mahler started in a key with so many flats, the move to the flattened >sixth would add four more, and this is the reason - in my opinion - for >he not being quite rigorous in some of his choices of notation, and >writing the A for the B double flat, for instance.

Possibly true. It may also have a mixture of what I said as semitone displacement, especially since I found he used it elsewhere.

Although on page he must choose only one note name for a pitch, sometimes they actually have "dual personality." Or one identity gradually "fade" into another.

>Well, as I see it, there's actually no G# nor D# but Ab and Eb, that is, >flattened sixth and third degrees, chords that are quite common in Bach, >harmony, for instance. But I agree that in bar 7 there's a >reinterpretation of the E flat as D sharp, to introduce the E major >chord in bar 8. > >In my view, this is the harmonic structure of the eight bar melody: > >Bar 3: I V bVI I(6-5, 3) >Bar 4: IV V I(4-3) -

I(4-3)? You mean like 7th inversion? We have Db in the bass. I count 2nd cello as playing F, ignoring those "suspensions."

>Bar 5: V6 I7 IV6 -

I don't quite get the I7. I think of it as V minor (Ab minor). (The F is ignored.)

>Bar 6: VI - III - >Bar 7: VI6 V(4-3) bVI bIII >(go to B major) >Bar 8: IV - I - >(back to C major) >Bar 9: bVI(9-8) IV6 >Bar 10: I(6,4) V7 -

Mostly agreed, some arguable. (I think my inversion numbering system is different from yours, too. It's tough to discuss these thru email!) My head is spinning!

Warm regards, Derek.

======== To: mahler-list@eskimo.com Subject: Re: Mahler 9th (4th Movt, first 10 bars) From: jmarques@super.zippo.com (Jose Marques) Date: Sun, 7 Apr 1996 20:33:58 -0700 (PDT)

derekw@direct.ca (Derek Wong) wrote:

>Oh, I am already regreting transposing to C major. Going back and forth >between the two keys are just total headache! I shall never be tempted to >do that ever again. Be a real pro from now on. At least in this regard!

:-) Yes, I agree that transposing made some things a bit confusing.

>>>bar3 |C+ G+ G#+ E- | >>>bar4 |F+ G+ C+ C+ | >>>bar5 |G+ G- F+ F+ | >>>bar6 |A- A- E- E- |

>>I believe that in the third beat of bar 3 we should read an A flat major >>chord instead of G#. The notes (transposed) are G#, Eb, C. What we have >>here is the familiar harmony of the flattened sixth major chord.

>Of course, I have forgotten all those flat 6th chords. German, French, >Itlaian, Neppolitan, are u refering to those?

Sorry! I was terribly inaccurate in my characterization. No, I wasn't speaking about these augmented sixth chords but about something much simpler. I mean a perfect major triad on the flattened sixth DEGREE of the major scale. That is, when you are in C major, the chord of A flat major. It is a very common chord in Bach, Schubert, Brahms, etc.

>Not to confuse matters further, from now on I will use and only use real >pitches, no transposition anymore. (Sorry about that earlier!) The real >pitches in bar 3 beat 3 are A, Fb and Db.

Exactly. This is the triad of Bbb major. Bb is the sixth degree in the Db major scale, and Bbb is the flattened sixth degree.

>Now the pitches of the flat 6th chords in Db are: > >Fr6 Bbb Db Eb G >Gr6 Bbb Db Fb G >It6 Bbb Db G >N6 Gb Bbb D

>So the closest resemblance is the German 6th. Now, if you ignore all these >national 6ths and simply call that chord a flattened 6th then what you were >saying would be true if Mahler used A in place of Bbb.

I am sorry I induced you to investigate these chords. As I said, I meant simply a major triad on Bbb. (Bbb, Db, Fb)

>>In the actual D flat major key, Mahler writes an A natural in the bass >>perhaps to avoid the double flat in Bbb.

>He did use Bbb in bar 1 and 2 though. (pretty cool.) But nowhere else in >the first 10 bars. But we see Bbb elsewhere.

Yes, in the first two bars the music is in Db minor, and Bbb is the diatonic sixth degree of this scale.

>>The following chord is C major first inversion, with passing B in the >>melody. >> >>>bar7 |C+ G+ G#+ D#+ | >>>bar8 |E+ E+ B+ B+ | >>>bar9 |G#+ G#+ F+ F+ | >>>bar10 |C+ C+ G7 G7 | >> >>First beat of bar 7 is A minor first inversion (look at the A in the >>melody). > >I think you must be refering to transposed pitches here. (My fault!)

Yes, I am.

>OK, the real pitches in bar 7 beat 1 are Db, F and Bb. So you say it's Bb >minor. I can agree with you. (The reason I chose to call it Db major is >because i feel the Bb in the melody is only a suspension tone that resloves >into Ab, chord proper.)

It's difficult to decide things like this. Much depends, as you say, on how the progression is "felt". If the Ab had been reached in the same beat, I'd agree immediately with you. But it comes only in the next beat, when we already are in dominant harmony.

>>The third beat again should be read as an A flat major chord, as in bar >>3. But the next chord, instead of going back to the tonic harmony, >>moves to E flat major, the dominant of the previous chord, but > >I think you are right. lt does have a tonic > dominant feel. > >So, let's see. The third beat is a flat 6th major, which is supposedly a >Bbb major. The moment we hear the next chord though, we realised that the >Bbb major is more than just a flat 6th chord, we really have modulated >there already! We can call the Bbb a tonic if we wanted to. Anyway, now we >are hearing the dominant of it, which should be spelt as a Fbb major (!).

You are a bit intoxicated by so many flats. It is just plain Fb major.

But I believe your suggestion is a big step to solve the whole question! Look:

In bar 7 we have the harmony VI V7 bVI bIII7

Note the melody descends in whole tones Bb Ab Gb Fb. Diatonically we would expect F, and this chromatic Fb marks an interrupted cadence (V7>bVI) on the Bbb major chord.

Let's suppose now this Bbb IS the new tonic. From that point on we have the harmony I V7 and - when we enter bar 8 - bVI bIII AGAIN! Look how the melody keeps descending inexorably in whole tones Fb D=Ebb C=Dbb. Diatonically we should have Db in the scale of Bbb, but we have Dbb, which marks another interrupted cadence (V7>bVI) now in the Gbb chord.

I'll try to put this on a chart (remember many of these chords are enharmonically rewritten in Mahler's score - he prefers to write F major and C major in bar 8 instead of Gbb and Dbb):

Chords: Bbm Ab7 Bbb Fb7 Gbb Dbb Harmony in Db: VI V7 bVI bIII7 Harmony in Bbb: I V7 bVI bIII

Well, I'll let someone else explain how he manages to go back to Db in the next bar...

>>Bar 4: IV V I(4-3) - > >I(4-3)? You mean like 7th inversion? We have Db in the bass. I count 2nd >cello as playing F, ignoring those "suspensions."

I write I(4-3) to indicate the suspended Gb in 2nd cello before falling on F. But you are right, it is just an ornament.

>>Bar 5: V6 I7 IV6 -

>I don't quite get the I7. I think of it as V minor (Ab minor). (The F is >ignored.)

Another matter of "feeling". I hear a secondary dominant of the IV6 chord here. The movement in the bass is characteristic of a 3rd inversion of a dominant chord resolving on a first inversion chord. In fact, because of the Eb, I should have said I9. I would explain the chord as (Db) F Ab Cb Eb with root omitted. And, anyway, how can you ignore the F?

Well, now my head is also spinning! Hope I won't be lynched by people on the list...

-- Jose Marques jmarques@super.zippo.com

======== To: mahler-list@eskimo.com Subject: Re: Mahler 9th (4th Movt, first 10 bars) From: derekw@direct.ca (Derek Wong) Date: Mon, 8 Apr 1996 03:27:12 -0700 (PDT)

What's the problem with the list? This mail was bounced back to me previously and I am receivign miltiple copies of other messages.

At 20:31 4/7/96, Jose Marques wrote: >simpler. I mean a perfect major triad on the flattened sixth DEGREE of >the major scale. That is, when you are in C major, the chord of A flat >major. It is a very common chord in Bach, Schubert, Brahms, etc.

Now i think it is Bbb+, too. It does make the most sense.

>Yes, in the first two bars the music is in Db minor, and Bbb is the >diatonic sixth degree of this scale.

Yes, yes.

>>OK, the real pitches in bar 7 beat 1 are Db, F and Bb. So you say it's Bb >>minor. I can agree with you. (The reason I chose to call it Db major is >>because i feel the Bb in the melody is only a suspension tone that resloves >>into Ab, chord proper.) > >It's difficult to decide things like this. Much depends, as you say, on >how the progression is "felt". If the Ab had been reached in the same >beat, I'd agree immediately with you. But it comes only in the next >beat, when we already are in dominant harmony.

I know what you mean. The Ab is way late. But the Db in the bass makes a difference. In this case, at least, there is no concrete answer. It ultimately depends on how a listener _perceives_ it. And how (s)he perceives it depends on his previous western classical music experience. (The language that he speaks or the accent, if you like.) Often it is a mixture - in this case, a mixture of Bb- and Db+. Only his unconcious can tell us the exact percentage.

>>So, let's see. The third beat is a flat 6th major, which is supposedly a >>Bbb major. The moment we hear the next chord though, we realised that the >>Bbb major is more than just a flat 6th chord, we really have modulated >>there already! We can call the Bbb a tonic if we wanted to. Anyway, now we >>are hearing the dominant of it, which should be spelt as a Fbb major (!). > >You are a bit intoxicated by so many flats. It is just plain Fb major.

Thanks for saving me! I did have a dream surrounded by flats. Just kidding!

>But I believe your suggestion is a big step to solve the whole question! >Look: > >In bar 7 we have the harmony VI V7 bVI bIII7 > >Note the melody descends in whole tones Bb Ab Gb Fb. Diatonically we >would expect F, and this chromatic Fb marks an interrupted cadence >(V7>bVI) on the Bbb major chord. > >Let's suppose now this Bbb IS the new tonic. From that point on we have >the harmony I V7 and - when we enter bar 8 - bVI bIII AGAIN! Look how >the melody keeps descending inexorably in whole tones Fb D=Ebb C=Dbb. >Diatonically we should have Db in the scale of Bbb, but we have Dbb, >which marks another interrupted cadence (V7>bVI) now in the Gbb chord.

Wow, some rollercoaster ride!

>Chords: Bbm Ab7 Bbb Fb7 Gbb Dbb >Harmony in Db: VI V7 bVI bIII7 >Harmony in Bbb: I V7 bVI bIII

Ahhh... a sequence! You know, this one might just indeed be what he had on his mind, I have a feeling. (instead of ideas being forced in by two jerks a century later.)

But hey, now I am even more tempted to call the first chord a Db+. Because then it will be three sets of tonic > dominant. Each one a semitone rise.

Look: Db > Ab , Bbb > Fb , Gbb > Dbb.

(I really don't want to say it. But... may be just really really quitely... this is not unlike the opening of Titan.)

OK, this kind of chord progression sequence is much used by Wagner and therefore Mahler, like those infinite melody thing u know - the German romantic nauseating pill. Wagner took them. So did Mahler and Strauss.

>Well, I'll let someone else explain how he manages to go back to Db in >the next bar...

By brutal force? :-)

>>>Bar 5: V6 I7 IV6 - > >>I don't quite get the I7. I think of it as V minor (Ab minor). (The F is >>ignored.) > >Another matter of "feeling". I hear a secondary dominant of the IV6 >chord here. The movement in the bass is characteristic of a 3rd >inversion of a dominant chord resolving on a first inversion chord. In >fact, because of the Eb, I should have said I9. I would explain the >chord as (Db) F Ab Cb Eb with root omitted. And, anyway, how can you >ignore the F?

How? I just... do it. It's a habit, i guess!

>Well, now my head is also spinning! Hope I won't be lynched by people on >the list...

Those German nauseating pills are addictive drugs. A few doses of American minimalism should cure it. (I for one would never be cured.)

Derek.

======== To: Multiple recipients of list <mahler-list@eskimo.com> Subject: Re: Mahler 9th (4th Movt, first 10 bars) From: jmarques@super.zippo.com (Jose Marques) Date: Wed, 10 Apr 1996 15:46:18 -0700 (PDT)

derekw@direct.ca (Derek Wong) wrote:

>At 20:31 4/7/96, Jose Marques wrote:

>>Note the melody descends in whole tones Bb Ab Gb Fb. Diatonically we >>would expect F, and this chromatic Fb marks an interrupted cadence >>(V7>bVI) on the Bbb major chord. >> >>Let's suppose now this Bbb IS the new tonic. From that point on we have >>the harmony I V7 and - when we enter bar 8 - bVI bIII AGAIN! Look how >>the melody keeps descending inexorably in whole tones Fb D=Ebb C=Dbb. >>Diatonically we should have Db in the scale of Bbb, but we have Dbb, >>which marks another interrupted cadence (V7>bVI) now in the Gbb chord.

>Wow, some rollercoaster ride!

It's very interesting, isn't it? A complete descending whole tone scale is played in the melody: Bb Ab Gb Fb D C. But we don't hear it as a whole tone scale, because the modulations make it sound perfectly tonal.

>>Chords: Bbm Ab7 Bbb Fb7 Gbb Dbb >>Harmony in Db: VI V7 bVI bIII7 >>Harmony in Bbb: I V7 bVI bIII > >Ahhh... a sequence! You know, this one might just indeed be what he had on >his mind, I have a feeling. (instead of ideas being forced in by two jerks >a century later.) > >But hey, now I am even more tempted to call the first chord a Db+. Because >then it will be three sets of tonic > dominant. Each one a semitone rise. > >Look: Db > Ab , Bbb > Fb , Gbb > Dbb.

Yes, I'm tempted to agree.

But somehow it seems to me we still don't understand this completely, because bar 8 (Gbb > Dbb) sounds as IV - I to me, not as V - I. Compare with bar 4 which sounds similar and is IV - V - I

>(I really don't want to say it. But... may be just really really quitely... >this is not unlike the opening of Titan.)

Could you elaborate on that?

>>Well, I'll let someone else explain how he manages to go back to Db in >>the next bar...

>By brutal force? :-)

Actually I don't know. The passage sounds so smooth that I think "brute force" is excluded.

You can see that it would only be necessary to extend the sequence one more step and we would be back to the original key (3 jumps of major third). But this is not what Mahler does. What he does I don't know.

Bar 9 is still harmonically mysterious to me. We more or less agreed on:

Bar 9 Bbb Bbb Gb Gb bVI bVI IV6 IV6

But can you make sense of the *natural* G in the 1st Vlc? I want now to say something about bars 11 and 12. They effect a change of mode, to Db minor, but DON'T start a new section. They just *anticipate* the C#m section that will only begin on bar 28. I had the opportunity to comment about some such anticipations - which I believe are an original contribution of Mahler to the symphonic structure - in the "Mahler quoting Mahler" thread in r.m.c., noticing how some stretches of earlier movements act as anticipations of the Finale in many symphonies. Here we have an anticipation of a section on an earlier section, instead of a movement on an earlier movement.

-- Jose Marques jmarques@super.zippo.com

======== To: Multiple recipients of list <mahler-list@eskimo.com> Subject: Re: Mahler 9th (4th Movt, first 10 bars) From: derekw@direct.ca (Derek Wong) Date: Fri, 12 Apr 1996 00:59:10 -0700 (PDT)

At 15:41 4/10/96, Jose Marques wrote:

>>But hey, now I am even more tempted to call the first chord a Db+. Because >>then it will be three sets of tonic > dominant. Each one a semitone rise. >> >>Look: Db > Ab , Bbb > Fb , Gbb > Dbb. > >Yes, I'm tempted to agree. > >But somehow it seems to me we still don't understand this completely, >because bar 8 (Gbb > Dbb) sounds as IV - I to me, not as V - I. Compare >with bar 4 which sounds similar and is IV - V - I

It sounds liek IV - I to me, too. F+ to C+ in the key of C. But since there are two previous sequences before it, listeners would likely expect a third. And this does fit, to some extent, to hte sequence. So i think this has a dual personality, with one being the third part of that sequence and another which is IV - I of the new key. However, listeners would also sense a break because of the new rhythmic pattern.

Now, as to why we feel the key C+, instead of F+ (or Gbb)? Well, the only diff between the two keys is the B. And we get B natural there. Is that it? Try turn those B's into Bb and see if we feel F instead.

>>(I really don't want to say it. But... may be just really really quitely... >>this is not unlike the opening of Titan.) > >Could you elaborate on that?

Well, the very opening part of Titan we have a "melody" (if sung in C) C-G-Ab-Eb-F-C. And the chord progression listed at the top of this page (if sung in C) is C-G-Ab-Eb-E-B. Just a coincidance.

>>>Well, I'll let someone else explain how he manages to go back to Db in >>>the next bar... > >>By brutal force? :-) > >Actually I don't know. The passage sounds so smooth that I think "brute >force" is excluded.

Just kidding. But I don't feel totally smooth in bar 9.

>Bar 9 is still harmonically mysterious to me. We more or less agreed on: > > >Bar 9 >Bbb Bbb Gb Gb >bVI bVI IV6 IV6 > >But can you make sense of the *natural* G in the 1st Vlc?

You know my bad habit... it's a sus!

Let me try to tempt you again... see the note after G is Ab, the huge dominant pedal wiht all Vlc and Kb to unison. So it is not so unreasonable for Mahler to use half of his cellos to play a leading note into the dominant, is it? Are you tempted? :)

>I want now to say something about bars 11 and 12. They effect a change

You know, by the rate we are going, we just might reach the end by year 2000?

>of mode, to Db minor, but DON'T start a new section. They just >*anticipate* the C#m section that will only begin on bar 28. I had the >opportunity to comment about some such anticipations - which I believe >are an original contribution of Mahler to the symphonic structure - in >the "Mahler quoting Mahler" thread in r.m.c., noticing how some >stretches of earlier movements act as anticipations of the Finale in >many symphonies. Here we have an anticipation of a section on an earlier >section, instead of a movement on an earlier movement.

Here, i whole heartedly agree wiht you, Jose. I remember reading your newsgroup article and saying, "yes!" I also remember someone else was replying that a quote within a symphony or sometimes within the same movement cannot be called a quote. That may seem sensible enough, afterall music within a movement is supposed to be made up by coherant ideas. But not so in the case of Mahler. You must *listen* to the particular quoting section in order to realise why what he is doing warrants to be called a new (or at least a different) technique.

I would say that emotionally and atmospherically, his anticipation quote connects much more readily to the quoted-from section than to the quote's own surrounding music.

Mahler is playing wiht the unconcious. (bit like the advertisement brain wash we get on tv that starts to effect when we go to supermarket!) Mahler "stamps" bits and pieces into our brain and let them sink in first. When the time comes, he will recall them one by one. (Memory flash back.) It requires sophisticated and sensitive ears and minds. He does that within the same movement, across movements in the same symphony and across his symphonies!

A *HUGE* inter-, intra-, extra- connecting network.

A *HUGE* hyperlinked web site!@#$?

Gosh, they should be called symphonic cycle in 10 parts!

One of the more striking examples pointed out to me is in the 3rd symphony. Right after the opening horn calls, we have the trombones sighing out chords. Those couple of chords are to be stored in our brain until when? Until the Nietzsche song! Exact quotation. (There you will also find what could be the earliest example of Klangfarben melodie.)

Derek.

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