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Yet Another Galant Schema: The Dominant Pedal Accompanied by a Chromatic Descent

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 August 2022

Ewald Demeyere*
Affiliation:
AP Hogeschool Antwerpen, Antwerp, Belgium, and Institut Royal Supérieur de Musique et de Pédagogie, Namur, Belgium

Abstract

It is now well established that stock voice-leading patterns were an essential component of eighteenth-century compositional and improvisational practices both in Italy and abroad. In this article I focus on one of those patterns, which, as far as I am aware, remains unscrutinized: a dominant pedal point in the bass with a paradigmatic upper voice that descends chromatically from scale steps 5 to 2. In the first two sections, I deal with this pattern successively in eighteenth-century music pedagogy, with special emphasis on the teaching of the Neapolitan maestro Fedele Fenaroli, and in actual galant repertory, thereby exploring both its voice-leading and its syntactic possibilities. In the third section, I compare how this dominant pedal relates to other, already identified pedal-based patterns.

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Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press

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Footnotes

I would like to thank sincerely David Lodewyckx, John A. Rice and W. Dean Sutcliffe for valuable comments on an earlier draft of this article.

References

1 For more information on Fenaroli's partimento and counterpoint curriculum see Tour, Peter van, Counterpoint and Partimento: Methods of Teaching Composition in Late Eighteenth-Century Naples (Uppsala: Uppsala Universitet, 2015), 157169Google Scholar, and Demeyere, Ewald, ‘On Fedele Fenaroli's Pedagogy: An Update’, Eighteenth-Century Music 15/2 (2018), 207229CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

2 Following a custom that was still ongoing in the eighteenth century, Muscogiuri and Lavigna often used two types of bars in the course of a contrapuntal piece in cut time, one type of bar containing two minims, the other four. Yet this difference in bar length seems to have been in the first place merely notational within a time signature conceived as being 2/2, as suggested by the indication of ‘2’ above the one-bar rests within the 4/2 bars. For my transcriptions of the excerpts from their counterpoint books, apart from final bars, I have opted throughout for a 2/2 time signature.

3 For more on eighteenth-century metre, with its ‘good’ and ‘bad’ notes, and how this concept was expressed in the performance practices of that time see, amongst others, Demeyere, Ewald, Johann Sebastian Bach's Art of Fugue: Performance Practice Based on German Eighteenth-Century Theory (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2013)Google Scholar and Brown, Clive, Classical and Romantic Performing Practice, 1750–1900 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

4 As will be touched upon, this voice-leading pattern, which was obviously not defined as a moto del basso within the partimento tradition because of its immobile bass line, does occasionally occur in the context of a tonic pedal, the dominant version being nevertheless the focus of this article.

5 Robert O. Gjerdingen, Music in the Galant Style (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 20.

6 John A. Rice, ‘The Morte: A Galant Voice-Leading Schema as Emblem of Lament and Compositional Building-Block’, Eighteenth-Century Music 12/2 (2015), 161–162.

7 In this case, the first note of the counterpoint is not ❺ but ❼, a common varied feature, as we will see. For a new, critical edition of Fenaroli's books 1 to 3 see Metodo Per Bene Accompagnare Del Sig:e Maestro Fedele Fenaroli, ed. Ewald Demeyere, www.ewalddemeyere.com/publications (2021).

8 The manuscript with the title ‘Imitazione del Terzo Libro dèi Partimenti del Sig.r D: Fedele Fenaroli’ (Biblioteca Palatina, Parma (I-Pac), F. MS. 612.d) dates from 1809 and was written at the unified Neapolitan Real Collegio di Musica when Fenaroli was still teaching at that institute, making this source, with its twenty-four intavolature, an important guide to the realization of Fenaroli's partimenti. For a modern critical edition of this source see The Parma Manuscript: Partimento Realizations of Fedele Fenaroli (1809), ed. Ewald Demeyere as the fourth volume of the Monuments of Partimento Realizations (Visby: Wessmans, 2021).

9 When the counterpoint that starts on ❼ rises in stepwise motion during the first four stages of the DPCD, this results in a doubling of (♭)❸, the scale step that also occurs in the chromatic descent during stage 4. Although this voice leading does occur in the eighteenth century, it was habitually avoided.

10 Gjerdingen, Music in the Galant Style, 158, 167. Nathaniel Mitchell suggests labelling the clausula cantizans with the chromatically descending upper voice as a ‘Voltaic’ Long Comma (Nathaniel Mitchell, ‘The Volta: A Galant Gesture of Culmination’, Music Theory Spectrum 42/2 (2020), 292–293). He defines a Volta, Italian for ‘turn’, as a schema that highlights ‘its opposition of a rising ♯$\hat{4}$$\hat{5}$ melodic string against a falling ♮$\hat{4}$$\hat{3}$ string’, yet argues that ‘in the 1770s, one popular gesture combined the Volta's characteristic chromatic opposition with an ascending $\hat{6}$$\hat{7}$$\hat{1}$ bass, what Gjerdingen has called the Long Comma. . . . When the Long Comma proceeds from an octave sonority on $\hat{5}$, the descending soprano string may be enriched with a chromatic passing tone to yield a $\hat{5}$–♯$\hat{4}$–♮$\hat{4}$$\hat{3}$ string’ (Mitchell, ‘The Volta’, 280, 291).

11 Paula J. Telesco has labelled this realization a passacaglia progression, a progression that shares its bass with the so-called omnibus progression ‘in its classic simplest form’ (Paula J. Telesco, ‘Enharmonicism and the Omnibus Progression in Classical-Era Music’, Music Theory Spectrum 20/2 (1998), 243, 255–258). John Rice, in turn, has christened it a Morte (Rice, ‘The Morte’, 157–181). As I show below, the other regularly used counterpoint to a bass ‘che scende per semitono’ deploys a 7–6 sequential pattern, a counterpoint that, transposed to the fifth, is also found in the context of a DPCD.

12 Note that in Example 6a, the counterpoint starting on ❼ finishes on ❶, whereas in Example 6b it finishes on ❺, two voice-leading solutions used to avoid the doubling of ❸ with that deriving from the chromatic descent on the final note of these cadences.

13 The first note in the diatonic counterpoint has not been inverted, though. While this would have been a perfectly viable option, Muscogiuri did not begin the inversion with a unison but with a vertical sixth, resulting in an implied six-four chord at that point. In fact, not only the second but also the first statement of the DPCD in Example 8 starts with an implied six-four chord instead of a triad.

14 Note that stages 4 and 5 of this DPCD are set with the same six-four chord, both including the diatonic version of the third scale step.

15 A possible exception can be seen in Examples 3 and 4, in which the question of whether the pedal functions as a prolongational ⑤ within an authentic cadence or extends a half cadence depends more on a performance-practical decision than on an analytical justification. If one decides to play bar 552 as upbeat to the next phrase, as seems to be the intention two bars later, the pedal in bars 52–551 indeed works as a half cadence. As a matter of fact, the whole concept of the half cadence remains rather approximate, diverse, personal and even debatable, both historically as well as today. In this article I use this term when, in the current key, a phrase ends on a dominant harmony in root position, which initiates a dominant pedal that finishes also on a dominant harmony in root position and is followed by some kind of caesura or textural indication that announces the beginning of a new phrase. For a critical and, at the same time, musically flexible assessment of the half cadence see Poundie Burstein, ‘The Half Cadence and Related Analytic Fictions’, in What Is a Cadence? Theoretical and Analytical Perspectives on Cadences in the Classical Repertoire, ed. Markus Neuwirth and Pieter Bergé (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2015), 85–116.

16 Although, unfortunately, Cimarosa's counterpoint books did not survive, ten vocal, almost exclusively sacred, student compositions did, compositions that contain several exemplars of a DPCD. Whether and to what extent they were written under primo maestro Pietro Antonio Gallo (?1695/1700–1777) and/or the then still secondo maestro Fenaroli remains unclear. For a brief survey of these pieces see Marina Marino, ‘A proposito di alcuni mottetti di Cimarosa’, in Domenico Cimarosa: un ‘napoletano’ in Europa, ed. Paologiovanni Maione and Marta Columbro (Lucca: Libreria Musicale Italiana, 2004), 501–516.

17 Gjerdingen, Music in the Galant Style, 215, 461.

18 In its standardized form, a Monte comprises two segments. They both focus on a dominant–tonic progression often set as a clausula cantizans, the first segment in the local key of ④, the second one transposing the first segment one tone up into the local key of ⑤. (When a Monte is used in a composition set in a minor key, the second segment does not usually close with i in the dominant minor key but with V in the main key.) Joseph Riepel, Anfangsgründe zur musicalischen Setzkunst (Zweites Capitel): Grundregeln zur Tonordnung insgemein (Frankfurt and Leipzig, 1755), 43–45; Joseph Riepel, Anfangsgründe zur musicalischen Setzkunst (Drittes Capitel): Gründliche Erklärung der Tonordnung insbesondere (Frankfurt and Leipzig, 1757), 1; and Gjerdingen, Music in the Galant Style, 89–106, 458.

19 For more information on how topics are reflected in schemata see Vasili Byros, ‘Topics and Harmonic Schemata: A Case from Beethoven’, in The Oxford Handbook of Topic Theory, ed. Danuta Mirka (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), 381–414.

20 Bach's treatise, in two volumes, was published by Georg Ludwig Winter in Berlin, Schröter's by Johann Heinrich Groß in Halberstadt and Türk's by Schwickert in Leipzig and by Hemmerde and Schwetschke in Halle.

21 Türk, Kurze Anweisung, 251.

22 As referred to earlier, the combination of this counterpoint and the chromatic descent is a transposition up a fifth of a bass ‘che scende per semitono’ set with a 7–6 sequential pattern. Another setting of a DPCD from Bach's treatise including the descending counterpoint starting on (♭)❸ belongs to a hybrid that embeds the DPCD in what Gjerdingen has labelled a Stabat Mater Prinner, the latter adequately described by Vasili Byros as ‘a dominant pedal with braided 2–3 [or 7–6] suspensions beginning on scale degrees 5 and 6 in the upper voices, and a 1–2, 7–1, 6–7, 1 countermelody’ (Bach, Versuch, volume 2, 184, and Byros, ‘Topics and Harmonic Schemata’, 386). While Byros merely sees this exemplar as a variant of a Stabat Mater Prinner, he does point to the ‘chromatic version of [the] uppermost line: ♭6–5–♯4–4–♯3–3–2’ (Byros, ‘Topics and Harmonic Schemata’, 391).

23 Observe that Bach's version contains two alternative features. First, the first note of the counterpoint is not ❺ but ❼, a variation that is common to this counterpoint, as already mentioned. Secondly, the diminished fifth that occurs in the upper voices of stage 3 is reused as a double appoggiatura on ①.

24 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, ‘Thomas Attwoods Theorie- und Kompositionsstudien bei Mozart’, in Neue Mozart-Ausgabe, series 10, volume 30/1, ed. Erich Hertzmann and Cecil B. Oldman, completed by Daniel Heartz and Alfred Mann (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1965), 204, 224; and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, ‘Barbara Ployers und Franz Jakob Freystädlers Theorie- und Kompositionsstudien bei Mozart’, in Neue Mozart-Ausgabe, series 10, volume 30/2, ed. Hellmut Federhofer and Alfred Mann (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1989), 29–31.

25 Gjerdingen, Music in the Galant Style, 197, 461. Note that a Ponte does not necessarily have to be a dominant-pedal phrase for Riepel. Indeed, he also gave examples of this schema that conclude with a cadence closing with an implied tonic sonority, as does the one in Example 15.

26 Gjerdingen, Music in the Galant Style, 198.

27 Adlgasser labelled such a four-four elaboration a quatrocinio.

28 For more information on the authorship, style and sources of this piece see Benedikt Johannes Poensgen, ‘Die Offiziumskompositionen von Alessandro Scarlatti, I. Band’ (PhD dissertation, Universität Hamburg, 2004), 169. The Symétrie edition is Alessandro Scarlatti, Salve Regina a due voci (in fa minore), ed. Jean-Christophe Michel (Lyon: Symétrie, 2001).

29 Francesco Florimo, Cenno storico sulla scuola musicale di Napoli, two volumes, volume 1 (Naples: Lorenzo Rocco, 1869), 444.

30 Observe, though, that the first note of the counterpoint in the second violin is not ❸ but ❼.

31 Gjerdingen explains that the clausula vera is a type of clausula tenorizans or ②–① cadence, which can also occur as a half cadence, thus with ⑥–⑤ in the bass (Gjerdingen, Music in the Galant Style, 164–165).

32 An appoggiatura six-four chord occurs at the end of the DPCD in Examples 17 and 18 as well. Still, since this chord and its resolution together last as long as each of the previous stages in these exemplars, I view them as ornamental and consider the DPCD to which they belong as comprising six instead of seven stages.

33 Gjerdingen describes a Converging Cadence as a type of half cadence with one or more descending upper voices above a rising ③–④–♯④–⑤ bass progression (Gjerdingen, Music in the Galant Style, 159–162). While ③ is usually set as a sixth chord, the presence here of the additional diminished fifth in the second violin and the right hand of the organ in the second half of bar 10 – b♭2 – makes this cadence into a hybrid, including features of the Monte as well.

34 While from a theoretical standpoint one could argue perhaps that the second quaver of beat 3 of bar 10 in the left hand – A – continues to work as an implicit pedal and that the four semiquavers g♯ on beat 4 of bar 11 and on beat 2 of bar 12 therefore rather work as ♯❹ in an implicit middle voice than as ♯④ in the bass, the aural perception of this passage does not in my view support this assessment. Not only do a short caesura and textural change occur after beat 3 of bar 10, but the pedal on a is also emphasized by a Trommelbass accompaniment.

35 As I have pointed out when discussing Example 4, an evident counterpoint to expand a three-part into a four-part setting of a DPCD is the one that starts on ❼, a counterpoint that rises in parallel thirds or sixths with the counterpoint starting on ❺ during the first three or four stages of the pattern.

36 Gjerdingen, Music in the Galant Style, 225–240. Byros succinctly explains the Fenaroli as follows: ‘In its typical form . . . the fenaroli consists of alternating dominant and tonic harmony, guided by a paradigmatic 7–1–2–3 scale-degree progression, typically in the bass, and a quasi-canonic 4–3–7–1 countermelody, which sometimes is realized as a pure canon, 2–3–7–1. The schema also characteristically features a dominant pedal in the soprano or in a ‘filler’ voice’ (Vasili Byros, ‘“Hauptruhepuncte des Geistes”: Punctuation Schemas and the Late-Eighteenth-Century Sonata’, in What Is a Cadence?, ed. Neuwirth and Bergé, 237). For the Fenaroli in Example 24, however, Mozart opted for a variant without a ‘filler’ voice and with the ‘quasi-canonic 4–3–7–1 countermelody’ in the bass, the latter starting with ⑤, as is often the case.

37 Similarly to my transcriptions of the excerpts from the counterpoint books of Muscogiuri and Lavigna, I have opted for a modernized 2/2 time signature in Example 25.

38 The doubling of the chromatic descent in the second violin breaks off after stage 5, after which it produces the second, third and fourth notes of the counterpoint starting on ❺ during the second statement of the DPCD.

39 Observe that while Haydn opted for a descending ❷–❶ scale-step progression during stages 3 and 4 of the counterpoint starting on ❼ in Example 22, Cimarosa, as did Lavigna in Example 10, wrote a descending fifth ❷–❺ at that point, the two voice-leading solutions I referred to earlier that avoid doubling ❸ with that of the chromatic descent in the context of a three-part setting.

40 As is the case in Example 10, the second statement of a DPCD, the one producing the stretto, starts with a six-four chord instead of a triad.

41 The second violin doubles the alto only from the second note of the counterpoint starting on ❺.

42 For more information on this mass see Daniel Heartz, Music in European Capitals: The Galant Style, 1720–1780 (New York: Norton, 2003), 338–339, and Wolfgang Hochstein, ed., Johann Adolf Hasse: Missa in d (Stuttgart: Carus, 1987), iii–viii.

43 Note that there is no contrapuntal or harmonic necessity for this rhythmic difference in the tenor in the setting of bars 26–27. After all, both the version with minim–crotchet and the one with crotchet–minim work in either bar.

44 A literal transposition of the counterpoint in Example 2 would have resulted in a ❶–❷–❸–❹–❹–❸ scale-step progression. As we saw several times in the context of a DPCD, however, the first note of this counterpoint can also be a third higher.

45 For more information on the Quiescenza see Gjerdingen, Music in the Galant Style, 181–195, 460.

46 Gjerdingen, Music in the Galant Style, 187–188.

47 Gjerdingen, Music in the Galant Style, 192.

48 In labelling this hybrid Quiescent Overture, Rice has taken over the adjective that Mitchell suggests using in reference to schemata that share features with the Quiescenza (John A. Rice, ‘Voice-Leading Schemata and Sentences in Opera Buffa: Rising Lines in Paisiello's Il barbiere di Siviglia and Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro’, www.academia.edu (15 November 2018), 17, note 14, and Mitchell, ‘The Volta’, 293, note 32).

49 W. Dean Sutcliffe, ‘Topics in Chamber Music’, in The Oxford Handbook of Topic Theory, ed. Mirka, 137.

50 Observe, however, that Mozart, most likely out of consideration for playability, did not write ❶ – b♭1 – but ❸ – d1 – in the middle voice from the second beat of bar 164.

51 Byros, Vasili, ‘Trazom's Wit: Communicative Strategies In a “Popular” Yet “Difficult” Sonata’, Eighteenth-Century Music 10/2 (2013), 221CrossRefGoogle Scholar, 246.

52 Rice, ‘Voice-Leading Schemata and Sentences in Opera Buffa’, 17–18.

53 Gjerdingen only touches upon this hybrid (Gjerdingen, Music in the Galant Style, 200, 202, 207), whereas Byros has explored it in depth (Byros, ‘Trazom's Wit’, 213–252, and Byros, ‘Hauptruhepuncte des Geistes’, 215–251). As mentioned above, in the words of Byros, the Fenaroli schema ‘consists of alternating dominant and tonic harmony, guided by a paradigmatic 7–1–2–3 scale-degree progression, typically in the bass, and a quasi-canonic 4–3–7–1 countermelody, which sometimes is realized as a pure canon, 2–3–7–1. The schema also characteristically features a dominant pedal in the soprano or in a “filler” voice’ (Byros, ‘Hauptruhepuncte des Geistes’, 237).

54 Byros, ‘Hauptruhepuncte des Geistes’, 238.

55 Byros, ‘Trazom's Wit’, 225.

56 Gjerdingen, Music in the Galant Style, 461.

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