To assist a former professor, my mentor, John Milton
Ward, I agreed to serve as one of the General Editors for a series of lute publications from Editions Orphée (Columbus,Ohio),
headed by a retired airline pilot, Matanya Ophee. The first volume was to be a second edition of my Francesco da Milano
edition (Harvard University Press, 1970). I finished and engraved the revised edition, but Ophee had me put it aside
so that we could first complete Ward's edition of the lute works of John Johnson. This was a two-year haul, as
I graciously and amicably provided him with seven successive sets of proof. That enabled him to fine tune the edition
to his satisfaction. Only after he finally approved the proofs for publication, could I start on the guitar
transcrptions and the tablatures, which would be derived through computer manipulation directly from Ward's transcriptons.
I even had to develop a special program to make the tablature from the transcriptons.
I was quite pleased with the results. And
indeed such worthies as Masakata Kanazawa, Laurence Berman, John H. Baron, Elizabeth van Vorst, Charles E. Troy, Doug
and Ralph Freundlich, Paul O'Dette, David Dolata, Pat O'Brien and I had contributed. A rather talented crowd.
So I could push ahead with the guitar and tablature
volumes (which I could not start until Ward approved a lute text for publication), Matanya was to make some cosmetic changes
to the lute transcriptions. Well, without informing us, Ophee decided to re-write Ward's work. The changes were
a catastrophe of cosmic proportions. Every time he changed Ward's considered text, he made childish mistakes. AND
THEN HE REFUSED TO CORRECT HIS MISTAKES. He claimed to be "the world's leading authority" on guitar notation, and gave
bizarre excuses why his mistakes were not wrong. He left out accidentals, added and deleted dots for dotted notes, changed
meter signs, altered voice leading, deleted rests, and meddled beyond his competency, using his own system of notation,
"odd-man-our guitar notation." He is a retired airline pilot with hardly any formal training in music, aside from a
few guitar lessons taken as a youth.
The following are just a few of the BEFORE and
AFTER passages. There are dozens of similar passages. All are mistakes in any musician's book, not
differences in ediorial method. He even reformatted the beautiful pages I engraved for the edition. He must have
the visual equivalent of a tin ear.
Ophee fails to realize that the John Johnson edition was John Ward's, and he is
the person to make editorial decisions. I was only the engraver and I followed Ward's instructions.
It was a two year process, and Matanya regularly saw the work, since he printed the pages on his laser printer (I only had
a dot matrix printer at the time). So he knew what we were doing, and by remaining silent agreed with the work we had
sent him. The transcriptions were mislabeled (by Ophee) as "keyboard" against my wishes. They are transcriptions
of lute music, and were checked for playability on lute by Douglas Freundlich, a well known lutenist and teacher at the Longy
School in Cambridge.
According to Ophee one cannot play polyphony on plucked strng instruments,
and transcriptions that show "theoretical polyphony which may look good on paper . . . but are not playable on lute."
This is the kind of nonesense we had to face from an illterate musical dilettante. I explained how to play polyphony.
Paul O'Dette gave him a similar explanation. As would any trained music teacher. He declared our explanation was
a conspiracy to further the notions of "little pin-heads," as he called many of the most eminent scholars of lute music, including
the late Otto Gombosi, Charles Jacobs, and Carol MacClintock. And Mazakata Kanazawa, the leader of an ad-hoc
team who in 1958-59 revised a student edition of the works of John Johnson done in Ward's Music 200 (1957-58):
"Roger" (his American name) is one of the most brilliant persons I've ever known, and was recently elected president of the
Japanese Musicological Society and named Honorary Advisor to the Japanese Lute and Early Guitar Society. He appaently
included me in that group and sought to find someone to replace me as editor of my Francesco da Milano edition, which
he had on his harddisk in my revised edition (newly typeset by me).
Also see my response to Ophee's unkind O'Dette
Can anyone not imagine what it
is like to see one's beautiful work ruined and virtually destroyed by such an ego-driven individual. These examples
document a small part of the sad story: he destroyed three years of work by several eminent professionals mentioned
above. And, of course, who gets the blame? My revered teacher and mentor John Milton Ward, of course.
It makes no sense, whatsoever, to take out the rests.
I don't have the slightest idea why Ophee did so. He opines that rests "clutter" the page,
and that the player will imagine them to be there. Throughout there is seldom any rationale for the changes
he made. They are almost whimsical in character. It means that the player will have to stop playing to figure
out what has happened, and then pencil in the rests. Or misread the passage, perhaps thinking there is a sixteenth-note
triplet in there. Measure 31 in MO's version is so confused players would surely have to take more than a few moments
to figure it out--if they could even do that. No professional would ever permit his/her work to be expressed in such childish,
error-filled manner. And Ward's approved reading is entirely satisfactory, and one that he worked to perfect in
the seven sets of proofs I graciously provided.
JJ Ex. 2.
This is from the page with all the mistakes in meter. By leaving out the rests, 5/4 and 4/4
measures result. In another example, I complained about missing rests. Matanya defiantly said it was correct,
because the player would "imagine" the rests to be there. He had a similar bizarre explantion when accidentals were
left out: the player would use his musicianship and/or the fingerings to determine the proper note. And he refused to add
the accidentals!!!!! Here is what he wrote elsewhere:
. . . [A]ny half-educated musician would know instantly that the harmonic
sequence requires the G to be a G#, even though there is no accidental there. Pujol did not think an accidental was required
because he assumed that the book [a guitar tutor (for beginners?)] would be used by musicians,
not by musical illiterates. The detailed fingering confirms this.
see: rec.music.classical.guitar (Oct. 4, 2005)
Well this page shows what happens when the player is given Ophee's "Imaginary Rests," like Pujol's "Imaginary
Accidenals." And does an experienced played need "detailed fingerings"? Something doesn't make sense here.
Ward's authorized text is shown. The rests are removed in the guitar version. A suggested notation for guitar
is at the end. (This is MO's transcription; and is not derived from my work.)
JJ Ex. 3.
Again, I cannot fathom why the rests were removed. The convoluted, and erroneous notation
at (b) results from Matanya's "Odd-man-Out" guitar notation. It is difficult, and sometimes impossible, to read. It
is confusied, convoluted notation. But if you can't read music, that might not be apparent.<sigh> For some reason when two notes are together and one has a dot, he
adds a dot to the other note. Without thinking about the consequences. (See the example marked "gibberish," where he adds
a superflous rest--perhaps to make up for all the ones he left out.)
JJ Ex. 4.
This is the infamous No. 12B. Matanya sent it to me asking for comments. Well there
were about a dozen mistakes, mistakes that would shame a five-year-old.
The second measure becomes a 3/2 without the rest. Would he put it in? No!
The players would "imagine" it to be there. "Imaginary rests" are part of Matanya's idea of proper notation. Bizarre
explanations like that produced the last straw. And who gets the blame? JMW, of course, would be the laughing
stock of the musicological community. I could not lend my name to such childish error-filled musical notation.
He refused to use the beautiful edition that Ward had authorized for publication. It was very good. Now
it looks like child's scribbling.
Furthermore, the transcription from bandora to guitar is faulty. Matanya
has used the wrong transposition to provide the agreed-upon fret-to-fret transcription. It should be up a fifth, not
up a major sixth.
JJ Ex. 5.
More "imaginary rests." Must a player stop and puzzle out the
notation? Of course not.
My re-write is preferable. Matanya's is virtually unplayable, it is so convoluted. A grand
staff lute transcrption does not translate immediately to the single guitar staff, and the editor has to use his/her ingenuity
to produce text that is clear and understandable for the guitarist. Tain't easy. Even with this rather straight-forward
musical style. Try to play the third system down on your guitar. (Of course, don't peek.)
JJ Ex. 6.
MO reformatted the beautiful pages I provided. And he misplaced the properly positioned whole
rests. When a whole rests represents the entire measure, it is centered in the measure. But here the whole rest
is half of a 4/2 measure, and must be positioned as shown. When properly positioned, the whole rest represents four
quarter notes, as positioned by Ophee it represents eight quarter notes, and is nonsense.
Ophee uses similarly misplaced whole rests throughout, especially
in the keyboard book, e. g.,
#5 /meas. 12, 13 (both), 14, 15,
17, 21 (both), 24;
#8 /5, 8, 12, 16, 17 (twice), 20;
#9 /16, 24, 27;
#40 /end of var. nos. 2, 3, 8, 12,
(Why are all stems up
in the primo of #40?)
PROBLEMS WITH DOTTED NOTES.
JJ Ex. 7.
Deleted dots. Matanya has troubles with dotted notes.
Here the authorized text is correct. But without paying attention to what he is doing, he deletes dots
causing mistakes in rhythm. It is common sense not to change the work of professionals without double checking.
In one piece he changed the same passage four times, and each time his "correction" is WRONG!! (See No. 6)
And who gets blamed? JMW. Where was my successor, Tim Crawford? It is the General Editor's
responsibility to assure than the musical notation is literate, and conforms to the editorial parameters for the series.
Here he removes the dots for the dotted notes. Why? Oh, why?
Please tell me, "Why?"
Eureka! There they are; he needed the dots for Mus Ex 8, below. That's where
JJ Ex. 8.
Erroneously added dots. So Matanya must have had a need to recycle the dots he deleted. So why not add them in here.
It is beyond my comprehension how ANYONE could be so blind when it comes to the rhythm of simple music like Johnson's.
Does he think Ward, Kanazawa, Berman, Freundlich, Ness et al. are musical fools?
The motive marked with an asterisk is very familiar in Johnson's work. It is misreprexsented with
Matanya's re-write of No. 9. This is guitar-centrist thinking that Matanya applies all over. The topmost note must be
"the melody."<sigh> With such thinking he really fouls the notation. But he is of the belief <honest>
that it is impossible to play polyphony on a plucked string instrument. And hence "Odd-man-Out" guitar notation.
In the second example (La Vecchia Galliard), his guitar-centrist thinking takes over. If it's
on the top, it's the melody.
Well that turn-like figue B-C-B-A-B occurs so frequently it is almost a "signature motive" identiying
music by Johnson. Other composers likewise have "musical signatures."
They should be preserved. And away go the dots. And the D is an open course and should
be permitted to ring. (That's another Ophee foible. His inability to think in terms of the instrument
and its sonorities. An essential feature when transcribing from lute tablatures.)
More of the same. One wonders if this man ever thinks about what
he does. He seems to fly by the seat of his pants. He doesn't realize the A (guitar) has the equivalent of 3 eighth
notes in the same time when the upper voice (C# to F#) has 4 eighth notes! But dotted notes are difficult for Matanya
(see below). In many examples, as here, he also changed the lute transcription to match his erroneous guitar version.
JJ Ex. 9.
Still More. I guess one dot could replace the "imaginary
rest," but NOT two! It's childishly simple to count. It is confusing to have a dotted note followed by one on
the off-beat. That's why Ward used the rest to articulate the syncopation. Makes excellent musical sense, doesn't
Matanya turned a simple 3/4 measure into a confused 9/8 measure. He doesn't think.
He just likes to make the music look complicated by adding dots (where they do not belong.<shudder>).
Give Matanya's version to a professional for sight-reading and what will you get?
JJ Ex. 10.
Misplaced dots. Dots usually go in the space above the note, in standard musical practice, when the note is on
a line. In some situations, when the stem is down, the dot goes in the space below a note on a line. In these examples,
the dots are misplaced, and the lower note seems to be dotted. Matanya flipped the stems, but not the dots. The
problem is these changes were made without considering the consequences. Since he cannot read music, MO doesn't realize
how confusing is his notation. And players looking at the scores in a shop, will pass up the edition because it looks
complicated. The off-set G in JMW's reading is to show the voice leading clearly. Peter Danner remarked, "Musical
notation is instructions for performance." Ward's version fits Peter's pithy defination, MO's doesn't.
In No. 15B MO's guitar version is unnecessarily confusing. Where's the melody? It's clear in
Ward's original (d-c-B-d#). Players will have a hard time finding it in MO's. Furthermore it's
unplayable as written because the B half-note can only sound for a dotted quarter since the d#
is played on the same string. Again Ophee is ignoring the sound chracteristics of the guitar.
There's even more such convoluted
No. 3/ meas. 20, No. 4/8 & 30,
No. 6/15-16 (Gt. 2), No. 7/17,
No. 9/46 (Gt. 1), No.
No. 13/20, No. 14/8.5 & 11.5,
No. 15A/24.5 No.
No. 15B/15.5, 23.0-24.5, No. 17/4,
No. 26B/11, No. 27A/68,
No. 14/8.5, 11.5, 16.5
No. 34/24.5, p. 88 /
meas. 6, 12, 22, 23 & 25,
METER IN PAVANS.
No. 15B (above) also reminds me of something
that made me VERY, VERY ANGRY. By agreement with the editor (Ward), pieces in 4/2 meter (pavans, almains, etc.)
were to be published in the guitar versions in 2/2, without reduction of notes values as in the other type movements.
But see the false statement at the bottom of page x,*** which asserts that the note values in 4/4, are reductions by
one-half. But as one can see in the example here, the values are NOT REDUCED: just the meter has been changed.
The tempo of all the pieces in quadruple
meter are thus rendered defective. The pavans, for example, should have TWO dance steps per measure,
as indicated properly with 2/2. (Half note equals about M.M. 60, according to some scholars.) 4/4
means early music players would expect four steps per measure, and thus the pavans would have been turned into funeral marches
at quarter note = M.M. 60, as M. Lurie has observed. This is a major mistake, made worse by the misleading,
false information which Ophee gives on page x of the preface.
*** Quoted: ". . . the note values [are] halved for most
of the pieces (i.e. 4/2, 3/2, and 6/4 bars changed to 4/4, 3/4 and 6/8, respectively, . . ."
MORE GUITAR-CENTRIST CONFUSION
JJ Ex. 11.
This re-write is guitar-centrist nonsense. It is a kind of belief that the highest sounding note
is the "melody," and is treated as such. What Johnson wrote were broken chords. Matanya turned them into a Scotch snap.
The added sustained notes create unwanted harmonic clashes. The melody, a song used by Shakespeare, is choked off at the eighth
note. The cantus prius factus should be in half notes as Ward notates it. It is a broadside ballad,
"As I went to Walsingham, to the shrine, with speede." Finally Matanya gets a tune in the top line, and he
screws it up. As a reviewer noted, "Occasionally an inner voice poses seductively as a soprano melody" (Early Music
23 : 155).
It's also helpful to have an understanding of the polyphonic style which
underlies much Elizabethan lute music. A comparison of a passaged by Johnson with a cross relation in Byrd is illustrative.
Matanya turns the cross relation into a chromatic passing tone, destroying a typical harmonic device of the time.
Chil Ex 1.
The Editions Orphée reprint of Oscar Chilesotti's Da un
codice Lauten-Buch contains many mistakes in notation, in the spelling of the titles and in the translations
of the informative prefacatory explanations. It is just another instance of the fashionable Chilesotti rip-off. A proper
edition must await the publication of the original Bavarian manuscript in a facsimile. The original was long thought
to have been lost in a spectacular midnight blaze said by old-timers in the neighborhood to have destroyed Chilesotti's
home in Bassano del Grappa. It was, however, the house nextdoor that burned. All of Chilesotti's papers (which would
have likewise been burned) survive at the Fondazione Cini in Venice, where they may be examined by appointment. The manuscript
was sold, along with another manuscript of music by S. L. Weiß, shortly after his death, and passed to a famous Italian musicologist
living in northern Italy.
Most of the pieces were originally for six-course lute, sometimes
tuned "in Abzug" (that is, with the sixth course tuned a tone lower). Chilesotti's transcriptions in the E tuning were
made for lute-guitar, then a popular instrument of university students, and are easily played on the usual guitar, often with
little or no adjustmet being necessary.
= = = = = = = = =
Here in Matanya's "correction" to Chilesotti the rests are not necessary, and the dots on the
first E should be in the space below the note. The double-dotted E is written to sound through the rests.
That makes no sense, whatsoever. He is unable to calculate the proper sounding length of a double-dotted note. The
sixteenth and dotted eighth rests are also wrong, and not placed correctly.
There is no need for rests in these examples. But if used, the correct rests should appear.
The eighth rest should have just one dot, but two dots do look elegant. Elegant but WRONG.<sigh>
Chil Ex 2.
Matanya has difficulties with dotted notes, especially double-dotted ones, as above and here. Both
Chilesotti's original and Matanya's "correction" have a low D that cannot sound as long as indicated because the last two
sixteenths of beat 2 use the same string. Most editors would find this kind of fussiness unnecessary.
It's a kind of theoretical notation that cannot be played as written. In the bottom example, to be
correct, the double dotted quarter note should have a single dot, and the following rest should be one note to the left and
an eighth rest.
Chil Ex. 3
Accidentals. Matanya has trouble with
accidentals, perhaps because (I suspect) he plays by ear, and not by the notes. Here he removed the natural before the
C in the last measure. He didn't realize that a sharp was left out before the previous C, and Chilesotti's natural
was a cautionary accidental.
JJ Ex. 12.
This unplayable notation is Matanya's "Odd-man-Out" guitar notation. Invented because,
he claims, it is impossoble to play polyphony on a plucked string instrument. Yes. That's what he says. Polyphonic
rendition of lute music is the work of "little pointy-heads," he claims.
The first three systems are similar melodic idioms. What does Matanya do? He edits
each one differently, so the player cannot see the similarity. He does this often because he unable to see patterns
in musical notation. And one fundamental obligation of a music editor is to notate similar ideas similarly.
JJ Ex. 13.
The Birth of Stravinsky. This is
a rhythmic nightmare is for bandora. I had nothing to do with it. A student transcrption was used, and the Stravinsky-like
metrical changes were probably the student's way to get some fun out of the assignment. Made worse by Matanya's faulty musical
mathmatics (he claims not to have graduated from elementary school, perhaps in jest). (Half of a dotted quarter is a
dotted eighth, etc.) He doesn't understand the difference between Alternate Meter (using the "+" sign) and Double
Meter (no "+" sign), One alternates the two meters regularly, the latter uses the indicated meters randomly.
This was so weird that when I received it, I thought surely this is how the tablature read.
The student's assignment was accepted as correct without checking the original.<sigh> It was in fact a student
prank. I give the correct reading from the Marsh Ms at the end.
JJ Ex. 14
The No. 17 Galiard has similar confused notation (also see m. 52). What a waste it
was to devote one's efforts to this lost cause. Matanya changed the stem, making it a measure of 5/4 meter. Guitar-centrist,
again. This type of change appears all over the place, and usually results in mistakes. He does these things without
thinking. As a self-styled "world's leading authority on notation," I guess he considers himself so good he doesn't have to
examine what he has wrought. And who gets the blame? The editor, John Ward, who often sought to "soften" the effects
of simultaneous cross relations, as here (a vs. a#).