Hello, Everyone. There was a lesson about different editorial manuscripts while I studied
in CUHK MA and University of York MA (Musicology). This is a very interesting topic, indeed. It can
especially help us to understand dissimilar scores’ style, and choose a suitable one for your
students as well as yourself. Therefore, I would like to share knowledge which I have learned in
my study and hope they would help you to make a good choice.
First of all, manuscripts can divide into three different categories in general. They are
scholarly edition, critical edition and interpretative (performing) edition. However, if you refer to
Grove music online, it mentioned four kinds of music edition. “Four types of edition should satisfy
the needs of most potential users of music editions: the photographic facsimile; the edited print
that replicates the original notation; the interpretative edition; and the critical edition.” Therefore,
why are they differ with each other?
Indeed, the photographic facsimile is related to handwritings from a composer but using
technology to demonstrate those manuscripts, like scanning or photocopying of them then
present in a book. The edited print that replicates the original notation is the version which
interprets those scores in highly respective with composers. They may not be many changes in
comparing with the handwriting but a slightly difference. To be simple, I have asked my lecturer
in UoY to clarify about these two versions on the relevant categories of edition. Her answer is we
can put these two version into scholarly edition.
We may find critical edition and interpretative (performing) edition easily in many music
stores in Hong Kong. Critical edition is the original score of one composer, however, editors may
add some markings into the score. Additional marking will be clearly stated by the editor. For
example, if the editor adds a slur which did not show on the composer’s score, that slur may mark
a dot on it. Therefore, performers may easily to identify which musical elements are from
composers in origin and which are from editors. Those markings may be based on researches from
some musicologists or editors. As a result, I think these versions are authenticity.
Interpretative (performing) edition contains many information. Editors add tempo
marking, dynamics, articulations, etc. into scores. This kind of version is for performers who can
conveniently in interpreting the piece of music. However, you may not know exactly which
markings are from composers and which are from editors. In addition, some interpretative edition
may include performing guidance in the front of at the back of the book. They may explain reasons
in those additional markings or changings. Therefore, these information are useful as well.
In my opinion, different versions have their own advantages. Hope information stated on
the above can help you and your students.
Cathy Mok (BEd, MA, AmusTCL)