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#2297457 07/01/14 08:25 PM
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It's been a while!

I am simply dying trying to find a particular Scarlatti sonata. Of course, I don't remember the key, tonality or really anything about it.

The only clue: There is a portion of it where a pretty dissonant phrase is repeated over and over for an unnaturally long time. It's a good 15 or 20 seconds of the same few notes.

That is all I have to go on. eek

Throw some suggestions out there please! I will be forever indebted to you if you help me on this case!

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Maybe you can help some more by telling us these couple of things:

Is it one of the "fast" or "slow" sonatas? (I'm guessing fast.)

And, is it mainly in major or minor? (I'm guessing minor.)

ALTHOUGH....here's one in major that could fit the bill -- like, the passages at 0:30 and 0:40; similar things come in many times more.


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Thanks for the quick reply Mark!

Unfortunately I really can't help with the tonality. I will lean towards it being listed as a Major key sonata but don't hold me to that. You know how even in his major key sonatas there could be whole portions in a minor key. However, I am leaning towards it being in a major key then going to this part.

It is not a slow sonata.

The passage in question is even more dissonant and goes on for much longer than the one you posted. But hopefully this extra bit of info can help!

Thanks again!

Last edited by didyougethathing; 07/01/14 11:15 PM.
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500 sonatas or so, and all we have to go by is a dissonant section? You may be in for a long wait.


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Originally Posted by Art_Vandelay
500 sonatas or so, and all we have to go by is a dissonant section? You may be in for a long wait.

Right -- but meanwhile we could have a lot of fun posting "Scarlatti's most dissonant sonatas."
(Which admittedly could be about 450 of them.) ha

Here's another one:



(like at 0:24 and many other places)

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A bit difficult... if you have the time, there's one place where you can listen through practically all of them:
http://www.mp3classicalmusic.net/Composers/scarlatti.htm

There are far better recordings though...just not the complete set freely available. At least not on the piano. I really could not stomach listening to all on the harpsichord eek

Actually you should just play through them all! It's well worth it smile

I do have an excel list of the tempo markings of the sonatas, if that helps...at least then you could eliminate the slow ones...

Last edited by outo; 07/02/14 12:07 AM.
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....and of course there's the thing of "what's dissonant." I wouldn't be surprised if when we find out what sonata you mean, some of us might say "hey, that's not that dissonant." grin

Like, there's this one, which is pretty famous (and really cool), and which has this thing starting at 0:14 which could fit your description although I don't think of it that way:



Regardless, I'm loving coming up with these.

P.S. This sonata is utterly splendid.

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This one has a lot of dissonances:

http://youtu.be/KeQXPtvXLFQ

Last edited by AZNpiano; 07/02/14 03:10 AM.

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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
This one has a lot of dissonances:

http://youtu.be/KeQXPtvXLFQ

Nice!!
And y'know, that's one that I was vaguely trying to think of, and I think there's a fair chance it's what our guy is looking for.

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Yes that one is nice indeed, I never heard a bell like sound like that (high notes? Separate register?) from a harpsichord. Thanks :-)


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How did you first learn of the Sonata? Did you hear it on a recording? If so, do you know who the performer was?


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While we're at it, can we all look for another one as well? There's one I've always wanted to find, and never could.

The only thing I remember about it is that the second half begins with parallel 5ths . . .


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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
This one has a lot of dissonances:

http://youtu.be/KeQXPtvXLFQ

Nice!!
And y'know, that's one that I was vaguely trying to think of, and I think there's a fair chance it's what our guy is looking for.

That was the Scarlatti piece in the Norton Anthology book that we had to use for Music History class. Great use of tone clusters, though Scarlatti did that just to increase the volume of the harpsichord (i.e., the more notes you play at the same time, the louder it got).

I've only taught that piece twice, but both students loved it.


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Thanks for all of the suggestions everyone!

Unfortunately I don't remember the performer or if it was on YouTube or wherever. I'm sorry!

However, the key is not the dissonance, it's the length at which the phrase is repeated - it is for an uncomfortably long time.

I guess the dissonance could be described as somewhat "phrygian", or of the "Spanish" persuasion.

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Originally Posted by outo

I do have an excel list of the tempo markings of the sonatas, if that helps...at least then you could eliminate the slow ones...


I actually made a "Scarlatti Catalogue Converter" in Excel myself! It converts between K and L numbers and gives you the tempo and key. It was a fun little project.

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Originally Posted by didyougethathing
Originally Posted by outo

I do have an excel list of the tempo markings of the sonatas, if that helps...at least then you could eliminate the slow ones...


I actually made a "Scarlatti Catalogue Converter" in Excel myself! It converts between K and L numbers and gives you the tempo and key. It was a fun little project.


Everything concerning Scarlatti is fun!

My list originally was to keep track on which scores I had in different books and which ones I've played (as it is my goal to try them all before I drop dead). I'm really bad in remembering the K numbers, even the ones I have been studying. Someone (you maybe?) was kind enough to give me the additional key and tempo information and I just added that and got a nice resource smile

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Well, an update if anyone cares:

It is K. 12!!

The part in question starts at around :18 seconds in, and happens similarly a few times throughout the piece. Love it!! yippie


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You said 15 or 20 seconds. There are only 6. That certainly would have thrown me off the track, had I known the piece.


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Thanks for following up and giving the answer. I don't know the piece and I think I've never heard it before. If I did know it, I probably would have thought of it for what you described, although I myself wouldn't think of the piece mostly in terms of dissonance but what is sometimes called "ostinato," i.e. continuous insistent repetition. Scarlatti does a fair amount of it, but I'm not aware of any other piece of his that has it as continuously and insistently as this. BTW an unusual aspect that adds to the ostinato feeling is that the first half of the piece doesn't come to a clear end; it merges right into both the repetition of the first half and the start of the second part, without breaks. (The very end of the piece does come to an end, and IMO this is a reason not to take the repeat of the second part, because that way the entire piece is an unbroken ostinato.)
edit: Changed my mind. That's a reason, but not a good reason. grin

About the above post....
Poly is tough sometimes. ha

Poly, I would say he described what he was looking for pretty well. As for the length of the dissonance, first of all it's pretty normal for people to be imprecise about exactly how many seconds something like this is. He admittedly wasn't remembering exactly what this was, and was just giving an impression. What I took from it was just that it's an unusually extended series of dissonances -- and this is. And actually, I would say that the notably dissonant section starts a bit sooner than what he says, and that it's actually 2 or 3 sections in succession which add up to just about 15 seconds anyway, actually a little more. Yeah, the central part of it is less -- but I'd say he did a darn good job describing it. smile

Last edited by Mark_C; 07/03/14 02:57 PM.
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Thanks Mark!

Yeah, I admit I was pretty far off - but the main idea of it was that yes, this lasts a very long time in the grand scheme of things. You think it should end after a certain point but doesn't; that was my most defining memory of it.

But glad I could find it and glad we can discuss Scarlatti! Also happy that you've never heard this one before. Scarlatti is the gift that keeps on giving!

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