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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000125.txt from 2000/07

From: "Kevin Fay (LCA)" <kevinfay@-----.com>
Subj: RE: [kl] An error in a Sousa march
Date: Mon, 3 Jul 2000 19:02:22 -0400

Edwin V. Lacy wants to know:

<<<[I]n the original edition of The Washington Post March by John Phillip
Sousa, published by Carl Fischer. . . .there is an error in the tenor
saxophone part which makes it unplayable unless you happen to know the march
fairly well
and are able to skip around, skip a measure in one place and add one in
another place. . . . My question is, how could this error have occurred and
how could it be that it has never been corrected in all these years?>>>

The short answer is that they screwed up while engraving the plates -- used
to happen all the time, esp. if the engravers were not musicians, which
apparently was often the case. Many old editions of all kinds of stuff
contains similar errors (anyone ever see a complete list of the errors in
Lincolnshire Posy? Are you sure it's complete?).

The Sousa band probably did not read from the printed edition. At first,
there was manuscript; after that, the poor chump playing tenor probably just
dealt with it. In many cases, given the performance practice in the Sousa
band, this would be to lie out - the trio was often cut down to a few
players anyway. Given the caliber of performer in that ensemble, moreover,
it would get pencil-fixed in a jiffy.

Fixing the problem would require a new plate (or an expensive fix to the old
one). Remember, all of these old marches were published in the half-page
format so that 2 parts could be printed on one plate; fixing an error on
this part would open Pandora's box on the other one. Since the error would
be found out only after each copy was already sold, why bother? (Fixing it
for the next purchaser wouldn't make Fischer any more money, which I suspect
is the culprit here).

Chances are, given the stereotypical IQ of tenor saxophonists in general,
most band directors shrug it off anyway.

kjf

(who owns, and occasional plays, two tenor saxophones).

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