Stanley Yates - Recordings



VILLA-LOBOS' GUITAR MUSIC: Alternative Sources and Implications for Performance

by Stanley Yates, March 1997

© Stanley Yates, 1997


This article first appeared in Soundboard, Journal of the Guitar Foundation of America, Summer 1997, vol. xxiv, no. 1, pp. 7-20; and, as "Die Musik von Heitor Villa-Lobos, Alternative Quellen und Aufführungspraxis," in Gitarre & Laute, vol. xix, no. 6, 1997, pp. 55-65.

Technical Note: the low resolution gif images contained in this document are intended to assist in reading the article online. You  may also download Postcript files, in zip format, for high resolution printing.


Although we have heard of alternative manuscript sources of Villa-Lobos' guitar music for some time, it is only recently that the exciting content of several of these manuscripts has become known. The manuscripts of which I speak are a substantially-fingered 1928 autograph copy of the Twelve Etudes, along with several manuscripts relating to the Five Preludes. Copies of all are to be found in the Museo Villa-Lobos in Rio de Janeiro (having apparently been there since December of 1973) [Note 1].  

The most intriguing of the manuscripts is the 1928 autograph copy of the Etudes, which adds yet another twist to the sketchy history of this seminal and germinal work for the guitar. Each page bears the publisher's stamp "reproduit par les soins des Editions Max Eschig," and is in all respects a finished version. It is meticulously written in the hand of the composer, and contains considerable detail of expression markings and fingerings. This manuscript, however, predates several others and clearly was not the version used by Eschig as the basis for publication-the several manuscripts dated Paris 1929 are much closer in their details to the Eschig publication than is the 1928 manuscript and derive, therefore, from a revised version (or versions) of that year [Note 2]. The Eschig edition is copyrighted 1952 (with the exception of Etude 1, which is copyrighted 1953), and Andres Segovia's preface to that edition is dated January 1953. The first edition did not appear, therefore, until twenty-five years after composition [Note 3]. The publication manuscript upon which the edition was based has yet to surface [Note 4].

Why did Villa-Lobos revise his 1928 manuscript-ostensibly a finished work? And why did virtually none of his fingerings make it into later versions? It is interesting that the 1928 manuscript makes no reference to Andres Segovia who, by 1929 was the acknowledged dedicatee of the Etudes, and who later supplied the preface to the Eschig publication; it is not unlikely that Segovia suggested revisions to Villa-Lobos.

The issue of the fingerings is even less clear-in his 1953 preface Segovia defends the integrity of Villa-Lobos' fingerings, though very few are actually found in the publication:

I have not wished to change any of the "fingerings" that Villa-Lobos himself indicated for the performance of his works. He understood the guitar perfectly and if he chose a particular string or fingering to produce a certain phrasing, we must strictly obey his wish, although it be at the cost of greater technical effort.

It is possible that, since the 1928 manuscript alone is significantly fingered, Villa-Lobos may simply not have bothered to copy out the fingerings again when preparing his revision(s). Whatever the case, the 1928 manuscript provides much valuable information that, inevitably, will inform future interpretations of the music.

In this article, I discuss the major differences between the manuscripts and the published versions, and address the interpretation and performance issues they inform. I also attempt to distinguish between those differences that clearly reflect errors or omissions in the published score (and which may therefore reasonably be adopted without further discussion) and those differences that seem to be revisions on the part of the composer (and which should therefore be treated more cautiously)-the issue of a composer's final intentions is not always a simple one, as in the case, for example, of the composer who is persuaded into revisions by his editor.

In the discussion that follows, measure numbers refer to the published score; measures, beats and subdivisions of beats are identified in the form m1.1.2 ( measure1.beat1.subdivision2).


The 1928 Manuscript of the Twelve Etudes
The 1928 manuscript of the Twelve Etudes is an exceptionally clear, accurate, and consistently-written document; Villa-Lobos' fastidiousness extends even to writing out all da capo sections in full. One example of this notational meticulousness lies in the use of differing sized noteheads to clarify the musical structure-thematic and structural lines (in both upper and lower registers) are given full-size noteheads, while supporting and accompanimental parts are consistently notated with smaller ones [Note 5]. Providing an exceptionally clear representation of the musical texture, this notation sometimes transcends the obvious—as in the following example (where identical chords are indicated alternately as structural or accompanimental) (fig. 1):

Figure 1. Etude 4, mm. 46-47.

The technical subtitles ("de arpège," etc.) attached to many of the Etudes in the published score do not appear in the 1928 manuscript, although the first Etude does bear the provocative subtitle Prelude. It is tempting, though fanciful, to imagine this piece to be the "lost" sixth prelude from the set of 1940.

Also noteworthy is that this first study, along with numbers 2 and 9, is written without any the repeat markings found in the published score.


Solutions to Ambiguous Passages
As already mentioned, no other copy of the Etudes contains anything like the amount of fingering and expression markings found in the 1928 manuscript. The detail found, along with the sheer accuracy of the manuscript, provides likely solutions to many of the ambiguities found in the published versions of the music-the endings of the first three Etudes, for example, are notated with considerable clarity.

At the end of Etude 1 an open-string is used instead of a harmonic in m32 beat 3.3; and in mm33-34 the notation confirms the use of harmonics on the e and b strings (fig. 2):

Figure 2. Etude 1, mm. 32-34.

Although the intended execution of the ending of Etude 2 has led to some controversy, the 1928 manuscript does appear to support the explanation found in the "Carlevaro" manuscript. In this latter source the following Portuguese annotation appears at the point indicated in figure 3: "Pizz. tos simultaneos da máo direita e máo esquerda na mesma" ("pluck simultaneously with the right and left hands on the same [string]") [Note 6]. Although the 1928 manuscript contains no such description, the words harm duple that appear in the published score are not present either. However, the circled asterisk does appear in the 1928 manuscript and, although devoid of any annotation, is positioned on the pitch e-perhaps indicating the string upon which the term pizz mg applies. Furthermore, the diamond noteheads are provided parenthetical accidentals which align them with the sounds produced on the first string behind the fretting finger. It would appear that Villa-Lobos' earlier intention, then, was to fret and pluck the upper notes as written and simultaneously pluck behind each fretted note with another left-hand finger pizz m.g. (in French: "pluck with the left hand")—a potentially witty conclusion to a virtuosic study! (fig. 3):

Figure 3. Etude 2, mm. 26-27.

The ending to Etude 3 is another notoriously ambiguous spot. The 1928 manuscript, however, clearly indicates that in m30 the lower pitch is not a harmonic but a normal note. Following Villa-Lobos' usual notational practice, everything then makes perfect sense: d on the a-string is played with the third finger; and the harmonic at the fifth-fret of the d-string is played with the fourth finger (and sounds at the pitch indicated above it) (fig. 4):

Figure 4. Etude 3, m. 30.

Although the 1928 manuscript contains considerably more fingering indications than does the published score, it is by no means completely fingered. Nevertheless, it is still possible to derive valuable musical and technical insight from the markings present.

In general, Villa-Lobos' fingerings for the left hand show concern for legato connection and clarity of voice leading, as well as specific effects of phrasing. For example, a wonderful effect is produced in the opening section of Etude 11 through a combination of glissando and ligado (fig. 5):

Figure 5. Etude 11, mm. 1-3.

A technical aspect of Villa-Lobos' fingerings for the left hand is a tendency to connect distant positions by shifting rapidly along a single string, treating the relative strengths of the fingers with apparent impunity (fig. 6):

Figure 6. Etude 3, mm. 9-10.

In chordal passages, Villa-Lobos sometimes uses an unconventional second or fourth finger barré (although a third finger barré is not employed for the numerous half-diminished chords such as those found in mm11-16 of Etude 4) (fig. 7 and fig. 23, below):

Figure 7. Etude 4, mm. 8 and 31.

When present, Villa-Lobos' fingering indications for the right hand generally are orthodox: i-m alternation is used for scale passages; i-m-a are otherwise assigned to the the treble strings. In five-note chords the thumb plucks two adjacent bass strings simultaneously-when more definition between the lower voices is required, or when the basses are not adjacent, the lowest note is performed as a grace-note (as in Etude 4, mm5-6, 29-30 and 35).

However, Villa-Lobos also employs several less orthodox right-hand techniques. In the central section of Etude 12, for example, he calls for the index and middle fingers to pluck two strings simultaneously (fig 8):

Figure 8. Etude 12, mm. 38-40.

More interesting are the right-hand indications that Villa-Lobos provides in conjunction with slur markings. Etudes 10 and 11 both contain passages which involve a single finger, or the thumb, playing across one or more adjacent strings (noting that Villa-Lobos always uses a slur to indicate this technique). In the passage shown in figure 9, the thumb plays across the lower two strings and the index finger across the top four strings-both are indicated with a slur (fig. 9):

Figure 9. Etude 10, mm. 72-72; and Etude.

In the following example, the index finger plays across the top five strings, as indicated; the four-note ascending group almost certainly is intended to be played with the thumb (fig. 10):

Figure 10. Etude 11, m. 19.

Take a look now at the passage from Etude 1 shown in fig. 11 (and bear in mind that the 1928 manuscript does confirm the right-hand fingering that appears at the beginning of the piece in the published score). Do the fingerings suggest that in m24.3.2 the index finger plays across the second and third strings? (fig. 11) [Note 7]:

Figure 11. Etude 1, mm. 24-25.

If intentional, this technique may help explain some of the ambiguous slurring found in both the manuscript and the published score, as discussed below.

Slur Markings
The most problematic aspect of Villa-Lobos' notation lies in his ambiguous use of the slur marking, which is applied in at least four contexts: note-grouping; indeterminate note prolongation, the usual left-hand ligado, and, as we have just seen, in conjunction with right-hand glissandi.

In many cases, the intended function of the slur is obvious-the grouping slurs in mm33-37 of Etude 8, for example (which serve to divide the phrase into the two parts implicit in its construction) (fig. 12):

Figure 12. Etude 8, mm. 33-37.

Also obvious in this example is that the first phrase is to be performed ligado. Analogous passages (ones in which a large grouping slur encloses several internal ligados) may also be found at mm56-57 of Etude 8 and mm20 and 45-50 of Etude 10. But what are we to make of the slurring found in the following example? (fig. 13):

Figure 13. Etude 7, mm. 8-10.

In measures 4-11 of this Etude, ascending slurs are independently marked within the larger grouping slur (clearly, a short ascending slur should also be present at mm8-9). Comparing these scale passages with the articulated scale that appears at m56, there is the implication that the notes falling under the large slur should be performed as ligados. However, a short ascending ligado followed by an articulated scale seems the more likely interpretation-the scale at m56 being articulated metrically, those under slurs as a single gesture.

Ambiguity is also present in shorter slurred groupings, especially in Etude 2. Although the 1928 manuscript contains several divergent slur markings for this study, their interpretation still remains uncertain. Of those that appear on the first and third beats of each measure, most seem to be ligados. Others, however, could not possibly be performed that way (fig. 14):

Figure 14. Etude 2, mm. 14-15 and 18-19.

Perhaps these slurs indicate that the thumb or a finger be "dragged" across the indicated strings (as noted above)-this works reasonably well in some ascending groupings, but seems entirely unnecessary in most descending ones. There is also the strong possibility that the slurs define melodic grouping-that is, the notes under the slur should not ring over one another. And perhaps some are oversights, inadvertently added under the momentum of the slurring in preceding measures.

Although consistently marked, the slurs in Etude 9 are also ambiguous. In the 1928 manuscript, mm30-59 are slurred as shown in figure 15: the slurring shown in m30 appears to combine a grouping slur with a re-articulated descending ligado, while that at m51 indicates the articulation of repeated notes on the second string. In the first case the lower slur suggests performance as a single gesture that combines arpeggio and ligado (as typically performed). However, the 1928 tempo indication Moins, as well as a slower initial tempo (Un peu animé), may well indicate a literal realization of the figure.

Figure 15. Etude 9, mm. 30 and 51.

A table of divergent slur markings has been provided at the end of this article.


Divergent Pitches and Rhythms
The 1928 manuscript contains a number of divergent pitches and rhythms, some of which almost certainly reflect errors in the published versions. For example, in Etude 4 mm17 and 18, the natural sign on the second beat has been displaced downwards in the published score (also note the notation of overlapping pitches in the bass and treble) (fig. 16):

Figure 16. Etude 4, mm. 17-18.

A table of divergent pitches and rhythms may be found at the end this article, along with an opinion in each case as to the legitimacy of amending the published score. Among the numerous inconclusive divergent pitches and rhythms listed there, I find the examples that follow particularly interesting.

In Etude 5 (fig. 17): in m9.4.2 the melody note f seems to fit well with the circolo character of the melody thus far; at m10.1.2 the ostinato requires the pitch b, but e has been substituted-perhaps to relieve the dissonance otherwise produced; at m22.4 again b is the required note for the ostinato, but b@ does provide more movement over the barline; in mm27-28 the additional first-string e results from a double ligado in which the first finger of the left hand plucks both first and second strings; and in m48.3.2 e@ does seem to be the correct note, harmonically-with or without additional basses.

Figure 17. Etude 5, mm. 9-10, 22-23, 27-28 and 48-49.

In Etude 6: f natural is indicated in mm2 and 3 beat2.2 and at mm28 and 29 (although not at mm56 and 57); and Villa-Lobos originally had a different texture in mind for mm33-41, both fifth and sixth strings probably to be played with the thumb (fig. 18):

Figure 18. Etude 6, mm. 33-34.

In Etude 8: the somewhat elusive character of the published opening section is transformed by the consistent glisssandi and triplet rhythms employed in the 1928 manuscript-the effect is almost jazz-like; and in mm47-48, a simpler harmonic texture does not incorporate the appoggiaturas of later versions (fig. 19):

Figure 19. Etude 8, mm. 1-4 and 46-49.

In Etude 10, mm63-64, the sixteenth-note figures substitute the open e-string. Again, the character of the passage is altered by the more relaxed effect (fig. 20):

Figure 20. Etude 10, mm. 60-64.

Tempo Indications and Expression Markings
Almost all tempo and expression words found in the 1928 manuscript are written in French; these both supplement and sometimes subtlety contradict those found in later versions (where many have been replaced with Italian expression words). Sometimes these translations are quite literal, for example Poco allegro instead of Un peu animé. This is not always the case however and, as the following list demonstrates, subtle tempo differences are found for Etudes 1, 2, 9, 10 and 12.

  1928 manuscript Eschig publication
Etude 1 Animé Allegro ma non troppo   
Etude 2 Très animé Allegro
Etude 3 Un peu animé Allegro moderato
Etude 4 Un peu modéré same
Etude 5 Andantino same
Etude 6 Un peu animé Poco Allegro
Etude 7 Très animé same
Etude 8 Modéré (no mm)   same
Etude 9 Un peu animé Tres peu animé
Etude 10 Animé Tres animé
Etude 11 Lent same
Etude 12   Un peu animé Animé


The 1928 manuscript also shows differences for internal tempo changes in several of the Etudes.

Etude 4   m15   Meno not present (although m25 is marked  a tempo 1a   
  m54 Un peu moins
Etude 5 m50 a tempo 1a
Etude 6 m28 Moins (trés energique)
  m39 Meno not present
  m46 Un peu moins (tres energique) instead of a tempo 1a
  m55 a tempo (instead of Meno)
Etude 7 m13 Modéré instead of Moins
  m19 Lent
  m22 Modéré
  m41 Più mosso not present
Etude 9 m30


Etude 10    m21     Tres animé (instead of Un peu animé)
  m69 Tre vif
Etude 11 m48 Poco meno not present


Expression markings (dynamics, fluctuations of tempo, and articulation) are more detailed in the 1928 manuscript than in the published score, and often clarify form, phrase structure, texture, and motivic character. A good example is the opening section of Etude 8 (which is devoid of dynamic markings in the publications) , as can be seen in figure 21: the upper and lower parts are given independent dynamic and articulation markings; written decrescendos shape the opening glissando motive in mm1-4, as well as its expanded version that follows through m14; the lower voice is independently shaped sf-p and sfz-mf in mm10 and 12; the subtle contrast between rallentando and ritardando is exploited in mm13-14.

Figure 21. Etude 8, mm. 1-15.

In addition to being more detailed, the markings in the 1928 manuscript are often more expressive than those found in the published score-rallentandi and crescendi are applied over longer spans, and a greater number of dynamic contrasts are applied. Although it is not possible to list every divergent expression marking found in the 1928 manuscript (they simply are too numerous), a table found at the end of this article lists the more pertinent ones.


Unique Material
In the 1928 manuscript, two of the Etudes contain additional material not to be found in any other source. In Etude 10, nineteen new measures of prelude-like material are inserted after m20; followed by 14 further measures derived from measures 1-20 (fig. 22):

Figure 22. Etude 10, new material [mm.1-4].

Quite considerable redistribution of material is also found through measures 29-47 of Etude 11, and includes some material that was not retained in later versions (fig. 23).

Figure 23. Etude 11, new material inserted at mm. 39 and 42.

Although the omission of this extra material in all other sources does serve to increase the concision of the Etudes in question, the material is of such interest that reintroduction seems a justifiable option.

In Etude 7, one measure is added-measure 10 is inserted before measure 40 (agreeing with the opening section).


Manuscripts of the Five Preludes
Fair copies (i.e. complete finished versions) of the Preludes reveal few significant differences from the published editions. One remarkable difference however may be found in Prelude No. 2, where at measure 34 a sharp is present on the second low e (fig. 24). I suggest players waste no time amending their scores! [Note 8]

Figure 24. Preludio No. 2 para Violão, mm. 33-35.

In the fair copy of Prelude No. 1, the passage at mm43, 47, 122 and 126 has a harmonic notation for the top three strings only the second time it appears (i.e., in m47). However, in the first appearance of the passage in the compositional sketch harmonics are present (and are followed by an indication to play in the 7th position).

Figure 25. Preludio No. 1 para Violão, compositional sketch, m. 43.

The compositional sketch of the first Prelude, very obviously written at the moment of inspiration, provides us an interesting glimpse of the genesis of the piece. The initial tempo is marked All' agitato (which later became Andantino espressivo), and the middle section is marked Meno (this later became Più mosso)-these earlier tempos enrich our interpretation of the revised ones. Here is the opening of the Prelude as notated in the sketch, along with Villa-Lobos' initial idea for the central section; note the prime importance of the melodic material as the structural base of the piece, and the simple waltz-like conception of the accompaniment (which later became a syncopated "catch-all" to the revised melody) (fig. 26):

Figure 26. Preludio 1, compositional sketch, mm. 1-9 and [52].

Along with a fair copy manuscript of Prelude No. 5 dated September 1940, which agrees with the Eschig publication in virtually all matters (with the exception that it is written without expression markings), is another fair copy which reveals an earlier completed version of the piece. In addition to several small changes in the first two sections (fig. 27), the third section employs an entirely popular-sounding harmonic style (fig. 28).

Figure 27 Preludio No. 5, compositional sketch, mm. 9, 11, 15-16 and 24-25.

Figure 28. Preludio No. 5, compositional sketch, mm. 33-42.

A Final Thought
The discussion contained in this article raises an interesting question-which version of the music should we play? It is not uncommon for a work, ostensibly finished, to undergo revision at the editorial stage (indeed, given the chance, many composers would continue to revise their work indefinitely!). Certainly, most performers would prefer to see a composer's unedited manuscript, rather than someone else's edition, and make their own decisions. In the case of the music discussed here, however, we have an apparent overabundance of sources upon which to base our interpretations. Clearly, the notion of "informed performance" applies to music much closer to our own time than one would perhaps think. And, inevitably, the answer lies with each performer.


Table 1. Divergent Pitches and Rhythms found in the 1928 Manuscript of the Twelve Etudes
(along with an opinion as to the legitimacy of amending the published score: 1 - almost certain 2 - uncertain)
[return to text]

Etude 1   m32   b3.3   e normal notehead 1
  m33 b3 first-string e harmonic 1
  m34 b1 second-string b harmonic 1
Etude 2 m12 b4.4 g-sharp instead of f-sharp 2
  m20 b3 g-natural 2
  m26 b4 d-sharp diamond notehead 2
    4.2 d-nat diamond notehead 2
Etude 3 m3 b2 quarter-note rest in written-out da capo 2
  m6 b1.1 open e instead of f-sharp 2
  m14 b3.1 d instead of e (d fits the indicated position III, although e is a better fit harmonically) 2
  m30 b2 bass d is a regular notehead 1
Etude 4 m8 b3 g-natural and e-flat (i.e., parallel to m9) 2
    b4 e-natural and f-sharp (i.e., parallel to m9) 2
  m15 b1 chord written as 4 repeated 16th-notes 2
  m18 b2 e-natural and d-flat (the natural is displaced upwards by one note in the published score 1
  m31 b1 fifth-string a half-note tied-over from previous measure 2
    b2.1 & 2.2 f-sharp instead of g 2
  m35 b1 e bass grace-note added 2
  m37 b4.3 sixth-string e/f-sharp instead of fifth string a 2
  m47 b2 fifth-string b tied-over from beat 1 1
Etude 5 m9 b4.2 melody f instead of g (f does fit the circolo character of the melody) 2
  m10 b1.2 second-string e instead of b (e sounds better, however b fits the ostinato) 2
  m22 b4.1 fifth-string b-flat (b-flat is interesting, again b-natural fits the ostinato) 2
  mm27 & 28 b1 an open first-string e is added (but not at m31) 2
  m48 b3 bass half-note b-flat with grace-note (both notes staccato and <); additional first-string g
    b3.2 second-string e-flat 2
  m49 b3 bass e half-note added 2
  m65 b1 third-string c diamond notehead harmonic 1
Etude 6 mm1-2 & 28-29 b2.2 fourth-string f-natural (but not in mm56-57) 2
  m27 b2.2 f-natural (however, f-sharp in the parallel passage at m54) 2
  m55   texture and rhythm as in surrounding measures 2
  m58   same texture and rhythm as m59 1
Etude 7 m8 b4.4 a-sharp 1
  m10 b4.4 a-natural 1
  mm13 & 19 b1 bass whole-note a (beat 3 half-note a not present 2
  m22 b1 fifth-string melody note c-sharp instead of a; sixth-string f-sharp instead of d 1
  mm22 & 24 b1 inner chordal notes (f-sharp, a and c-sharp) not present 2
  m25 b3 fourth-string half-note e (d-natural not present) 2
  m29 b1 half-note g-natural not present 1
Etude 8 m16 b2 bass g-sharp restruck 2
  mm29 & 71 b1.1 16th-rest (upper notes e, g-sharp, c-sharp not present) 2
  m45 b2.2 fourth-string a added 2
  mm47 & 49 b1.1 upper dotted-quarter f-sharp instead of g-sharp 2
    b1.2 f-sharp not present 2
  m80 b1 c-sharp diamond notehead harmonic 1
Etude 9 m21 b2.2 b instead of c 1
  m26 b1.1 bass f-sharp instead of a (however, a appears in parallel passages at mm9 and 38 in both manuscript and published score 2
Etude10 mm18 & 19 b2 triad restruck 2
  mm24 & 31 b3 sixth-string half-note e added (like publication mm35 & 39) 2
  m28 b2.2 g-sharp (see next entry) 1
  mm28 & 29 b1.1 open g-natural and b chord tones in parenthesis 2
  m45 b4.2 c-sharp 1
  m46 b3.4 b 1
  m56 b1 bass a tied over from previous measure 1
  m60 b1.3 same accidentals as publication m58 1
  mm63 & 64 b2.2 16th-note e instead of g 2
Etude11 m24 b1 bass e tied over from previous measure 1
  m90 b1 fifth-string dotted half-note e, followed by: 2
    b4 sixth-string quarter-note b-flat 2
Etude12 mm9 & 11 b2 & 3 quadruplet grouping (like mm78 & 80) 1
  m47   bass e instead of g throughout the measure 1

[return to text]

Table 2. Divergent Expression Markings found in the 1928 Manuscript of the Twelve Etudes
(when not italicized, the terms crescendo and decrescendo refer to dynamic "hairpins")
[return to text]

Etude 1


mf instead of p
Etude 2 m26.2 rall.
Etude 3 m22.3 rall.
  m24.1 a tempo
  m24.3 stringendo
  m26.1 a tempo
  m28.3 allargando
Etude 4 m1.1 mf instead of p
  m2.1 f; rit. displaced to beat 3
  m3.1 mf; a tempo
  mm4-5 & 25-29 as mm1-3
  mm54 & 55.1 crescendo
  m62.1 ff
  mm62-64 lower part staccato
  m64.1 toujours a tempo instead of allarg.
Etude 5 m31.3 lower voice f
  m37.1 p
  m38.1 cresc. poco a poco
  mm41 & 42.1.1 f
  mm41 & 42.1.2 pp
  m48.1 cresc.
  m50.1 f
  m51.1 crescendo
  m52.1 p
  m61.1 dim poco a poco
  m62.1 allarg.
  m65.1 mf
Etude 6 mm1-3 & 19-20.1.1 sfz
  mm1-3 & 19-20.2.1 mf
  m21.2 p stringendo
  m26.1 allargando
  m33.1 ff
  m38.2 rall. not present
  m44.2 rall.
  m45.2.2 rit.
  m48.1 mf
  m49.1 string. poco a poco
  m52.1 cresc.
  m53.2 allargando
  m55.1 f; a tempo
  m56.2 cresc.
  m57.1 allarg. not present
  m59.1 poco rall.
Etude 7 m12.2 rall.
  m17.4 rall. through end of m18
  m20.4 rall. through end of m21
  m22.1 5th string bien chanté
  m28.4 allargando through m30.2
  m30.4 a tempo 1a
  m54.3 allarg.
Etude 8 m1.1 mysterieus; Très lie et bien chanté; lower voice mf; upper voice p
  mm1-16 all 2 and 3-note figures in upper voice decrescendo
  mm33 & 75.2 molto stringendo
  m70.1 cresc. animando
Etude 9 m32.4 rall.
  m33.3 rit.
  m34.1 [a tempo]
  m45.2 allargando
  m47.1 p; a tempo
  m51.4 cresc.
  m52.1 allargando
Etude 10 m3.1 cresc. poco a poco not present
  m17.2 stringendo
  mm18-19 & 20.1 crescendo
  m22.1 upper voice pp; lower voice f
  mm24, 31, 35 & 39.3 bass E's p
  m43.1 crescendo
  m44.1 harmonic ff
  mm49-50.1 crescendo
  m51.1 upper voice p; lower voice mf
  m52.1 upper voice pp
  m52.3 lower voice f
  mm59-64 sfz not present
Etude 11 m19 dynamics as m23
  mm50-57 dynamic hairpins not present
  mm82-83.1 sfz p (like earlier)
  m91.1 rall. (like first time)
Etude 12 throughout all measures with gliss. chords are marked beat 1 crescendo, beat 2 decrescendo
  m4.2 cresc.
  m19.1 cresc.
  mm22 & 91.1 upper voice mf
  m33.1 mf
  m36 dynamics same as m35
  mm37 & 38 p instead of mf; mf instead of f
  m74.1 cresc.
  m88.2.3 cresc.
  m105.1 cresc. toujours through and of measure 106

[return to text]

Table 3. Divergent Slur Markings found in the 1928 Manuscript of the Twelve Etudes
[Return to text]

Etude 2 m4 4.3 f#-e
  m7 1.1 b-e
  m10 1.1 e-g#
  m12 4.3 e-g#
  m16 4.1 c#-a
    4.3 f#-c#
  m17 3.1 b-a
  m18 1.1 g#-d#-f#
  m20 1.1 f#-c#-e
  m22 1.1 cnat-d#
Etude 3 m8 1.3 no slur
  m13 3.3 no slur
Etude 7 m4 2.2 f#-g#-a
  m9 4.2 g#-a#-b
  m10 4.2 g#-a-b
  m34 2.2 f#-g#-a
  m39 4.2 g#-a#-b
Etude 8 mm1, 3 & 4   from beat 1.2 to beat 2
  mm33-34 & 75-76   under a grouping slur
  mm35-37   under a grouping slur
  m34 1 c#-d#-e
  m56 1.2 under a grouping slur
  m76 1 c#-d#-e
    1.4 e#-f##-g#
Etude 9 m10 1.1-1.6 under a grouping slur
    1.1-1.6 under a grouping slur
  mm30-57   all as m47 in the publications except:
  mm51-53   3-note slur on each beat
  m39 1.1-1.6 under a grouping slur
Etude 10 mm48-50   a long grouping slur encloses the smaller groups of ligados
  m73 3 the slur extends for 4 notes only
Etude 11 m19-   see figure 10
Etude 12 mm15 & 17 3 like the publication, slurs and glissandi are missing (although
they are present in the parallel passages at mm84 and 86);
probably an oversight

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Note 1. The Museo Villa-Lobos holds a photocopy of a 1928 autograph manuscript titled Etudes pour la Guitarre (ms. P.200.1.2.A), each page stamped 14/12/73 by the French publishing company Max Eschig (the holders of the original manuscript). The last page is marked "Paris, 1928, HVL," in the hand of the composer. Several manuscripts and copies relating to the Five Preludes are also housed at the museum. Among them, Preludios Para Violâo-undated, but again containing the same Eschig stamp; an undated compositional sketch Preludio No. 1 (ms. P.201.1.41); a fair copy of Preludio No. 2 [for] Violâo (ms. P.201.1.6), undated, stamped by Eschig; Preludio No. 5 (P.201.1.10) dated September 1940, stamped by Eschig; Prelude No. 5 (P.201.1.10), undated; and Preludio 3 (P.201.1.10) dated August 1940, stamped by Eschig.

I have established Villa-Lobos' calligraphy with reference to several signed documents and autograph scores, among them the compositional sketches of the Five Preludes (Museo Villa-lobos P.201.1.4), and the "Lubrano" manuscript-a 1929 manuscript of Etude No. 5, advertised and authenticated by the antique firm J & J Lubrano (see Matanya Ophee, "How does it end?" Classical Guitar, May, 1995, Vol. 13, No. 9, pp. 14-22). Several characteristics show these manuscripts to be Villa-Lobos autographs: the calligraphy of Villa-Lobos initials and signature (particularly the shape of the letter "H") and the crossing of the letter "T" (which increases in pressure as it ascends); the calligraphy of Villa-Lobos' treble clef and sharp sign (which he crosses, unusually, downwards from left to right); and peculiarities of Villa-Lobos' music notation such as the notation of strings by letter instead of by number, circled right-hand fingering indications, and harmonics indicated at fretted rather than sounding pitch.
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Note 2. In his article "Villa-Lobos: New Manuscripts" (Guitar Review, Fall 1996, 22-28), Eduardo Fernandez refers to additional manuscript copies of the Etudes housed at the Museo Villa-Lobos, but does not offer information relating to their chronology. Among these is a set included in the Guimarães collection-a manuscript collection donated to the museum by the family of Villa-Lobos' first wife (the Museo Villa-Lobos has not been able to supply me with any information regarding the chronology of these scores). A number of additional manuscripts, including one in the possession of Abel Carlevaro and a Museo Villa-Lobos manuscript of Etude 10 (P.200.1.19), dated 1929, appear not to be in the hand of Villa-Lobos. The "Lubrano" manuscript of Etude 5, cited in footnote 1 above, is dated 1929 and almost certainly is an autograph.
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Note 3. H. Villa-Lobos, Douze Études, preface by Andrés Ségovia, (Paris: Éditions Max Eschig, 1953?). An edition of the collected solo guitar works of Villa-Lobos with a "correction of obvious typographical errors" was published as Heitor Villa-Lobos Collected Works for Solo Guitar, (New York: Amsco Publications, 1990).
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Note 4. At the time of writing, Editions Max Eschig have not responded to my requests for information relating to the manuscript used for publication; nor has the Museo Villa-Lobos been able to supply any information.
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Note 5. The Eschig edition of the Douze Études does make an attempt to distinguish between the two sizes of noteheads, although subtly (see, for example, page 10 of the publication). The 1990 Amsco Publications edition, obviously re-engraved from the Eschig publication rather than the manuscript itself, is oblivious to them.
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Note 6. The passage is reproduced in Abel Carlevaro, Guitar Master Class, vol. III. Heidelberg: Editions Chanterelle, 1987, p.12; but also see Matanya Ophee's article, loc. cit. In the opinion of the present writer, and judging from the available evidence of the 1928 manuscript, the confusion surrounding the ending of Etude 2 most likely is the result of a revision - in 1928 the intention had been for a "bi-tonal' ending but was later changed to harmonics. The confusion arises from the unfortunate inclusion in the published score of both the original indication "pizz mg" and the new indication "harm duple" (which, incidentally, is set in a different type face).
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Note 7. In the Fernandez article, loc. cit., the position indication VII is displaced two notes over to the right (over the b); in the 1928 manuscript, however, the sign is clearly positioned over the g.
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Note 8. The manuscript agrees with the Eschig publication as to the rhythm in measures 14 and 88, which were "corrected" in the Amsco publication.
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Copyright © 1997 by Stanley Yates