Comparison of editions of HMS Pinafore

This document lists, in sometimes excruciating detail, many of the discrepancies I found between my sources as I prepared the Note8 edition of the HMS Pinafore orchestra materials.  Every such discrepancy, of course, represents an editorial problem to be resolved.  When the solution seems obvious I might not even list it, unless I'm feeling particularly snippy that day (Kalmus parts have that effect).  It's the not-so-obvious decisions which make the job interesting, and which I hope I have documented here, clearly enough to allow conductors and other researchers to understand my reasoning.

When I see sufficient merit in multiple solutions, I present variants in the score and parts.  I give the utmost priority to labeling these variants clearly in order to prevent them from causing confusion under performance conditions.


This Note8 edition ("N") is based on the following sources:

    1. 1887:  B "has elected to present a text reflecting a state of HMS Pinafore during the 1887-88 revival".  While historically worthy, this focus may obscure important details from the 1978 premiere, or from later performance traditions.  N's goal is to make choices from all of these traditions sufficiently clear for conductors to make informed decisions, and to facilitate smooth performances of those choices.
    2. courtesy accidentals:  in B, "most of Sullivan's cautionary accidentals [which are] not strictly required by the rules of notation ...  have been suppressed without comment."  In this editor's opinion, the clarifications provided by courtesy accidentals are even more important today than in Sullivan's time, given the variety of musical styles and conventions seen by today's pit musicians, and the brief rehearsal period for typical productions.  For that reason, N consciously incorporates A's courtesy accidentals (without comment but with parentheses), and quite a few more besides.
    3. Interpretation:  B followed its various sources literally, even when the results are inconsistent with Sullivan's other works, or even with common sense.  In such cases I have employed editorial license more broadly than B did, and carefully detailed them below.
    4. delivery and cost:  Note8 editions are delivered as PDF files to be printed and bound locally.  They are modestly priced.


Like other Note8 editions, this one is intended to be a performing edition compatible with other widely-distributed editions.

Because I want my parts to be usable by companies which already own popular editions of the score, and my score to be usable with other popular editions of the parts, I have included variants and their associated explanatory notes in both score and parts. Presenting this information in the parts in particular, without interfering with performing musicians' needs for legibility and clarity, is an aspect of editorial artistry at which I hope I have been successful.


In Pinafore Sullivan departed from his custom of restarting the song numbers for Act II.  The Pinafore Entr'acte has no number, and then "Fair moon" is Nº 13.  Other sources have followed this numbering scheme.

In Act II, in A and KP, Nº 18 "Carefully on tiptoe stealing" ends, and Nº 19 begins, at m. 44, just before "Pretty daughter of mine".  All other sources call this entire sequence Nº 18, and thus their numbering is off by one for the rest of the opera.  N follows the majority's numbering.

Additional numbering issues are addressed below.


Like the music, the words to HMS Pinafore have undergone many revisions over the years -- some by Gilbert himself, some authorized by him or by his rightful artistic heirs, some well-justified, some misguided.  Part of the monumental editorial task undertaken by Broude Brothers was scholarly analysis of lyrics, dialogue, and stage directions, every bit as thorough and rigorous as their analysis of the music.

The N score contains all of the dialogue scenes, as a convenience to the conductor, and also all of the lyrics.  The parts contain selected lyrics for cueing purposes.  My source for the dialogue was the RTF libretto from the G&S Archive website.  I urge you to consult other sources such as B for a more scholarly approach to the text.


Compared with the Pirates autograph -- the only other Sullivan autograph with which this editor is familiar -- A is frustratingly lacking in details such as dynamics, slurs, and articulation marks.  (The fact that Cellier gets Arranger credit for the Overture complicates this analysis.)  Fortunately, B resolves such issues and provides complete, consistent markings.  I describe below cases where B's markings differ from A and my other sources.

Confusion over when the Flute 2 part should be played on Flute and when on Piccolo is common, and this Overture is no exception.  KP has no indication until m. 76 "To Piccolo", implying Flute for the first 76 measures.  But A clearly says Picc in the roster of instruments at m. 1, no indication of Flute anywhere in the Overture.  B agrees with A, as does N, especially since the two Flute parts are consistently notated in unison or octaves throughout the Overture, never in the type of harmony typically played by two Flutes.  Piccolo doubling the tender melody in mm. 64-71 is unusual, though.

m. 18 in A and B, Flute 1 and Oboe have a crescendo hairpin which the Clarinets, playing the same rhythm, do not.  Whether this marking in A is in a "later hand" is ambiguous.  The equivalent spot in the Act I Finale, m. 231, does not have any explicit crescendo, although both vocal technique and musical taste imply one for the soprano section.  Note that the Clarinet lines, although they match the rhythm and shape of the melody, are in fact harmony parts here, which might justify special treatment for the melody notes.  So N follows A and B.

mm. 21-27 has sustained, accented notes for Bassoon, Horns, and strings.  In KP the presence or absence of accents and ties varies from instrument to instrument, and these details are differently inconsistent in KP when the same material appears in the Act I finale.  A gives no guidance here, but A's version in the Act I finale is clear and consistent, and this version appears in B (and N) in both locations.

Also in m. 28 in KP, the unison Horns join Cornet 2 and Trombones on their sf  dotted quarter, but without the sf  marking.  B has a quarter-rest for Horns, and then they join the tutti eighth-note pickup.  A gives no guidance here, but in the same material in the Act I finale, m. 242, A has the same as B.  So for N in both places I follow B, but with the marking soli for the sf  instruments.

For some reason both B and KP re-state the prevailing ff  dynamic here, established just 8 bars earlier.

mm. 39-40 In KP Violins 1 and 2 have quarter-notes on the second beat, against eight note-eighth rest in all other instruments.  A doesn't give much direct guidance, and when the same material appears twice in the Act I finale, A has it both ways.  B chose eighth notes-eighth rests in all three locations, and I concur.

mm. 50-51 some minor differences between B and KP in Cello and Bass.  I prefer the Kalmus version, giving a stronger pulse to help hold the tempo together during this rallendando, diminuendo passage.

m. 52, key change to A-flat in KP (and SP/V, and N).  A and B stay in E-flat, and use frequent D-flat accidentals, although the passage is clearly in A-flat.  In m. 62 A and B have an explicit D-natural for Oboe, but in mm. 63-64 Violin 2 must apply the "rules of notation" to play D-natural.  I believe that this 20-measure passage deserves to be notated in its proper key, thus avoiding such pedantry.

m. 52 Oboe pickup is an eighth-note in A and B, a quarter-note in KP and SP/V.  It's an eighth-note each time this theme occurs in Nº 11, but throughout this passage in the overture, all the other pickups in all instruments are quarter-notes.  The melody is adjusted in other ways as well in this instrumental presentation.  So starting with a quarter-note seems consistent.

mm. 56-58, Clarinets are slurred in A and KP (and N).  B omits the slurs. 

m. 58 the crescendo hairpins in Oboe, Violin 2, and Viola are authentic.

m. 64 No source specifies any dynamic here, leaving Flute, Piccolo, and Violin 1 guessing, and also making Violin 2 and Viola wonder whether the crescendo in m. 58 is still in effect.  N specifies [p].

m. 68, in A all melody instruments slur the whole bar.  In B Violin 1 slurs the whole bar, but Flutes slur only the three eighths.  KP reverses that pattern.  N matches A.

m. 78, the staccato dots in the melody instruments are found in all sources except KP.

mm. 95-101 Did Sullivan intend that the accented downbeats apply to Horns and low strings?  In a different context in Nº 16 the accents do apply to all instruments, so I think so.

mm. 105 and 109, Clarinets are marked pp in KP, not in B.  A has pp in m. 105, nothing but a crossed-out blur in m. 109.  No source has any dynamic markings for the other instruments here.  One other part of this puzzle:  Horns in mm. 103 and 107 are marked p in KP, and in no other source.  Clearly the texture is lighter here, but pp seems excessive:  my opinion is that the composer simply wanted the Clarinets to play under the Flute and Piccolo.  So I adopted B's approach of no dynamic markings at all, except I added Clarinets [p] at m. 105; [f] at m. 107; [p] at m. 109; and tutti [f] at m. 111, just in case the lighter texture has made everyone quiet down.

mm. 110-116, Violin 1 is marked all staccato in A and B (and N), not in KP.

mm. 118-121, KP offers an ossia line for Violins 1 and 2 (which, in the original parts, play in unison), not found in other sources.  A similar but longer ossia is at mm. 171-185.  Since this (relatively) simplified line may make the overture more practical for some violinists, I left it in score and parts.

m. 118-122 the extents of the slurs in Oboe, Clarinets, and Bassoon are inconsistent between sources; for N I made them all match the Oboe phrasing.  Then in mm. 123-126, KP has slurs in Flute, Piccolo, and Oboe which are not found in other sources.

mm. 123-126 B has Bassoon doubling Horn 2's sustained note.  Not found in other sources, and not included in N.

In mm. 127-133 I made the dynamic markings match B, except I added [f]  for Flute and Oboe in m. 131, and I made the brass and percussion ff  instead of to match the rest of the ensemble, following the modern practice of trusting those players not to blow the rest of the band away.

mm. 146-151, KP has downbeat-accents in multiple instruments, and p and mf  markings in strings, which are not found in other sources.  So apparently here as in m. 105, we're lightening the texture without also lowering the prevailing dynamic level, which here is ff.

m. 154, Clarinet 1 has F-natural (E-flat concert) in KP.  A and B have E-flat (D-flat concert) here.  Other instruments' notes offer no help here, but both SP/V and the harmonies on Nº 16 (in a different key) prove that the Kalmus note is simply an error.  Same in m. 156.

mm. 161-168, the bouncing-octave figure is not marked staccato this time, in any source, in any instrument.

m. 171 in KP, the meter change to cut time is omitted in the Violin 2 and Viola parts.  Instead, these parts continue to be notated in 2/4 time.  All other instruments, and all other sources, use cut time.  KP also has various tempo indications here:  "Vivace", "Allegro", or no marking at all, instead of "L'istesso tempo" as in A and B.

mm. 170-171, there are no dynamic markings in A or B, implying that it's still the ff  stated in mm. 132-133.  KP has and ff  markings in a few instrument, but most are unmarked.  N restates [ff] in case the dynamic lost steam during the lighter texture.

m. 171 Cornets play the downbeat in A and B.  This note is missing from KP.

m. 173 In A the Overture score stops here.  The equivalent spot in the score to the Act I finale contains the notation "End of Overture", implying that the orchestration and markings from that score apply to the Overture as well.

mm. 184-185 All sources re-state the ff  dynamic here.

m. 210 B inserts 8 measures of "British tar" hornpipe here, as in the Act I finale.  This material is not found in KP or SP/V (or N), and as mentioned above A does not specify this part of the Overture at all.  So N's measure numbering is not compatible with B's numbering here.

Nº 1. We sail

As in the Overture, A and B clearly indicate that the Flute 2 part should be played on Piccolo throughout.  KP equally clearly says "Take Flute" in m. 2 and never changes it.  Analysis of the harmony between the two Flute parts in mm. 47-48 indicates that Kalmus is almost certainly just wrong here.

A and B specify Clarinets in C!  KP and N transposed the part for Bb instruments.

m. 5 The staccato dots in KP Cornets are not found in any other source, nor in any other instrument.

mm. 24-25 and 26-27, Flute 1 and Oboe:  throughout this passage the triplets are consistently slurred.  Why, then, did B decide that each of these two slurs should continue past the triplet and into the downbeat of the next bar?  Just because of Sullivan's sloppy notation in A?

Unequal dynamics:  m. 73 Cornets and Trombones are marked p in all sources, against the prevailing mf  in all other instruments.  Then at m. 80 the brass drop out and Oboe enters f.

m. 81 Flute 1 and Clarinet 1 entrance has no dynamic marking in any source.  I matched Oboe from the previous bar.

m. 86 Neither A nor B specifies a cresc., from the prevailing mf  to ff, except for Timpani.  KP has cresc. in selected parts, and a dramatic buildup (to a glorious moment for chorus tenors) is part of the modern performance tradition.  So N has [mf cresc.] in all instruments, those already playing and the Oboe and Horns which enter here.

Nº 2. Buttercup

mm. 1-8 The vocal line to this recitative is cued in all instruments except Cornets, Trombones, and Percussion, which are tacet.

mm. 13-14 Viola, A and B (and N) break the tie and slur here.  KP does not.  Contrast with Horns which are tied across in all source.

mm. 15-16, B has Horn 1 tied across, but A and KP (and N) do not.

m. 43 Bassoon has a staccato dot of the type which were often spuriously added to KP, perhaps by road companies.  It is the only staccato dot in any instrument in the entire piece, and there's nothing similar when the same tune appears in the Entr'acte, all making this dot even more suspicious.  This one, however, appears in A and B.  Something odd is going on here, since Buttercup's vocal melody note here is G# in A, matching the Bassoon and Violin 1 doubling, but that melody note in B (with the instrumental doubling unchanged), and in SP/V, is E, matching m. 35 in the previous phrase.  So N offers the alternative G# melody note, and retains the staccato dot.

mm. 66-69, details of the soaring, sustained notes in Violins 1 and 2 are different in different sources.  m. 66 is marked pp in all sources (against p in all other instruments), but KP maintains that unequal dynamic until m. 81, even after the Violins join the other strings at m. 74.  A has the same dynamics as KP.  B, and A interpreted literally, break the tie between measures 67 and 68.  B also increases the dynamic level to p at m. 67.  My editorial judgement is that Sullivan wanted the violins to play quietly here for balance and screech-avoidance, and that these purposes continue through m. 72.  I also prefer to tie across mm. 67-68.  So N looks like KP here, except for [p] at m. 74. 

Nº 2A. But tell me

The vocal lines to this 4-bar recitative are cued in all instruments except Cornets, Trombones, and Percussion, which are tacet throughout this sequence.

Nº 3. The Nightingale

The two Flutes play this entire piece in unison. 

m. 16 In A and KP, all string parts have the three eighth notes marked staccato and also slurred together.  B shows the same markings for Clarinets.  I interpret these markings as "slurred staccato", a string technique which does not apply to Clarinets.

mm. 30-42 The vocal lines to this recitative are cued in all instruments except Cornets, Trombones, and Percussion, which are tacet.

SP/V labels mm. 43 to the end as Nº 3A.

mm. 57-61 Flutes and Clarinets, and then Oboe, staccato marks, dynamic hairpins, and slurs consistently found in A and B are incomplete in KP.  A and B mark this passage to be played by both Flutes in unison ("a2"), but KP calls for Flute 1 only.

mm. 61-62 A has cresc./dim. hairpins in Clarinets.  These hairpins are sloppily drawn.  If literally interpreted, they indicate a dynamic peak on the second eighth of m. 62, the syllable "ex-" of "At whose ex-alt-ed shrine".  This peak makes no sense, melodically nor dramatically, yet B reflects it faithfully.  KP's interpretation makes more sense:  cresc. throughout m. 61 and dim. throughout m. 62.  I chose to apply this dynamic profile to the Oboe part as well.

mm. 62-63 Hairpins in strings overlap with those in woodwinds in an unusual way, but they're authentic.

m. 66 A, B, and KP all indicate that the fermata applies to the Sailors' note but not to any orchestral instruments.  SP/V implies otherwise.  N also follows modern practice by adding a final eighth-rest in all parts, to clarify Ralph's pickup note.

mm. 67-69 The staccato dots for the upper strings, so consistent in A and B, are absent from the KP Violin parts.  Note that the staccato marking continues for the first two eighths of m. 69 in Violin 1 only.

mm. 70-72 In KP the Oboe part is marked colla voce, and the Violin part has fermatas.  B is marked Rall. in two places.  A does not call for any tempo variation here.  But bowing to performance tradition, and to solo tenors' inclination to milk the money-notes, I have marked the passage [colla voce] in all instruments, and then [a tempo] at m. 73.

mm. 75-77 all have fermatas followed by pickups.  I made the necessary adjustments to clarify those pickups for the instruments.  Performance tradition once again dictates [colla voce] at m. 75 and [a tempo] at m. 78.

m. 78 The sustained notes in Clarinets, Horns, and Cello have incomplete dynamic markings in all sources.  A has no dynamics here at all, implying that Cello is still p from m. 67, but the wind instruments have not played for some time.  B has Clarinets [pp], nothing for Horns.  KP has nothing for Clarinets, p cresc Horns, just cresc Cello.  For N I chose p, no cresc, for all.  Then Horns, Cello, and Bass come in f  in m. 79, against p or pp pizz in all other instruments, providing a strong downbeat to start the playout.

Nº 4. I am the captain

The two Flutes play in unison throughout this piece.

mm. 5-19 The vocal lines to this recitative are cued in all instruments.

m. 44 KP turns the final eight-note for Violin 1 into an eight-rest, perhaps to accommodate an exaggerated colla voce here.  m. 84 same for the second verse.

mm. 45 and 85 A has both a fermata and "rall.", apparently in a different hand, no indication of whether it applies to both verses or just the second.  KP has inconsistent vestiges of markings here; B has none.  Sullivan's sparse orchestral accompaniment is consistent with the performance tradition of slowing down here.  So N has [colla voce] and [a tempo], both verses.

mm. 53-54 and 93-94:  no source except SP/V (fermata) shows any sort of tempo variation here, yet the "big, big D–" is such a key plot point that many productions observe a slowdown here.  So N shows [Rall.] and [a tempo].

mm. 62, 66, and 102:  in KP several instruments have inconsistent cutoffs. 

Nº 4A. Sir, you are sad!

mm. 1-22 The vocal lines to this entire piece are cued in strings.

Nº 5. Sorry her lot

m. 17 has Rall. in A and B, not in KP.  In N the Viola solo is cued in Violin 1.  m. 46, same for second verse.

m. 25, Horns:  unequal dynamics per A.  m. 54, same for second verse.

mm. 27 and 29:  A does not specify that these fermatas are second-verse-only, as is common in other two-verse arias.  B omits the m. 29 fermata, but B also marks the whole passage [colla voce], making any fermata superfluous.  KP show fermatas inconsistently, so no clues there.  For N I kept B's [colla voce] and omitted both fermatas.  In the second verse, mm. 56 and 58, [colla voce] again, but both fermatas too.

m. 55, KP has a fermata on the third eighth, just in Flutes and Violin 1. 

m. 56, Flute 2 changes pitch, G to F, matching Violin 2, in A and KP.  B keeps it on G, clearly an error harmonically.  B got it right in the first verse, m. 27.

m. 59, I added [a tempo] for the two-bar playout.

Nº 6. Over the bright blue

m. 1, B follows the original dynamic in A, just p.  KP follows a marking added later to A, mf dim. to p.  Just as a matter of practical stagecraft, the latter seems sensible to me.

Nº 7. Sir Joseph's barge

m. 22, unequal dynamics:  Cornets, Trombones, and Tympani are f against tutti ff.

mm. 27-28, vocal rhythm:  In both A and B the lyrics "None are so smart as we are" begin on the downbeat, without the pickup, and squeezing  "are so" into sixteenth-notes.  Yet the melody-doubling instruments do play the pickup!  My theory is that no men's chorus could resist the gravitational pull of full woodwinds and Violin 1, and scansion yielded to practicality.

m. 67 in A both Violins have staccato dots which may be in a "later hand".  No staccato marking appears in other sources, nor in A itself when this material first appears at m. 39.  The vocal lines and the woodwind parts which double them, by contrast, are heavily and consistently marked with staccato dots and slurs in all sources, more evidence that Sullivan himself did not mean to mark the violins staccato here.

m. 84 in all sources, all instruments are marked pp except Flute 1, Piccolo, and Violin 1, which play the sixteenth-note countermelody.  These instruments have no dynamic marking, implicitly continuing the p marking from m. 78.  N makes this marking explicit.

Nº 8. Now give three cheers

A tempo at m. 4 (found in all sources) seems odd, since it does not cancel any explicit tempo alteration markings.  Although mm. 1-3 are recit-like, in this editor's experience they are performed right in tempo. 

Following m. 6, this snare drum solo appears in KP, including 10-bar rests in the string parts.  B has it in a footnote, explaining that "a note in A in a later hand reads 'Drum.'  The following flourish has become customary."  In order to maintain compatibility with B, N does not include these 10 bars in its measure numbering.

m. 7, the string notes and the marking "ad lib" (the only example of vamp-'til-ready in the entire Savoy canon) are added "in a later hand".  So apparently Sullivan originally planned for Sir Joseph to make his stage entrance during the "hurrays", in time to sing his pickup "I am the" unaccompanied -- quite an understated entrance for the First Lord of the Admiralty, perhaps humorously so.  Later, various combinations of drum flourish and string vamp extended and glorified this entrance.

Nº 9. When I was a lad

before m. 1, B does not count the pickup bar in its measure numbering, so neither does N.  But since N has repeats by pairs of verses, and N presents each verse separately, the measure numbering diverges after m. 28 anyway.

m. 9, KP has mf dim to p (by m. 11) in strings.  Consistently just p in other sources.  Same at the beginning of each verse.

mm. 100-103, 120-123:  As B explains, the customary pauses for stage business and comic effect in the fifth and sixth verses are not found in A.  B gives specific grand pauses, for the last verse only, in a footnote; SP/V accomplishes the same result using fermatas (in the space between notes in the vocal line) and applies them to both verses; and KP has different fermatas yielding a completely different effect.  N eschews the fermatas and grand pauses entirely, and just has [colla voce] and [a tempo] for each verse.

KP calls for four verses all the same, a fifth verse with explicit pauses, and then treats the sixth verse as an encore.  Perhaps this organization is related to B showing pauses only in the final verse.

m. 129:  A does not specify a playout at all.  B repeats the entire 8-bar introduction.  KP and SP/V (and N) have a shorter playout, just the last 4 bars of the intro.  The slurs in the melody instruments mm. 128-129 appear to be a vestige of the original 8-bar version, so N omits them.

Another vestige of recycling the introduction as a playout appears at the very end in B, SP/V, and selected instruments in KP:  the grand-pause-like fermata in m. 8 was apparently slavishly copied into the playout.   A fermata after all the notes have been played, and as the dialogue is beginning, is entirely unnecessary, and therefore potentially confusing.  N ends this madness.

Nº 9A. For I hold that on the seas

The only dynamic markings in A are f, for just Violin 1 and Viola, in m. 1.  From a practical stagecraft standpoint, this entrance cuts off the audience laughter following the dialogue, and lets Sir Joseph know that the piece has begun.  All other dynamics in the piece are based on the pattern of No. 9; they are found in B and sparsely in KP.

Nº 10. A British tar

mm. 1-2 slurs are inconsistent in A:  Flute, Piccolo, and Violins slur two notes, two notes, and three notes; Clarinets slur four notes, two notes, and the last note stands alone.  B and KP follow these slurs faithfully, although B extends the Clarinet slurs in m. 2 to include that lonely third note.  This editor can understand different phrasing for strings for bowing purposes, but different phrasing within the woodwind section doesn't make any sense.  So N uses consistent full-bar phrasing in all four woodwinds.

mm. 60-76 (mm. 28b-44 in B):  A is scored for strings only, reinforced by the word "tacet" in m. 1, written in a "later hand", for Oboe, Horns, Cornets, Trombones, and Percussion.  Since the other five woodwinds accompany the earlier part of the piece, dropping them for the socko finish seems odd.  B has strings only while the chorus sings in mm. 61-66, the adds the full orchestra for the playout, mm. 67-76.  This hybrid approach seems odd too.  N follows KP:  the "tacet" instruments (except Percussion) join in at m. 60 and play to the end.

m. 76:  the rhythm of the final note is different in all sources.  A has whole note with fermata.  SP/V has a quarter-note with fermata.  B has a quarter-note, no fermata.  KP, typically, has a mixture, but the majority of parts have a half-note with fermata.  Of course the underlying note-value doesn't matter much in the presence of a fermata, so the big decision is whether to use one or not, and since A has one (and since I like it), N uses a fermata.

Nº 11. Refrain, audacious tar

m. 6 In KP the two Flute 1 notes are tied together; the two Clarinet 1 notes are not.  The tie is not found at all in other sources.  Same in mm. 9, 36, and 39.

m. 7, literal interpretation of A would dictate that the
fp marking from m. 4 be repeated here.  KP and SP/V did so; B did not.  I like the furioso feel of fp here, so it's in N.  Same in mm. 34 and 37.

m. 19, A clearly marks the strings "slurred staccato", with staccato dots but also slurred by measure.  No other source includes this marking.  Same in m. 49.

m. 20 unequal dynamics:  the sustained note in Oboe is pp against p in all other instruments.  Same in m. 50.

mm. 76-78 KP lacks the ties in Cello and Bass.  Re-articulating this sustained note might be useful if Flute 1 and Clarinet 1 have difficulty staying together, but since A and B contain the ties, so does N.

Nº 12. Act I Finale

mm. 1-9:  The vocal line to this recitative is cued in all instruments.

m. 38 A slurs the dotted-eighth-to-sixteenth in Clarinet 1 and Bassoon (and, because it's a melisma, in the vocal lines), but not in Violin 1 nor Cello/Bass.  Flutes and Violin 2 are col  Violin 1, so literal interpretation would dictate no slurs in those instruments. The same music recurs at m. 53, but A just refers back to m. 38, so no clues there.  B, perhaps deciding that the Clarinet and Bassoon slurs were an erroneous application of the vocal melisma, has no instrumental slurs at all.  SP/V has no slurs in its piano reduction.  KP has slurs in Clarinet 1 (m. 53 only, and connecting three notes, not two), Bassoon (mm 38 and 53), none in Flutes nor strings.  N concurs with B:  no slurs.

m. 47 unequal dynamics:  pp strings, p winds.

mm. 49-56:  "Shall we submit?" from mm. 34-41 is repeated literally here, with two exceptions:  Deadeye's countermelody, and the strings are marked ff  instead of f.  Deadeye's line is already impossible to project over the full ensemble, but reducing the overall volume (or even keeping it the same as before) would undercut the drama here.  So making just the strings louder, and keeping the winds the same, seems like Sullivan's best compromise.

mm. 67-69:  in KP Bassoon plays on the downbeat, not in A or B.

m. 71 unequal dynamic change:  dim. in woodwinds only.  Since Clarinet 2 joins the dim. in progress, its entrance dynamic is [pp].

mm. 80-89:  The vocal lines to this recitative are cued in strings.

m. 154 unequal dynamics:  Violins pp staccato, Viola p pizz.

mm. 166-195:  A starts off with staccato dots in winds, then shows them only sporadically.  But the direction sempre p e staccato at mm. 178-179, reinforced by more explicit staccato dots, implies that the whole passage is staccato for winds, and for strings also after m. 178.  A does not cancel the staccato direction for the f tutti at mm. 184-188, and it's back explicitly for the playout, mm. 191-195.  B seems to agree, reproducing all of A's explicit dots faithfully and specifying [simile] where Sullivan seems to imply their continuation.  KP has only occasional dots, and specifies staccato at mm. 178-179 only in Violin 1 and Viola.

mm. 197-205:  The vocal line to this recitative is cued in strings.

m. 206:  A has Anim. "in a later hand".  KP has Allegro.  B has nothing, implying that the recitative continues, which seems odd when the chorus is singing.  For N I used Animato.

after m. 210, B does not include the pickup bar in its measure numbering, so neither does N.

m. 211:  rehearsal letter "I" appears in A and B but not in KP.

mm. 213-214 and 253-254:  see note about Overture mm. 39-40.

mm. 235-241:  see note about Overture mm. 21-27.

m. 242:  see note about Overture m. 28.

mm. 258-259:  A gives no clue to the intended dynamic here, in fact has no dynamic markings at all until cresc. m. 278 to f  m. 282.  Clearly the prevailing ff  from m. 242 no longer applies.  KP has a single dynamic marking here, f  in Viola.  SP/V has p.  B chose [p], and N does the same, but since all women in the cast sing in unison here, I think up to mf  would be suitable instead.

m. 316:  A re-states the prevailing ff  dynamic in just Violins and Viola.  The only justification I can see for this re-statement is that these instruments resume playing here after a six-beat rest.  But Piccolo and Bass have the same rest.  KP has exactly the same markings.  B extends them to Cello (which has not rested at all) and Bass, but not to any winds or percussion.  SP/V has no dynamic marking here at all, and neither does N.

mm. 332-347:  This 8-bar selection from the Glee, repeated, does not appear in A, nor is there any explicit indication of inserted material in A.  But B, KP, and SP/V all include this material.


m. 1 pizz. strings have no dynamic marking in A.  B has [p].  KP has mf, in viola only.  As a practical matter of getting the audience's attention for these first notes after intermission, I like [mf].  m. 3 same for Bass.

m. 5, KP Violin 1 part has 4º Corda, indicating that this melodic passage is to be played on the G string.  Lovely, but not found in any other source, so OUT for N.

m. 6 still very sparse dynamic markings in A:  just pp for Bassoon and Horn half-notes, and ("in a later hand") p for the Violin 1 melody.  KP adds the helpful detail of p in the Viola accompaniment. 

mm. 6-21, 38-49 Violin 1 in KP is often slurred by bar, which is inconsistent with A, B, and Nº 2 in KP.

mm. 21-37 The slurs in A are drawn sloppily, inconsistently, and ambiguously, but I choose to interpret them as including more notes under each slur than other sources do.  SP/V goes so far as to mark some pickup notes as staccato, and B breaks its slurs right before the sustained notes, both the opposite of the soaring effect Sullivan intended, in my opinion.  And longer slurs make a better contrast with the explicit staccato marks which begin in m.38.

m. 34 A has a scrawled marking, perhaps in a "later hand", which might be Rall.  B has rall., and [a tempo] five beats later, matching the corresponding spot in Buttercup's Act I solo.

m. 37 Violin 1 divisi in octaves appears only in KP.  OUT for N.  Also KP specifies f  for Flutes, but all other sources are still at p.

mm. 38-41 and 46-49:  the melody is marked staccato in Flutes and Oboe, slurred by bar in Horn 1, and slurred by vocal phrase in Violin 1.  It's an odd combination, but it's consistent in A and faithfully replicated in B.  One caution to bear in mind is that Sullivan's string section was larger than those which many amateur companies use today; if the Violin 1 part is played by only one or two players, the staccato texture in Flutes maydominate the ensemble in a way which Sullivan never intended.

Nº 13. Fair moon

A, B, and SP/V present this song in the key of D.  KP has it transposed down to C.  N presents both keys.

m. 24, KP has a wrong note in Violin 1.  The sixth eighth note should be F-sharp, not E (in the original key).  Violin 2 doubles Violin 1 here, and has it right.

mm. 33-34 unequal dynamics:  Strings all peak at f, winds at mf.  Then in m. 34 Flute 1 and Oboe, doubling the melody, are p, as are low strings.  Sustained notes in Clarinets, Bassoon, and Horns, plus pizz. Violins, are all pp.  These dynamics are unusually clearly spelled out in A, captured faithfully by B, and KP got them pretty close.

m. 43 A has rall. on beat 4, apparently in Sullivan's own hand, one beat before the colla voce in m. 44.  A also has a giant fermata, clearly in a "later hand", on that same beat 4.  B and SP/V show no indication of a slowdown here, although generations of Captains have taken that liberty.  KP has fermatas in Clarinets,  and no other indication of a slowdown.  Bowing to those generations of Captains, N adds a bracketed [colla voce] at mid-measure.

m. 44 KP has a whole note in Bass.  Other sources double Cello.

Nº 14. Things are seldom

Some KP parts have rehearsal letter "C" one bar early:  Flutes, Bassoon, Violin 1.  In all other KP parts "C" is at m. 35, same as in A and B (and N), except the KP Clarinets part is missing "C" entirely.

m. 42 As B indicates with an editorial bracket, the wind parts are blank in A, clearly Sullivan's oversight since some instruments are tied across the barline.  I like B's solution better than KP's:  B has Flute 1 jumping the octave, matching the vocal melody, and B uses eighth notes in Clarinets and Bassoon to get out of the way of the Violin 1 fill.  Same comments apply to m. 91 in the second verse.

m. 43 unequal dynamics:  A marks the Flutes mf against no marking in strings, implying sempre p.  Makes good sense for low-lying Flutes and busy noodling in Violin 1 and Viola.  Also KP has Oboe doubling Flute 1 an octave down, but other sources omit Oboe here.  Same comments apply to m. 92 in the second verse.

m. 49 Just in case the frenzy of the previous six measures has nudged the dynamic level upward, A and B restate the prevailing p marking for strings here.  m. 98 in the second verse.

m. 51 (first ending in A and KP):  A has a fermata in most parts, B (and SP/V) in all of them.  KP has one only in Violin 2, possibly leading to confusion in the pit.  Pausing until Captain Corcoran is ready to sing the second verse makes good stagecraft sense.

m. 107 KP Violin 1 part (at least) shows col voce, not found in other sources.  What with the nearby fermatas, the sparse orchestration, and the style of the whole song, seems superfluous.

Nº 15. The hours creep

mm. 19-28 The vocal lines to the recitative are cued in strings.  mm. 27-28 are also cued in winds.  All the fermatas in this passage are superfluous in recit., but they appear in all sources, so N has them too.

m. 23 KP has dynamic f  or mf  for the last two quarter-notes, not found in any other source.  It makes sense, but it isn't Sullivan's.

mm. 32-42 Due to the extensive use of shorthand in A, it isn't clear which of the syncopated upper-string notes Sullivan wanted tied or slurred across the barlines.  KP, predictably, is inconsistent, and SP/V isn't much better.  B decided to slur or tie every one of them, and I concur.  mm. 69-76 same.

m. 65 KP has strings marked sf, then p in m. 67.  A and B have p, accented.  Maybe the effect is pretty much the same, but maybe not.

Dynamic ambiguity in mm. 99 and 101, where Clarinets, Bassoon, and Horns are clearly marked mf  in A and B, but Flute 1 (doubling the vocal melody) and Cello are not marked, implying that the prevailing ff  continues.  I favor emphasizing the melody and the bass line, but not this much, so I knocked 'em down to [f].

m. 102-104 KP calls for Horn 1 only, but A and B show both Horns in unison.

mm. 104-107 unequal dynamics:  winds are still mf, but string punctuation is ff.

m. 106 The KP Clarinets part has explicit A-naturals (G-natural concert) for both instruments, for no apparent reason.  The harmony has departed from E-flat concert, but G is one of the scale degrees which has not been affected by this excursion.

mm. 106-109 The slurs in A are inconsistent, and B followed them too slavishly in my opinon.  But note that KP contains sustained and tied notes for Clarinet 2 and Viola which are separated in A and B, undermining the urgency of the rhythm.

m. 108 winds and strings suddenly play the same material here, but no source adjusts the dynamics accordingly.  N uses [f].  The Rall. in KP here is not found in any other source.

mm. 111-112 Soprano soloists routinely augment and embellish all four of these notes, so instead of adding fermatas everywhere, N marks the two bars [colla voce] and cancels it with [a tempo] at m. 113.  So the actual fermata in m. 112 is superfluous, but it's Sullivan's.

Nº 16. Never mind

mm. 1-8 In KP, Oboe doubles the Flute, Piccolo, and Violin 1 melody down an octave.  But in A and B Oboe plays accented half-notes with Bassoon and Horns.

mm. 23-25 and 27-28 The accented downbeats in A are inconsistent, and B followed them too slavishly in my opinion.

m. 145 A and B mark all instruments f.  The KP Horns part omits this marking, implicitly maintaining the p marking 8 bars earlier;  has no further dynamic marking until a crescendo in mm. 152-153 and, finally, f  for the fermata in m. 154.  There may be some more complex history here, since SP/V also has f  for the fermata in m. 154, in a piano reduction with very few dynamic markings  anywhere (and every one of them is f).  N follows A and B.

Nº 17. Kind Captain

mm. 1-2 KP has accents in Violin 1 which are not found in any other source.

m. 13 KP has slurs in VIolin 2 and Cello which are not found in any other source.  The slurs in mm. 5-6 and 24 are authentic.  Same in all four verses.

mm. 20-23 KP has accents in Violin 1 which are not found in any other source.  Same in all four verses.

mm. 27-29 the staccato dots in Violin 1 and Piccolo are authentic.  Same in all four verses.

m. 109 the fermata is suggested in A, not found in B at all, and awkwardly notated in KP (erroneously implying that a pickup follows the hold).  N adopts SP/V's solution, changing the eight-note-and-rests into a held dotted quarter.

Nº 18. Carefully on tiptoe stealing

As noted above, the part of this tune which begins at m. 44 is called Nº 19 in A and KP.

mm. 1-2 In A the dynamics in Sullivan's hand are all pp.  f dim to pp is in a "later hand" and color.  This innovation also appears in KP, but not in B (or N).

mm. 11-12 KP has the strings are marked p accompanying the full chorus, then pp in m 13 accompanying just Dick Deadeye.  SP/V has these same dynamics.  But in A and B (and N) it's pp all the way.  Same in mm. 27-29.

Clarinets 1 and 2 have been in unison, with the exception of one note in m. 10, since the beginning.  KP calls for Clarinet 1 only in mm. 14-16, then back to unison in m. 18.  The other sources continue unison here.

m. 15 The dynamic increase here is indicated by both cresc. markings and hairpins, in A and faithfully in the other sources.  Since the increase is only from pp to p, I chose to omit the redundant hairpins.

m. 51 The accent and staccato dots in the KP Violin 1 part are not found in other sources.  The slur (also in Flute 1) is authentic.

mm. 54 and 58:  The scansion of the lyrics "scarcely fit" varies among sources.  In A and B the syllables "scarce-" and "-ly" get one note each, and "fit" gets a two-note melisma.  In SP/V "scarce-" is a two-note melisma, and "-ly" and "fit" get one note each.  Slurs in melody-doubling instruments in KP agree with SP/V, as have all stage productions and recordings in this editor's experience.  This scansion issue affects the placement of slurs and staccato dots in the instrumental parts which double the melody.  N follows the SP/V version.

mm. 61-69 SP/V changes the key signature to B-flat for just these nine bars, then back to D.  All other sources stay in D and use lots of accidentals.

m. 109 To reassure the Clarinet 1 player here, N score and part both contain the notation "Countermelody!".

mm. 230-231 As B explains in a footnote, the ending of this piece in A and B contains two more measures, but "modern performance practice" is to end with m. 229.  SP/V and N follow this modern practice.

Nº 19. Farewell, my own

Numbering:  KP (which calls this Octet Nº 20) ends that piece at m. 57, and calls the Moderato continuation "My pain and my distress" Nº 20 1/2 in some cases; Nº 20A in others; and just the continuation of Nº 20 in still others.  All other sources call it all Nº 19.

The rehearsal letters in this piece are found in KP but not in A or B.

mm. 11-18:  The two Flutes in unison doubling Josephine, although charming, are found in KP but not in A or B.  N provides the passage in cue-sized notes, and includes a note in score and part.  Except for this inauthentic passage, Flutes are tacet throughout this piece.

mm. 53a-53d:  This four-bar passage is numbered as shown for compatibility with B's measure numbering. 

mm. 53a-53d:  B considers this four-bar passage to be optional; describes its sometimes-included, sometimes-cut history in a footnote; and numbers these measures accordingly.  N follows B's measure numbering for compatibility purposes.  The orchestration here has a similarly confused history:  in A and B it's scored for Cornets, Trombones,
pp Timpani roll, and strings.  The version in KP omits the strings, adds Horn 1, re-voices Trombone 1, and doubles Trombone 2 down an octave on Bassoon.  (Thus in A and B, Bassoon is tacet except for mm. 52-53, and Horns are tacet throughout.)  N presents both the "Sullivan autograph version" and "Kalmus version" of this optional fanfare.  In KP the Timpani roll continues into the first string chord of m. 54, a detail which is not found in A or B.

mm. 54-71:  This passage is labelled Nº 22½ in A and KP.  KP is the only source to mark the meter as "cut time" (2/2); all others use "common time" (4/4).

mm. 65-71:  although not explicitly marked recit. in any source, in practice this passage is performed that way.  So Buttercup's vocal line is cued in strings.

Nº 20. A many years ago

mm. 19-20 A and B have Bass tacet here, but in KP Bass doubles Cello.  Same in second verse, mm. 54-55.

m. 35 KP has Rall., but A specifies second time only, which in B and N is m. 70.

Nº 20A.  Here, take her, sir

This recitative optionally replaces the end of the dialogue preceding the Act II finale.  B describes the provenance of this passage, and its sources for the reconstruction.  B and Kline agree on all details, including the obvious errors detailed below, so Kline was likely based on the same sources.

Vocal lines to the entire 21-bar recitative are cued in strings.

m. 12 Sir Joseph's note "B" corrected to Bb.

m. 13 Viola, Cello, and Bass notes "B" corrected to Bb.  This error appears in B, but Kline has it correctly.

m. 18 Hebe's note "B" corrected to Bb.  Viola note "D" corrected to Db.

m. 20 Violin 1 note "E" corrected to Eb.

Nº 21.  Act II finale

m. 42 KP has colla voce, not found in other sources.  In m. 44 KP has fermatas in some parts, also found in A in a "later hand".  Recognizing that some productions may wish to pause here, N has [colla voce] at m. 43 and [a tempo] at m. 45.

mm. 49-50 KP has Bass playing half-notes, doubling Cello and Bassoon at pitch.  In A and B (and N) Bass plays the same pitches but divides them into eighth-notes, same as the upper strings, and carries that division into m. 51.

m. 63 This reprise of Buttercup's song lacks a tempo indication in all sources.  On the principle that it never hurts to state the obvious, N took [Allegretto] from Nº 2.  This marking, of course, matches that at m. 26, but it's reassuring to restate it at the change of meter.

m. 79 unequal dynamics:  in A and B, upper woodwinds are f; brass and percussion p; strings are unspecified, implying Bassoon is also unspecified in A; B chose sempre p;[p] to match the Cello line it doubles.

m. 93 again has no tempo marking at a meter change, and this time it's not as simple as taking the Vivace marking from Nº 8:  here we will accelerate to Vivace by m. 104.  N again uses [Allegretto].

m. 108 in all sources the dynamics abruptly jump to f  (from p), one bar before it's everybody into the pool for the ff  finish.  The upper string texture does thicken here, but still the jump seems abrupt.  I could justify adding [cresc.] at m. 104, but I chose to reflect my sources faithfully.

m. 130-134:  B offers three versions of the playout:  Original, "Rule Brittania", and Twentieth-Century.  A has the first two of those, SP/V has Original, and KP has Twentieth-Century. 

Back to Note8 music typesetting and publishing homepage