Nutcracker, Act 1, Scene 8

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    A figure of 3+4 (a sixteenth-note triplet followed by 4 sixteenth notes) occurs throughout much of this section, but these figures are also played as a straight seven. It would be interesting to learn which of these two ways of playing these passages is more common in the harp community and why. How do you play this section?


    Do you have a recording of it? I think it’s the snowflake thing. (been too long since I played it) Is this it?


    Yes – this is Scene 8 and whichever recording this is, the 3+4 is quite pronounced in it.


    Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker Ballet Tableau II, Scene Une forêt de sapins en hiver. Starts Rehearsal 85A

    In the manuscript and in the original printed Jurgenson (Kalmus reprint A2175) edition, the figure of 3+4 (a sixteenth-note triplet followed by 4 sixteenth notes) is shown for both harps. I do not see that the figures are ever written as a “straight seven” notes to the beat.

    Errata in the score:
    Reh. 86 measure 5 beat 1 – The 3rd note E should read middle C.
    Reh. 90 measure 6 beat 1 – the dynamic p is missing in the print score.
    Reh. 90 measure 8 beat 1 – the dynamic f is missing in the print score.


    Clinton – you are quite right…. it is always written as 3+4, but it is not always played that way.


    I have always played it exactly as written, with a triplet and then a quadruplet. These notes should not be smudged into even groups of seven, since other lines have eighth notes which must line up with the beginning notes of each triplet and quadruplet.

    Nella Rigell Colson

    I also always play it exactly as written. There really isn’t any reason to change the rhythm.


    I much prefer the sound of straight seven. Too me the triplet, 16th figure sounds like the dancer is unbalanced and about to fall over. Hey we rewrote the entire cadenza, why not this passage?


    Sometimes this one is taken in 6 instead of 3 so a straight seven doesn’t work anyway. But if it is fast enough, I like it that way. Anyone have any tips for making No 10 scene less awkward?


    This reminds me of the opening of Waltz of the Flowers from Nutcracker …


    Tchaikowsky wrote it as a triplet and a quadruplet. It is not correct to play it any other way. This is not a cadenza, but rather a harp part that has to mesh with the rest of the orchestra. A conductor would correct it, if it were to be played as a seven. As Erin points out, it could be conducted in 6, so a straight seven would not work. Re the question about Scene 10, I have attempted to attach a PDF of the first section of it. It is the edition that I learned from Judy Loman. It is still quite difficult, but with practice, it is possible.


    Yes, it worked! Just click on the attachment at the upper right corner of my previous message and it should open.


    Okay, Elizabeth, I will play it correctly! 🙂 Thank you so much for the pdf! There you go saving me again. You should publish a book with all of your lovely edits. Thank you for making it so legible and playable!!


    You’re welcome! 🙂

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