Policies on quasi-facsimile transcription

The digital images of the Chopin first editions which are available on the internet attest to the great beauty of many first-edition title pages and to the artistry of the original lithographers and engravers, those preparing a modern catalogue face major chal­lenges in describing these title pages according to standard bibliographic protocols. Given that all the nu­ances of the originals cannot be captured, we have devised the following principles for their quasi-facsimile transcription. 

Descriptions of the textual material either on individual or series title pages, dedications, half-titles, and the title pages and half-titles of wrappers/covers, or in caption titles, sub-captions, headlines, footlines, most labels and those stamps for which full details are specified have been provided without reference to or com­ment on differences in the size or spacing of letters, nor the fonts and printing effects that were used (e.g. bold, gothic, decorative characters, etc.). The only exceptions to this are italics or reverse italics as well as Cyrillic script (e.g. 23–1d-B&H, 37–1g-B&H (PL-Wbfc copy)). We do not remark on the presence or size of gaps separating successive textual components especially on title pages and the front pages of wrappers/covers (see for example 1–1-Sm & 15–1-Sm), nor do we comment when text is round in layout or otherwise not ‘flat’ (compare for instance the TPs of 1–1-BRZ, 1–1-HO, 3–1-W & 5–1-BRZ with the transcrip­tions thereof). Words in upper-case letters have been faithfully transcribed; occasionally we have distinguished between capitals and small capitals when this could facilitate the identification of a STP (see Appendix I: versions 7, 8 & 11 of the STP published by J. Meissonnier fils and his successors). We generally favour ‘le’ rather than ‘Le’ when tran­scribing ornately printed TPs containing the phrase ‘Pour le Piano’ which are ambiguous in this respect. 

Scrupulous attention has been paid to the appearance of the superscript characters used in abbreviations and for certain other purposes; here we have transcribed the underlinings, points and commas in the original version, irrespective of their number. We have also reproduced literally those few characters composed of multiple letters – i.e. ‘’ (almost certainly the initials of the lithographer of the TP of WaltzEm–1e-SCH) and ‘’ (compressed initials of the publisher Henry Lemoine; see Opp. 10, 18, 25) – as well as ‘’ (incorrect version of cedilla, with tail in wrong direction; see CT of Op. 74 No. 8 in 74–1-G) and ‘’ (awkward version of Polish ‘Ł’, often found in the Polish and German first edi­tions of the Songs Op. 74). We also transcribe the symbol ‘†’ (found within the prices on the STP and wrapper of Op. 65; see 65–1f-B&H).The transcriptions generally do not include the decorative characters or other dividers used to separate different textual components on the same line (e.g. compare the TPs of 1–1-Sam, 1–1-W, 1–1-Sm, 2–1-HAt, 2–1-Sm & 5–1-W with the transcriptions thereof) or on separate lines (compare the TPs of 1–1-HO, 1–1-W, 2–1-Sm & 8–1-W with their respective transcriptions), nor do we transcribe the similar dividers between prices and their equivalents in other monetary units or currencies (compare the TPs of 1–1-Sam & 2–1-HAt with their transcriptions). Exceptions are made for the following elements: dividers such as long dashes and similar lines which cannot be replaced by the symbol ‘«  »’ (compare the TPs of 3–1-W, 16–1-B&H, 17–1-W, 20–1-B&H, 26–1-W, 32/1–1c-Sam, 43–1-SCHU & Posth–1-Sam with their transcrip­tions;[1] see also MM–2-Sam, MM–2a-Sam, and FL p. 23 in 14–1-W and 14–1a-A&P); asterisks (compare the TPs of 2–1-HAt, GDC–1-Sm & HEX–1-HAt with their transcriptions); dotted lines (com­pare the TPs of 8–1-W, 11–1-W, 13–1-W, 16–1-W, Posth–1-MEIf, 70/2&69/2–1-WI, MFM–1-E, MFM–1-SCH, MM–1-CHAP & MazC–1-SCH with the transcrip­tions thereof; see also FL p. 13 of the piano part in 3–1-W, 3–1a-W and 3–1b-W); and the small characters and commas that often appear in text concerning prices (e.g. the TPs of 2–1-HAt, 2–1-Sm, 11–1-W, 13–1-Sm, 13–1-KI & 13–1-W). We do not describe the Habsburg coat of arms found on the TPs of most Austrian and Italian editions, although, its presence has been confirmed as necessary (see Haslinger’s editions of Opp. 2 & 4, Hexameron, and the Variations on a German National Air; Mechetti’s of Opp. 44, 45 & 50; and Ricordi’s of Opp. 4 & 43 and the Variations on a German National Air). 

For the sake of fidelity we have respected a minuscule feature likely to be spotted by only the sharpest eye: a badly positioned lower-case ‘ł’ in ‘DZIEłA’ (see the TP of 74–1-G). An original capital ‘J’ has also been pre­served in the fol­lowing cases, subject to the conditions detailed below: 

  • abbreviations of the word ‘Imperial’, i.e. ‘Jmp.’ or ‘J.’ (see the TP of 44–1-ME and TP transcriptions of all reprints of Mechetti’s editions of Op. 44; the ATP transcriptions of copies catalogued under 45–1-ME; and the TP transcriptions of subsequent reprints of Mechetti’s edition of Op. 45)
  • the initial of the first names ‘Ignace’, i.e. ‘J. Pleyel’ and ‘J. Moscheles’ (see the TPs of MM–1-Sam, MM–1-CHAP & MM–1c-CHAP & HT in MM–1a-CHAP; and the TP transcriptions of 17–2b-B&H, 17–2h-B&H & volume 1 in MM–1-Sm), and ‘Isidore’, i.e. ‘J[sidore]. J[oseph]. Cybulski’ (see the TP of PolGm–1-CY)
  • the word ‘Jnterieur’ (see the TPs of MazC–1-SCH, of PolG-–1-SCH & WaltzEm–1-SCH and the corresponding TP transcriptions)
  • the word ‘Jntroduction’ (see SC p. 2 in HEX–1-HAt). 

This has been done, however, only when the letter in question appears in a roman or similar font, and when the graphic features thereof correspond precisely to those of a modern ‘J’. In contrast, when these same abbreviations, initials and words appear in italics and/or decorative characters, or if the letter is ambiguously presented and could be interpreted as either ‘J ’ or ‘I ’, then we have modernised the notation in the form ‘I ’. (For examples of ‘Imp.’ see the TPs of 2–2-HAt, 4–1-HAc & VGNA–1-HAc; the TP transcriptions of 2–2b-Sam & 4–1a-Sam; and the ATP transcriptions of copies catalogued under 45–1-ME. For ‘I. [Pleyel ]’ see the TP of 17–1-B&H and the transcription thereof; for ‘I. [et R.]’ see the TP of 50–1-ME; for ‘Italien’ see the TP of GDC–1-Sm; for ‘I. [et Roya.]’ see the TP of HEX–1-HAt; for ‘Italiens’ see the TP of HEX–1-BR; for ‘I. [Moscheles]’ see the TP of MM–1-CHAP; and for ‘Interieur’ see the TP of PolG#m–1-SCH.) Note that in the catalogue we do not refer to the use of ‘J’ instead of ‘I’ as erroneous, as ad hoc use of these letters stems from Latin, where they were essentially interchangeable

We have not transcribed the long or medial ‘s’, the graphic appearance of which changes regularly (see, e.g., TP of 2–1-HAt (caisse); TPs of 2–1-W, 7–1-W (Duchess); TPs of 5–1-BRZ, 6–1-Sm, 19–1-PR, 27–1-W, 29–1-W, 58–1-B&H, 70/2&69/2–1-EW, PolGm–1-CY (Comtesse); TP of 14–1-KI (Wessel); TPs of 14–1-W, 30–1-W (Princesse); TP of 26–1-W (Dessauer); TPs of 47–1-B&H, 56–1-B&H (Mademoiselle); TP of 52–1-B&H (Roth­schild); TP of 59–1-ST (Spiess); TP of MEG–1-B&B (Prusse); TP of MM–0-Sm (Dussek); TP of MM–1-Sam (Mendelssohn, Moscheles, Rosenhain); and TP of MM–1-CHAP (Seller)). For similar reasons, we use modern asterisks rather than transcribing their original counterparts, which vary in shape and number of arms. Nor do we preserve the tabular format used for price information in certain editions (see for example the TPs of 1–1-Sam, 2–1-Sm, 11–1-Sm & +11–1-KI) apart from the two-line layout found on two STPs (see Appendix I).[2] Moreover, our descriptions of the content of most round and oval stamps rarely follow the vertical order required by quasi-facsimile transcription. For logical reasons and to facilitate the reader’s understanding of the content of these stamps, the information therein is presented as discrete textual elements separated by the symbol ‘|’, which may not correspond to their actual layout on the page. Similarly, the symbol ‘÷’ denotes conti­nuity of the text between the upper and lower parts of stamps – the two often being separated by text at the centre. 

The following symbols appear in the quasi-facsimile transcriptions more generally: 

end of line/beginning of next line
|   This appears between two consecutive words within a transcription but never as the first or last element therein. It may however be followed or preceded by the signs ‘«’ and ‘»’ (see below). Note also the use of this symbol in transcribing the contents of stamps (see above).
÷   end of line/beginning of next line within block of text adjacent to further text or another block on one or both sides. This features in passages with prices as well as in many other contexts (respectively, compare the TPs of 1–1-Sam, 2–1-HAt & 2–1-Sm with the transcriptions thereof, likewise the TPs of 1–1-HO, 3–1-ME & 5–1-W). It is often difficult to decide what consti­tutes a block of material (see, e.g., the TP of MM–0-Sm and the related transcription), in that one could variously transcribe the contents of a given title page. (The use of this symbol in relation to stamps is discussed above.)
;    used to separate different elements within headlines, caption titles, sub-captions and footlines. 

Apart from the three signs above and those outlined in the paragraph below, no symbol has been used which does not itself appear in the original text (for instance, we have added no full stops). All editorial comments have been inserted in square brackets (e.g. footline in 18–1d-W, sub-captions concerning layout of orchestral parts). 

Text located in the centre of the page with equal margins on both sides has no position designators apart from single vertical lines as required (see above). If it occupies another position, however, the material in question is preceded or followed by one or more of these symbols: 

«     text or block of text situated to left of page
This sign may be used in conjunction with the one below or a vertical line (see above).

»     text or block of text situated to right of page
This sign may be used in conjunction with the preceding one or a vertical line (see above). It also ap­pears in the quasi-facsimile transcriptions of many STPs as a more or less literal reproduction of an original symbol indicating repeated elements within prices (as in ‘ditto’) or simply filling a gap.[3]

« » combination of the above indicating sizeable space in centre of page. 

The six permutations below exhaust all possible dispositions of text. Each would be preceded or followed by a vertical line if relevant: 

«   text/block to left
text/block to right »
text/block in centre » text/block to right
text/block to left « text/block in centre
text/block to left « » text/block to right (the two of these being separated by a space or a dash)
text/block to left « text/block in centre » text/block to right. 

Because a description may change from one impression to the next, certain symbols may come and go in accordance with textual modifications (e.g. compare 1–1-W with 1–1b-A&P; 2–1-W with 2–1a-W and 2–1c-A&P; 20–1-B&H with 20–1d-B&H (footline); 16–1-PL with 16–1a-PL and 16–1b-Sm (title page); 11–1-W with 11–1a-A&P; and 17–2-B&H with 17–2c-B&H (footline p. 2)). 

Errors listed in the eponymous field have been cited in quasi-facsimile transcription and appear in in­verted commas which help to distinguish them from editorial commentary (e.g. 1–1-BRZ, 3–1-W). 

We do not apply the principles outlined in this section to the titles of works in published volumes such as the albums and Méthode des Méthodes. In order to avoid an excess of inessential information in the ‘Com­ments’, ‘Copies’ and ‘Errors’ fields, the titles of the relevant compositions are given in abbreviated form with spelling mistakes tacitly cor­rected and missing accents added, and without taking into account italics or other stylistic features (see 15–1-Sm, 23–2-B&H, 32/1–1-Sam, 33/1&2–1a-B&H, 45–1-Sm, 45–1-ME, 62/2–1a-BR, 64/1–1a-BR, MEG–1-CH, MEG–1a-CH, MM–0-Sm, MM–1-Sm, MM–1-Sam, MM–1c-Sam, MM–1-CHAP). When ATPs list the titles of the constituent works, we indicate the contents even more concisely, i.e. by specifying only the names of the composers (see 32/2–1-Sam, 34/1–1-Sm, MFM–1-E, MFM–1a-E, MFM–1-SCH).

[1] The decision to reproduce a divider of this sort within a transcription or to replace it by the symbol ‘«  »’ may occasionally seem arbitrary. We do transcribe a divider when little or no space separates it from other textual elements (in addition to the examples just cited, see the TPs of 14–1-W, 18–1-W, 19–1-W, 21–1-W, 27–1-W & HEX–1-RI (before ‘Mendrisio’)). When there is greater sepa­ra­tion, however, we replace it by the symbol in question (e.g. the TPs of 18–1-Sm, 20–1-Sm, 22–1-W, 23–1-W, 34/1–1a-Sm, 34/2–1-Sm, 34/3–1a-Sm & HEX–1-RI (between ‘Pozzi’ and ‘Paris’)). The size of the divider may also influence a decision of this sort (for example, compare the TPs of 16–1-B&H & 19–1-W with those of 20–1-Sm, 22–1-Sm & GDC–1-W).

[2] The two exceptions are version 3 of B&H’s OEUVRES DE PIANO|DE|FRED. CHOPIN and Op. 74 published by Gebethner, the transcrip­tions of which also respect the original proportions of the textual elements as well as preserving the divider between prices in different monetary units.

[3] See the following entries in Appendix I: G. Brandus et S. Dufour → G. Brandus et Cie → Brandus et Cie → Maquet: ÉDITION ORIGINALE|OEUVRES COMPLÈTES POUR LE PIANO|DE|FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN (DF of versions 1, 4–6); J. Meissonnier Fils → Compagnie Musicale → Gérard et Cie: ŒUVRES POSTHUMES|POUR|PIANO|DE|FRÉD. CHOPIN; and Schlesinger: OEUVRES POSTHUMES|POUR|PIANO|DE|FRÉD. CHOPIN.