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Subject: Re: Tosca's last note
From: Bob Kosovsky <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Bob Kosovsky <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 4 Aug 2017 14:46:54 -0400

text/plain (43 lines)

"David Kubiak" <[log in to unmask]> asks:

> But my question is about Tosca's last note on 'Dio'.  I have winced at
so many tonal clashes when the orchestra comes in that I'm not sure I
would know the right note if I heard it.  Has anyone else felt this, and
if so, what makes the interval hard for a soprano to get right? <

It's not the interval that is difficult, but the context.  The last 3
notes form an augmented triad, which, although fairly common in Puccini,
is still rather difficult for many singers to intone accurately since it's
one of those chord which can be used to destabilize the surrounding

For those wondering what an augmented triad sounds like, here's a
14-second YouTube video on how to play a D augmented triad on the
keyboard.  It has the same notes as Tosca's finale 3 notes, just sounded
simultaneously (and an octave lower):

When the speaker plays the notes individually, he plays them in the order:
D, F-sharp and A-sharp.  Tosca sings F-sharp, then D, then B flat (which
is enharmonically the same as A-sharp).

Bob Kosovsky, Ph.D. -- Curator, Rare Books and Manuscripts,
Music Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
blog:   Twitter: @kos2
   Listowner: OPERA-L ; SMT-ANNOUNCE ; SoundForge-users
--- My opinions do not necessarily represent those of my institutions ---

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