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The Galop Of The Goblins
by Walter Fay Lewis

Here's a fun piece. I put a facsimile of it in the "Halloween 2001" edition of the local (Washington, D.C.) guitar society's newsletter. This is the goofy article that went with it . . .

 
Ok, so I've gone through my music theory reference library and there doesn't seem to be any rule that says a spooky piece has to have a Neapolitan sixth, or that a piece with a Neapolitan sixth has to be spooky. Still, I claim there's something going on here.

But before we continue, we'd better make sure we know what a Neapolitan sixth is. My Harvard Brief Dictionary Of Music says: "a sixth chord having as its root the the flattened supertonic." My "International Cyclopedia Of Music And Musicians says: "a chord consisting of a minor sixth and minor third on the subdominant." (Note well: nothing about ghosts in either definition.) I practically had to write a computer program to determine that both of these definitions say the same thing. I've always thought it must be a lonely life for a music theorist, what with only ever being able to talk to yourself.

Allow me to clear the air. A Neapolitan sixth is a major chord built on the note one half step above the tonic (the first and main note of the scale.) It's usually used in the first inversion, meaning the root of the Neapolitan sixth is flipped up to the top of the triad. (That's where the word "sixth" comes from - the interval between the third of the chord, and the root which has now been raised an octave. A "sixth chord" does not mean a chord with an added sixth, or a chord built on the sixth note of the scale.)

So, for example, in the key of A minor, the Neapolitan sixth is the B-flat major chord, since B-flat is a half step up from A. In the key of E minor, the Neapolitan sixth is the F major chord. You will find that "The Galop Of The Goblins", which is in E minor, drips with F major chords - to such an extent that composer Walter Fay Lewis apparently figured it was easiest just to leave the F-sharp out of the key signature! (Actually, you can't see this in the tablature. Key signatures? What's that?) In particular, listen to the F major chords in measures 16 and 20. I believe those examples to be very typical of Neapolitan sixth usage. Quite a distinctive sound, yes?

So where else do Neapolitan sixths evoke spooks? Well, I couldn't put my fingers on as many examples in my collection as I was hoping to. I have a trio called "Ghost", by Jamie Williams-Grossman (1), also in E minor that has a blast of F major chord in one of the guitar parts. There's a piece by Robin Pearson written for the month of October which has alternating E minor and F major arpeggio patterns. He calls it "Falling Leaves", but we know his real inspiration - October 31st! WGS member Bob Wysong recalls "The Halloween Song", a piece his 7th-grade band played, which used the Neapolitan sixth. Of course, the most famous example of all is heard in the well-known theme song Charles Gounod wrote for Alfred Hitchcock's tv show (2).

But, as I said, it can also be used when there's not a ghost in sight. There's a D major chord in Chopin's Prelude In C Minor, but that doesn't hit me quite the same way. Bob also remembered the prominent example towards the end of Albinoni's famous Adagio. The first guitar music example to strike me - and the one that got me and Bob discussing Neapolitan sixths - was in an Andantino by Neapoli- , er, Napolean Coste (3). The piece is in E minor, but listen for the D major arpeggio in the C# minor section. The very first example that comes to Bob's mind when the subject arises is in Fernando Sor's Op. 35, No. 14. Later, I discovered them in Sor's Op. 35, No. 24 (4). I also found them in Mauro Giuliani's Tersicore del Nord, Op. 147 (5). There's one each in the trios to Nos. 7 and 8 of that collection.

Conclusion: 50% of all songs that use the Neapolitan sixth are haunted. You read it here first (although you might want to double-check with a music theorist of repute.)

Happy Halloween.

Below: The Galop of the Goblins, by Walter Fay Lewis, 1894.

The Galop of the Goblins, page 1.

The Galop of the Goblins, page 2.

Footnotes:
1. Soundboard, fall 1994.
2. (Something like that?)
3. Das Guitarrespiel, Bruno Henze, book 7, page 11.
4. The Classical Guitar, Frederick Noad, page 66.
5. Mauro Giuliani - selected works, Frederick Noad, pp 134-5.

I thank the Library of Congress again for making its music collection so readily accessible.

***

This easy-to-read tablature is faithful to the original in music notation. It uses only common keyboard characters - no graphics. It's very simple and instantly usable. Click here for some general comments on the modern tablature, including tips on printing it out perfectly.

Title:     The Galop of the Goblins
Composer:  Walter Fay Lewis
Source:    Concert and Salon Music; Oliver Ditson Co. 
Date:      1894.

Tuning:    EADGBE.
Time sig:  6/8.

Fixes, modifications and comments (M=Measure; p=Place in measure; s=String): 
  M32p4s1 original showed B#; changed to A# here.
  M35p6s3 original showed no note; D# added here for consistency with 
    similar passages.  
  Almost without exception, Lewis notates the bottom note of a chord 
    with a separate, downward stem, implying an independent bass line.  
    Keep this in mind in the Introduction (Allegretto). 
  Lewis places all of his interpretation signs below the staff.  It's not 
    obvious to me whether his accents apply to the whole chord or just 
    the bass note.  (The distinction, if you can make one, would be subtle.)  
  In M4-5, original did not show accent marks.  Oversight?  
  In M6-8, and all similar passages, Lewis indicates to play the 5th- and 
    6th-string double stops with a thumb sweep.  He brackets the two notes 
    with a ( symbol.   
  To shorten left-hand jumps, consider playing some chords in a higher 
    position; for example, where you see 5554xx, try x10/9/10/9x.  

Tablature elements to be added by hand:
  Take a moment to fill out the 16th-note beams.

Explanation of symbols: 
  . = rest which applies to the previously sounding note on that string.  
  _ = accent or emphasis mark.  Lewis uses ">" in the original.  
  cresc. = crescendo.  Sometimes Lewis writes "cresc." and sometimes he draws 
           the skinny angle symbol (opening to the right.) 

Leading measures in original sheet music: 
  1 6 10 14 18 22 26 30 33 36 38 42.  Last measure is 45.


*** Download and edit out all material above and below the tablature.
*** Set up your printer for: 96 characters/line (12 characters/inch).
                             66 lines/page (6 lines/inch).
*** Print out starting with the title line below.

                          The Galop of the Goblins                       GOBLINS: Page 1 of 2.
  EADGBE.  Leading measures: 1 8 15 22 29.                                    Walter Fay Lewis

Allegretto.           ac-    ce-     le-     ran-     do.        Allegro.
   mf      _ _           _ _                                  mf _            _
   ___    __ _______    __ _______    __ _______    __ _____     _____ _____  _____ _____       
   |-|  |  | | | |-|  |  | | | |-|  |  | | | |-|  |  | | | |     | | | | | |  | | | | | |       
________________________________________________________________________________________________
___5_5|_5__5_5_._5_5|_5__7_7_._5_5|_5__5_5_._5_5|_5__7_7_.___||_____________|____________|______
______|____5_5_.____|____7_7_.____|____5_5_.____|____7_7_.___||_____________|____________|______
______|____5_5_.____|____8_8_.____|____5_5_.____|____8_8_.___||*____________|____________|______
______|____4_.______|____9_.______|____4_.______|____9_._____||*_________3__|_________3__|______
______|_____________|_____________|_____________|____________||__2_._2_3_._3|_2_._2_3_._3|______
______|_____________|_____________|_____________|____________||__0_._0_1_._1|_0_._0_1_._1|______


 _  cresc.      f    ff mf_            _            _  cresc.        f     ff     p  cres-
 _____ _______  _____     _____ _____  _____ _____  _____ _______      __           _____ _____ 
 | | | | |   |  | | | |.  | | | | | |  | | | | | |  | | | | |   |    |  |   |.      | | | | | | 
________________________________________________________________________________________________
_________0____|_5_._5_7_|____________|____________|_________0____|______7_H12___||__7_._7_5_._5|
_______0______|_5_._5_7_|____________|____________|_______0______|_H12__7_H12___||__0_0_0_0_0_0|
_____0_____H12|_5_._5_8_|____________|____________|_____0_____H12|______8_H12__*||*____________|
___2__________|_4_._4_9_|_________3__|_________3__|___2__________|______9______*||*_5___5_4___4|
_2____________|_________|_2_._2_3_._3|_2_._2_3_._3|_2____________|______________||_____________|
_0____________|_________|_0_._0_1_._1|_0_._0_1_._1|_0____________|__________0___||_____________|


     cen-          do.           f     cresc.                   ff cresc.          fff
 _____ _____  _____ _____  _____   __  _____ _____  _____ _____  _____ _____  _____             
 | | | | | |  | | | | | |  | | | |  |  | | | | | |  | | | | | |  | | | | | |  | | | |.          
________________________________________________________________________________________________
_3_._3_2_._2|_3_._3_1_._1|_0_._0_____|_7_._6_5_._5|_3_._3_2_._2|_0_0_0_1_._1|_______0___||______
_0_0_0_0_0_0|_0_0_0_1_1_1|_2_2_2_4__.|_0_0_0_0_0_0|_0_0_0_1_1_0|_0_0_0_1_1_1|_4_._4_0___||______
____________|_______2_._2|_0_._0_4__.|____________|_______2_._2|_0_0_0_2_._2|_4_4_4_0__*||______
_2___2_1___1|_2___2______|_______4__.|_5___4_3___4|_1___2_1___1|____________|_4_._4____*||______
____________|_______0___0|_1_____2__.|____________|____________|_______0___0|_2_________||______
____________|____________|___________|____________|____________|_3_3_0______|_______0___||______


 mf           _            _  cresc.      f    ff  mf _            _            _
 _____ _____  _____ _____  _____ _______  _____       _____ _____  _____ _____  _____ _______   
 | | | | | |  | | | | | |  | | | | |   |  | | | |.    | | | | | |  | | | | | |  | | | | |   |   
________________________________________________________________________________________________
____________|____________|_________0____|_5_._5_7__|_____________|____________|_________0____|__
____________|____________|_______0______|_5_._5_7__|_____________|____________|_______0______|__
____________|____________|_____0_____H12|_5_._5_8__|_____________|____________|_____0_____H12|__
_________3__|_________3__|___2__________|_4_._4_9__|__________3__|_________3__|___2__________|__
_2_._2_3_._3|_2_._2_3_._3|_2____________|__________|__2_._2_3_._3|_2_._2_3_._3|_2____________|__
_0_._0_1_._1|_0_._0_1_._1|_0____________|__________|__0_._0_1_._1|_0_._0_1_._1|_0____________|__


   f     ff       f                           fp                         f
     __           _____ _____    _____ _____  _____ _____  _____   __    _____ _____    _____   
   |  |   |.      | | | | | |    | | | | | |  | | | | | |  | | | |  |    | | | | | |    | | |   
________________________________________________________________________________________________
______7_H12__||__12_._7_8_._8|_H12_._7_7_._7|_7_._7_6_._6|_5_._5_2__.|_H12_._7_7_._7|_H12_._7___
_H12__7_H12__||__10_.___7_7_7|_________8_7_8|_5_5_5_5_5_5|_5_5_5_1__0|_________8_7_8|___________
______8_H12__||*_10_.___8_._8|_________7_._7|_4_._4_6_._6|_5_._5_2__.|_________7_._7|___________
______9______||*______6_7_._7|_______6_8_._8|_6_._6_5_._5|_4_._4_1__.|_______6_8_._8|_______6___
_____________||______________|______________|____________|___________|______________|___________
__________0__||___0__________|___0__________|____________|___________|___0__________|___0_______





  Lewis  Goblins  Leading measures: 35 42.                               GOBLINS: Page 2 of 2.

       ff  furioso   _     ff     mf_            _            _  cresc.      f    ff mf_
 _____  _____ _____  _____   __     _____ _____  _____ _____  _____ _______  _____     _____    
 | | |  | | | | | |  | | | |  |     | | | | | |  | | | | | |  | | | | |   |  | | | |.  | | |    
________________________________________________________________________________________________
_7_._7|___7_6_5_4_3|_2_._2_0__.__||____________|____________|_________0____|_5_._5_7_|__________
_8_7_8|_____5_4_3_2|_1_1_0_0__.__||____________|____________|_______0______|_5_._5_7_|__________
_7_._7|_____6_5_4_3|_2_._2_1__._*||____________|____________|_____0_____H12|_5_._5_8_|__________
_8_._8|_6___5_4_3_2|_1_._1______*||_________3__|_________3__|___2__________|_4_._4_9_|__________
______|____________|_____________||_2_._2_3_._3|_2_._2_3_._3|_2____________|_________|_2_._2____
______|____________|_______0__.__||_0_._0_1_._1|_0_._0_1_._1|_0____________|_________|_0_._0____


        _            _  cresc.        f     ff
 _____  _____ _____  _____ _______      __                                                      
 | | |  | | | | | |  | | | | |   |    |  |   |.                                                 
________________________________________________________________________________________________
______|____________|_________0____|______7_H12___||_____________________________________________
______|____________|_______0______|_H12__7_H12___||_____________________________________________
______|____________|_____0_____H12|______8_H12___||_____________________________________________
___3__|_________3__|___2__________|______9_______||_____________________________________________
_3_._3|_2_._2_3_._3|_2____________|______________||_____________________________________________
_1_._1|_0_._0_1_._1|_0____________|__________0___||_____________________________________________


 


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