venerdì 8 marzo 2013

Support the weight of the arm

A young piano student has asked this question: "I would like to have opinions on which fingering to use in the twelfth bar work of Schubert Impromptu Op 90 no. 3 in G Flat Major. Precisely where you "beat" for the first time on those E flat and C flat together. My problem is that I just can not give the correct pressure not to make it look like a hammer."

Here the musical example:
Schubert, Impromptu op.90 no.3

My short answer is this:
"The question is not at all strange, it is very sensible! I'll play with the fifth finger on the E flat and fourth with the C flat supporting the weight of the arm on the fifth finger, "leaning" softly, without a hammer! You will say, easy to say! Depends on technique".

Now I add something. The word "support", not surprisingly, is used in a number of cases in instrumental technique and also in the technique of singing. What does it mean support? It means "to lean, to stand on something, something supportive": so it's the exact opposite of what you do when you make an effort, you lift a weight, it faces a struggle. In everyday life, we lean when we need to stand up to support us (and, metaphorically, we rely on a few people when we feel discouraged or distressed ...).

So, lean means countering effort with an aid which, in the case of the piano, we are given simply by the force of gravity.

But more importantly (and this is the sense of the question) is that properly leaning the weight of the arm can also change the sound between the fingers of the same hand. This is necessary when we, in cases such as that place in this example, the composer needs to play melody and accompaniment in the same hand and therefore, by implication, requires two different sounds in the same hand.

Of course, you do not get an immediate: it is an instrumental technique that acquires the appropriate exercise.

lunedì 4 marzo 2013

Musical accents in the march tempo

One student asked a question about the Marche  in E-flat Major BWV Anhang 127, contained in the "Notenbüchlein für Anna Magdalena Bach".

The question concerns the execution of the march time, that writing is like the 4/4, but it is actually a 2/2: how to feel the difference? It also asks: If the reviser indicates 76 to half-note, what is the difference compared to a 152 to quarter note?

The speed depends on the interpretation

From the mathematical point of view is the same: 76 at half-note equivalent to 152 to the quarter note. But from the musical point of view is different: it means that the music must be thought of in two beats per measure, instead of four. If it seems too fast, you can play a little more slowly, but the important thing is going to keep this rhythm in two movements, which is just the march. Keep in mind, in fact, that the values ​​of metronome are purely indicative, the musical interpretation does not mean never so stiff. Try therefore to study the piece at a speed of 60 to half-note: first try to sing the parts at this speed (especially the right hand, but also the left!) to get used to this scan.

BWV Anhang 127

A matter of accents

The difference in performance between 4/4 and 2/2 is a matter of accents. For example, in bar 1 (apart from the upbeat E flat-G, which obviously leans on the beat in B flat) is interesting figuration into eighths (C-D-E flat-B flat), followed by G quarter: the support should be given to the E flat and certainly not on the C, or only at the end of the beat, the next support will be the next G (eighth) that starts the bar 2. Note that the rhythm of the left hand helps the rhythmic beat.

Interesting then the bar 5, where they begin the triplets: we find a triplet eighths (F-E flat-D), where clearly we lean on F, then the two D (eighth), which must not be accented, whereas we lean a shortly above the D, who began the succession of eighth D-F-E flat-D. The beats subsequent steps like: avoid the accents on the second and fourth movements, unless there is syncope (as occurs in beat 3), which is the evident "exception to the rule" and what is its meaning.