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Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: Mark_C] #1482312
07/27/10 08:10 AM
07/27/10 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Damon
I saw it the first time.

Right -- but meanwhile it seems you missed everything in between. smile


I didn't miss anything in between, I just didn't quote it. I thought my opinion was clear that the difficulty of switching hands was no harder than managing the phrase properly when crossing over instead. If you like the sound of 3 bars with the pedal down (or letting the note die ahead of schedule), fine. It doesn't matter if Beethoven's crappy piano was incapable of sustaining a note 3 bars, we know he clearly wanted it to.

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Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: Mark_C] #1482314
07/27/10 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C

Which leaves me at a loss.
Maybe we're trying too hard..... smile


Do you have a frog in your pocket or do you have dissociative identity disorder? Or maybe you misunderstand the meaning of the word "we"? grin

Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: Damon] #1482325
07/27/10 08:35 AM
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Anyone know what Tovey says on the subject? My edition is in storage at the moment.

Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: jnod] #1482376
07/27/10 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by jnod
First movement - bar 21 onward. This is a dumb question I suspect....

In bar 21 the right hand is playing triplets and the left hand is playing half note, quarter note, quarter note. In the next bar, does the left hand take over the triplets?


I have only read through some of the responses here, so forgive me if I throw in my $0.02.

In m. 21, which is where the triplets first appear in the piece, I play them with the RH, then in m. 22, I play them with the LH and play the melody in the RH. I do this because I find it easier to keep the continuity of the LH arpeggio melody and contrast it with the RH p melody. In m. 30, however, I continue playing the triplets in the RH and play the treble D in the LH, as that is continuation of the LH arpeggio melody - almost like an echo of that.

And as far as the issue in m.31-32 with the triplets changing gears, I woudl change the fingering in the RH to accommodate that, but really when you play it up to tempo it's hardly noticeable. Still, I make the effort to play it as written, rather than just continue the triplets in the pattern.

*edited to add: I didn't mention that I switch to the LH in m. 22 on the 2nd beat, not at the bar line.

I never noticed the difference between that and m. 99 however, where it's clearly marked the the LH should take the melody. Of course, in m. 99 I played it as my edition has it (Schenker edition). Playing the m. 22 as I did, however, didn't present too many problems for me, nor was it much of an issue at m. 99 the other way.

My only guess as to why it would be differently notated in m. 22 is that there is a fingering and pedaling issue. In m.21-21, the LH figure is an arpeggio ending on a tied whole note which should be held through m. 24. If you are keeping the triplets in the RH and going up to play the p melody in the LH, then the only way to hold down the whole note is to play the last note of the arpeggio figure with the RH as well, which means then doing the triplets not with fingers 1-3 and 2-4 alternatively to keep them from building up tension, you must do them only with 2-4 or try and do 3-5, which is much much harder, IMO. However, in m. 99 there is no tied whole note, it is a staccato quarter, clearly not intended to be held and thus frees up the RH to continue playing the triplets.

For the pedaling issue, if one tries to play the tied whole note in m. 22 with the LH and then go up to play the RH melody, you'd have those triplet sin your pedal and a f and thus would not be able to play it p on beat 4. Lifting the pedal woudl clear out the tied whole note, so that is not an option.

Last edited by Morodiene; 07/27/10 10:43 AM.

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Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: Mark_C] #1482382
07/27/10 10:39 AM
07/27/10 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Sorry, but I'm lost.

Let's talk. smile

That post of yours was a reply to a post of mine, in which I referred to measures you had talked about in your previous post.

(I hope I haven't just lost you too.) smile

I mentioned that the places you referred to in that previous post weren't anything like the places I had talked about. I didn't understand how you could have felt there was any comparison.

So now, in this most recent post, presumably replying to what I had just said and explaining what you were thinking in that previous post, you talk about different measures than in that previous post.

Which leaves me at a loss.
Maybe we're trying too hard..... smile


Yes, in one of my earlier posts, I was referring to the quarter note themes in the left hand. However, since you said this wasn't "the problem" but that "the problem" involved the triplet figures from right hand to left hand, I saw that we were referring to different problems, and I then tried to accommodate what you were referring to and tried to respond to you by referring to the jumps in the triplet figures.

So, yes, I talked about different measures in my subsequent post because you were talking about different measures than I was, and I was trying to respond to what you were referring to.

I did the best I could by quoting measure numbers as they appear in my score. If that doesn't communicate, let's just forget it. I can't put forth any more effort because I don't see how I can be any clearer than I was by quoting both precise measure numbers and exact notes.

Let's just forget it.


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Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: BruceD] #1482409
07/27/10 11:23 AM
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Hello Everyone. This has all been very helpful in that I suspect I have licence to play this movement in the way that works best for me. This involves switching the hand that does the triplets by the way - I don't like the idea of holding the whole note with the pedal personally althought perhaps some of you do.

But hey - what's all this squabbling about? Seems silly! We're discussing music here! Surely none of us are morons!


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Scarlatti Sonata K141 . L422
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Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: jnod] #1482431
07/27/10 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by jnod
Hello Everyone. This has all been very helpful in that I suspect I have licence to play this movement in the way that works best for me. This involves switching the hand that does the triplets by the way - I don't like the idea of holding the whole note with the pedal personally althought perhaps some of you do.

But hey - what's all this squabbling about? Seems silly! We're discussing music here! Surely none of us are morons!


Oh, you know how some people like to be pedantic when they're bored and have nothing else to say.
It's just a sign that we need to spend more time playing the piano, less time hitting that 'reply' button, I suppose. I'm not claiming to be innocent, at times.

And yes - fortunately, there is no law that forces you to play a passage a certain way, if you can achieve similar or better results another way. Some people may try to make you do so, but that's okay, too. In the end - it's you that is playing the music, and you who must ultimately decide if you made the right decision.

I've always thought this section of the sonata was extremely fun because of the hand-switching - really gives it some energy to go along with the music. And if I'm thinking of the same note you are - you can hold that with the left hand, without pedal, and use the right hand to perform the triplets, and the upper voicing. Again, it's not that difficult - it just LOOKS like it should be played a certain way at first glance.

Last edited by Mattardo; 07/27/10 12:02 PM.
Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: Damon] #1482444
07/27/10 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Damon
.....It doesn't matter if Beethoven's crappy piano was incapable of sustaining a note 3 bars, we know he clearly wanted it to.

I can't tell if that's mainly serious or just rhetorical.

Sure he wanted it to -- and, his piano wasn't 'incapable' of sustaining the note; it just sustained it more lightly.

If you don't want to give this much credence, I wonder how you can give proper due to things like the pedal markings in the main theme of the last movement of the Waldstein.

(Which, come to think of it, is pretty close to this in all the considerations, including the hand crossing.)

Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: BruceD] #1482449
07/27/10 12:27 PM
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Yes.
The fact that you had compared the "blips" I had talked about with leaps between quarter notes made me feel that you had just misunderstood what I'd been talking about from the start. I don't mean it's your fault, just that it felt like some of this had been a waste for us both.

However, I was glad to learn (better to know than not to know) smile that there's such a large view in favor of playing the movement in a way that I had thought was just misguided. (This included my checking on youtube to see if people actually play it that way -- and I see that they do.)

Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: Mark_C] #1482615
07/27/10 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Damon
.....It doesn't matter if Beethoven's crappy piano was incapable of sustaining a note 3 bars, we know he clearly wanted it to.

I can't tell if that's mainly serious or just rhetorical.

Sure he wanted it to -- and, his piano wasn't 'incapable' of sustaining the note; it just sustained it more lightly.

If you don't want to give this much credence, I wonder how you can give proper due to things like the pedal markings in the main theme of the last movement of the Waldstein.

(Which, come to think of it, is pretty close to this in all the considerations, including the hand crossing.)


Out of curiosity, Mark, are you suggesting that we use the sustain pedal on the bass notes in these passages because the possibility exists because they are 'pedal notes'?
Correct me if I'm wrong - but Damon is suggesting that the sustain pedal is not necesarry in these passages, and you're suggesting that it should be/or could be used, possibly to overcome the technical difficulties.

Is that the problem here?
The last movement pedal markings, you refer to, are there to get a certain effect - the sustain pedal is to be used specifically, as indicated by Beethoven. The passages starting in measure 21 of the 1st movement, however, are not specifically marked to be pedalled. They could be pedalled, of course, but they are not specifically marked as such. I think these are 2 wildly varying and opposed examples.


Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: Mattardo] #1482788
07/27/10 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Mattardo
Out of curiosity, Mark, are you suggesting that we use the sustain pedal on the bass notes in these passages because the possibility exists because they are 'pedal notes'?
Correct me if I'm wrong - but Damon is suggesting that the sustain pedal is not necessary in these passages, and you're suggesting that it should be/or could be used, possibly to overcome the technical difficulties.....
The last movement pedal markings, you refer to, are there to get a certain effect - the sustain pedal is to be used specifically, as indicated by Beethoven. The passages starting in measure 21 of the 1st movement, however, are not specifically marked to be pedaled. They could be pedalled, of course, but they are not specifically marked as such. I think these are 2 wildly varying and opposed examples.

My view has nothing whatsoever to do with 'overcoming technical difficulties.' I think the pedaling is an inherent part of the passage -- musically, and "to get a certain effect" as you said about the Waldstein.

That's a good point (of course) about the pedaling not being marked in this passage of the Tempest. Obviously I'd have an easier time with my argument if Beethoven did put in a pedal marking. smile

Regarding the initial question about switching hands in the middle of the triplets, I hadn't thought of the pedaling aspect of this passage (nor of the central importance of those long/tied notes in the L.H.) until Damon talked about them. And then I had to wonder if maybe that's how the whole thing about "switching hands in the triplets" came about: to be able to sustain that note without help from the pedal.

Using pedal for such passages (whether marked or not) doesn't faze me at all, maybe because I've been heavily influenced by the "original instruments" view of these pieces. It's so second-nature to me that I usually don't realize that this influence is involved. If I had realized it, I would have known immediately that this could be a reason for people wanting to switch hands in the middle of the triplets (i.e. not realizing or not caring that on Beethoven's pianos, pedaling the passage would have been no sweat). But if you know those instruments -- and if you believe they give a window into Beethoven's thinking, which I think they do -- I don't think it would ever occur to you to avoid pedal or to switch hands.

Nevertheless, there's something that would blow me completely out of the water (again): smile
If we see that even people playing the piece on "original instruments" switch hands and avoid pedaling through the passage.

I'm going to find out what my old mentor will say, and what he does.

Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: Mark_C] #1482882
07/27/10 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Mattardo
Out of curiosity, Mark, are you suggesting that we use the sustain pedal on the bass notes in these passages because the possibility exists because they are 'pedal notes'?
Correct me if I'm wrong - but Damon is suggesting that the sustain pedal is not necessary in these passages, and you're suggesting that it should be/or could be used, possibly to overcome the technical difficulties.....
The last movement pedal markings, you refer to, are there to get a certain effect - the sustain pedal is to be used specifically, as indicated by Beethoven. The passages starting in measure 21 of the 1st movement, however, are not specifically marked to be pedaled. They could be pedalled, of course, but they are not specifically marked as such. I think these are 2 wildly varying and opposed examples.

My view has nothing whatsoever to do with 'overcoming technical difficulties.' I think the pedaling is an inherent part of the passage -- musically, and "to get a certain effect" as you said about the Waldstein.

That's a good point (of course) about the pedaling not being marked in this passage of the Tempest. Obviously I'd have an easier time with my argument if Beethoven did put in a pedal marking. smile

Regarding the initial question about switching hands in the middle of the triplets, I hadn't thought of the pedaling aspect of this passage (nor of the central importance of those long/tied notes in the L.H.) until Damon talked about them. And then I had to wonder if maybe that's how the whole thing about "switching hands in the triplets" came about: to be able to sustain that note without help from the pedal.

Using pedal for such passages (whether marked or not) doesn't faze me at all, maybe because I've been heavily influenced by the "original instruments" view of these pieces. It's so second-nature to me that I usually don't realize that this influence is involved. If I had realized it, I would have known immediately that this could be a reason for people wanting to switch hands in the middle of the triplets (i.e. not realizing or not caring that on Beethoven's pianos, pedaling the passage would have been no sweat). But if you know those instruments -- and if you believe they give a window into Beethoven's thinking, which I think they do -- I don't think it would ever occur to you to avoid pedal or to switch hands.

Nevertheless, there's something that would blow me completely out of the water (again): smile
If we see that even people playing the piece on "original instruments" switch hands and avoid pedaling through the passage.

I'm going to find out what my old mentor will say, and what he does.


Oh bother - I had a lengthy post written out, and I hit the back button. I guess everyone is spared lol.

I agree that a piano-forte reveals much of Beethoven - I play on them as often as I can, and when I can't I use pc samples of them piped to my clavinova. The pedal is definately not as obnoxious as modern pianos, but I think many people misunderstand Beethoven's use of the pedal.

He seems to have been more concerned about changing the contrast, timbre, tone in his use of the pedal - look at the explicit instances he calls for it, virtually none are used for sustaining. More of a blurring, atmospheric effect is achieved, and sometimes a loud effect. From eyewitness accounts, we can tell that Beethoven used the pedal much more than he indicates, but I don't think it was for sustaining purposes mainly - anyone who played Bach as religiously as he did, and the organ as a teen, would have been quite capable of sustaining most bass notes and other passages in his sonatas. His technique could handle it.

Judging from some of his strange alberti-bass type passages which entail an octave, and then thirds - it seems he was quite comfortable with awkward passages. Just the sort of passage in the Tempest, where I mention it's possible to hold the bass, while using the right hand for the triplets and upper voice. I personally think holding the bass notes throughout the entire passage is essential, and doesn't require a pedal. With a piano-forte, a pedal might sound a bit too muddied, even on the older instrument. I like precision in these measures. I hear lots of performances with too much pedal in this Sonata - maybe it's a personal preference of mine.

I would love to see some professional piano-forte players recorded on this in video - I like your idea! Speaking of triplet-switchers, here's at least one on a modern piano:
Ory Shihor: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3N58G9DRaA

I wish one of my customers were in town and not up north - I'd gladly record this for you! That's what happens when you live in Florida - half the population is gone half the time. smile


Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: Mattardo] #1483049
07/28/10 09:09 AM
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This is just a side question, but aren't period pianos called fortepianos?

I think the problem with trying to accommodate what Beethoven might have wanted given the instruments he had to work with on a modern instrument is somewhat an impossible task. We really don't know, and can only make guesses, no matter how educated they might be. Personally, I do not try and make a modern instrument sound like a period one. If I'm playing on a period instrument, then I would certainly make adjustments to get the sound that I feel musically makes the most sense to me. This is no different than on a modern piano.

In the end, everyone's answer on this issue comes down to the individual and their own musical senses. I think this was a very valuable discussion, however, because it helped me to define what I do and why. I did it instinctively without much thought, but now I can explain that to students and let them decide which route they'd like to take with that understanding.


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Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: Morodiene] #1483203
07/28/10 01:37 PM
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Good! We have a happy ending in a thread, for once! smile

Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: Morodiene] #1483220
07/28/10 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
This is just a side question, but aren't period pianos called fortepianos?....

(yes)

Quote
I think the problem with trying to accommodate what Beethoven might have wanted given the instruments he had to work with on a modern instrument is somewhat an impossible task.....

That gets said a lot, and it drives those of us who view it the other way a little bit nuts.

Because.....the point is that this isn't just a thing of how the passage "sounds" (which your view seems to be based on); it's a thing of what Beethoven was thinking, what he meant, what he had in mind. That's a more basic thing. How it sounds comes next. Sometimes one might decide to do something different from what a composer meant, but we want to know that when we do it.

Taking it back to the initial question: I'm saying that I don't think it ever entered Beethoven's mind to switch hands in the middle of the triplets, because there was no need, not to mention that it causes sacrifices in the rhythm.

If you want to say that the modern piano requires a different approach because the pedaling doesn't work, fine -- but realize that it may be something completely different than what he was thinking -- and unnecessarily, because you can do it on the modern piano with the pedal. It just takes a little extra attention and sensitivity, but not hugely; it's not one of the more difficult such places in Beethoven.

P.S. I don't get how switching hands helps you with the continuity of the melody or how it helps you with the contrast when the melody moves upward. For me, it would make those things harder, and in any event, I'm surprised that you'd have any trouble achieving those things with the hand-crossing. Are you sure it isn't just that your edition had it that way, and so you're used to it?

Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: Mark_C] #1483236
07/28/10 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
...the point is that this isn't just a thing of how the passage "sounds" (which your view seems to be based on); it's a thing of what Beethoven was thinking, what he meant, what he had in mind. That's a more basic thing. How it sounds comes next.


This distinction between how a passage sounds vs. what the composer meant, (or, I'm tempted to say, vs. what the passage is), is an interesting distinction. And its validity probably depends on the composer. With Bach and Beethoven there seems like a big difference between these two ideas, particularly since Beethoven was deaf. With Debussy or Ravel, I think there's much less of a distinction.

(This gets to a difference between two kinds of composition that I've been trying to articulate for a while: those compositions whose essence is captured by a sequence of written notes vs. those compositions whose essence is the produced sounds themselves. Bach and Brian Eno are good examples of the two types.)

-Jason


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: Mark_C] #1483240
07/28/10 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Are you sure it isn't just that your edition had it that way, and so you're used to it?
Fifty posts ago I pointed out that almost every edition at IMSLP has it "that way",i.e., most editors think (for whatever reason) not crossing hands is a better way to play it. Then other people said their editions(not on IMSLP) also had it "that way". I think if an editor spend as much time obsessing over some thing like this as you seem to have done, they'd never finish editing more than one sonata.

Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: pianoloverus] #1483245
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Mark_C
Are you sure it isn't just that your edition had it that way, and so you're used to it?
Fifty posts ago I pointed out that almost every edition at IMSLP has it "that way",i.e., most editors think (for whatever reason) not crossing hands is a better way to play it. Then other people said their editions(not on IMSLP) also had it "that way". I think if an editor spend as much time obsessing over some thing like this as you seem to have done, they'd never finish editing more than one sonata.


Lol - that's why the good folks at the Piano Forums are here to obsess over it for them.

Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: Mark_C] #1483246
07/28/10 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Morodiene
This is just a side question, but aren't period pianos called fortepianos?....

(yes)

Quote
I think the problem with trying to accommodate what Beethoven might have wanted given the instruments he had to work with on a modern instrument is somewhat an impossible task.....

That gets said a lot, and it drives those of us who view it the other way a little bit nuts.

Because.....the point is that this isn't just a thing of how the passage "sounds" (which your view seems to be based on); it's a thing of what Beethoven was thinking, what he meant, what he had in mind. That's a more basic thing. How it sounds comes next. Sometimes one might decide to do something different from what a composer meant, but we want to know that when we do it.

Taking it back to the initial question: I'm saying that I don't think it ever entered Beethoven's mind to switch hands in the middle of the triplets, because there was no need, not to mention that it causes sacrifices in the rhythm.

If you want to say that the modern piano requires a different approach because the pedaling doesn't work, fine -- but realize that it may be something completely different than what he was thinking -- and unnecessarily, because you can do it on the modern piano with the pedal. It just takes a little extra attention and sensitivity, but not hugely; it's not one of the more difficult such places in Beethoven.

P.S. I don't get how switching hands helps you with the continuity of the melody or how it helps you with the contrast when the melody moves upward. For me, it would make those things harder, and in any event, I'm surprised that you'd have any trouble achieving those things with the hand-crossing. Are you sure it isn't just that your edition had it that way, and so you're used to it?


Do you think the staccato marks were meant to be wedges in this instance? An editorial booboo?

Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: Mark_C] #1483274
07/28/10 03:36 PM
07/28/10 03:36 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 22,602
Victoria, BC
BruceD Offline
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BruceD  Offline
Gold Subscriber

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 22,602
Victoria, BC
Originally Posted by Mark_C
[...]
Taking it back to the initial question: I'm saying that I don't think it ever entered Beethoven's mind to switch hands in the middle of the triplets, because there was no need, not to mention that it causes sacrifices in the rhythm.
[...]


If you are so convinced of that, then how do you explain why Beethoven wrote the score the way he did? Why did he not indicate crossed hands as he does later (in Urtext editions: measures 105 and ff.) That the two sections are written so differently surely has some significance.

It seems to me that your argument doesn't hold up against the (Urtext) score.

Regards,


BruceD
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