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Re: nocturne legato fingerings [Re: sandalholme] #1543694
10/26/10 06:02 AM
10/26/10 06:02 AM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 10,856
London, UK (though if it's Aug...
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted by sandalholme
Re the staccato marking and pedallling. There is a difference between holding the bass note on for its whole length or truncating it, whilst holding the pedal down throughout.
How can there be? The damper stays in place (off the string).


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
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Re: nocturne legato fingerings [Re: vladimiroir] #1544013
10/26/10 01:57 PM
10/26/10 01:57 PM
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i agree. there is practically no difference between staccato and legato for that E-flat note.

but it would sound different, even with pedal, if you use a staccato attack vs a legato touch. that is not a pedal or note-sustaining issue, however. though it might be what chopin had in mind.

but here's a couple of ideas:

-- in staccato, the hammer, along with dozen of other piano parts, return to original position. this changes how the air vibrates and therefore will sound different. so how long you hold down the note will make a difference.

Comment: i certainly cannot hear this and i doubt anybody can hear the difference. after all, there's the whole sound board and how much difference can one hammer possibly make? maybe some higher harmonics it could make a difference... still, a priori, i find it unbelievable if a human could tell the difference.


-- the amount of pedal you use. obviously, if you use so little pedal that the dampers aren't even totally off the strings, staccato and legato will sound different. what if the dampers are totally off the strings, but at varying heights? well, it's conceivable that the distance between the strings and the dampers will affect the way the sounds vibrate. and then, since the dampers come up when you hit notes, you have a slew of combinations.

Comment: it is only slightly more plausible for damper height to make a difference, but only because there are 88 [edit: some number < 88, since the higher register keys don't have them] dampers. my technician swears on this but again, i hear no difference, but maybe that's because i have bad ears. i have trouble believing him until he passes a double-blind test or something.


Last edited by Lingyis; 10/26/10 01:59 PM.
Re: nocturne legato fingerings [Re: vladimiroir] #1545199
10/28/10 03:59 AM
10/28/10 03:59 AM
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 848
Dorset, UK
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sandalholme Offline
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My apologies. No, I do not hold down the pedal throughout the bar. I went back to the music and investigated what I do. (What I like about these threads is they make you think and re-examine)
I know what effect I am looking for and what I can get: the staccato bass notes to be detached, yet continuing to sound throughout, if that makes sense. So there is a difference between the sound when Chopin marks the first beat of the LH triplets as staccato and when he doesn't. Now I'm still not sure how I do it, because my style of pedalling is such that I use a lot of fractional pedalling in order to get the musical effect I want: it is difficult to analyse it precisely because my pedalling evolves from what I hear. It must involves rapid partial pedalling to catch the bass note but not fully. So the pedal is down for the 2nd and 3rd LH triplets and the dotted crotchet in the RH needs to sing. Chopin only indicates these staccato bass notes in measures 1, 5, 9, 10 (3rd and 4th triplets only), 21 (first 3 triplets only), 22 (first 2 triplets only), 31 (last triplet only) in my edition (Wiener Urtext, Ekier), so I assume he meant something by them. Whatever I do it makes a difference and I also have to say that I do not always succeed: sometimes the staccato note is instantly lost and sometimes it is too fully caught and the triplet becomes a legato phrase. I think it is also significant that the second 2 notes of the LH triplets which follow a staccato are marked with a phrase (apart from measure 31), so that slight weight is given to the 2nd note.
It just shows how subtle Chopin's music is, even in such a relatively simple Nocturne and how there is always something to explore.

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