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Robert Muczynski uses the lowest note in at least two pieces - the prelude opus 6 #6 and the Toccata opus 15. That prelude also ends on the highest and lowest Bb, so almost the whole range of the piano.
There have been a couple of threads on this before. I will see if I can look them up when I get a chance. But right off the bat I can tell you that there are many pieces that use the bottom note (heck, Scriabin alone wrote many such pieces, and I play two Griffes pieces that use the bottom note), and not so many that use the top note (Tcherepnin for one wrote a few...also Kabalevsky...I play one each of those composer's "high note" pieces).
Ravel's Scarbo (from Gaspard de la nuit) uses the lowest note.
That A and the A# that follows it appear to be used as substitutes for G and G# which (it appears) would have been used if those notes were present. I assume that when performers play on pianos that have extra notes on the bottom, they play the low G and G# rather than the written notes, although I can imagine that some might play the written notes either out of some sense of 'authenticity' or because of thinking that Ravel really meant the A and A#, not just that he wrote them because the G and G# weren't there.
I'd guess that Ravel used the low A in other pieces too (Dan mentioned Jeux d'eau), including maybe in the earlier movements of Gaspard, but Scarbo is the only piece of his that I know has it.
Scriabinfanatic mentioned Scriabin. I've played the last two Sonatas and don't recall the bottom or top notes appearing in them, but I'm not surprised that Scriabin used such notes, including maybe in either of those pieces.
Also, I use the bottom A at the end of Schumann's Kreisleriana, although that's highly questionable (and sort of a wise-guy thing to do) and I wouldn't do it in something like a competition. That last passage is a sequence that goes lower and lower, ppp (i.e. super soft), and which would seem to 'want' to end on the G below the lowest note, which didn't exist for Schumann and isn't present on most modern pianos either. Schumann wrote a rise to the G above. So, what I do is, I do go down -- to the low A, which is the lowest note available, and since the dynamic is "ppp," I figure that it will seem as though it's G, because that's the logic of the passage. Of course people who know the piece would know it couldn't be a G, assuming that it's on an 88-key piano, but otherwise, I think very few people would suspect it's a 'wrong' note.
I don't know how often pianists who are playing on a piano with the extra bass notes do go down to low G on that last note rather than up to the one above. I'd guess that most don't.
There's a similar issue, even on 88-key pianos, in pieces by Mozart and Beethoven that were written when keyboards were shorter than they are now, where the passages seemingly were written in an artificial only because the more logical notes didn't exist. Some pianists just follow the written notes; some go up higher to the 'logical' thing.
Only one such Scriabin piece is mentioned in those threads: the Seventh Sonata, which uses both the highest and lowest notes on the piano. Some additional Scriabin pieces which use the lowest note "A" are: Preludes op. 11 no. 7 and op. 13 no. 2, Etude op. 8 no. 6, and Sonatas number one, six, and eight. Another Scriabin piece which uses the top note "C" on the piano is the Valse op. 38.
Two Charles Griffes pieces I play which use the low "A": Three Preludes (1919), (the first prelude), and the Sonata (I only play the middle movement, which does use the A).
As mentioned in those other threads, there are some Tcherepnin bagatelles (op. 5 no. 10 is the one I play) and a Kabalevsky prelude (op. 5 no. 2, a nifty/fun little piece!) which use the top "C".
Bruce: In the Grieg, isn't it just in the orchestra, not the piano?
The opening piano flourish uses the bottom A at the start of the two-handed upward arpeggio.
BTW, apart from the Ligeti piece I mentioned earlier, there are other contemporary works that hit the notes at both ends of the keyboard in the same piece, like Carl Vine's Piano Sonata No.2 which ends with a mighty ffff A minor chord that includes the lowest note. (Why Vine, who's Australian, didn't write for the Stuart & Sons with extended notes at both ends is a mystery.....). His Sonata No.1 starts with a "silent" chord that uses the lowest A. And it also hits the highest C eventually.
I don't play Messiaen (too boring), but I believe quite a few works of his use the extreme notes too, though not in the same piece as far as I know.
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Ooh. Just started De Falla’s Canto de los Remeros del Volga, and it has repeated satisfying digs into that low A.
I’d never heard this piece before. I bought it in a music store in Madrid last year in a book of six De Falla pieces that had something else I was looking for (“Canción”) and am only now looking through what else I bought. And they’re all treasures.