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Technical advice about passages in Beethoven Op.102 no.1
#2871921 07/23/19 02:33 PM
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Rania Offline OP
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(Interesting that there's also a question on trills in Op. 101. These come up in this sonata too, and I've found the tips really helpful).

I'm learning Beethoven's sonata for piano and cello Op. 102 no. 1 in C major for a masterclass (at the moment alone without the cellist). I know that my technique is lacking for this sonata, but I received it as an assignment, and I'm struggling with some places and need urgent help or tips on how to practice or approach them, if possible.

1. Octaves in fast dotted rhythm in the left hand (bar 2, tempo about 144-160 to a quarter note, originally "allegro vivace" with no metronome indication by Beethoven). I haven't played lots of music with octaves and have a big technical hole there, especially with the left hand, and I'm not always sure when they should be played from the wrist, the arm, or otherwise (here, for example).
Most of the tension accumulates in my middle fingers, which I know is not good. I try to bend them inward to counter the tendency to stretch and tense, but this also hinders movement.

2. Tremelo broken chords (left hand): Should one aim for a movement that "brushes" the keys or slides on them? I practice the 16ths in different rhythms, but they are so uncomfortable and completely fall apart when I add the right hand I can't see how I can get this passage even close to tempo in two weeks:(

This recording is on the slightly slower side, but I chose it because it has the score (couldn't manage to insert pictures).

Any help would be much appreciated!


"Love has to be the starting point- love of music. It is one of my firmest convictions that love always produces some knowledge, while knowledge only rarely produces something similar to love."
Arthur Schnabel

Re: Technical advice about passages in Beethoven Op.102 no.1
Rania #2872193 07/24/19 09:42 AM
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Hi Ranis, here is my personal view on this. On the first one, I typically play both with the wrist and with the arm in combination. Depending on the type of sound you want to obtain, you can adjust the balance between wrist and arm. Using only the wrist is tiring especially at fast speed. Using the arm creates a more percussive, harder sound, so adding the wrist gives more fluidity and smoothness. What is important is to keep the top of the hand at level with the keyboard; if you raise the hand too much it creates tension and it is more tiring but can be used occasionally for a short period. With the hand at keyboard level, you can keep the fingers slightly curved which avoids tension rather than putting them straight up.

Now to be honnest, ability to play octaves does not come within a couple of days. It requires a dedicated training over an extended period, so not sure how you can make it for the event in less than 2 weeks.

For the second one, I would use hand rotation pretty much like for a fast trill; that way to can play the broken chord quickly and without fatigue. The rest is just slow practice until you can manage to coordinate both hands.


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