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#3136384 07/11/21 10:59 AM
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When I picked up this piece it didn't look too difficult; about level 9 RCM, fairly slow, lyrical. I read posts that said it falls nicely under the hands. OK, fine. So I print the music and start working on it and...

OMG, finger contortions!! I would call this anything but "falls nicely under the hands". The right hand needs to constantly do weird stretches and finger substitutions to play the lyrical melody while maintaining the steady accompaniment. All in the same hand. A more appropriate description would be "Stretchy, the hand-killing contortionist".

I did other pieces that were theoretically harder like Beethoven op. 2 no. 1, Clair de Lune, or the 2nd P&F from Bach WTC, but none of these pieces felt so uncomfortable in the contortionist kind of way. Well, the Bach fugue came close but not like this. I have been working on it for a few weeks now and it's a little better but I think this is going to be a much harder piece than I expected.

Anyway, if anyone has done this piece before please do tell your experience with it. Do you have any tips?

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Paul Barton has a tutorial— where is shows the fingering of the melody line


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
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Strange! I don't find anything involving "finger contortions," "weird stretches," (a few stretches, yes, but weird?), nor anything approaching "hand-killing". For me, it does fall quite easily under the hand.

Do you have particularly small hands that would make execution of this movement so difficult for you?

Regards,


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Bruce
I don’t remember anything either, but it has been about five years since I have played this wonderful piece. If you watch the Paul Barton tutorial, he liberally uses finger substitutions.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
OMG, finger contortions!! I would call this anything but "falls nicely under the hands". The right hand needs to constantly do weird stretches and finger substitutions to play the lyrical melody while maintaining the steady accompaniment. All in the same hand. A more appropriate description would be "Stretchy, the hand-killing contortionist".
I have zero help for you, just my sympathies, LOL. Literally everything I’m playing right now, as well as past pieces from about January, fit the bill of finger contortions. I actually had to double check with my teacher on Friday that, yes indeed, the fingering was holding RH 2 & 5, and playing with the thumb and then the 4. 😂😂😂


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Originally Posted by BruceD
Strange! I don't find anything involving "finger contortions," "weird stretches," (a few stretches, yes, but weird?), nor anything approaching "hand-killing". For me, it does fall quite easily under the hand.

Do you have particularly small hands that would make execution of this movement so difficult for you?
No, actually my hands are quite large and I can usually stretch to play big chords easily, which is strange indeed. I guess I'm not used to playing a melody line over repeated chords in the same hand and it's causing tension. I'm trying to relax and as I wrote it's a little better after a few weeks but still not very comfortable.

Some spots giving me trouble:
- m. 37 at the beginning of the second episode: I'm using the fingering 4, 5, 4-5, 4. I find the finger substitution while playing the repeated triplets difficult.
- m. 24: Playing the descending chromatic line while repeating the F and A flat with 4 and 5 feels really strange and cramped to me.

@dogperson: I have seen the Paul Barton video. Thanks.

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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Some spots giving me trouble:
- m. 37 at the beginning of the second episode: I'm using the fingering 4, 5, 4-5, 4. I find the finger substitution while playing the repeated triplets difficult.
- m. 24: Playing the descending chromatic line while repeating the F and A flat with 4 and 5 feels really strange and cramped to me.

I agree with you about M 37. How about instead of substituting 4-5 on the 2nd beat, use 4 and then 3 on the A flat I have smallish hands and that works for me.

M 24 Have you tried using 3-5 on the A flats and F instead of 4-5. The tenor voice you can try with 2-1, 2-1, 2-1, 1-2. The hand gets kind of contorted by last chord. If you could play that 4-note chord with 5-4 on the top, it would probably be better, but 5-3 on the top two notes also works.



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In terms of level, that mouvement is at or above RCM 10. There isnt really any easy Beethoven sonata. Even opus 49/1 which is rated RCM 8 is in my view more like a level 10. A lot of the perceived difficult is dependant upon the intimacy you would have with a composer and a style. The difficulty vary based on the way both hands interact and there are different type of diffculties.

In this mouvement the 2 hands play together a lot and also one hand can do both melody and accompaniment. If you have not done it before, it may seem odd initially. But then it is a good piece to progress.

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I played this in a recent recital here. I would agree on the finger stretching (not so much contortion) and for my smaller hands it was uncomfortable in places. I've given up using any fingering that introduces too much tension or stretching. For example, on M 37 it would be 4, 5, 5, 4 for me.


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I have played it. It is a skill to keep the accompaniment in the right hand quiet whilst also projecting and shaping the melody. It is actually by far the hardest thing I found. The second half where there is triplet accompaniment is harder. It is also not always easy to keep the intensity in the chordal parts. I agree probably it is harder than an RCM level 9. There is a lot going on. It is not so hard to get the notes but to make is very melodic and sounding great is difficult. It is a piece however I found to come back to later very easily. I think I played other pieces in between like (mendelssohn opus 30 no 1, schubert impromptu 90 no 3) where you practice this projection so how difficult it may for you will depend on how familiar you are with this. Good luck.

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It is also very hard to project the melody notes when they are very close together. I was taught to like lean on the melody note to do this. I think you need to press the melody note slightly faster (to get a louder sound) than the accompany note (which needs to be quieter) and this was a way to do this. I do think it is a good piece to learn this skill. It can be good to learn how to do this with the other fingers of the hand but I do not think you have this in this piece. I think less pieces have this. The rach d major prelude had the opposite to this where you have to project with the right hand thumb and the melody was above. I have come across it on a few other pieces but I think much less common than having the 4th and 5th projecting over a RH accompaniment.

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OK, after practicing some more it doesn't seem as bad as I originally thought. I had been practicing this piece since mid-June but had several breaks (one of which was a week long) due to vacation, family visits, etc. so in fact I haven't been practicing it for very long. Now after one more week of practice I'm getting used to the movements and it's becoming much more comfortable.

The finger substitutions are not always necessary when the pedal is down but I try to connect legato with the fingers as much as possible.

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How does its difficulty compare to Beethoven's Op.2 No.3 Adagio? I'm a terrible sight reader, so it would take forever for me to get through them enough to make my own decision! Op.2 No.3's Adagio seems to have thinner textures, so perhaps that would ease things a bit? (I was inspired to learn it after hearing Marc-Andre Hamelin play it last night in S.F. He also played the "Hammerklavier," which was wonderful, but I wasn't inspired to learn it! smile

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Originally Posted by Klavierman
How does its difficulty compare to Beethoven's Op.2 No.3 Adagio? I'm a terrible sight reader, so it would take forever for me to get through them enough to make my own decision! Op.2 No.3's Adagio seems to have thinner textures, so perhaps that would ease things a bit? (I was inspired to learn it after hearing Marc-Andre Hamelin play it last night in S.F. He also played the "Hammerklavier," which was wonderful, but I wasn't inspired to learn it! smile

IMO the op 2 no 3 2nd movement is much more difficult...you are totally exposed, there is no where to hide, the LH vs RH dynamics are difficult to pull off and it's just an all around awkward piece. It's a magnificent early Beethoven adagio but it demands an advanced touch. I would much rather play the op 2 no 1 adagio which on paper looks more difficult but in truth is far easier to pull off convincingly. The op 2 no 2 adagio is the slowest of the bunch but like op 2 no 3 you are exposed, you need an advanced touch and it is hard to make it sound "right".


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Originally Posted by Fidel
Originally Posted by Klavierman
How does its difficulty compare to Beethoven's Op.2 No.3 Adagio? I'm a terrible sight reader, so it would take forever for me to get through them enough to make my own decision! Op.2 No.3's Adagio seems to have thinner textures, so perhaps that would ease things a bit? (I was inspired to learn it after hearing Marc-Andre Hamelin play it last night in S.F. He also played the "Hammerklavier," which was wonderful, but I wasn't inspired to learn it! smile

IMO the op 2 no 3 2nd movement is much more difficult...you are totally exposed, there is no where to hide, the LH vs RH dynamics are difficult to pull off and it's just an all around awkward piece. It's a magnificent early Beethoven adagio but it demands an advanced touch. I would much rather play the op 2 no 1 adagio which on paper looks more difficult but in truth is far easier to pull off convincingly. The op 2 no 2 adagio is the slowest of the bunch but like op 2 no 3 you are exposed, you need an advanced touch and it is hard to make it sound "right".

Thank you. A pro can make almost anything look/sound "easy"!

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Originally Posted by Fidel
Originally Posted by Klavierman
How does its difficulty compare to Beethoven's Op.2 No.3 Adagio? I'm a terrible sight reader, so it would take forever for me to get through them enough to make my own decision! Op.2 No.3's Adagio seems to have thinner textures, so perhaps that would ease things a bit? (I was inspired to learn it after hearing Marc-Andre Hamelin play it last night in S.F. He also played the "Hammerklavier," which was wonderful, but I wasn't inspired to learn it! smile

IMO the op 2 no 3 2nd movement is much more difficult...you are totally exposed, there is no where to hide, the LH vs RH dynamics are difficult to pull off and it's just an all around awkward piece. It's a magnificent early Beethoven adagio but it demands an advanced touch. I would much rather play the op 2 no 1 adagio which on paper looks more difficult but in truth is far easier to pull off convincingly. The op 2 no 2 adagio is the slowest of the bunch but like op 2 no 3 you are exposed, you need an advanced touch and it is hard to make it sound "right".
I think the two movements are about equal in difficulty. I checked the Piano Syllabus site which agrees with me and rates both movements a 7. If the Op. No.3 is harder, I think it is mostly due to its greater length. I don't find phrases like "nowhere to hide" particularly meaningful.

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I'm working my way through Op. 2 No. 3 Adagio and have the 2nd Mvt of Pathetique down 98% and, for me, Op. 2 No. 3 is more difficult. Once I figured out the fingering for Pathetique, learning it was relatively straight forward. Nothing is straight forward about Adagio....at least for me. Part of that is the key its written in, I have a mental block on it, and secondly, getting it to 'flow' is NOT easy. It is absolutely gorgeous.

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I have played both pieces. I think that they are about the same difficulty but it was easier to make the Pathetique sound fine, whereas I found that is was more difficult to pull off Op3/2 musically. I’m not sure why. I learned both pieces many years ago. If you are able to voice a piece, go with the Pathetique first.




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