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In the Sonata K. 284, Allegro movement there is a bar with 32nd double notes in the RH, followed by one with 32nd single notes unison in both hands (actually the bar is repeated again and the whole passages reappears in the recapitulation). While the 32nd single notes are not problematic, it seems that everyone is fudging the 32nd double notes! Most people (Gould, Pires, Uchiha, Wurtz) don't even attempt 32nd notes, i.e. they play them as 16th notes. Gieseking did play them as 32nd notes, but with somewhat less than stellar clarity. Schiff managed to execute the 32nd notes clearly, but it seems that he only played the upper notes, omitting the lower ones 🤭.

With such a minute detail and at a brisk tempo, perhaps a 'forest for the trees' argument may be warranted. But how would you do this? Which approach makes the least 'fudge' ?

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I opened up my copy to have the pleasant surprise of finding my late teacher's writing all over it. I forgot I'd worked on it. Yes, I remember now that passage is tricky but I don't see how anyone would not play the 32nd notes. Are you sure?

'n Mozart was quite proud of this one.

Last edited by chopin_r_us; 11/28/21 05:03 AM.

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You're right, lots of people play them as 16th notes, which I find rather boring. I think I would do them as 32nd notes (or as near as possible!) but just leave out the D on the first of them.


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Techniques from the era and earlier point to a solution. On the organ, harpsichord, and early pianos having single escapement action, the performer would hold D5, not repeat it. Also fingering, E5/C5 - 4/2, F#5/D5 - 5/4, D5/B4 - 4/2, C#5/B4 - 3/1 Notice the lift between the first and second triad. Phrasing and articulation are key to making sense of these pieces. We know this is likely because the editor puts a slur over the final 3 triads of the bar.

Easy at speed. The brain will likely think the D5 was repeated because of the motion around it.

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Originally Posted by prout
Techniques from the era and earlier point to a solution. On the organ, harpsichord, and early pianos having single escapement action, the performer would hold D5, not repeat it. Also fingering, E5/C5 - 4/2, F#5/D5 - 5/4, D5/B4 - 4/2, C#5/B4 - 3/1 Notice the lift between the first and second triad. Phrasing and articulation are key to making sense of these pieces. We know this is likely because the editor puts a slur over the final 3 triads of the bar.

Easy at speed. The brain will likely think the D5 was repeated because of the motion around it.
Shouldn't what the listener hears be the important point. By omitting the second D it seems like the melodic line is changed. With that in mind doesn't it make more sense to omit the first D5 of one has to omit something?

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[quote=prout]Techniques from the era and earlier point to a solution. On the organ, harpsichord, and early pianos having single escapement action, the performer would hold D5, not repeat it.[quote/Prout]

That is so interesting, and a good solution.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by prout
Techniques from the era and earlier point to a solution. On the organ, harpsichord, and early pianos having single escapement action, the performer would hold D5, not repeat it. Also fingering, E5/C5 - 4/2, F#5/D5 - 5/4, D5/B4 - 4/2, C#5/B4 - 3/1 Notice the lift between the first and second triad. Phrasing and articulation are key to making sense of these pieces. We know this is likely because the editor puts a slur over the final 3 triads of the bar.

Easy at speed. The brain will likely think the D5 was repeated because of the motion around it.
Shouldn't what the listener hears be the important point. By omitting the second D it seems like the melodic line is changed. With that in mind doesn't it make more sense to omit the first D5 of one has to omit something?

The listener hears the melodic line (F#5 - D5 - C#5) because the D5 is still sounding, and is exposed by lifting the F#5. All of this happens so quickly that there is little time for the sound to decay.

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Originally Posted by prout
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by prout
Techniques from the era and earlier point to a solution. On the organ, harpsichord, and early pianos having single escapement action, the performer would hold D5, not repeat it. Also fingering, E5/C5 - 4/2, F#5/D5 - 5/4, D5/B4 - 4/2, C#5/B4 - 3/1 Notice the lift between the first and second triad. Phrasing and articulation are key to making sense of these pieces. We know this is likely because the editor puts a slur over the final 3 triads of the bar.

Easy at speed. The brain will likely think the D5 was repeated because of the motion around it.
Shouldn't what the listener hears be the important point. By omitting the second D it seems like the melodic line is changed. With that in mind doesn't it make more sense to omit the first D5 of one has to omit something?

The listener hears the melodic line (F#5 - D5 - C#5) because the D5 is still sounding, and is exposed by lifting the F#5. All of this happens so quickly that there is little time for the sound to decay.
Possibly, but I think the the freshly played B would far overpower any sound left on the D. Do any of the pianists playing this on YT adopt your approach?

Last edited by pianoloverus; 11/28/21 08:30 PM.
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Originally Posted by prout
The listener hears the melodic line (F#5 - D5 - C#5) because the D5 is still sounding, and is exposed by lifting the F#5. All of this happens so quickly that there is little time for the sound to decay.
That doesn't work on piano. Any single note that is truck within the same high register sounds like the melodic note, because of the sharp attack.

Try it for yourself on piano (not organ or harpsichord). I'd omit the first D, not the second.


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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
I opened up my copy to have the pleasant surprise of finding my late teacher's writing all over it. I forgot I'd worked on it. Yes, I remember now that passage is tricky but I don't see how anyone would not play the 32nd notes. Are you sure?

'n Mozart was quite proud of this one.

Below are some mock-ups for illustration. At a sprightly 132 bpm (Allegro), most people fudge the dotted rhythm, thus playing the 32nd notes as 16th notes:
https://vocaroo.com/1cdrHQBioBLD

To follow the music as it's written, it's likely necessary play it slower. But even at 120 bpm (Allegro moderato) at which you'd be dangerously close to losing momentum, the 32nd double notes are still a killer!
https://vocaroo.com/1iRhuBMVFryl

So perhaps some fudging is inevitable 😅 if you want to have tempo giusto AND keep the rhythm, maybe by omitting some notes as some have suggested above.


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I find that musically it is more important to play the double notes and to play them distinctively than to follow strictly the 32nd rythm. Playing the double notes as 32nd and fudging them makes little sense. As a secondary option if the pace is too fast and one cant even play the double notes as 16th, removing one or more of the lower notes is the next option. So in that sense I prefer the Uchida version vs Schiff and I find Gieseking does not sound too good.


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Never listened to it before! I think they all play too fast. It's an allegro opera overture not presto. No wonder they can't play it! In K. 202/186b written a year before he writes molto allegro, so he knows what he wants.


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Here is La finta giardiniera K196 composed around the same time. I wouldn't be surprised if the sonata is left over material from there (Mozart seems really into Dmajor at this period). Notice the same figure - obviously an allegro moderato ornament for Mozart.[Linked Image]


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Originally Posted by prout
The brain will likely think the D5 was repeated because of the motion around it.
Originally Posted by prout
The listener hears the melodic line (F#5 - D5 - C#5) because the D5 is still sounding, and is exposed by lifting the F#5. All of this happens so quickly that there is little time for the sound to decay.
I've noticed this in Baroque pieces having a minor third where the upper note of the third is decorated with a brief, semitone trill. When you fail to fully articulate the trill, it often still sounds like you did (when the minor third itself is held throughout and following the attempted trill).

Last edited by MrSh4nkly; 11/29/21 08:32 AM.
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Originally Posted by prout
E5/C5 - 4/2, F#5/D5 - 5/4, D5/B4 - 4/2, C#5/B4
As a rule, I can't use the same finger on a quickly repeated note (D5 here), double escapement or not. I have to use a different finger to bring out the repeating of the note.
Maybe something like this with a "wrist under" roll in 4 Steps:
1. E5/C#5 - 4/2 (wrist level and center-left)
2. F#5/D5 - 5/3 (wrist slightly raised and cocked to the right; the fourth finger stays as close as possible to E5, ready to swoop in around the front end of D#5 onto D5 using the rather quick and wide wrist motion from Step 2 to 3 that continues into Step 4)
3. D5/B4 - 4/2 (wrist slightly below level and center-left; the "wrist under" roll from Step 2 to Step 3, together with the replacement of the third finger with the fourth, facilitates the rapid repetition of D5)
4. C#5/A4 - 3/1 (wrist slightly raised and cocked to the left)
One could make a daily exercise out of this, very slowly for long periods at first, focusing on unison in the thirds, going up and down the octaves, until it happens quite naturally at tempo and with utmost clarity. Zero pedal should be used from Step 2 to Step 4, if not for the whole phrase, as that would muddy Mozart's "Jedi mind trick" of a quickly and crystally repeated note within perfectly executed thirds.

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E5/C5 - 4/2, F#5/D5 - 5/1, D5/B4 - 4/2, C#5/A4 - 3/1


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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
E5/C5 - 4/2, F#5/D5 - 5/1, D5/B4 - 4/2, C#5/A4 - 3/1
I like it. Here the 1 on D5 is like a little launching pad for the 4/2 that follows. Also hardly any wrist movement is required.

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Originally Posted by MrSh4nkly
Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
E5/C5 - 4/2, F#5/D5 - 5/1, D5/B4 - 4/2, C#5/A4 - 3/1
I like it. Here the 1 on D5 is like a little launching pad for the 4/2 that follows. Also hardly any wrist movement is required.

Me too!

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Originally Posted by MrSh4nkly
Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
E5/C5 - 4/2, F#5/D5 - 5/1, D5/B4 - 4/2, C#5/A4 - 3/1
I like it. Here the 1 on D5 is like a little launching pad for the 4/2 that follows. Also hardly any wrist movement is required.

IGNORE MY FIRST REPLY. This is what I wanted to say.

Me too! This is a much better fingering than mine and achieves the same result. The D5 can be repeated if the action allows, or not repeated. To my ear, they both sound the same on my piano when I play it as fast as I am able.

Last edited by prout; 11/29/21 11:59 AM.
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My teacher's fingering. She was a friend of Clara Haskil's (and many others).


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