\"\"
Piano Forum logo

Beethoven's Sonata No. 5 for Violin and Piano (Read 8278 times)

Offline dolcejen

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 92
Beethoven's Sonata No. 5 for Violin and Piano
« on: August 21, 2005, 02:21:29 AM »
Hello everybody (newbie checking in here)... perhaps this Sonata has already been discussed, but I'll bring it up again anyways. I've just started working on the piano accompaniment. I'm wondering if anyone has any tips, suggestions for mastering it. I'm especially having difficulty with the long scale passages, keeping all of the notes perfectly even and clean. Any suggestions for practice techniques?

Also, I'm very interested in ideas about expression. How do you look at this piece, how do you perceive the moods, thoughts, ideas behind it?

Any thoughts on this Sonata would be appreciated.

~Jennifer 

piano sheet music of Sonata for Violin and Piano (Spring)


Offline dolcejen

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 92
Re: Beethoven's Sonata No. 5 for Violin and Piano
«Reply #1 on: August 25, 2005, 04:27:32 AM »
Bump... Doesn't ANYONE know anything about this composition? :)

Offline rapmasterb

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 95
Re: Beethoven's Sonata No. 5 for Violin and Piano
«Reply #2 on: August 26, 2005, 08:57:50 PM »
hello, i cant help you with the performance of this sonata cause ive never played it. This post is just an excuse to bump this topic up to the top. Hey cant someone help this guy out i mean it is a pretty famous piece.

Offline ako

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 180
Re: Beethoven's Sonata No. 5 for Violin and Piano
«Reply #3 on: August 27, 2005, 03:14:32 AM »
Hi,

I'm also working on the Spring sonata (1st movement) casually. For the long scale passages, my suggestion is to work out the fingering really well first. I borrowed a copy from the library and someone has written in the fingering and they seem to work pretty well. If you need fingering for specific passages, please indicate hte bar number and I can tell you what I've been using and see if that works for you. Other than that, I'd say slow practice will help make those notes more even. It might take a long time but slow practice has always worked for me.

I've always loved this piece. Whenever I hear it, I conjured up an image of green and yellow, like a lovely spring morning in the meadows with a light breeze blowing against the wild yellow daisies. It's also helpful to listen to the opening theme played by the violin. That sets the mood for me usually.

Offline ahmedito

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 682
Re: Beethoven's Sonata No. 5 for Violin and Piano
«Reply #4 on: August 27, 2005, 06:17:48 AM »
I have played this, and it is one of the hardest pieces of chamber music Ive had to do. It took a long preparation.

Before playing this, Id recommend you play Mozarts violin sonata in G major. The very first one. Its very similar in character and texture, but a lot easier on a superficial level. Id also recommend trying another Beethoven sonata before this one. We did number 2.

Bernhard has a very interesting topic about practicing scales for speed and eveness..... do what he says  :)


(by the way, I havent posted in a long time, but Ive been reading. The amount of referals to Bernhards great posts seem to be growing over time)
For a good laugh, check out my posts in the audition room, and tell me exactly how terrible they are :)

Offline dolcejen

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 92
Re: Beethoven's Sonata No. 5 for Violin and Piano
«Reply #5 on: August 27, 2005, 10:08:31 PM »
Quote
Hey cant someone help this guy out i mean it is a pretty famous piece.

Thanks for the bump... by the way I'm not a GUY.  ;)

Quote
Other than that, I'd say slow practice will help make those notes more even. It might take a long time but slow practice has always worked for me.

I agree with you totally...practicing slow has always been my ticket to mastering difficult passages...when I taught piano I would almost every lesson remind them to practice SLOWLY! Play it as slowly as you need to make it perfect. There is absolutely no reason to practice things fast. So, I need to listen to my own advice, eh?  :) I need to check and see if there's any particular places where I need fingering help (none comes to mind at the moment) and if I do I will be sure to run it by you, Ako. Also, thanks for the mental pictures...really helps to picture it.

Quote
I have played this, and it is one of the hardest pieces of chamber music Ive had to do. It took a long preparation.

Before playing this, Id recommend you play Mozarts violin sonata in G major. The very first one. Its very similar in character and texture, but a lot easier on a superficial level. Id also recommend trying another Beethoven sonata before this one. We did number 2.

Problem is that I have to learn this one!  :) So, you think it's one of the hardest chamber pieces? hmmm... I'll look into Mozart's violin sonata. Maybe I can get my violinist to play that one. Just kidding...I really like Beethoven's and am willing to go through the work to play it.

Quote
(by the way, I havent posted in a long time, but Ive been reading. The amount of referals to Bernhards great posts seem to be growing over time)

Yes, seems that Bernhard is quite the authority around here...does anyone know if he has written a method?

Offline whynot

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 466
Re: Beethoven's Sonata No. 5 for Violin and Piano
«Reply #6 on: August 27, 2005, 10:49:18 PM »
I've played this.  It's a great piece!  Definitely has a few awkward moments.  This question reminds me of a paradox in acting or being physical on stage:  if I were acting the part of a Roman soldier (for some odd reason) and were staged to stand PERFECTLY still for twenty minutes, I would find it impossible, as would most people.  But funnily enough, if I stand relaxed and calm, but tell myself it's okay to be constantly moving, those ongoing relaxed movements would be so subtle that I would APPEAR to be standing perfectly still, much more so than when I was actually striving for perfect stillness.  I have a point, I promise!  Which is that when I try hard to play with perfect evenness etc, it doesn't necessarily happen.  Whereas when I try to make a shape, use the momentum of the phrase and any accents (the first movement has a lot of accents in useful places), and give myself permission not to make every note the same, it comes out evenly... much more so than when evenness was my main objective.  When I think about larger shapes and broader musical ideas, my hands move more naturally and the smaller technical details often just sort themselves out.  Anyway, just a thought.  Also, in my edition there are gobs of editorial fingerings that I think are terrible.  If you tend to go with printed fingerings automatically, I'd back up a step and really make sure you are as comfortable as possible.  The scale passages in the piece are pretty straightforward; in most places you can just do what you'd normally do in the key of that scale. 

I see your reply about slow practice.  There are two other things you might wish to try.  One is to practice playing the notes slowly, but whenever you move your hand, to move very quickly.  Like, "dummm, dummm, dummm, whoosh!" get in the new position.  This is helpful in taking out the "lag time" in moving around in big pieces.  Otherwise, in slow practice we tend to do everything slowly, then maybe our fingers get faster over time but our larger movements are harder to speed up.  The second idea is sort of the opposite:  take your time getting into each position, breathe, then "whoosh" play everything your hand is in place for as fast as possible, trying to feel it in one motion.  For example, in a standard RH scale going up, one fast motion for 1-3, then shift sideways, then the next fast motion for 1-5.  Instead of 8 separate up-and-down moves, putting equal energy into each note, you've made just two sweeping gestures, plus a quick shift.  This streamlined series of movements sounds smooth and elegant, can be played more quickly (yea), and uses less energy.          

Blah blah, I talk too much, but maybe some part of this will be useful.  Cheers!

Offline dolcejen

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 92
Re: Beethoven's Sonata No. 5 for Violin and Piano
«Reply #7 on: August 28, 2005, 12:27:06 AM »
Thank you so much! All of your advice, Whynot, is excellent. I really liked the "whoosh"  :) idea. I am definitely going to implement that next time I practice. I also appreciated the advice to look at the larger shapes and patterns. Sometimes I get so locked into making sure that each tiny little note is in entirely perfect rhythm that the piece becomes terribly wooden and mechanical. I need to focus more on the bigger picture.

A few minutes ago I finished a pretty successful practice with the first page. I tried an idea I picked up here - practicing the long scale passages in differnt rhythm patterns and with  different accents. (This is from Berhnard). I'm also trying a new idea that just sort of came to me... I am singing the tones as I play (a wonderful Russian pianist told me to try using tongue movements to keep the notes in perfect rhythm), trying to make the same exact pitch with my voice. (I am doing this especially on measure 15, first in the first movement...for me one of the killer passages). Not only does having my tongue and vocal chords involved help balance the rhythm, but it also drills into my brain what exactly the tones are. I think most of my mistakes and messy notes are directly related to my brain's confusion over just exactly what those tones are. So, in other words, when my brain knows it, my fingers can do it.

Do you have a suggestion mastering the awkward rhythm pattern in measure 15, first movement?

Also, I would like some fingering help on measures 26 and 27 (I think that is the numbers - it is a 16th scale passage).

THANKS again for all of the help.... I do not have a teacher so this help is direly needed and very appreciated!!

Offline ahmedito

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 682
Re: Beethoven's Sonata No. 5 for Violin and Piano
«Reply #8 on: August 28, 2005, 01:08:04 AM »
Youll find that the hardest passages come in the fourth movement, where you will need to put a lot of work into the right hand, with very awkward fingerings. In the first movement I found that the hardest things were the individual codas to each part of the sonata form and the very end of the movement. Problem is that once you master that, they are hell to coordinate with the violinist. Anyways, just remember that any hard passage like the ones in this piece can be broken up into very simple individual cells which you just have to learn to link together. I found the second movement very dificult in touch and in doing all the ornamentation asked by beethoven without losing the rythmic pattern of the whole movement. Id DEFINATELY recommend you to at least try reading once the G major Mozart sonata's first movement. If you can play the Spring sonata, then the Mozart should not be too dificult. This way you will iron out some of the ensamble - balance problems that will come up in the Beethoven  and you will find that you will be able to agree on character and expression without all the clumsy technical passages. Everything you do in the Mozart is perfectly applicable to the Beethoven.
For a good laugh, check out my posts in the audition room, and tell me exactly how terrible they are :)

Offline whynot

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 466
Re: Beethoven's Sonata No. 5 for Violin and Piano
«Reply #9 on: August 28, 2005, 02:50:40 AM »
For the ms. 15 rhythm issues, there are probably several ways to iron that out in one's own mind.  For me, it feels like the most constant thing is the eighth note.  That won't get you the triplet on the first beat, but I think that's not the problem beat, right?  You want to feel how the sixteenths compare to the sextuplet.  I suggest:

1.   Tap SLOW eighth notes with one hand (like one per second), get a little groove going, and start saying, "1-2, 1-2, 1-2-3, 1-2-3," with all the 1's falling on your tap (so the groups of three are a little faster, of course).

2.   If that feels awkward, speak the eighth notes instead of tapping ("tick, tick, tick") and tap the little inner beats instead of speaking.  Sometimes just trading parts like that will make it feel right.  Do that for a while until it feels natural. 

3.   Then, keeping the same slow tempo, play the moving notes of that measure over and over, lining up with the eighth note tap or "tick" the same way-- they will match up every two sixteenths, and every three in the sextuplet.  It doesn't have to be fast at this point, you just want to experience the proportions really clearly.  I mean, speed up a little if you're bored, but it doesn't matter.
 
4.    When that's all rolling along, keep the same tempo but only tap or "tick" on the quarter notes.  So the little notes still have the same feel, but you're removing some of the checkpoints, so to speak.  I bet you'll be fine.  This happens a lot in this piece, so good to get comfortable right away.

Fingering ms. 26 or whatever that is:  This is an Ab scale, so I keep as close to that scale fingering as possible.  For me (separating beats by commas): 

RH  3,... 2343,  21(2 or 3)1,  (2 or 3)13,  2343,  2132,  1232
LH  2,... 3212,  31(2 or 3)1,  (2 or 3)123,  4323,  1234,  5323

Not the only way, of course, it's just what I do.  For going back and forth with the thumb, like in the last beat of the first measure here, 2 is the next finger, so there's a logic to that, but 3 sometimes feels faster in that situation.  When you skip a finger, that extra space in between seems to act like a little fulcrum and lets you rock between notes very quickly without creating tension.  See if you like it.  Makes a comfy trill, too, when you have to trill for a long time.

Hope any of this is helpful.  Are you performing the whole piece, or just this movement?  Cheers.   

Offline dolcejen

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 92
Re: Beethoven's Sonata No. 5 for Violin and Piano
«Reply #10 on: August 29, 2005, 07:51:00 PM »
Thank you again for all of the good advice, Whynot!! I am hoping to perform the whole entire sonata but have been mainly focusing on the first movement. I should probably be working on each of the movements in a parellel manner instead of just focusing on one. As I went through it today several questions came to mind...please don'f feel obligated to answer each and every one...although I'd love it if you could.   ;) By the way, do you teach? Or are you a performer?

These questions are for whynot or for anyone who feels like answering -

MOVEMENT 1
1. Measure 19 - how to do trills?

2. Ms. 38-45 - fingering, technique, how do I build up speed and accuracy?

3. Ms. 100-115 - fingering tips on triplets? and in listening to a recording I noticed that in ms. 100-101, 104-105, 108-109 they played the triplet runs in a detached manner and then played them legato after that. What would the reason be for this and is this something to copy?

4. M. 231 - HOW to do this terrible trill  :) and end it and transition into the next part smoothly and gracefully.

I will stop there, I have to go.... but have lots more questions for the other two measures.

Offline whynot

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 466
Re: Beethoven's Sonata No. 5 for Violin and Piano
«Reply #11 on: August 31, 2005, 05:58:35 PM »
I can't believe it--I wrote a whole long reply to this, and it disappeared from my computer!  I have to get going on a trip, but I'll see if I can give some ideas quickly here.  And, of course, others have played this music and will be able to make great contributions.  In the meantime:  starting at the end with the big trill, you have to just experiment to find your favorite fingers for doing a long-ish and loud trill.  Actually, at tempo, it doesn't last that long.  But if you haven't trilled a lot, it could feel long!  For me, 1 & 3 is a strong combination because of the extra space of the unused finger between.  That space feels like a little fulcrum to me, and I rock back and forth around it.  I don't really trill in the fingers; I mean, the sensations for 0me are in the back (top?) of my hand and in the forearm, that I'm rotating or wiggling, making the hand turn (but my hand stays aligned with the wrist/arm).  You'll want to notice, also, that the violin is really slammin' here, with big lush bowing and double-stops, so your trill is more like a bed of sound for the soloist--so don't get too worked up about it, just enjoy it.  For the same reason, it doesn't need to be so fast that you set the keys on fire.  It's more important to be physically comfortable than to work up speed on purpose.  If you're comfortable, the speed will happen all by itself, so the speed is not the goal, the comfort is.  The little turn at the end doesn't have to be as fast as the trill, either.  If you're sweating the timing of it, then plan a rhythm for that last beat.  So, you could trill "openly" for three beats, then do a triplet (c,b,c) on beat 4.  Or if you accidentally play the turn early, just hang tight and wait for the next downbeat.  It will just sound like you're being dramatic, it won't be wrong.    DO NOT lose sleep over this!  For the jump down, I suggest looking at the keyboard, not at your hands.  Stare at middle C like your life depended on it, and your hand will arrive there just fine.  Don't watch the RH make the jump.  You already know where your hand is.  What you need to know is where the C is!  Also, if you can think of the jump as more of a slide or shift sideways, rather than arc-ing up through the air, you'll cut out the vertical distance and not have to travel as far, if you see what I mean.

Jumping to the beginning, Ms. 19 trills, you only have time to do a little triplet on the first half of beats 3 & 4, so don't bother with anything more elaborate.  I would start both triplets on my index finger, but of course that's up to you.  The slurs call for a lift, which gives you permission/time to move your hand in between. 

Ms. 38-45, can you specify exactly what feels awkward to you here?  Is it jumping from chord to chord, or making the chords sound even, or...?  Not sure what to answer yet.

Ms. 100 etc:  I see what you mean that it's a little odd to start the triplets staccato, then change later.  My guess is that the pianist in your recording was responding to the (partially) staccato triplets in the violin part.  The answering parts (quarters, half notes etc) are the same idea in both 
parts, but the triplets are different material, different ideas... so I'm not sure why they treated them the same way.  Does it sound good?  I mean, it wouldn't bother me to hear it like that, it might be a little harder to do.  Then when he changes to legato, I see that that's where the violin part changes material-- double stops etc, so maybe he was trying to reflect the new moment or something.  Anyway, I think you could defend a range anywhere from pretty smooth to pretty dry, I wouldn't go to an extreme either way.       

To answer another question, I'm a teacher and a performer.  I like to teach mostly beginners, because it's such a special time, but I like to solve problems at all levels... or at least try!
I hope any of this was helpful.  I'm going to be gone for a while.  If I can't check back in, don't think I forgot about you!  Others will certainly be helpful as well.  There are some fantastic pianists on the forum.  Good luck!   

Offline whynot

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 466
Re: Beethoven's Sonata No. 5 for Violin and Piano
«Reply #12 on: September 08, 2005, 02:41:56 PM »
Hi, how's it going?

Offline dolcejen

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 92
Re: Beethoven's Sonata No. 5 for Violin and Piano
«Reply #13 on: September 12, 2005, 10:09:01 PM »
Thank you SO much for all of your helpful advice...you've really helped me a lot. Thanks for taking the time out to do that. I'm still plugging along... Seeing slight improvment.  :)

Here's a basic question: What tempos do you suggest for each of the three movements?

Offline whynot

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 466
Re: Beethoven's Sonata No. 5 for Violin and Piano
«Reply #14 on: September 15, 2005, 04:47:08 AM »
Wow, I almost never get to decide tempi for accompanied pieces!  The soloists always tell me what they want.  I often disagree! but generally go with it.  If you really want an opinion, I'll think about that and get right back to you.  Hope you are enjoying working on this music!  I think it's very special.  A bit of a pain in places, to be sure, but definitely worth a little trouble... and it sets you up for many comparable pieces.  So each time you start a new piece from that whole genre, you'll probably have more problems solved before you even start and more ideas about how you want to play it.  So that's good news.  Cheers! 

Offline dolcejen

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 92
Re: Beethoven's Sonata No. 5 for Violin and Piano
«Reply #15 on: September 19, 2005, 09:38:07 PM »
Quote
Wow, I almost never get to decide tempi for accompanied pieces!  The soloists always tell me what they want.  I often disagree! but generally go with it.  If you really want an opinion, I'll think about that and get right back to you.  Hope you are enjoying working on this music!  I think it's very special.  A bit of a pain in places, to be sure, but definitely worth a little trouble... and it sets you up for many comparable pieces.  So each time you start a new piece from that whole genre, you'll probably have more problems solved before you even start and more ideas about how you want to play it.  So that's good news.  Cheers! 

I guess I'm rather spoiled with having a nice violinist, or at least one that doesn't think she knows the ONLY way to do things. I think there are a few different factors that make her agreeable to my suggestions. She is younger than I am. We both are not professionals, probably at about the same level of musicianship and are teacherless at the moment. We are good friends and go to the same church. You probably didn't want to know all that...  :) Anyhow, I primarily am going at the speeds she wants but I thought it couldn't help to get an outside opinion.

I agree with you that this piece is very special. The more I play it the more I like it. That usually does not happen when I practice a song. I think there is so much in this piece beyond face value that comes out as you truly study it and take it apart. Recently I obtained a copy of Itshzak Pearlman playing it with a Russian pianist. Truly a delight. And so much better then the other recording I had. It is such a beautiful peice.

I was wondering if you have any advise on pedaling? Should I pedal all of it, pedal none of it, use the pedal sparingly, or use it liberally but with thought? I have a lot of small areas that I am wondering about, but not sure if you want to hear about them?

Offline moose_opus_28

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 65
Re: Beethoven's Sonata No. 5 for Violin and Piano
«Reply #16 on: September 20, 2005, 03:30:57 AM »
I have to play this with a violinist as part of my accompanying assignment at school!  And I'm recovering from a thumb sprain, so my right hand feels dead.  Should be interesting...

I'll certainly look back here if I have issues with it...it looks fun!  And like it could be a piece without the violin.

Offline dolcejen

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 92
Re: Beethoven's Sonata No. 5 for Violin and Piano
«Reply #17 on: September 20, 2005, 10:36:19 PM »
I have to play this with a violinist as part of my accompanying assignment at school!  And I'm recovering from a thumb sprain, so my right hand feels dead.  Should be interesting...

I'll certainly look back here if I have issues with it...it looks fun!  And like it could be a piece without the violin.

When are you performing it? Would be interesting to compare notes  :) as we are in a similar situation. I am shooting for having it ready by early spring 2006 (that's when the recital is scheduled). This is my first time playing for a classical recital. I play the piano for a lot of different things, and have played at very, very low key recitals before, but this is the first one where I will be the only accompanist, and a feature player. What is your major in school? Have you done your own recital yet?
Hope the wrist gets better SOON!

Offline whynot

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 466
Re: Beethoven's Sonata No. 5 for Violin and Piano
«Reply #18 on: September 21, 2005, 02:04:00 AM »
Howdy.  I forgot about the tempo question.  I'll think about that if you still want other people's thoughts on it.  Congratulations on getting ready for your first classical recital!  I am interested in the pedal questions, actually.  Maybe talking through a few sample spots would help you decide how you want to do the rest.  Pedaling is so specific to the performance piano and hall that we can never guarantee exactly how we'll want to pedal until we're playing in the space. Hopefully you'll get to do that before the concert.  So for me, thinking about how I pedal pieces isn't really about what I will physically do with my foot in the concert, since concert conditions might be very different from my practice conditions.  What I'm deciding is how I want the piece to sound, so that in the concert, I'm following my ear and not just my physical habits.  I really care about pedaling.  I had a brilliant teacher for just a few lessons, years ago, whose pedaling was amazing.  I thought I would never find that again, but the teacher I have now, his pedaling is absolutely magical.  Anyway, I'll be interested to hear what you want to do with the piece.  Cheers.