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Help with passage in Beethoven op.28 (piano sonata no. 15 in D) (Read 6051 times)

Offline mojones

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Hi,

I'm having a problem with a particular passage in Beethoven op.28 and wondered if anyone could suggest any practice techniques. 

In bars 77-83 I'm having trouble getting the notes in the highest voice in the right hand to be heard over the other voices.  It doesn't help that they're played with fingers 4 and 5. 


Any exercises I can do to try and control the volume of these two right hand voices independently?

Thanks,
Martin


piano sheet music of Sonata 15 (Pastorale)


Offline pianistimo

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Re: Help with passage in Beethoven op.28 (piano sonata no. 15 in D)
«Reply #1 on: July 30, 2007, 01:43:48 PM »
i'd just use that passage as an exercise and practice letting your fourth and fifth fingers drop further and be slightly stiffer than your other fingers.  let the other fingers be sort of spaghettish and soft - and semi-massage the fourth and fifth as though you are giving someone a deep massage.  with real massage some people use a particular finger or knuckle more than others.  hope this helps.  also, play the accompaniment lighter.

Offline m

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Re: Help with passage in Beethoven op.28 (piano sonata no. 15 in D)
«Reply #2 on: July 30, 2007, 04:17:11 PM »
Martin,

Did your teacher offer you any solutions?

I suspect, the problem is not in your outer, higher voice, but in the middle ones. They should be played pp, then it will be much easier to bring out other voice.

Best, M

Offline daniloperusina

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Re: Help with passage in Beethoven op.28 (piano sonata no. 15 in D)
«Reply #3 on: July 30, 2007, 04:37:32 PM »
I agree.
No matter how well you project the top voice, care needs to be taken with the middle voices, or they will drown the melody.
If you pedal, for example, can you keep them even, or do they (the middle voices) go crescendo?

Offline Mayla

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Re: Help with passage in Beethoven op.28 (piano sonata no. 15 in D)
«Reply #4 on: July 30, 2007, 05:08:13 PM »
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"The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving"  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Offline gjkoster

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Re: Help with passage in Beethoven op.28 (piano sonata no. 15 in D)
«Reply #5 on: July 31, 2007, 09:53:25 AM »
Hi all,

I would say it is recommended to use the pedal as little as possible. In my experience, when I use the pedal in this section, the middle voices become too loud easily and the high voice is being pushed away by it. It also helps to build up this section as it is supposed to grow from p to SF in the end. It does require a better technique of course. I think the pedal should only be used to assist some of the changes of the right hand downwards at least during the p parts of it. How do you feel?

Regards,
Gert-Jan

Offline jlh

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Re: Help with passage in Beethoven op.28 (piano sonata no. 15 in D)
«Reply #6 on: July 31, 2007, 09:55:11 AM »
Hi, Martin. 

Take a moment to clearly imagine what your sound goal is.  Then, take the RH figuration and split it up between your hands for a moment, in order to get the sound model in your ear the way you would want it.  Take the top voice in your RH (whichever fingering, the point is to get a particular sound), and the rest of the RH figuration in your LH.  Play and memorize *exactly* the sound you want.  This way, you will have more control while you are building your sound model. 

Once you have your sound model in ear/mind (and go back to it w/hands separate as much as is needed) then you mimic this sound with RH hand alone.  I find this "exercise" to be very helpful when trying to properly voice these types of textures.

This is wise advice.  I frequently do this myself.  ;D
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Offline mojones

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Re: Help with passage in Beethoven op.28 (piano sonata no. 15 in D)
«Reply #7 on: July 31, 2007, 01:11:08 PM »
Thanks to everyone for the advice - I will try some of these techniques.  I wonder if anyone could expand on suggestions for pedalling during this section (or, indeed, any part of the movement).  I have not been using the pedal so far but there are a couple of points where I think it would help in maintaining the legao in the right hand.  I've been working from the version at sheetmusicarchive.net:

http://www.sheetmusicarchive.net/dlpage_new.cfm?composition_id=148

which has no pedalling instructions - would it be worth picking up a more recent version?

Thanks for your help,
Martin

Offline pianistimo

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Re: Help with passage in Beethoven op.28 (piano sonata no. 15 in D)
«Reply #8 on: July 31, 2007, 01:42:33 PM »
pedal on the B# (D-natural in lh) and then let go right as you play the next downbeat.  it's a sort of 'help yourself along' type pedalling - and smooths the transition.

Offline gjkoster

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Re: Help with passage in Beethoven op.28 (piano sonata no. 15 in D)
«Reply #9 on: July 31, 2007, 01:56:19 PM »
Hi,

Im actually quite confused sometimes about using the pedal, not only in this piece. I have video recordings of pieces where no pedal is indicated on the score but where a lot of pedalling is going on, mostly very short intervals but yet very often. Sokolov for instance, uses the pedal very often during this sonate (dvd Paris) and plays it beautiful. Is it only a matter of experience or taste? Perhaps I should start a new thread but what is the basic point about using the pedal. Always as little as possible except for peaces that are supposed to be 'rich' in tone?

Regards,
GJ

Offline imbetter

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Re: Help with passage in Beethoven op.28 (piano sonata no. 15 in D)
«Reply #10 on: July 31, 2007, 02:04:33 PM »
I think marik is right. but if worse comes to worse, just accent the whole beat :)
"My advice to young musicians: Quit music! There is no choice. It has to be a calling, and even if it is and you think there's a choice, there is no choice"-Vladimir Feltsman

Offline daniloperusina

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Re: Help with passage in Beethoven op.28 (piano sonata no. 15 in D)
«Reply #11 on: July 31, 2007, 09:19:57 PM »
Always as little as possible except for peaces that are supposed to be 'rich' in tone?
In a simplistic way, it's a 'legato' pedal. With Bach some people avoid it, and I'd say that one reason is that he didn't play on the pianoforte, and consequently didn't have such a pedal. With Mozart it's a bit more complex, because this pedal existed by then, but he seems to only have ever made one brief comment about it. Beethoven was a genuine legato player, and used the pedal. One famous example is his request that the pedal must be pressed and never lifted during the Moonlight sonata, first movement. There's also the 'recitative' section of the Tempest, first mvt, which must be pedalled as Beethoven wants it (never lifted), otherwise it looses its dramatic impact.

With the romantic composers, the pedal becomes a tool of creativity. There's many original pedal marks by Schumann and Chopin to show how they used it for many more effects than just legato. If you play Chopin's own markings, you'll see how he uses it to create rhythms and colours.

The modern grand, which was virtually 'finished' appr 1860 or so, is capable of such sustain, power and clarity, that the use of the pedal has had to change. Today we normally pedal as 'cleanly' as possible, avoiding clashes between, say, consecutive chords that are disharmonius. Following Beethoven's or Chopin's pedal marks today can make us slightly confused. They pedalled differently in the first half of the 19th century, but their instruments were different too.

Still, today we can also use it creatively, as a subtle tool of colouration. Horowitz is an obvious example to learn from.

There are many examples of how one can use it. As soon as I think of any, I'll post :D

Offline daniloperusina

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Re: Help with passage in Beethoven op.28 (piano sonata no. 15 in D)
«Reply #12 on: August 01, 2007, 02:57:33 PM »
Actually, the first 39 bars of op 28 is full of opportunities for subtle pedalling. How are you currently pedalling there?

Offline mojones

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Re: Help with passage in Beethoven op.28 (piano sonata no. 15 in D)
«Reply #13 on: August 02, 2007, 07:25:48 AM »
I'm concentrating on getting the fingering down and memorizing the piece just now, so I'm not pedaling yet.  But I can already see a few places where I'm going to need to use the pedal; for example, to smooth the transition between the BDG and GBF# triads in the right hand in bar 4.  And around bar 80, where the right hand has this



I'm not sure if I can smoothly hold the D with finger 5 while playing the D, E with 1 and 2.

Would you recommend using the pedal here, or should I try to make it legato without?

Slightly off-topic, can anyone point me to any downloadable recordings of this movement online, either amateur or pro... I've only got a couple of pro recordings in my record collection and it would be really useful to see how others approach the piece.

Thanks,
Martin

Offline pianistimo

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Re: Help with passage in Beethoven op.28 (piano sonata no. 15 in D)
«Reply #14 on: August 02, 2007, 09:16:56 AM »
you helped me answer one of my own questions - when i went to listen to rachmaninov play this.  he also played the moonlight sonata - and i was thinking his was richter's recording.  well, xm radio doesn't exactly help you out by omitting the performer's name.

anyways - try listening to this on amazon with a lot of different pianists.

Offline daniloperusina

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Re: Help with passage in Beethoven op.28 (piano sonata no. 15 in D)
«Reply #15 on: August 02, 2007, 02:16:57 PM »
This may be of no use at all :)
I'm sight-reading the two sections, heavy use of pedal, and 'lazy' fingering (i.e non-legato). Very lo-fi rec and not exactly in total control...
But this is the approach I'd use.




I'm not sure if I can smoothly hold the D with finger 5 while playing the D, E with 1 and 2.

Would you recommend using the pedal here, or should I try to make it legato without?
I play both top notes with 5, and all lower notes with 1-2, and keep to that basically throughout the whole section.

Offline pianot

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Re: Help with passage in Beethoven op.28 (piano sonata no. 15 in D)
«Reply #16 on: September 07, 2010, 10:00:57 PM »
I understand this issue ... getting improved independence of all the fingers .,,. both physically and in my head.  I could not do this well before either, until I started working with exercises by the rather strange pianist Lubomyr Melnyk.  I heard his remarkable playing, and wrote to him, and got several special exercises that go my mind and fingers working . It took me around 2 months to get the difference to stick in my fingers, and then, after about 4 months, my 4th and 5th fingers were really strong, and everything got so easy then.  I think you should contact him.  He seemed very happy to discuss the art of the piano .. he teaches university students who have inferior technique and helps them a lot through his etudes.  I liked the music too.,  You can only get better through guidance I think!  Melnyk seems to have a knack of getting the mind to "SEE" the fingers in space ...at least, I started doing that, as he said I would. 
Trond W.