\"\"
Piano Forum logo

Beethoven Sonata 'Moonlight' (Read 3858 times)

Offline chun

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 3
Beethoven Sonata 'Moonlight'
« on: February 29, 2008, 08:28:45 AM »
hi, i jus  tried out the beethoven sonata 'moonlight' mov.1 and i was wondering should i add the pedal so that the sound will be nicer? pls help...

piano sheet music of Sonata 14 (Moonlight)


Offline feddera

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 141
Re: Beethoven Sonata 'Moonlight'
«Reply #1 on: February 29, 2008, 08:59:52 AM »
I have not played it, but Beethovens instructions is to hold the pedal halfway down through the entire piece. You should hear Andras Schiff's lectures on this (and the other) sonatas, you can download them here:

http://music.guardian.co.uk/classical/page/0,,1943867,00.html

Some would object to this, as todays piano sustains each tone longer than the piano in Beethoven's time. You should probably learn the entire movement before you add any pedaling though.

Offline counterpoint

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2001
Re: Beethoven Sonata 'Moonlight'
«Reply #2 on: February 29, 2008, 09:11:47 AM »
senza sordino means "without dampers"

If you press the right pedal, the dampers go away from the strings.

So yes: this piece should explicitly be played with pedal.

But do not hold the pedal throughout the piece. That's surely not what Beethoven meant.
Andras Schiff sometimes has sort of strange ideas  ::)
If it doesn't work - try something different!

Offline jabbz

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 272
Re: Beethoven Sonata 'Moonlight'
«Reply #3 on: February 29, 2008, 10:12:25 AM »
I can't help but think if Beethoven didn't want it sustained the whole way throughout the piece, he probably would have added individual pedal marking, or added something to that effect somewhere.

Offline kevinr

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 53
Re: Beethoven Sonata 'Moonlight'
«Reply #4 on: February 29, 2008, 10:41:46 AM »
I personally think Schiff's rendition sounds horrible. He seems to think of it as a sort of funeral march.

But I can't see that this is what Beethoven intended.

I think one should take notice of the whole of Beethoven's instruction: "This whole piece must be played very delicately and without dampers [or with pedal]".

It is surely almost impossible to achieve delicacy on a modern piano with the pedal permanently depressed. However, there are stretches where one might do this. Charles Rosen suggests you can keep the pedal down through bars 32-37 provided you resist the temptation to do a crescendo here.
 

Offline jabbz

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 272
Re: Beethoven Sonata 'Moonlight'
«Reply #5 on: February 29, 2008, 11:05:21 PM »
I can't see why the funeral march idea is such a big leap, it does have the strong feel of a funeral march, the motif rhythm is certainly a defining feature of funeral marches of that period.

I think it's possible to keep the dampers lifted for the entire movement, however, the pedal only needs to be depressed a quarter of the way down, or there abouts, as Schiff recommends.

Offline pianochick93

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1478
Re: Beethoven Sonata 'Moonlight'
«Reply #6 on: March 02, 2008, 08:11:47 AM »
In Beethoven's time, the pedal would be very different from what it is now. I would think that in his time, it would have been perfectly ok to keep the pedal down, but with the modern pedal, I would definitely lift it, otherwise the piece becomes muddy.
h lp! S m b dy  st l   ll th  v w ls  fr m  my  k y b  rd!

I am an imagine of your figmentation.

Offline gyzzzmo

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2210
Re: Beethoven Sonata 'Moonlight'
«Reply #7 on: March 02, 2008, 08:37:47 AM »
Just lift the pedal as soon as a new note doesnt fit in the current chord youre playing.
1+1=11

Offline gerry

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 658
Re: Beethoven Sonata 'Moonlight'
«Reply #8 on: March 02, 2008, 08:50:09 AM »
Schiff makes an interesting and somewhat compelling argument for the funeral march aspect when he cites the quote from Don Giovanni. And, as he says, we do have the manuscript to work from. That said, I don't think I'd have the guts to play this  even 1/3 pedaled for a general audience--without a short lecture beforehand explaining your intent, it could sound to them like you couldn't play worth sh....t!
Durch alle Töne tönet
Im bunten Erdentraum
Ein leiser Ton gezogen
Für den, der heimlich lauschet.

Offline jabbz

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 272
Re: Beethoven Sonata 'Moonlight'
«Reply #9 on: March 02, 2008, 10:06:05 AM »
Thats very true, you have to decide for yourself, either to be faithful or not. Unfortunately lectures aren't always possible.

Offline dan101

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 440
Re: Beethoven Sonata 'Moonlight'
«Reply #10 on: March 02, 2008, 08:28:12 PM »
Please pedal. Although your performance without pedal would be unusual, it would be rather dry, don't you think? Good luck.
Daniel E. Friedman, owner of www.musicmasterstudios.com
You CAN learn to play the piano and compose in a fun and effective way.

Offline gerry

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 658
Re: Beethoven Sonata 'Moonlight'
«Reply #11 on: March 02, 2008, 11:32:48 PM »
Please pedal. Although your performance without pedal would be unusual, it would be rather dry, don't you think? Good luck.

You misunderstood me - I was referring to the 1/3 pedal (senza sordini) held throughout as Schiff discusses. I would most certainly use pedal ::)
Durch alle Töne tönet
Im bunten Erdentraum
Ein leiser Ton gezogen
Für den, der heimlich lauschet.

Offline richard black

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2104
Re: Beethoven Sonata 'Moonlight'
«Reply #12 on: March 03, 2008, 11:34:27 PM »
I've played the movement on a piano from around the time it was written, and sustain pedal held continuously is possible and not at all silly. On the other hand, when a composer indicates something along the lines of 'Sempre con ped.' he doesn't _necessarily_ mean 'never lift it at all ever'. And there are such things as half-pedalling, flutter-pedalling etc.

There is some evidence from Beethoven's diaries that the funereal interpretation of the movement is valid. Apparently he was seriously considering suicide around the time he wrote it.
Instrumentalists are all wannabe singers. Discuss.

Offline jabbz

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 272
Re: Beethoven Sonata 'Moonlight'
«Reply #13 on: March 04, 2008, 12:31:49 AM »
Yep, around the time of the 'Testament'.

Offline gerry

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 658
Re: Beethoven Sonata 'Moonlight'
«Reply #14 on: March 04, 2008, 07:15:34 AM »
I've played the movement on a piano from around the time it was written, and sustain pedal held continuously is possible and not at all silly.

I read back through this thread and saw no mention that anyone said it was "silly". That said, I agree that considering the modern grand piano, it's entirely possibly that we need to re-examine this movement and seriously consider creative use of half-pedal technique in the spirit of being more in tune with Beethoven's intent.
Durch alle Töne tönet
Im bunten Erdentraum
Ein leiser Ton gezogen
Für den, der heimlich lauschet.

Offline marco_from_brazil

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 29
Re: Beethoven Sonata 'Moonlight'
«Reply #15 on: March 05, 2008, 05:35:47 AM »
Beethoven DID mean to hold the pedal throughout the piece. Just happens that the piano in beethoven's time did not sustain as well as our modern piano, so he could get away with it without blurring all the harmonies in the piece. On our pianos we have to exercise finer control on the pedal, keeping as much pedal as possible to retain that ethereal quality without making everything a big mess. :)

Same problem with the pedal marking on the last movement of the Waldstein, btw. I guess ludwig liked those loong pedals.
Learning:
Bach Prelude and Fugue C-minor WTC Bk.2
Chopin Etude no.6 Op. 10
Beethoven 6 Variations on 'Nel cor piu non mi sento'
Villa-Lobos 'As traquinices do mascarado mignon'

Offline gerry

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 658
Re: Beethoven Sonata 'Moonlight'
«Reply #16 on: March 05, 2008, 09:02:58 PM »
We've established the fact that B's piano had this characteristic - the discussion now is just how to effectively half-pedal on the modern piano to achieve a satisfactory result--or is it even possible without creating a totally different effect than intended. Or, as in many arguments regarding baroque interpretation, would the composer have written differently if in possession of our modern grand.

I find these discussions interesting and enlightening, and it's fun to attempt this at the piano by myself; but, while an Andres Schiff might get away with his somewhat speedier, sustained interpretation in public because of his reputation, I'm not sure I could. How many of you would risk playing it this way for a jury? Like I said earlier, unless handled carefully, it could sound to many like sh....t.
Durch alle Töne tönet
Im bunten Erdentraum
Ein leiser Ton gezogen
Für den, der heimlich lauschet.