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Topic: Having problems on 1st movement of Pathetique  (Read 3714 times)


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Having problems on 1st movement of Pathetique
on: November 18, 2002, 12:29:07 AM
Hi everyone, i'm 14 and i've been playin' piano for a few years and right now I'm practising Beethoven's Grande Sonate Pathétique 1st Movement.  Starting from the 93rd bar, where you have to use your thumb and index fingers to keep the rhythm while doing a crescendo with the melody with your pinkies, I'm having a great deal of difficulty to maintain the clarity of the thumbs and index fingers and my pinkies are always for some reason reluctant to come back up after playing a note... they're like lazy or something

Does anyone have any suggestions to how I might fix this finger problem?  I'm thinking it might be my technique, since I haven't been playing piano for THAT long and I'm already playing this piece for my ARCT Performance Cert

And one more question, does anyone have any tips to play good during an examination?  Because for the past few examinations I keep on getting low marks because as soon as I enter that room I get very very nervous and my hands become all cold and numb, which makes it almost uncontrollable and making me play really bad and getting a low mark (I still managed to pass every one of them phew)

Thanks.  ;D

Offline ludwig

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Re: Having problems on 1st movement of Pathetique
Reply #1 on: November 18, 2002, 01:24:30 AM

  I'd say try to do some pinkie exercises, You don't have to buy a book to do it, invent some of your own, and find out which one works. I often do staccato pinkie scales.. perhaps some dotted rhythms, just semiquaver with dotted quaver rhythms, do those 20 bars like that, also, try to use your thumb as a pivot, and just do short notes on the little finger, try to get a bouncing action going.... I hope this helps, if it doesn't, ask your teacher for some advice.

 About not getting nervous for exams, I'm sure you'll hear the just relax, and picture the examiner in some funny costume, if picturing them nude will send you into spew... be confident, play like he/her isn't in the room, get into a calm status before you even go into the room, and just don't think about it too much, the more you do the less you're likely to concerntrate on playing.. Hope that helps.

"Classical music snobs are some of the snobbiest snobs of all. Often their snobbery masquerades as helpfulnes... unaware that they are making you feel small in order to make themselves feel big..."ÜÜÜ

Offline Diabolos

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Re: Having problems on 1st movement of Pathetique
Reply #2 on: November 25, 2002, 02:02:13 PM
Hi there.

Ok, I gotta ask a question first: What's a pinkie? Maybe the little finger? I'm sorry for my lack of vocabs but I really didn't hear that word yet.

Ok, here's an idea about getting done with these 'would-be' Albertis:

First, start practising them with an accent on 1st,3rd,5th and 7th eights-note of every measure (and try to keep the other notes piano) . That might sound a little strange since only one note in every motive is to be played staccato, but believe me, it'll sound quite nice when you start performing.
Then try to play the  staccato eights forte, the 3rd eights in the motives mezzoforte and the rest piano.
Do that slowly, and only speed up when you really feel comfortable with these movements.

Some advice for the upper notes: Lift your little finger (or pinkie?  8) I dunno) and just let it fall on the keys (you might also work with your wrist, but that needs a.) more power than affordable and b.)extreme relaxion.

And, to minimize your excitement before playing in front of people (esp. a jury) there's only one good thing to do: Play in front of people as much as possible, that's the best training.
Good luck with that piece!


Offline selsa

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Re: Having problems on 1st movement of Pathetique
Reply #3 on: November 25, 2002, 07:23:52 PM
I don't think I have any tips to give you about the "Patethique." But I just began learning the piece and finding it extrmely difficult to memorize. It's not that technically challenging, but the patterns are easy to forget. I spent a couple of hours just on the first about 10 bars. I still don't have it memorized.

I think I should go back to learning to sight read because I don't think I will have it memorized. Instead, I might be able to beat it if I can sight read efficiently. Good luck to you. Please share with us any tips on the piece.
"...the luckiest man I know." - Arthur Rubinstein about himself.

Offline 88keys

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Re: Having problems on 1st movement of Pathetique
Reply #4 on: November 26, 2002, 01:10:40 AM

Relying on "sight-reading" is usually not necessary, even if you can't memorize the piece.

If you know the piece well enough, the sheet music can be used to jogg your memory at the more complex passages. You'll be amazed at how helpful even a superficial knowledge of the music is, when compared to "sight-reading" alone...

By the way, the beginning of the Pathetique Sonata is decieptfully easy. Before you decide on playing it, I recommend you look a little beyond measure 10...  Starting at measure 11, the tempo is "Allegro molto e con brio" which is pretty da*n fast.


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Re: Having problems on 1st movement of Pathetique
Reply #5 on: November 26, 2002, 01:22:40 AM
k thx for your advice Ludwig, i'll try it out :)

and yes pinkie is your fifth finger, the little one =)

selsa from my experience, memorizing a piece needs a lotta practice, once you've practiced enough you should be able to recall it very easily.  if you've only just started playing the piece for like 2 hours or somethin, it's not going to work for sure.  You should rather just focus on how to play it and familiarize yourself with it rather than jumping onto memorization at first.

Offline rachfan

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Re: Having problems on 1st movement of Pathetique
Reply #6 on: January 08, 2003, 05:51:49 AM
Hi NetherMagic:

As you play more and more repertoire, you're going to make a discovery.  Most melodies on the piano are played especially with the 4th and 5th fingers of the right hand!  So your pinky is in for much more of a workout than you bargained for.

In that "a tempo" section with the quasi Alberti figures try this:

1) Practice hands alone first to achieve careful attention and full independence of each hand, rather than having one camouflage the shortcomings of the other.  Also, as you try to manage your 5th fingers, you will be better focused concentrating on one hand at a time.

2) Hold the first note in each of four to full value--don't cheat.  Notice too that the value changes from halfs to quarter notes, because Beethoven doesn't want you getting too comfortable or falling asleep there.  

3) The only note that is really "heard" in each group of four is that first note.  That's why the accent is over each one.  The other three notes are very quiet obligato accompianment in the same hand, so greatly deemphasize them.  

When you consider those first notes taken together as a string, they form an ascending scale in the right hand.  In the left hand it's a contrary descending scale.  We often think of scales as technical exercises.  But when they appear in the melody of a piece, they become extremely significant.  The human mind perceives a scale at once.  Highlight it for your listeners!

4) During practice, slow this section down and turn on the metronome until you achieve effortless evenness there.

5) In executing those first accented notes, THROW THE HAND OUTWARD in a controlled short motion toward the 5th finger "into" each note of the scale while sticking close to the keyboard.

6) Increase the speed on the metronome.  Remember, you're in cut time here.  Once you're up to speed, continue to emphasize those accented notes with the 5th fingers, keep the inner notes "inside the keys" (calm and quiet).  The building excitement is in the scales only.

7) Put the two hands together now.  Continue with the metronome on at slower speed, moving it up to normal speed using the technical pointers above.  

8) Note that there is a crescendo during that passage too.  But its a llloooonnnnnngggg one.  So "spend" it steadily and carefully. Don't spend it all in just two measures!  Drop down subito to p to repeat the figure and the spending of the new crescendo.

I think if you practice this way, you'll have some luck in overcoming that section.  This sonata is a lifetime study, so you'll revisit it many times as you get older.    
Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities.


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Re: Having problems on 1st movement of Pathetique
Reply #7 on: January 08, 2003, 09:38:21 AM
aye k thx for the in-depth procedure there RachFan, will try it out immediately =]

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