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Octaves passage in Mozart's "Rondo alla Turca" (Read 10815 times)

Offline stormx

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Octaves passage in Mozart's "Rondo alla Turca"
« on: February 10, 2010, 07:34:50 PM »
Hi !!

I am currently learning Mozart "Rondo alla Turca" (3 movement of his K331 sonata).

I have a question regarding the fingering of the "octaves passage". I have never played so far a similar passage, so my question also applies to similar other pieces (with many successive octaves).

Do you play all the octaves with 1-5 or do you alternate 1-5 with 1-4. My teacher says both options are possible, but he prefers to change. What do you think?

A possibility would be to play with 5 the "white octaves" and use 4 for "black octaves".

Any advices are welcomed.

Juan

Offline nystul

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Re: Octaves passage
«Reply #1 on: February 10, 2010, 09:58:44 PM »
A possibility would be to play with 5 the "white octaves" and use 4 for "black octaves".

I prefer to do exactly that.

Offline orangesodaking

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Re: Octaves passage
«Reply #2 on: February 10, 2010, 10:23:39 PM »
I use 5 on the white keys and 4 on the black keys.

Another good thing is to practice scales in octaves. (Do it slowly at first, if you go too fast your forearm will tense up!)

Eventually, with good teaching from a teacher on how to do good octave technique, you will be able to play passages like this:


The broken octave section near the end was the most technically difficult section for me. When you get to that section, use the same fingering you use for the regular octave section, and lead with your thumb!  ;)

Offline dss62467

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Re: Octaves passage
«Reply #3 on: February 11, 2010, 01:01:39 PM »
What a great topic!  I'm very glad this was posted, since this passage in the sonata is the one that sends the profanity flying from my mouth.  I have a lot of difficulty with the octave passage because my hands are relatively small.  My span is just 9 keys, with a lot of stretching.  I've put Scott Joplin to the side for this very reason.  Though I have seen little kids play it, which really puts a cloud over my head.

While I realize this is the most popular movement in the sonata, it's not my favorite.  I prefer
Var. III - IV, which allow me more opportunity for expression.  Perhaps if I practice the scales in octaves, then I can get the Turca to the point where my f-bombs don't get in the way of a more pleasant form of expression.
Currently learning:
Chopin Prelude Op. 28, no. 15
Schubert Sonata in A Major, D.959: Allegretto

Offline rmbarbosa

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Re: Octaves passage
«Reply #4 on: February 14, 2010, 11:18:51 AM »
For "legato", 1-4 ...1-5 is better. But all depends of the size of your hands. So, 1-4 or 1/5 is a matter of that size, I think. For legato, playing a combination touch from fingers and wrist is required and tone must be produced by pressure rather than stroke. The wrist must assist by an alternate rising and falling movement. Stacato octaves,  I prefer 1-5 in all keys (black and white)
Best wishes
Rui

Offline stormx

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Re: Octaves passage
«Reply #5 on: February 24, 2010, 02:14:09 PM »
Thanks for your replies !!

I have an additionnal question regarding fingering for the LH in this passage. When you have, for instance, a-c#-e-A/A/A/A, do you change fingers on the superior repeated note (using 3-2-1, for instance) or do you only use your thumb ?

My edition suggests changing fingers, but then it seems more difficult to reposition the left hand to play the following chord (a quick ornamental arpeggio, as a matter of fact). Moreover, i have been watching many YouTube videos of this movement, and it seems pretty common to just use the thumb.

What do you think?

Thanks in advance for your help.


Offline eminemvsrach

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Re: Octaves passage in Mozart's "Rondo alla Turca"
«Reply #6 on: February 24, 2010, 03:15:37 PM »
I wouldn't change the fingering, it is much easier to play all 1's and changing it is not necessary
"Music is Enough for a Lifetime, but a Lifetime is never enough for music."

                              ---Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline orangesodaking

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Re: Octaves passage in Mozart's "Rondo alla Turca"
«Reply #7 on: February 24, 2010, 04:57:14 PM »
Yeah, in the left hand of the octave section, keep your thumb on the repeated A. That's how I played it, anyway.

Offline gyzzzmo

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Re: Octaves passage in Mozart's "Rondo alla Turca"
«Reply #8 on: February 24, 2010, 09:38:40 PM »
Octave-fingering is always abit tricky, since it depends alot on how big your hands (or how wide your spread) is. For people with small hands its sometimes not even an option to use 4/5 for your pinky. So practise both and see what is easier for you.

gl, Gyzzzmo
1+1=11

Offline orangesodaking

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Re: Octaves passage in Mozart's "Rondo alla Turca"
«Reply #9 on: February 25, 2010, 02:17:49 AM »
Wait! Disregard my first post in this topic (about fingering in the octaves).

I was thinking about you during my piano practice actually, and revisited this section. Since the octaves are not going at a super fast speed (like Chopin's Op. 25 No. 10 or Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody 6), it is easier in this piece (for me anyway) to always use your pinky (5) for these octaves, even on black keys.

And it's even more important when you play the octaves rolled later in the piece.

Anybody agree or disagree with me?

Offline CC

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Re: Octaves passage in Mozart's "Rondo alla Turca"
«Reply #10 on: February 25, 2010, 05:13:23 AM »
This is a great topic for discussion because there is no fixed answer and everyone comes across similar situations frequently.  There is no fixed answer because so much depends on the person's hand size, finger length, and practice history.  For those with small hands, there is often no choice: you must use the fingering with the larger reach.

Several observations:
(1) for most people, 1-4 has a larger reach than 1-5.  However, this advantage is more than negated by the fact that 1-4 octaves require an additional hand twist, which creates stress.  Therefore, if you are comfortable 1-5, it is better from the standpoint of relaxation, which is paramount.
(2) your comfort level also depends on how you first learned it.  Some teachers insist on finger changes in situations like this (for better articulation), and if you learned it that way, it is perfectly OK. The most useful rule here is, don't keep changing and trying different fingerings!  Early on, or as soon as possible, experiment and decide on one fingering and never change it! If you are not sure and keep experimenting, even occasionally, this problem will bug you forever. This factor slightly favors 1-5, the simplest solution.
(3) changing fingerings puts an extra load on your memory, especially if you haven't played in a while and you want to brush it up.  This factor also favors the simpler 1-5.

As for the repeated thumb, remember that the time signature is 2/4, so they are not all played equal.
C.C.Chang; my home page:

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Offline yinyue94

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Re: Octaves passage in Mozart's "Rondo alla Turca"
«Reply #11 on: October 09, 2010, 07:23:40 AM »
Ok, i don't really know what everyone else is saying since it's a TOTAL mess. Take it from me. Im even having an exam on this!

Anyhow, for broken octaves (even non-broken), use the five fingering on white keys, and for the black keys use the four fingering when going UP the five fingering when going DOWN.

Hope that clears things up. :)

Offline clemence

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Re: Octaves passage in Mozart's "Rondo alla Turca"
«Reply #12 on: January 03, 2012, 08:47:14 PM »
HI, Personally i think it's better to alternate 1-4 and 1-5

Offline ajspiano

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Re: Octaves passage in Mozart's "Rondo alla Turca"
«Reply #13 on: January 03, 2012, 10:49:28 PM »
1/5 white and 1/4 black is generally acceptable norm..  with some variations that result in 1/4 on white and 1/5 on black depending on the exact example.

However, playing octaves with 1/4 creates stretch and twist for pretty much everyone which is a high stress motion that should generally be avoided as it will cause injury if you practice is excessively.

Thus, 1/5 on all keys is better for 'healthy technique' but is incapable of a physical legato (you have to use the pedal).

Make you're own decision.

Offline pytheamateur

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Re: Octaves passage in Mozart's "Rondo alla Turca"
«Reply #14 on: February 06, 2012, 09:44:58 PM »
Anyone tried using the third finger for the F sharp?  This seems to allow smooth passage to and from the 2 G sharp in between, for which I use the fourth finger.
Beethoven - Sonata in C sharp minor, Op 27 No 12
Chopin - Fantasie Impromptu, Nocturn in C sharp minor, Op post
Brahms - Op 118, Nos 2 & 3

Offline getcool

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Re: Octaves passage in Mozart's "Rondo alla Turca"
«Reply #15 on: February 07, 2012, 05:03:51 AM »
Anyone tried using the third finger for the F sharp?  This seems to allow smooth passage to and from the 2 G sharp in between, for which I use the fourth finger.

Yes! This is exactly how I do passages like this, especially when they call for a good legato.

Of course, as everyone else has pointed out, if your hands do not physically allow this, then you just can't. But in general, I believe this to be the best way (but I am far from an expert on fingerings).

Actually, you might want to also check out the 1st movement of this same sonata if you haven't already. Specifically the third variation (the minor-key one). It's an easier passage than the octaves in the 3rd movement, but it calls for legato and is a great way to practice smoothly alternating between 1-5, 1-4, and 1-3.

Edit: However, while testing this out once more, I actually found myself using only 1-5 octaves in the 3rd movement. But in the 1st movement, I still alternate fingers as I described above.