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teaching advice for Beethoven Sonata (Read 1945 times)

Offline carrie10

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teaching advice for Beethoven Sonata
« on: July 07, 2013, 08:16:43 PM »
Hello fellow teachers,

I'm currently coaching a student on the first movement of Beethoven's Sonata No. 8 (Pathetique).  Technically, her greatest struggle is with the last run at the end of the grave section.  So far I've had her slow it way down, and also work on 'regrouping' the notes for better fluency.  These two techniques are helping her, but I'm wondering if any of you have other/better tips that could help her and I through this section?  Any/all comments are greatly appreciated.  Thanks so much!

Offline lojay

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Re: teaching advice for Beethoven Sonata
«Reply #1 on: August 06, 2013, 11:06:18 AM »
Are you talking about the descending chromatic scale?

I'm really surprised that a descending chromatic scale is causing more trouble than the tremolos, voicing, hand crossing, awkward trills, ascending broken chords (these were absolutely killer for me), or even the descending figure played by the right hand just before the end of the exposition.

I actually learned this Sonata (very poorly) years ago.

If I had to relearn the segment your student has issues with, this is how I'd approach it (I'm assuming your student can play a chromatic scale very well):

Group the scale according to the way it's written: (tied note + 5 notes) (wait) (7 notes) (wait) (8 notes) (wait) (8 notes).  Play first note of each division with a slight accent.  Do not go too slow -- at the slowest half tempo.

Rearrange the initial grouping: (tied note) (wait) (6 notes) (wait) (7 notes) wait (8 notes) (8 notes ending on the Ab). Slight accent on the final note of each division.

Do above with a slight accent only on the beat (the Db).  All this practice must be done in strict time!  I feel that the most important part of this segment is the increasing number of notes in the same amount of time (13 notes and 16 notes per half beat) and that the pulse must be felt through the third and fourth beats of the measure.

Just to let you know, I'm not a teacher and I'm mostly self taught so my advice might not be the best.  I provided my input since no one responded :D.  Hopefully we can get someone who's more experienced to comment, because I'm quite curious about other people's approaches.