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Ravel - Scarbo. Articulations and Pedaling (Read 958 times)

Offline maestrowoojulee

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Ravel - Scarbo. Articulations and Pedaling
« on: February 29, 2020, 09:26:57 PM »
Should I make every 'non-legato' short notes crisp?
I often use finger staccato to achieve this, but when I play fast, the lengths of these short notes tend to get inconsistent, which make it sound sloppy.
I'm wondering if I should just lightly 'press' instead and let the speed do all the work.
Sustain pedal - I see some indications (not sure if it's Ravel himself who put it in or the editors). I follow all the written pedal markings except for the beginning repeated notes.
The rest, I tend to leave it out.

Soft pedal - I don't use that much even though there are a lot of technical passages with ppp and pp. I like to use it to change mood or color, not merely to make it quieter.

Middle pedal - I don't know how often I should use this. Should I use it every time there's a long hold? Or just rely on the sustain pedal? Or both?


Offline chrismaninoff

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Re: Ravel - Scarbo. Articulations and Pedaling
«Reply #1 on: April 12, 2020, 02:57:37 PM »
Hi maestrowoojulee,

I played this in my second year of undergrad, which was a few years ago now.  I'll try to give you my thoughts as I remember them in answer to your questions, but I'm by no means an authority on this piece. 

I'm not sure what you mean by non-legato notes--are you referencing the 16ths in the repeated figures that come back throughout?  At any rate, most of this piece moves too fast to have a complicated touch I find.  I usually used speed to get a sharp sound. 

The pedalling is interesting... as you noticed.  I used a lot of soft pedal, especially in the section wth the insanely cool chords and the repeated notes in like the 4th page if I remember correctly---I hope that you know where I'm talking about.  I agree that it should be used for colour, but I think that often when Ravel writes 'ppp' he is specifically indicating an una corda colour.  in pp passages I'd probably play without if you can. 

I have been told to avoid middle pedal in Ravel, but I find it very helpful in Scarbo, especially the passage I mentioned above.  The thing about it is that it's hard to use, and limits your use of the other two pedals (though it is possible with some slight contortion to use all three at once) so I wound up trying to avoid it as much as possible, so that I was convinced of its necessity before applying it.  I have also heard something about how Ravel's pianos didn't have this pedal, so perhaps think about that too. 

That's pretty much all I have for now.  I apologize for the blurriness of my memory.  Feel free to offer counter-suggestions, anyone! 
Accompanist and private piano teacher, poetry hobbyist, aspiring gourmet porridge chef.