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Improve speed, evenness and articulation (Read 743 times)

Offline siiben

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Improve speed, evenness and articulation
« on: August 04, 2021, 07:21:39 AM »
So I have a Beethoven Sonata in my fingers, but it needs smoothing out. There's one passage especially that's a bit of a mess when I attempt it at the required speed. I'm talking about Sonata Op2 No3 and the speedy part is in the Allegro assai movement, beginning around bar 87 (see picture).

Any tips (and motivation) to find evenness in the complete score and also any practical ways to improve speed on this specific part? Preferably from someone who's already learned it well. I'm getting to the point where the returns on my practice hours are seemingly smaller and smaller, but I can't just quit the piece before it's nice and even to my standards.



Piano Street's Digital Sheet Music Library

Beethoven: Sonata 3, opus 2 no 3
piano sheet music of Sonata 3


Offline lelle

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Re: Improve speed, evenness and articulation
«Reply #1 on: August 04, 2021, 11:54:27 PM »
I played this years ago and remember struggling with that part. I can go and try it out later, it'll probably be easier for me now. What is your target tempo? Do you have any ideas what's making it fall apart for you? Like, what are you doing that is making it feel difficult?

Offline siiben

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Re: Improve speed, evenness and articulation
«Reply #2 on: August 05, 2021, 06:27:11 AM »
I played this years ago and remember struggling with that part. I can go and try it out later, it'll probably be easier for me now. What is your target tempo? Do you have any ideas what's making it fall apart for you? Like, what are you doing that is making it feel difficult?

Would be great to hear how you've worked on it. I need to get it up to 135bpm. At the moment anything above 120bpm and it falls apart. Especially the last four bars highlighted and especially the left hand. The leaps are not a problem, but feels like I don't have enough time with the fingers crossing over each other in the ascending doubles. In fact, I just noticed my fingering is slightly different to what is suggests on the score. I might have to try that out, could be simple as that.

Offline lelle

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Re: Improve speed, evenness and articulation
«Reply #3 on: August 08, 2021, 10:05:26 PM »
I think the fingering in the score is good. Funnily enough I find the leaps more difficult than the thirds, but it might be because I don't have the piece in my fingers anymore. 135 bpm is quite fast but of course it is doable, my favourite recordings (Annie Fischer and RIchter) play that part at around 133 bpm.

As with most technical problems, I think you need to be relaxed, light and use economy of motion to succeed in this part. So watch out that you are not tensing your hands/fingers because it feels tricky or stressful. If the non-playing fingers are even a bit tense when you play a third, the next third will feel more difficult to play and it may cause you trouble attaining speed. Make sure it feels very smooth and comfortable when you practice, and not angular or forceful or anything like that. Lateral rather than vertical if that makes sense.

If the crossings are difficult, make sure that you allow your arm to be totally free to follow your hands/fingers to the new position on the keyboard, that you are not tensing/restricting your arm from moving as much and as quickly and as smoothly as needed. Sometimes if your arm is not free you can sort of end up tensing your fingers kind of stretching/reaching for the new position to compensate for your arm not getting your hand into position in time.

I know this is kinda vague and general but I hope it helps.

Offline siiben

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Re: Improve speed, evenness and articulation
«Reply #4 on: August 11, 2021, 12:18:27 PM »
Good points which I'll keep in mind, thanks! The official fingering seems ok too after a couple days.

What do you think about the two nice little passages with the left hand tremolo? Am I right in saying some pianists slow down for those or is my sense of rhythm and tempo failing me?

Offline antune

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Re: Improve speed, evenness and articulation
«Reply #5 on: August 13, 2021, 01:21:08 PM »

Any tips (and motivation) to find evenness in the complete score and also any practical ways to improve speed on this specific part? Preferably from someone who's already learned it well. I'm getting to the point where the returns on my practice hours are seemingly smaller and smaller, but I can't just quit the piece before it's nice and even to my standards.


I recommend you check out the Artur Schnabel edition for fingerings(it must be on imslp.org as well).
He was pretty inventive with fingerings, sometimes unusual but very practical solutions, especially in Beethoven sonatas.
I'm afraid I have to disagree with some of the fingerings in this edition that you have posted, especially in bars No. 86 and 94.

Offline perfect_pitch

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Re: Improve speed, evenness and articulation
«Reply #6 on: August 13, 2021, 11:35:09 PM »
RHYTHMIC WORK... Try turning all the groups of 3 quavers into say:

Slow dotted quaver-semiquaver-quaver groups... This will allow the fingers to take a little more time to place the LH as it jumps up. Then try something a little more mean like

Slow Crotchet-semiquaver-semiquaver groups... this will try to get you on focusing the LH to jump back down to the lower note in the bass clef.

Sorry I'm a little late to the party, but hope it helps.

Offline siiben

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Re: Improve speed, evenness and articulation
«Reply #7 on: August 18, 2021, 09:03:17 AM »
Thanks for the useful tips everyone!