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Topic: Moonlight Sonata - how to learn  (Read 519 times)

Offline joshua1849

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Moonlight Sonata - how to learn
on: September 11, 2023, 08:01:31 PM
I've always wanted to learn this extraordinary sonata and have finally decided to pick it up - it is certainly possible for me to learn (technically speaking). However, I was wondering how to go about learning all 3 movements...? Each separately? Or two or all three at the same time? Also any tips on how to approach the 3rd movement I would be very much thankful for (excuse my English, I am German...). My past repertoire includes: Liszt - Liebestraum, Consolation No.3 + Chopin nocturne in C# minor, waltz in e minor op posth. I plan to take this sonata to my teacher after being able to play through all three movements comfortably - there are good reasons for why I cannot take it to here yet.

Offline quantum

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Re: Moonlight Sonata - how to learn
Reply #1 on: September 11, 2023, 10:36:18 PM
Do you have a teacher, or are you doing this on your own?  Can you give us an idea of other repertoire you have played.
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline joshua1849

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Re: Moonlight Sonata - how to learn
Reply #2 on: September 11, 2023, 10:58:56 PM
Do you have a teacher, or are you doing this on your own?  Can you give us an idea of other repertoire you have played.

Sorry! Forgot to add this info, have done so now!

Offline quantum

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Re: Moonlight Sonata - how to learn
Reply #3 on: September 12, 2023, 06:07:43 AM
Learning all three movements at the same time will generally be more time efficient and give more time allowance for the music to grow.  Learning one movement at a time will give more opportunity for a deep dive with less distraction.  However, proceeding one at a time will often lead to the piece with the least amount of learning time to feel the least secure.  It also depends on if you have a time deadline, and how much other music you need to be working on.  Ask yourself how much time can you devote to this sonata, while leaving enough time to work on all other music. 

I would recommend sight reading through the entire sonata first.  Determine which sections are the most challenging to you.  Those sections would be the first ones to tackle.  Continue your study by adding sections of music ordered from most difficult to least difficult to you (this will differ for every person, so you need to make that determination yourself).  You don't need to learn the piece in a linear manner. 

3rd movement.  Have you played any moto perpetuo style music before?  The main elements are broken chord sequences, scale passage work, Alberti bass, tremolos, repeated chords.  You have likely encountered these things before, but not used in this particular manner.  There is little time for rest in this movement, it is relentless passage work for the entire piece, and one of the things needed to manage is stamina.  Small faults in playing technique can be magnified, as the length of the piece can cause the playing mechanism to tire out before the piece ends if one is not using good technique.  Be mindful to use good technique habits when slow practising. 
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline joshua1849

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Re: Moonlight Sonata - how to learn
Reply #4 on: September 12, 2023, 03:48:03 PM
Learning all three movements at the same time will generally be more time efficient and give more time allowance for the music to grow.  Learning one movement at a time will give more opportunity for a deep dive with less distraction.  However, proceeding one at a time will often lead to the piece with the least amount of learning time to feel the least secure.  It also depends on if you have a time deadline, and how much other music you need to be working on.  Ask yourself how much time can you devote to this sonata, while leaving enough time to work on all other music. 

I would recommend sight reading through the entire sonata first.  Determine which sections are the most challenging to you.  Those sections would be the first ones to tackle.  Continue your study by adding sections of music ordered from most difficult to least difficult to you (this will differ for every person, so you need to make that determination yourself).  You don't need to learn the piece in a linear manner. 

3rd movement.  Have you played any moto perpetuo style music before?  The main elements are broken chord sequences, scale passage work, Alberti bass, tremolos, repeated chords.  You have likely encountered these things before, but not used in this particular manner.  There is little time for rest in this movement, it is relentless passage work for the entire piece, and one of the things needed to manage is stamina.  Small faults in playing technique can be magnified, as the length of the piece can cause the playing mechanism to tire out before the piece ends if one is not using good technique.  Be mindful to use good technique habits when slow practising.

Thanks a lot, very helpful! What would you say the hardest section of the third is and how did you get around it?

Offline quantum

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Re: Moonlight Sonata - how to learn
Reply #5 on: September 12, 2023, 04:10:32 PM
Thanks a lot, very helpful! What would you say the hardest section of the third is and how did you get around it?

For me, it was maintaining a disciplined awareness of the efficiency of technique and the playing mechanism.  I found that some physical movements okay for slow practice did not translate very well for performance tempo, thus a lot of time was spent finding efficiencies and optimizations for healthy technique at performance tempo.
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline piabanoch

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Re: Moonlight Sonata - how to learn
Reply #6 on: November 08, 2023, 08:31:17 PM
For me, it was maintaining a disciplined awareness of the efficiency of technique and the playing mechanism.  I found that some physical movements okay for slow practice did not translate very well for performance tempo, thus a lot of time was spent finding efficiencies and optimizations for healthy technique at performance tempo.
yeah i would say the same thing. Be aware in the 1st movement do not play with sordine and in the second movement maintain a light touch. in the third movement the most difficult part are not the arpeggios(are pretty easy if you practise slow) but the octave trills and the fast changing chords, in this movement maintain a very dramatic touch and be very "angry" on the piano and be secure of yourself because is the most important thing to do in this movement. Moreover is a pretty difficult sonata and the 1st movement it's very difficult to do good and very few concertist perform this sonata at aconcert because if you don't have the musicality to do the first movement you will never get it right. The third movement is pretty difficulty technically but it's doable. What you play before, i will think you should play very difficult pieces in musical aspects to do this sonata right, i would say Clair De Lune of Debussy or a chopin nocturne. Anyway i wish you can do perfectly this sonata, hope you like this comment.
I can't control Music, but Music controls me
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