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#1088497 - 10/19/06 05:35 PM Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
briiian13 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/18/06
Posts: 147
Loc: Orange County
Hello,

How many of you can play Moonlight Sonata?

I've heard it played over and over again, by professionals, non-pros, people just playing around on the piano, it is such a ubiquitous melody that I never appreciated it before.

But now that i am learning piano, I became very interested in it, maybe because of the fact that it is relatively easier to play than alot of other pieces, but I am practicing it everyday and I am pretty decent at it now.

I never knew how moving it is when you yourself play it with the right pp touch. I think the key to playing this well is not the notes, but the pianissimo. And when you do it just right, it wells up inside your soul and almost brought a tear to my eye. Literally , can you believe that?
what's your opinions of this piece or any other song that moves you so?
_________________________
http://www.xanga.com/briancho13

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#1088498 - 10/19/06 05:40 PM Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
Peyton Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 2501
Loc: Maine
The first movement was one of the first things I ever learned to play. It was what brought me to classical music. The second and third movement...now that's another matter. :rolleyes:
_________________________
"One's real life is often the life that one does not lead."- Oscar Wilde
www.youtube.com/Biffer5
www.peytonart.com


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#1088499 - 10/19/06 05:52 PM Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1088500 - 10/20/06 12:20 PM Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Had anyone come across this advert by the
US School of Music 1631 Brunswick Building., New York City.

“They Laughed When I Sat Down At the Piano
But When I started to Play!”

At the top of the advert is a sketch of 1920s house party ... all the gentlemen are suited and “tied” with hair plastered down with Brylcream ... and the girls ... each sitting with their beau ... are all discretely frocked
and sport a perky period hairstyle.

Our hero decides to show what 3 months (postal tuition) at the US School of Music could do ... and steps up to the grand piano.

“Then I started to play.

Instantly a tense silence fell on the guests. The laughter died on their lips as if by magic.
I played through the first few bars of Beethoven’s immortal Moonlight Sonata. I heard gasps of amazement. My friends sat breathless - spellbound! “
..................................................
Must leave out the nauseating middle bit with heady inspirational visions of wind-blown clouds and drifting moonlight .
..................................................
“As the last notes of the Moonlight Sonata died away, the room resounded with a sudden roar of applause. I found myself surround by excited faces . How my friends carried on!
Men shook my hand - wildly congratulated me - pounded me on the back in their enthusiasm!
Everybody was exclaiming with delight - plying me with questions...

“Jack! Why didn’t you tell us you could play like that?”
“Where did you learn?”
“How long have you studied?”
“Who was you teacher?”

As Hannum (not in fact, Barnum) once said "There's a sucker born every minute.”

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#1088501 - 10/20/06 12:33 PM Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
8ude Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 2050
It is such a wonderful piece - perhaps a bit overplayed, but deservedly so. The outer movements have such emotional depth to them - broken by the short sweetness of the second movement.

This was the first major piece I worked on - I took it to a competition and scored 95/100 on it. I haven't played it in a long time - I'll have to pull this one out again and polish it up, especially the third movement \:\) .
_________________________
What you are is an accident of birth. What I am, I am through my own efforts. There have been a thousand princes and there will be a thousand more. There is one Beethoven.

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#1088502 - 10/21/06 01:10 PM Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
Kent B Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 140
Loc: Sunny Tampa, Florida
It's one of my favorite pieces to listen to and I would love to play the entire thing one day. Right now I'm working on the first movement.
_________________________
A Drummer / Percussionist turned piano player. ...Struggling not to hit the piano strings with sticks.

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#1088503 - 10/22/06 12:39 AM Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Everybody should learn to play the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata ... and perhaps graduate to the second movement ... the racy third movement
however takes some holding down but well worth
the effort.

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#1088504 - 10/22/06 07:41 AM Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8482
Loc: Ohio, USA
i learned 1st and 2nd movement (although 2nd movement is still in progress), but don't plan to learn the 3rd movement soon (although tried the first few bars already).

everyone knows the 1st, but 2nd movement is equally interesting because of harmonic and polyphonic texture. how come i never notice this before until i'm actually learning it?

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#1088505 - 10/22/06 09:00 AM Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
Eeeff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/06
Posts: 192
I, as well, have learned the 1st movement. Now I am one to be known for not following the instructions of the composer.
I am not saying that I cannot play it, I just decide to play my own renditions of it - none of which have been the same.

I also tried the 3rd movement, got through the first few measures, then slowly gave up and realized it is a piece that should not be attempted until I am actually more skillful.

The 2nd movement has never really grabbed my attention as such, I just find it to be a nice melodious interlude (I pray that is the right word) between two mournful acts.

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#1088506 - 10/22/06 11:57 AM Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
Bob Newbie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/06
Posts: 1549
Is their a "chord" version..for Moonlight?

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#1088507 - 10/22/06 12:35 PM Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
gmm1 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/06
Posts: 1674
Loc: Spokane WA
The book "Libary of Easy Piano Classics" has a pretty and pretty easy version but its not in chord format....
_________________________
"There is nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself." Johann Sebastian Bach/Gyro

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#1088508 - 10/26/06 10:58 AM Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
Mary-Rose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/16/06
Posts: 1428
Loc: Essex, England
I can play the first movement (ish) and am working on the 3rd, but somehow I just don't like the middle movement. It makes me feel guilty to leave it out, but I'd rather be practising something I enjoy.
_________________________
Best wishes from MR
http://www.extraloudpurrs.blogspot.com

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#1088509 - 10/26/06 11:58 AM Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8482
Loc: Ohio, USA
please, for Beethoven's sake, don't even think about simplifying Moonlight sonata, which would sound awful i believe. if your skills are not up to it yet, then wait until you're ready to play the original version. once you get to a certain level, it's quite easy to actually play the 1st movement and 2nd movement.

please don't underestimate 2nd movement, it may not have the excitement of the 3rd or tranquility of the 1st, but it alone has intricate sound effects especially when you are playing it.

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#1088510 - 10/26/06 07:11 PM Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
Cookie74 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/29/06
Posts: 137
Loc: California
Just don't make it sentimental, like almost everyone does.
_________________________
" I wish you music to help with the burdens of life, and to help you release your happiness to others."

--Ludwig van Beethoven

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#1088511 - 11/06/06 04:30 PM Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
Lisztener Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/12/06
Posts: 921
briiian13,

"I never knew how moving it is when you yourself play it with the right pp touch. I think the key to playing this well is not the notes, but the pianissimo. And when you do it just right, it wells up inside your soul and almost brought a tear to my eye. Literally , can you believe that?
what's your opinions of this piece or any other song that moves you so?"

I learned the first movement of Moonlight Sonata when twelve years old...around fifty-five years ago. When I get away (quit playing) from the piano for any length of time, it is this piece that I remember from my youth and it eventually draws me back to the piano. Nothing I have ever played contains the emotion this piece evokes from me. I have wept many times in the past while playing it, and when my mood is right and my fingers place the melody on its most ethereal plane, tears flow down these aging cheeks. It soothes my soul like a spiritual hymn. Beethoven himself must have found refuge in the simplistic melody yet sublime richness of this movement.

After sixteen years of not playing, I recently sat down to play. The first piece was Moonlight Sonata and it kindled the fire once again. I have found a piano teacher for the first time in fifty-four years, I bought a new Steinway and I have a great deal of motivation...it's never too late or too early.

Good luck to you with your musical growth and love of the classics.

I'll be listening for you,

Lisztener
_________________________


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#1088512 - 11/07/06 05:36 PM Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
briiian13 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/18/06
Posts: 147
Loc: Orange County
wow. thanks Lisztener.
good luck and have fun with your new Steinway!

im glad others can appreciate and empathize with my musical (albeit small) experience.

i cant wait until that gloomy rainy winter day with the fireplace roaring and i will play it when no one else is around and be overwhelmed.

this the same with many chopin compositions , and now recently my fall in love with Debussy's Clair de lune.

my only angst is my piano skill is beginner limited and i can only imagine and not really play (hopefully soon in my life).

i wish you best in your pursuit of playing piano as well, our extension of our emotions.
_________________________
http://www.xanga.com/briancho13

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#1088513 - 11/11/06 01:43 PM Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
ctnski Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/01/06
Posts: 272
Loc: Jacksonville, FL
Greetings,

There seem to be a lot of us out there for whom "Moonlight" was the first serious piece of music we learned. I found it in our piano bench and just started playing it through until I had it memorized, about three or four months, I think. I refer to the first movement only, of course. This was also my first classical recording, of Rudolf Serkin playing the big three: Moonlight, Pathetique, and Appassionata. I too have been in and out of pianos my whole life. (I am pushing fifty now.) When I was a sailor in San Diego and hadn't played anything for six years, I walked into the Steinway dealer and played this piece so convincingly, sans mistakes, that the salesman was wont to make me an offer I could not refuse on a K-52 upright. (I have been in the Steinway fold ever since.) When I think myself silly to be playing after all these years, I just play through Moonlight Sonata and my soul just floats above all present cares and woes. To all: just keep this great piece alive, in your own hearts and homes.

That being said, I would like to add that I have made some serious changes in recent years to my playing of the first movement. The first is to treat the whole piece as a "perpetuum mobile" from first to last, as of course it is. This entails keeping the triplet rhythm steady throughout the whole. I used to play it like all the recordings I have that change to rising, then falling, couplets in bars 34-37 and again at the end, bars 62-65. This change caused me a lot of effort but the effect has been profound, and it hurts now to hear it played the old way, so convincing is it now to my sense of uninterrupted pulse. Beethoven gives us no indication to play it otherwise, that is, to change to couplets and thereby lose the triplet rhythm.

The other change I made I thank to Howard Ferguson's excellent book, "Keyboard Interpretation" (Oxford, 1975) wherein he suggests, in order to reproduce the "senza sordini" (without dampers) effect on the modern grand, holding down the middle pedal after pressing the bottom eight notes, from E1 down. These strings are then free to vibrate sympathetically throughout the movement, adding mysteriously to the sound. I also hold the "una corda" with the same foot throughout, and ignore those editors who add "tre corde" for bars 32-41. Holding these two pedals down for five minutes takes some getting use to, and to help ease the strain on my leg I place a small neck pillow between my knee and the bottom of the keyboard. I really like the effect this produces and I encourage all who love this piece to try it.

I am now starting to make serious efforts on the third movement, and am happy to report good progress. It takes some steady discipline, but the reward of playing the rising arpeggios at rated speed is quite thrilling. All those miles of Hanon are paying off.

Thanks for reading through this rather long and very personal post. I am very happy to be able to share my thoughts on this most moving of pieces, one that is at the same time accessible to most piansts of average ability. Cheers.
_________________________
NY Steinway A 2005; Roland FP-7F/ FP-4

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#1088514 - 11/11/06 05:00 PM Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
SAnnM AB-2001 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/20/04
Posts: 2022
Loc: Canada
Wow! I'm currently relearning this movement and wonder how different/better it might sound after another year or so. I like your interpretation and look forward to trying my own with this piece in the near future.
_________________________
It's the journey not the destination..

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#1088515 - 11/11/06 09:44 PM Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
Rob_EE Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/03/06
Posts: 73
Loc: St. Augustine Florida
I saw a student play the first few measures of it when i was in high school. That piece made me start learning to play the piano in school classes.... later it was that piece alone that made me buy a piano, and now its that piece that made me revive my piano and play today. I work on Debussy's Clair de Lune, Reverie, Mozart's Fantasy in D minor, and Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C#minor....

But it is that first movement to moonlight sonata that I commited myself to learn the day I bought my piano, and I still play it at least once every time i sit down to play. I know it seems a simple tune, but I get more out of it everytime i play it!

Ya that song could make people cry.... good thing I'm single, otherwise I'd bore someone to TEARS with how often I play it. heh heh

I NEVER get tired of it!

I think it is a masterpiece of masterpieces.

Thank you Beethoven! God Bless You!!
_________________________
St. Augustine, Florida
1912 C. Kurtzmann & Co. 54" upright

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#1088516 - 11/11/06 10:28 PM Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
Rob_EE Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/03/06
Posts: 73
Loc: St. Augustine Florida
"That being said, I would like to add that I have made some serious changes in recent years to my playing of the first movement. The first is to treat the whole piece as a "perpetuum mobile" from first to last, as of course it is. This entails keeping the triplet rhythm steady throughout the whole. I used to play it like all the recordings I have that change to rising, then falling, couplets in bars 34-37 and again at the end, bars 62-65. This change caused me a lot of effort but the effect has been profound, and it hurts now to hear it played the old way, so convincing is it now to my sense of uninterrupted pulse. Beethoven gives us no indication to play it otherwise, that is, to change to couplets and thereby lose the triplet rhythm."

I couldn't have said it better myself. I have noticed this change with the way I play it as well. As a swing/jazz drummer, I have a strict sense of where "1" is while wandering way outside of the box, if you understand what I mean. I used to play those parts as couplets and after a while i started noticing that i had changed the rhythm to a point where it just wasn't working anymore. When i realized that the triplet meter must be more strictly adhered to throughout the piece, the correct feeling came back to me. I let only the melody lay back. And so during those apparent couplets, when kept as strict triplets, coming back into the "box" feels much better... so that "1" is never really lost by the listener, and therefore more impressed by the expression.

It seems that there is a bit of a "call" and "response" type of thing that begins happening starting at measure 28 that becomes tension by measure 32 (diminished) and is left to a single lonely last response by measure 35.... this how I've interpreted it, so.....

I think they are supposed to "sound" like couplets to add tension then release.... tension then tension with release. but it only works when played as strictly metered triplets..

and then so, what I have been experimenting with on those parts lately is to play measures 32 and 34 "on top" of the beat to add to the tension while laying back just a bit on measure 33 and 35 on through 40.

heh heh.... maybe a classical instructor would think that I am crazy and I should not toy with a piece that way.... well its just an idea... i think Beethoven might have meant it this way....

whatcha think anybody?
_________________________
St. Augustine, Florida
1912 C. Kurtzmann & Co. 54" upright

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#1088517 - 11/11/06 10:38 PM Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
Rob_EE Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/03/06
Posts: 73
Loc: St. Augustine Florida
btw, kent.... love your sig line.... really cracked me up! my thoughts exactly! heh heh
_________________________
St. Augustine, Florida
1912 C. Kurtzmann & Co. 54" upright

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#1088518 - 11/15/06 02:22 PM Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
rborc415 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/26/06
Posts: 15
Loc: New York City
One of my favorite pieces of music of all time, especially the recording by Horowitz!

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#1088519 - 12/18/06 10:16 AM Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
vanwel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/17/06
Posts: 56
Loc: Netherlands
Hi, I'm just starting to learn the piano (few weeks) and I also love this piece. Tried to play it a little, but ofcourse it's not really working yet \:\)
How long do you think you have to practice as a complete beginner to be able to play this piece (not extraordinary good, but just ok)?

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#1088520 - 12/18/06 10:37 AM Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
Codetta Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/26/06
Posts: 132
Loc: Chino Hills, CA
WOW! All of you have con tributed some good stuff and I appreciate it. Thank you. I also like the Horowitz recording and rethought it after hearing his interpretation.

I teach my son so this year I had him learn the first movement for a few reasons: 1) it will teach him control, 2) its a good piece to have in his repertoire and can be used for almost any occasion, and 3) no matter how he plays it people will always love it. People will hear it in "their context", meaning that it will evoke a favorite memory from their past and they will hear it in that context. The only people who would ever be listening with critical ears would be a judge or adjudicator.

There are some pieces that set my teeth on edge but this one is NOT one of them. No matter how many times I play it or hear it played I fall in love with it again and again. It is one of those "inspired" compositions that mjust seems to get better with age.
_________________________
"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."
Berthold Auerbach

Private Piano Teacher
Member: Music Teachers' Association of California
Evaluator: Certificate of Merit
Organist/Pianist: Christ Lutheran Church, West Covina

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#1088521 - 12/18/06 10:41 AM Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8482
Loc: Ohio, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by vanwel:
Hi, I'm just starting to learn the piano (few weeks) and I also love this piece. Tried to play it a little, but ofcourse it's not really working yet \:\)
How long do you think you have to practice as a complete beginner to be able to play this piece (not extraordinary good, but just ok)? [/b]
i guess that you'd need at least 3 years to be able to play its 1st movement. the other 2 movements are harder, especially the 3rd which would take you at least 5 or more years to be able to touch it. 2nd movement is short and looks simple, but it has counterpoint and polyphonic writing in it and it's difficult to bring out separated voices.

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#1088522 - 12/18/06 11:41 AM Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
vanwel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/17/06
Posts: 56
Loc: Netherlands
3 years :-(
Better start asap then!

Have to look up though wat counterpoint means and polyphonic (only know the term for mobile phones, don't really understand directly what it would mean in this matter).

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#1088523 - 12/18/06 12:02 PM Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
Nosaj Selwonk Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/16/06
Posts: 8
Loc: England
 Quote:
Originally posted by signa:
 Quote:
Originally posted by vanwel:
Hi, I'm just starting to learn the piano (few weeks) and I also love this piece. Tried to play it a little, but ofcourse it's not really working yet \:\)
How long do you think you have to practice as a complete beginner to be able to play this piece (not extraordinary good, but just ok)? [/b]
i guess that you'd need at least 3 years to be able to play its 1st movement. the other 2 movements are harder, especially the 3rd which would take you at least 5 or more years to be able to touch it. 2nd movement is short and looks simple, but it has counterpoint and polyphonic writing in it and it's difficult to bring out separated voices. [/b]
O rly?

sigh, I knda started learning this one today. I'm looking for something to start on as my first classical piece, and this seemed like a good choice as it doesn't sound undoable, and it happens to be rather pretty. I guess I should re think as I've not yet been playing for a year.
_________________________
You're a plumber? What on earth is that?

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#1088524 - 12/18/06 01:37 PM Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8482
Loc: Ohio, USA
it's proabaly playable for some beginners, but it may not sound good under a beginner's fingers. i knew that because i tried it before i was ready for it and it felt difficult and sounded terrible too as i had little control over the touch.

a lot of beginners like to try this movement because the notes don't look too difficult. but it would sound a lot better and feel much easier to play when you actually are ready technically to play it. that's the reason i'd recommand playing it later.

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#1088525 - 12/18/06 03:42 PM Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
joemoshi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/27/06
Posts: 225
Loc: Canada
I would say go for it. Nothing under a beginner's fingers sounds good. Start learning it and see how far you can go.

I find that for a beginner, variety is more important than repetition. When I first started learning to play the piano I would learn one piece and as soon as I could barely play it I would try another piece. Few months later when I tried these pieces again, I played them much better.
_________________________
Be happy while there is still time.

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#1088526 - 12/18/06 04:41 PM Re: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
Lisztener Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/12/06
Posts: 921
At the risk of repeating my feelings about this piece posted earlier in this thread, I would also suggest that you start learning it. I assume you are interested in the first movement, only. This is what I refer to when suggesting that you begin. I began playing this piece when taking lessons sometime between the age of 10 and 12. It has remained with me for many years, either listening to it by others, or playing it myself. signa is correct that it may not sound good from a beginner, but joemoshi is correct to encourage you to see for yourself. The most important advice I can give you about this piece and playing in general is to cultivate expressiveness in your play rather than playing the notes by rote.

Here's a link to my performance. I'll leave it for you and others to evaluate its quality, but it's the best I could do at the time I recorded it.

http://www.box.net/public/z6328rx4ph

Good luck with your progress. Fall in love with your piano.
_________________________


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