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#1481401 - 07/25/10 08:07 PM Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question
jnod Offline
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First movement - bar 21 onward. This is a dumb question I suspect....

In bar 21 the right hand is playing triplets and the left hand is playing half note, quarter note, quarter note. In the next bar, does the left hand take over the triplets?
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#1481410 - 07/25/10 08:44 PM Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: jnod]
missjasper Offline
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I play the triplets with the right hand only. I imagine most pianists do the same, because changing hands there would be troublesome. Watch some performances on youtube.
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#1481462 - 07/25/10 10:24 PM Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: jnod]
Mark_C Online   content
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You absolutely keep playing the triplets with the RH.

The "crossing-over" of the LH is an important part of what's going on musically.

And really it's easier to play that way too, although you may have to work on it a bit to realize that.
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#1481471 - 07/25/10 10:39 PM Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: Mark_C]
missjasper Offline
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The legato line with the left hand over the right can be tricky for sure, but once you "get it", it physically feels better to play the melody using your left hand. Keep working on it if you're having trouble, you will get it eventually (it isn't so hard as it appears
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#1481505 - 07/25/10 11:29 PM Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: missjasper]
jnod Offline
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Thanks for your input on this - I've tried it both ways and can through it decently (given the short time I've been working at it). But switching hands definately interrupts the flow of the triplets.
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#1481516 - 07/26/10 12:07 AM Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: jnod]
BruceD Offline
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I am not so sure that the solution is as absolute as some may suggest.

Both the Schnabel edition and the Henle (edited Wallner; fingering by Conrad Hansen) do not recommend the continuing triplets to be played with the right hand; both editions clearly change hands for the triplets.

I suspect that one reason for this is that in certain measures (31-32, 33-34, 35-36, for example) the last note of the measure is repeated as the first note of the next measure. For some - perhaps that is why Beethoven has it written this way - the repeated note is easier to execute in time with a change of hand rather than - at that tempo - repeating the note with the same hand.

I read somewhere, although I don't recall where, that it doesn't really matter whether or not you repeat the last/first note or whether you just keep alternating with the notes in question. I am sure that adherents to original scores would find this heretic.

Regards,
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#1481559 - 07/26/10 03:06 AM Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: BruceD]
Mark_C Online   content
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re-Edit: Don't pay too much attention to this post. smile

Originally Posted By: BruceD
....Both the Schnabel edition and the Henle (edited Wallner; fingering by Conrad Hansen) do not recommend the continuing triplets to be played with the right hand; both editions clearly change hands for the triplets.....

You're kidding. smile

I mean, I know you're not, but I can't believe it.

I gotta see that.

P.S. Have you ever seen anybody play it that way? I sure haven't -- and that covers dozens of players, of all levels.
Nor have I ever heard or seen anyone raise the possibility.

EDIT: I was able to look at the Schnabel, or at least a version of the Schnabel, on Amazon -- and I'm going to stick my neck out. (Not every measure is shown, but more than enough for me to say this.)

Something is wrong.
I do not believe that Schnabel meant it the way it appears.

Here's why.

Take a look, for example, at these places (and there are others like it).
Counting the measures from the start of the theme in question (i.e. where the triplets begin), not from the beginning of the movement:

First note of measure 11
First note of measure 13
First note of measure 15
etc.

Tell me, Bruce: do you think it's even possible that Schnabel intended the "blip" (often HUGE) that would occur in the left hand if you play it that way?
I do not.

I'm saying that something got lost in the translation between Schnabel and this printed version. Schnabel did not mean it that way.


I think the one and only thing that would convince me otherwise would be if such a "blip" occurs in these places in Schnabel's own playing of the piece.


Edited by Mark_C (07/26/10 12:30 PM)
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#1481569 - 07/26/10 04:08 AM Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: BruceD]
Mark_C Online   content
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P.S. Not crucial to the discussion, but as a side note: From the measures that do show up on that Amazon page, it seems that the only thing indicating that the notes are to be played as you said is the fingerings. The first few measures of the triplet section don't show up; I'm wondering if maybe up there it says "m.s." and "m.d." or some such?

The placement of the notes on the treble or bass clef doesn't in itself mean anything. The editions indicating all the triplets to be played by the right hand often (if not always) also divide those notes between the clefs.

I know that Schnabel in general indicated lots of fingerings, and so of course we would usually not have any doubt that fingerings in this edition are his. But I'm guessing strongly that in this case, they aren't. And from what I can see, nothing but the fingerings needs to be doubted.
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#1481594 - 07/26/10 05:36 AM Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: Mark_C]
btb Offline
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Hi chaps,

LBs sonata 31-2 ... 1st movement

BruceDs comment caught my eye ... the correct hand to play the trills ... while most would settle for a RH continuity to the trills ... allowing the LH to negotiate the cross-hands Theme ... the Henle Edition apparently prefers the RH to handle the treble motif and the LH the bass

And, there’s a quirk at m31-32 to support the Henle approach
"the last note of the measure is repeated as the first note of the next measure" ...

where the RH easily copes with the jab of extra note ... but, it’s a mute point whether dividing the trills between hands keeps the flow of the trills.

IMHO that extra note could well be omitted ... then, the broad single-note outline of the cross-hands motif can be easily managed by the LH

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#1481624 - 07/26/10 07:26 AM Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: btb]
Mattardo Offline
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Bruce is right - it's possible to switch hands, if you have good timing.
I've been doing it that way ever since I've played the piece. I toyed with doing some hand-crossing, but rejected it for a few small reasons.
It's not for lack of technic - I have no problem with hand-crossing in Beethoven generally.

I just like the accents it seems to add.

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#1481642 - 07/26/10 08:47 AM Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: Mark_C]
ChrisKeys Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: BruceD
....Both the Schnabel edition and the Henle (edited Wallner; fingering by Conrad Hansen) do not recommend the continuing triplets to be played with the right hand; both editions clearly change hands for the triplets.....

You're kidding. smile

I mean, I know you're not, but I can't believe it.

I gotta see that.

P.S. Have you ever seen anybody play it that way? I sure haven't -- and that covers dozens of players, of all levels.
Nor have I ever heard or seen anyone raise the possibility.

Well, you've heard of one now. I have always played it that way, and exactly so that I can cover the repeated notes in those few measures. (Though I do keep the triplets in the R.H. in measures 38-40.)
Quote:
EDIT: I was able to look at the Schnabel, or at least a version of the Schnabel, on Amazon -- and I'm going to stick my neck out. (Not every measure is shown, but more than enough for me to say this.)

Something is wrong.
I do not believe that Schnabel meant it the way it appears.

Here's why.

Take a look, for example, at these places (and there are others like it).
Counting the measures from the start of the theme in question (i.e. where the triplets begin), not from the beginning of the movement:

First note of measure 11
First note of measure 13
First note of measure 15
etc.

Tell me, Bruce: do you think it's even possible that Schnabel intended the "blip" (often HUGE) that would occur in the left hand if you play it that way?
I do not.

What blip? I can play it without any micropauses, and I can keep the melody flowing as if played by a single hand. It's really not that hard, and when done correctly it will not be disruptive to the musical flow.

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#1481700 - 07/26/10 10:46 AM Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: ChrisKeys]
Stanza Offline
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Registered: 01/18/02
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Loc: Chapel Hill, NC
The the new Cooper edition also has you changing hands for the triplets. I don't cross until those high A notes in mm 37,38,39.
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#1481703 - 07/26/10 10:54 AM Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: Mark_C]
pianoloverus Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
I know that Schnabel in general indicated lots of fingerings, and so of course we would usually not have any doubt that fingerings in this edition are his. But I'm guessing strongly that in this case, they aren't.
So whose fingerings are they?

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#1481707 - 07/26/10 11:01 AM Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: Mattardo]
Mark_C Online   content
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Mattardo -- How do you avoid those "blips" at places like where I indicated?

You said "good timing," but I'm saying it's completely utterly impossible (literally) to avoid a blip (which is bad timing) if you do it that way.
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#1481708 - 07/26/10 11:01 AM Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: ChrisKeys]
Mark_C Online   content
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With the leaps?? I can't see it.

But in any event....it's interesting to see that there are people who actually do play it that way and always have.

Meanwhile, I'm standing by what I've said, being aware that I may be about to fall off a cliff.

I'm saying it's not possible to play it that way without a significant "blip" in many places -- i.e. breaking the rhythm for those leaps. If someone wants to demonstrate that it is possible, I'm all ears. smile
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#1481710 - 07/26/10 11:04 AM Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: pianoloverus]
jnod Offline
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I guess this wasn't such a dumb question after all. For the record, I've found it reasonably playable either way and I can see aesthetic reasons for both formats. I agree with Mattardo that switching hands gives you a chance to add a little accent when the left hand takes over. But I also agree with the others who say that it makes more intuitive sense (and maybe is more consistent with precedent in Beethoven, though I'm less sure about this) to keep the triplets in the right hand and cross the left over.

Interesting!
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#1481724 - 07/26/10 11:27 AM Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: BruceD]
Mark_C Online   content
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In the name of honesty and fairness..... smile

There are "blips" in Schnabel's recording.
It does sound like he does exactly that.

I still can't believe it. But looks like it is so.



"Blips" occur at 1:00 and 1:02, among other places. They're quite pronounced in those two places; not so bad at 1:04 but still an evident break.

I can't imagine why he'd do it that way, but obviously he had his reasons (need I say). smile
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#1481725 - 07/26/10 11:27 AM Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: jnod]
pianoloverus Offline
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There are six or seven editions with fingerings marked at IMSLP. All but one indicate switching the triplets to the left hand at bar 21. Add in the Schnabel edition and the other edition specifically mentioned in this thread, it seems like most editions have the triplets changing to the left hand.

Later on in the piece, when there is only single note(not phrase of 6 or 7 notes) played above the triplets, I think some(but not all) of those editions may indicate crossing over with the left hand to play that note.


Edited by pianoloverus (07/26/10 11:38 AM)

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#1481757 - 07/26/10 11:58 AM Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: pianoloverus]
BruceD Offline
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Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
[...]
Later on in the piece, when there is only single note(not phrase of 6 or 7 notes) played above the triplets, I think some(but not all) of those editions may indicate crossing over with the left hand to play that note.


I should have mentioned this in my earlier post:

In both the Schabel and Henle editions, following the Allegro at measure 99, the right hand does continue with the triplet figures and the left hand does cross over to play the treble melody.

There must be some reason in both these editions that this particular distinction is so clearly made between the two iterations of this thematic material.

Regards,
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#1481758 - 07/26/10 12:04 PM Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: pianoloverus]
BruceD Offline
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Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
I know that Schnabel in general indicated lots of fingerings, and so of course we would usually not have any doubt that fingerings in this edition are his. But I'm guessing strongly that in this case, they aren't.
So whose fingerings are they?


It's very clear, given the Preface by Schnabel, that the fingerings in his edition are indeed his own. He states, in fact (in part):

"The fingerings in this edition may here and there appear somewhat strange. In explanation of the more unusual kinds let it be said that the selection was not made exclusively with a view to technical facility, but rather from the desire to secure - at least approximately - the correct musical expression of the passages in question (as the Editor feels they should be interpreted).

[...] The fingerings and pedal indication s are almost without exception by the Editor; the original texts, especially those of earlier works, contain next to none."

It would seem to me, then, in light of this last statement, that there can be no doubt that the fingerings in the Schnabel edition are Schnabel's.

Regards,
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#1481780 - 07/26/10 12:26 PM Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: BruceD]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: BruceD
I should have mentioned this in my earlier post:

In both the Schabel and Henle editions, following the Allegro at measure 99, the right hand does continue with the triplet figures and the left hand does cross over to play the treble melody.

There must be some reason in both these editions that this particular distinction is so clearly made between the two iterations of this thematic material.

Such as? smile

This is yet another aspect that leaves me wondering what the heck is going on with that.
I cannot understand why someone like Schnabel (nor anyone) would think of 'breaking' the triplets.
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#1481787 - 07/26/10 12:29 PM Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: BruceD]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: BruceD
....Preface by Schnabel....

"The fingerings in this edition may here and there appear somewhat strange. In explanation of the more unusual kinds let it be said that the selection was not made exclusively with a view to technical facility, but rather from the desire to secure - at least approximately - the correct musical expression of the passages in question (as the Editor feels they should be interpreted).....

Yes.
In this case, that would mean (wouldn't it?) that he WANTED those "blips"!!!

If I really try smile I can imagine why someone might.
But it's not easy to imagine.
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#1481790 - 07/26/10 12:32 PM Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: Mark_C]
BruceD Offline
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Well, I don't know the reason, but don't you assume there must be one to make the distinction in the execution between such otherwise similar sections.

The only reason I can think for doing this is for the greater ease (ease? huh?) of the execution of that last note/first note repetition.

I do wish I could remember what one of my (brief summer school) teachers said about the execution of these passages, but we only looked at the first movement briefly and whatever comments may have been made at that time have faded from my already feeble memory.

Regards,
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#1481824 - 07/26/10 01:24 PM Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: BruceD]
BruceD Offline
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By the way, I tried playing through the measures in question "as written" where the triplets shift from right to left hand. I wouldn't anticipate any difficulties playing it this way at tempo. Someone with a more advanced and a more refined technique than mine should find it relatively easy to play these measures as written. The left hand ascending quarter-notes are staccato which gives one plenty of time to prepare the "shift," it seems to me.

Regards,
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#1481833 - 07/26/10 01:39 PM Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: BruceD]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: BruceD
.....The left hand ascending quarter-notes are staccato which gives one plenty of time to prepare the "shift," it seems to me.

Are you looking at places like the specific ones I mentioned? They give no time for the shift.
Look at where the L.H. is right before the "shift."

BTW, to clarify: I'm not saying that those places are the reason not to divide the triplets between the hands; I'm saying that these spots "prove" that this wasn't the intention, because it's impossible to play those places without a "break."

Which it is.

Of course, "break" might be in the ear of the beholder. Plus it seems (emphasis on seems) that Schnabel really WANTED the "break"!
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#1481882 - 07/26/10 03:27 PM Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: Mark_C]
BruceD Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
[...]
Take a look, for example, at these places (and there are others like it).
Counting the measures from the start of the theme in question (i.e. where the triplets begin), not from the beginning of the movement:

First note of measure 11
First note of measure 13
First note of measure 15
etc.

Tell me, Bruce: do you think it's even possible that Schnabel intended the "blip" (often HUGE) that would occur in the left hand if you play it that way?
I do not.

I'm saying that something got lost in the translation between Schnabel and this printed version. Schnabel did not mean it that way.[/i]

I think the one and only thing that would convince me otherwise would be if such a "blip" occurs in these places in Schnabel's own playing of the piece.


I see the measures you mention where the left hand, when played as written, has to jump down a twelfth. Although it's not really a twelfth, is it, when you consider that the last note in the measure is played with the thumb and the first note in the next is played with 5; finger 5 has to jump a ninth. I don't think that those jumps are any more treacherous or any more impossible than that from the first to the second beat of measure 62 (left hand) and that from the first to the second beat in measure 63 (also left hand).

Regards,
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#1481903 - 07/26/10 04:12 PM Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: Mark_C]
Mattardo Offline
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Registered: 02/11/08
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Mattardo -- How do you avoid those "blips" at places like where I indicated?

You said "good timing," but I'm saying it's completely utterly impossible (literally) to avoid a blip (which is bad timing) if you do it that way.


I really don't get any blips.... my hands are large enough where it's really not that much of a jump.
Each switch-of-the-hands comes on what I perceive as a rhythmic accent. I wouldn't want the pasage to be entirely smooth on the accents, anyways. I'm sorry - I'm not sure I'm explaining it well.

There is a jump, and it does involve a bit of speed to get it right, but it's really not that bad if you're able to play other things in Beethoven that require quick jumps, and you're using some sensible fingering when you approach the hand-crossing - I usually alter my fingering on the triplets at that point. Any 'blip' should really not be heard, if you're accenting the ryhthms properly and able to make the jump comfortably, in my opinion.

It might be an issue of hand-size - I'm not sure. Or getting used to a new concept.

I'll have to listen to the Schnabel and see if I can hear these blips.

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#1481909 - 07/26/10 04:20 PM Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: Mattardo]
Mattardo Offline
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After playing it again, if measure 27 is giving trouble in the trasition, it's possible to play the 2nd half of the triplets, along with the half-note A entirely with the right hand - making the transition easier.

It seems that the downward jump is the one giving some people issues?

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#1481918 - 07/26/10 04:36 PM Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: Mattardo]
jnod Offline
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I (an somewhat advanced but decidedly amateur pianist) found the two ways of playing through the triplets more or less equivalent in terms of difficulty.
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#1481949 - 07/26/10 05:54 PM Re: Beethoven #17 Sonata fingering question [Re: jnod]
Mattardo Offline
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Yes, it's not difficult at all with some effort.
For those worried about breaking the triplets, it's not breaking them, really: it's the equivalent playing a melodic line if it goes from right hand to left hand, or vice versa. Nobody would claim that switching hands, ala Melody in F, is breaking up the melodic line. That's not the only example, but probably the most famous where it consistently happens and is used to teach the skill for many people.

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