Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Topic Options
#1973502 - 10/15/12 09:12 AM Beethoven Variations on Swiss Song WoO 64
pianomouse Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/12
Posts: 88
Loc: Europe
I would be very glad, if you could help me:
I'm teaching Beethoven's 'Variations on a Swiss Song' WoO 64, and just now, I was asked how the articulation in the theme should be played. Beethoven writes staccato dots with a legato bow. Until now, I taught some kind of portato/tenuto, but I would be interested, how others are seeing this.
Thanks very much for any inputs. smile
_________________________
The piano keys are black and white,
But they sound like a million colours in your mind.
(Katie Melua)

Top
(ad) My Music Staff
Check out the new way to manage your music studio
#1973838 - 10/15/12 10:50 PM Beethoven Variations on Swiss Song WoO 64 [Re: pianomouse]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
I do not know the piece in question, but I used to think of this written coloration as portato (as you have mentioned), with an emphasis on keeping each effected note equal in attack and duration, as well as grouped in the same phrase.

It seems to me that the violins typically play this figure with a constant, halting down-bow, or a constant, halting up-bow, in an effort to keep the attack completely uniform.

KEYSTRING - Where are you when we need you?

Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

Top
#1973843 - 10/15/12 10:58 PM Re: Beethoven Variations on Swiss Song WoO 64 [Re: pianomouse]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
I believe the portato sound is the most appropriate.
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

Top
#1973873 - 10/16/12 12:24 AM Re: Beethoven Variations on Swiss Song WoO 64 [Re: pianomouse]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7343
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
FWIW, the way I learned it and the way I teach it is portato in measure 1, metric half pedal in measure 2 and similarly for the remainder of the theme. Beethoven loved the sound of the piano senza sordini (without the mutes), which translates for us as rather heavy use of the pedal. It's a great late intermediate level piece and helps prepare students for a number of problems they will face as they advance.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

Top
#1974194 - 10/16/12 05:49 PM Re: Beethoven Variations on Swiss Song WoO 64 [Re: pianomouse]
pianomouse Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/12
Posts: 88
Loc: Europe
Thank you all for the inputs :-)
John, you're right, it is a great piece - I use it quite often. That's why I thought it was worth questioning my opinion about the theme articulation.
_________________________
The piano keys are black and white,
But they sound like a million colours in your mind.
(Katie Melua)

Top
#1974331 - 10/16/12 11:38 PM Re: Beethoven Variations on Swiss Song WoO 64 [Re: pianomouse]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7343
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: pianomouse
I would be very glad, if you could help me: I'm teaching Beethoven's 'Variations on a Swiss Song' WoO 64.....
Thanks very much for any inputs. smile

I was hoping for more input by other teachers on this wonderful upper intermediate teaching piece. Beethoven strings together a set of variations which address many of the problems students will face playing his advanced works.

Here are some teaching thoughts in no particular order. First, for the benefit of teachers who do not know this work, the theme is presented very briefly as one treble line, with a single bass line counter melody, which harmonizes, of course. Variation 1 introduces RH triplets, with the melody restated as the first note of each triplet. The LH echos the LH theme from the "Theme." Variation 2 introduces a rhythmic LH against the straight forward RH theme. Variation 3 switches to minor, with an eighth note pattern in the RH. Variation 4 introduces octave playing in the RH, against a triplet pattern LH. Variation 5 uses 3rd and 16th notes in the RH, again restating the theme. And finally, Variation 6 is quite bravura with flashing RH scale runs and octave LH. By far the most difficult of the variations, with Variation 4 being a close runner up.

If their pedal technique isn't up to snuff, working on both metric and harmonic pedaling is called for, plus half and quarter pedaling.

The first general idea I teach the students is that in this classical style, the pulse must be maintained as you move from variation to variation. No time outs or pauses. The first note of each new variation must follow the exact pulse of the ending theme/variation. Tempo changes can occur between pulse 1 and 2 of the new variation.

The 2nd thing I generally do is get students to locate the theme in each variation, and also the bass counter melody. This isn't so easy in some of the variations.

The dotted eighth and sixteenth note rhythm of Variation 2 in the LH is problematic for most students, and they generally want to play a triplet. This needs careful attention.

About tempi, I generally start them out as the score indicates with an andante con moto, and then with each successive variation, a slight tempo increase, so that by variation 2, we're moving along at a solid allegretto. That allows us to back off with a slower Andante at variation 3; this variation has a repeat, which is really neat, because you can rebalance the voices on the repeat, to great effect. Then moving into Var 4, we take off at a solid allegro, pushing 144 if possible. Var 5 is marked sempre dolce, so we back off the tempo to moderato, and then finally, the 6th variation flies as fast as the student can handle it. If their scales are coming along, some of them are actually able to pearl their scales, which is really, really nice!

The octaves in var 4 & 6 are problematic for young students with smaller hands. You have to watch carefully that the axis of the arm is proper and that they don't bang the keys, but rather start each octave on the key and use arm and shoulder weight to get the sound they need.

If I think of anything else, will add it later. Have fun!

Oh, FWIW, I am generally teaching the easier Inventions, Mozart K535, and some Romantic pieces, such as Grieg's Notturno, along with this piece. And the Kabalevsky a minor sonatina.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

Top
#1975894 - 10/19/12 07:13 PM Re: Beethoven Variations on Swiss Song WoO 64 [Re: John v.d.Brook]
pianomouse Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/12
Posts: 88
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
About tempi, I generally start them out as the score indicates with an andante con moto, and then with each successive variation, a slight tempo increase, so that by variation 2, we're moving along at a solid allegretto. That allows us to back off with a slower Andante at variation 3; this variation has a repeat, which is really neat, because you can rebalance the voices on the repeat, to great effect. Then moving into Var 4, we take off at a solid allegro, pushing 144 if possible. Var 5 is marked sempre dolce, so we back off the tempo to moderato, and then finally, the 6th variation flies as fast as the student can handle it. If their scales are coming along, some of them are actually able to pearl their scales, which is really, really nice!

Dear John, thanks for 'advertising' for this wonderful Beethoven piece. smile
But I don't agree on what you wrote about the tempi. Beethoven writes 'Andante con moto' at the beginning of the theme and doesn't write other tempo indications in any of the variations. Beethoven's tempo indications have to be followed very strictly, so if he wants us to play the whole theme and six variations in the same tempo, we can't change this, just to highten the effect. Actually, it is especially demanding to follow all his other indications ('Minore, sempre piano e legato', 'Maggiore', 'sempre dolce') and to bring forward the different character of the variations without altering the tempo. By the way, he even doesn't write a ritardando at the end of variation six.
About tempo 108 seems to work well with my students
_________________________
The piano keys are black and white,
But they sound like a million colours in your mind.
(Katie Melua)

Top
#1975965 - 10/19/12 09:09 PM Re: Beethoven Variations on Swiss Song WoO 64 [Re: pianomouse]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7343
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Fortunately, I'm old enough to have known Ludwig personally. Not only did he grow up in the next town down the river from where my family lived, our ancestors both hailed from the same region in Zeeland. He & I tossed back many a brew together, and while not generally known, he was actually quite romantic and not as strict on tempi as some of his students suggest. Enjoy the piece.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

Top
#1975968 - 10/19/12 09:22 PM Re: Beethoven Variations on Swiss Song WoO 64 [Re: pianomouse]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
I think the tempo does indeed vary somewhat, depending on the character of the variation. Listen to any recording of Beethoven's 32 Variations in C minor and I don't think you'll hear a consistent tempo throughout the work. There needs to be some flexibility.
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

Top
#1976044 - 10/20/12 01:43 AM Re: Beethoven Variations on Swiss Song WoO 64 [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4776
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Fortunately, I'm old enough to have known Ludwig personally. Not only did he grow up in the next town down the river from where my family lived, our ancestors both hailed from the same region in Zeeland. He & I tossed back many a brew together, and while not generally known, he was actually quite romantic and not as strict on tempi as some of his students suggest. Enjoy the piece.

John,

You have showed admirable restraint in replying to an absolutely foolish post! laugh
_________________________
Piano Teacher

Top
#1976136 - 10/20/12 09:04 AM Re: Beethoven Variations on Swiss Song WoO 64 [Re: pianomouse]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7343
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Gary,

One of the big problems teachers face, especially in Europe, is to be locked in by convention. I'm 100% certain I was taught exactly the same as pianomouse was taught in re variations composed in the Classical era. How these conventions come into being is probably worthy of a doctoral study; which conventions are worthwhile keeping, in the main at least, and which ones need shedding is yet another study in the making. I specifically remember a lecture on Mozart's Alla Turca where the prof was pointing out Mozart's device to increase the apparent tempo - going from quarter notes to eighth to triplets to sixteenths. Unfortunately for this prof, no great performer is a metronome and most do have slight tempo changes as they perform these variations. Thank goodness.

As I get older, and life shorter, I realize more and more that being restricted by convention has both its pluses and minuses. For my students, I'm willing to explore sounds beyond the narrow confines of convention, especially when the music itself pulls you in that direction. In the case of these variations, if variation #4 & #6 are played at Andante con moto, they will sound utterly devoid of life. Dull, listless, BORING! So why do it???
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

Top
#2023346 - 01/29/13 09:21 AM Re: Beethoven Variations on Swiss Song WoO 64 [Re: pianomouse]
antonia Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/02/10
Posts: 18
Alfred Brendel playing the Beethoven's Variatons
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQDTfdwug0I
It is an idea

Top
#2023586 - 01/29/13 06:09 PM Re: Beethoven Variations on Swiss Song WoO 64 [Re: antonia]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7343
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Always enjoyable to listen to a true artist at work! Thanks for posting this.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

Top
#2024563 - 01/31/13 10:36 AM Re: Beethoven Variations on Swiss Song WoO 64 [Re: pianomouse]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
In my student day I was fortunate to visit LB’s birthplace at Bonn ... toured Europe on a BSA Bantam motorbike ... screeching to a halt at the house ...
charged up the steps to the first floor museum and was intoxicated with the memorabilia and old Broadwood piano ... how many of the manufacturers tried to find an instrument which would improve LB’s ability to hear.

But after labouring the above chat ... I must mention that the WoO64 “Variations on a Swiss song” has to be the most elementary score I’ve ever seen of LB ... after downloading a copy of the score (which looks
like a yellowing original manuscript) I have just played the opening 11 measures ... but wonder what all the fuss (glowing admiration) is about.

Perhaps the work is meant for four year olds.

Top

Moderator:  Ken Knapp 
What's Hot!!
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Seiler Pianos
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
Who's Online
125 registered (BarryR, beet31425, Almaviva, ajames, bennevis, 40 invisible), 1408 Guests and 18 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
75890 Members
42 Forums
156821 Topics
2304262 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Need help with a piano purchase
by Freece65
08/20/14 09:55 PM
Just Tuned a Kawai 5'10" Grand Piano KG-2E
by Paul678
08/20/14 09:51 PM
Yamaha NU1 or Roland HP508
by francis0423
08/20/14 09:12 PM
How Much Can I Sell My Kawai KG-3C?
by barryman9000
08/20/14 07:38 PM
Chord changes to 'Sixty Years On'
by Visalia
08/20/14 06:43 PM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
|
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission