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#1998760 - 12/13/12 05:36 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: PianoStudent88]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2339
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Haydn: Sonata in C, Hob. XVI/50
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Richard, how are mm. 15-19 and 34-36 similar?...I've read your division of the exposition into parts and themes, and I would never in 9000 years have figured it out.

Do you mean the whole of the exposition or just the transition theme? 'I would never have figured it out' suggests that you're accepting it as done and dusted but it's just my version.

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
To expand on that, I could hear where theme 1 starts again throughout, but then every time it would go dancing off into ornaments and various different figures, and I couldn't tell if they were all different motifs, or if not, then how were they similar to something that had come previously, or whether the material constituted an extension of one theme, or an entirely new theme.

It's somewhat disconcerting to discover that this entire elaborate movement is built on the mundane sequence F E D C. Or maybe it should be inspiring, that on such an apparently unpromising base Haydn erects such a joyful and fanciful structure.

To be fair to Haydn, it does rest on C-G-E, D-C, F-E-D-C. The first three notes constitute the 'identifier' of that theme throughout the movement and deserve their share of the recognition. In fact, if I were nominate theme 1 myself I would say it's C-G-E-D-C and the point of it is reaching that bottom C.

Now with the transition theme, it's more an introduction to the next thing rather than a codetta to what's just gone so how it ends is more important than how it starts. The 'signature' is more important than the 'identifier' and the signature is that triple 'di-dum' rhythmic figure. That's what I pick up - the rhythmic signature says more to me than the notes.

If for you the theme in M34 is A-B-C-D-B-G and M37-41 are simply a codetta for that theme then I'd be happy to accept that. In fact if you felt that they were combined to form theme 2 I'd go along with that as well.

Perhaps you see M15-19 as another theme in its own right, too! That's also fine with me.

We're all blindly feeling an elephant here!

When we get down to the notes we have the facts but when we're breaking the piece into discernable sections, it's what is discernable to us as individuals that counts.

_________________________
Richard

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#1998810 - 12/13/12 08:38 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2339
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Haydn: Sonata in C, Hob. XVI/50

Originally Posted By: Greener
Theme 1 is very prevalent early on in development:

Right away the melody figure from theme 1 is in LH in M54-M55 and then RH in M56.

I'd be interested to figure out what key we are moving through here. It sounds minor, but I can't (or at least have not yet) figured it out.

Then I think we have some new material in M57-M59. But same theme 1 melody figure comes back in LH again at M60-M63. Then M61 has a new figure from theme 1 (second ending theme one) from M10-M11.

M66-M72 is some very pretty material and I also think from exposition. Perhaps theme 2 of exposition, but would like to think more on this part.

Theme 1 starts with a descent through the tonic triad and aims an octave below that. The first descent is G-D-Bb (G minor) in M54, A-E-C# (A major) in M56, and F-C-A (F major) in M60. He cleverly turns F major to F minor with the Ab in M66 and uses that lovely passage M67-72 to establish the move from F minor to Ab major finishing on the new dominant Eb7 for the final entry at M73.

This is followed by a very exciting passage through E major up to the 2nd theme at M84 in B major and leading into the transition theme at M89 and drawn out through some unexpected keys all the way up to the dominant G7 at M101 for the recapitulation and the return to tonic.

The material in M57-58 I think is just a continuation of the RH from M20/54.

The RH figure in M61-63 is from earlier (M10-14) but is now used as a counter to LH theme 1. Note that the patterns are similar but not the same.

M66-72 I think are just arpeggiated chords moving from F minor to Eb7 for Ab major rather than anything thematic.
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Richard

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#1998826 - 12/13/12 09:17 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3171
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Haydn: Sonata in C, Hob. XVI/50
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Richard, how are mm. 15-19 and 34-36 similar?...I've read your division of the exposition into parts and themes, and I would never in 9000 years have figured it out.

Do you mean the whole of the exposition or just the transition theme? 'I would never have figured it out' suggests that you're accepting it as done and dusted but it's just my version.

The whole of the exposition. The thing is, I don't have any coherent story to suggest as my version in place of your version.

That's interesting about the end of the Transition Theme being more important than the beginning. There's a place later on in this movement where that tail was the only identifying thing I could find to really tell me "oh we've been through the/a transition".

I did find some disguised instances of the opening of Theme 1 elsewhere in the development and recapitulation, so that's something good.
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#1998828 - 12/13/12 09:20 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
landorrano Offline
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Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
Hi Sonata Analysts.

Originally Posted By: zrtf90

I understand the theory and details of John Lennon's work better than he ever did. To him, it just works



Are you sure?

Originally Posted By: zrtf90


Mozart claims he saw all his compositions in a coup d'oeil so there would be no construction process after that.



Are you sure?





Edited by landorrano (12/13/12 09:20 AM)

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#1998842 - 12/13/12 10:00 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: PianoStudent88]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2339
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Haydn: Sonata in C, Hob. XVI/50

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
The thing is, I don't have any coherent story to suggest as my version in place of your version.

There are two things at work here.

First of all we're in a real sonata now not a sonatina. This means that instead of having a first subject/theme and a second, usually contrasting subject/theme, we're now in the realm of first group (tonic) and second group (dominant). Each group may be one or more themes and the themes may have more or less significance later on. I tend to evaluate and name the parts when I've been through the whole and know better how the parts relate.

Secondly, we have to develop another skill - that of being able to recognise, isolate and juggle the parts in our heads, often maintaining some of their sequential order, while we put values on them.

Once you've isolated the keys you're in a stronger position. Once you can recognise a motif, figure or theme you're making progress. The most recognisable material will be melodic or rhythmic rather than harmonic so stay with that for the time being.

What is a transition theme? Given that the thematic material in the development will be based on the material in the exposition then anything in the exposition that isn't in the development is 'unimportant' thematically and must serve as an interlude or to transiton from one theme to another. M15-19 is an obvious candidate for such treatment but it is germinally so like M34-36 I've treated them as the same thing. I don't think Haydn's trying to confuse us. If he wanted more contrast he could have provided it.

And then there's the material in the development that isn't in the exposition, M67-72, that must also be less important. Here I see no greater functionality than to move from two disparate keys, F major and Ab major.

I would have struggled to get back from Ab to C but I would definitely not have chosen B or E majors. The passage from M76 to 101 is the highlight of the work for me.
_________________________
Richard

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#1998847 - 12/13/12 10:12 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: landorrano]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2339
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: zrtf90

I understand the theory and details of John Lennon's work better than he ever did. To him, it just works



Are you sure?

As sure as I can be. He claims not to have been bothered with analysing the music or understanding the theory behind it and leaving it all to the musicologists. I doubt he was trying to deceive anyone.

Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: zrtf90


Mozart claims he saw all his compositions in a coup d'oeil so there would be no construction process after that.



Are you sure?




Again, Mozart's own claim. Who am I to to doubt it?

He was not known, unlike Beethoven, for changing his work after composing it. He rattled off huge works in very short periods.

I do expect that there was some degree of construction involved but I believe it was so natural, instinctive and quick for him that it couldn't really be labelled a process.
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Richard

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#1998861 - 12/13/12 10:45 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Offline
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Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3171
Loc: Maine
Haydn: Sonata in C, Hob. XVI/50

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
First of all we're in a real sonata now not a sonatina.

Thanks, Richard. Everything you said was very helpful to me. I only snipped the quote for length, because I was going to include the helpful parts to illustrate, and then they were ALL helpful. The keys (no pun intended) for me from what you said are looking at the whole work, and identifying the shared material between exposition and devlopment (and I guess recapitulation), and looking at the keys and the transitions between the keys, and only then starting to definitively apply the names of "theme" or "transition" to various parts, and then also the idea that the exposition has moved from "1st theme, 2nd theme" to "tonic area, dominant area".

This movement strikes me as the work of someone who is highly skilled in ornamented improvisation. By that I mean, it seems easy for Haydn to decorate a line, say with a turn on a note, or a scalar run, or a quick up and down, and I get the impression that he would have been skilled at improvising at the keyboard with all of these tools. Then in writing down the Sonata these improvised decorations are all realized on the page. Not to say that there isn't also a high degree of art and construction to what he's doing, but I think that a lot of the gestures come from a common fund of ideas about how to dress up a basic sequence of notes. Of course even the choice of which gesture to use where, and in exactly which variant (for example in the sixths: why exactly those waterfalls of notes, and not slightly different watefalls) is also subject to art and construction.

I haven't tried playing through this movement yet, but I wonder if that would help me in understanding this sonata, to feel under my fingers the repeated and related material, even at a slow and halting pace.

[ETA: I'm thinking of going back to an unmarked copy of the sonata again, and working through identifying the "shared material" between the sections of the first movement, and also the different keys it moves through, and then put that together to see what parts or themes or motifs it suggests, and only then coming back to your divisions and seeing where we agree or differ.]


Edited by PianoStudent88 (12/13/12 10:49 AM)
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#1998918 - 12/13/12 12:27 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2339
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
This movement strikes me as the work of someone who is highly skilled in ornamented improvisation.

Yes, you don't have to play much Haydn to get to know a few of these ornaments. He was an admirer of CPE Bach and was very familiar with the Versuch.

He was born in 1732 when the baroque period had passed its peak but its main protagonists were still active and he was involved with music from very early on. He was a chorister with a delightful voice and it is by chance that he didn't become a castrati. Castrati are not known for their creative powers! So ornamentation was still very much the order of the day when he began.

He was very much 'the old man' for his contemporary classicists.
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#2000880 - 12/17/12 09:03 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
Greener Online   content

Platinum Supporter until July 22 2014


Registered: 05/29/12
Posts: 1180
Loc: Toronto
Originally Posted By: zrtf90

Since one of the main purposes of analysis is to investigate the features of a piece prior to learning it there's merit in looking an any new pieces you start learning as well as looking at pieces that might prove worthwhile later on and add a bit on practical work and ways you might go about learning it.


Thank you for the offer. Here are some things I am currently working on and am therefore very interested in at the moment.

As word gets out, I am sure others will be adding many more to the hopper.

No rush. I do also intend to get back on track with the Haydn at hand. Nonetheless, here is what is keeping me busy:

Mendelssohn Op. 102 No. 1

I've just signed up for this one in the Mendelssohn recital thread. This one is going to be fun. It has a very interesting sound to it. It is achieved quite differently then what I had thought was happening. Hard to explain it, but the first measure, for example, sounds (to me anyway) like a right hand melody of G, E, G, E. When in fact, it is just one E minor triad that does not move at all. The LH provides a counter melody ... what a cool effect. I'm going to love learning this one. But, a lot of work/practice ahead. Any/all advice appreciated.

Chopin Waltz C# Minor, Op. 64 No. 2

I liked the Waltz in A Flat Major (Op. 69 No. 1) so much, I'm taking on another Chopin Waltz. I really love the sound of this one.

Both of the above are in very early development. M5 and M25 respectively.

Chopin Nocturne E Flat Major

This one keeps getting bumped in priority. I am happy to keep the Waltzes ahead of it for the moment. But, at some point would like to come back and complete it.

Schubert Op. 94 No. 6

Of course, we just completed analyzing this one. You were quite right Richard, about the richness of the harmony in the Allegretto vs. the Trio. There is not really all that much to the Trio. It is mostly the same material in different octaves with some variation up to the middle section of the last repeat.

This is a piece that has really grown on me since I first heard it, and more again since I first started learning it. It is under control now and I am working on bringing it up to an even tempo throughout. So, no discussion needed on my account, but I do highly recommend it, for anyone else that may be interested. I really like this piece, and glad to have a Schubert in my line up now.
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#2001085 - 12/18/12 10:09 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
zrtf90 Offline
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Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2339
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
I changed my mind at the last moment and went from 102/1 to 62/1 for the Mendelssohn recital so I'm acquainted with the piece but only recently. I had just been practising 62/1 when I posted. Half an hour earlier and I may well have gone with #43! If you're familiar with stride or doing arpeggios and broken chords in octaves the LH leaps won't be a problem and the rhythm is persistent throughout so once you're in the groove it's just a question of changing the notes and chords.

There are some passages where finger management will need thinking through and time spent trying out alternatives but there's nothing too imposing. The main crescendo needs careful pacing and a full tone but I think you've been playing long enough for that.

The C# minor Waltz is a very popluar one and is also quite easy (in that there are no major technical difficulties). It breaks down into very small packets that can easily be learnt in isolation. This works better than its D-flat sibling at a moderate tempo and doesn't have to be taken too quickly. I find both deteriorate rapidly at tempo and I practise both of these at two distinct practising speeds for their weekend workouts. I only take the D-flat up to tempo for about two weeks a year. I play both of these waltzes slower than most (closer to Arthur Rubinstein than Tamas Vasary). The minute waltz is marked vivace, lively, not presto and this one is marked tempo giusto - strict time (as opposed to rubato) NOT with gusto!

I had the E-flat Nocturne down for the next tranche of pieces. The fioritura and trills will need extra work if they're to decorate the melodic line without dominating it or interrupting it and the climax will also need practising for precision. There's no point building up over 29 carefully articulated measures to something sloppy or slapdash.

Glad you're enjoying the Schubert! smile
_________________________
Richard

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#2001124 - 12/18/12 11:42 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
Greener Online   content

Platinum Supporter until July 22 2014


Registered: 05/29/12
Posts: 1180
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Originally Posted By: zrtf90
I changed my mind at the last moment and went from 102/1 to 62/1 for the Mendelssohn recital ...

once you're in the groove it's just a question of changing the notes and chords.


I'm in luck then. Thanks for leaving this one for me. I like it. Although, it is proving to be a challenge. But, it is still very early on.

This is good to know. I've got the feel for the syncopation, I think, which is much of the battle. So, just a matter now of continuing at my snails pace of reading, to get the notes. Then, 3 months of practice, I suppose.

Originally Posted By: zrtf90

The C# minor Waltz is a very popular one and is also quite easy (in that there are no major technical difficulties). It breaks down into very small packets that can easily be learnt in isolation.


Good to know, too. I found the A-Flat Waltz quite easy to learn and play. But, not this one as much. Again though, it is very early on. Come to think of it, I may have said the same about the A Flat waltz at the same point of learning. With the A Flat Waltz (sorry to be skipping around a bit) I had to get the metronome out on the "con anima" section as my timing was all messed up. It is fine now.

For this one though (still re: A Flat Waltz,) I still need to work on avoiding ... "There's no point building up ... carefully articulated measures to something sloppy or slapdash" in the obvious crescendos places.

I'm using a closer match to the Artur Rubinstein version of these measures vs. the score. Except for the first one at M27, which I am trying to keep exact. The rest though, will be more like a Greenerstein version smile. Nonetheless, they all still need work on articulating precisely. But, is the only challenge remaining with this one.

Originally Posted By: zrtf90

I had the E-flat Nocturne down for the next tranche of pieces.


Terrific, glad I am starting to warm it up.

Originally Posted By: zrtf90

Glad you're enjoying the Schubert! smile


Yes, indeed. I still love the key change at M39. I'll put this one in the January Bar. It is a bit dreary frown for Christmas.
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#2001259 - 12/18/12 04:16 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2339
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Mendelssohn, Op. 102 No. 1

Originally Posted By: Greener
I've got the feel for the syncopation, I think, which is much of the battle. So, just a matter now of continuing at my snails pace of reading, to get the notes. Then, 3 months of practice, I suppose.
Yes, getting the rhythm is key. I wouldn't tackle it this way, myself. If your reading is slowing you down, isolate the sections instead.

This is my calendar from when I was planning on it:

M1-5 (early December) is a good start and worth isolating early just to build up some tempo.

M14-19 (late December) and M29-33 (early Jan) are the difficult areas.

M8-11 (mid January) isn't as difficult but is the key to the rest of the piece.

The sections M20-24 (late Jan), M25-29 (early Feb) and M34-40 (mid Feb) can be built up afterwards, one at a time, and I'd leave M5-7 and M12-13 until I start joining the sections in late Feb.

March can be used for preparatory recording, listening and identifying awkward details.

If you get the early passages polished and clean before you start building up the tempo you won't have to spend any time 'improving' them later and the remaining passages have a clear model to emulate. Worked at like this in small sections your reading ability won't slow you down very much at all.

You might want to post an analysis of the piece as you see it before you get too far along in the practise.

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Richard

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#2001268 - 12/18/12 04:30 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: zrtf90

I do expect that there was some degree of construction involved but I believe it was so natural, instinctive and quick for him that it couldn't really be labelled a process.



The music just gushed out like at Old Faithful! He even wrote whole movements in his sleep! Sorry, I know that this is a small aside in this big thread but you can't say things like that. You have to have some understanding of what it means to be an artist if you are going to comment on their works.

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#2001278 - 12/18/12 04:57 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: landorrano]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2339
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: landorrano
The music just gushed out like at Old Faithful!

I'm sure much of his music did but in a letter to his father, March 3, 1784, he says 'I must play some new works - and therefore I must compose.'

This would imply either turning on the geyser or constructing something.

I doubt everything was done in a coup d'oeil.

Originally Posted By: landorrano
...you can't say things like that.

I did - therefore I can! smile

Originally Posted By: landorrano
You have to have some understanding of what it means to be an artist if you are going to comment on their works.

I disagree. I don't think anyone has to understand anything to have an opinion.
_________________________
Richard

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#2001494 - 12/19/12 12:41 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Offline
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Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3171
Loc: Maine
Following Greener's example:

I am learning
Bach, Little Prelude in C major, BWV 924.
I have the fingering all worked out. The temptation is to play it faster than I can handle yet. I don't have any idea of how long slow play will be necessary before I can speed up, but I guess I need to be patient.

Clementi, Sonatina in F major, Op. 36, No. 1.
We've analyzed this already on this thread, although in learning it I feel like I'm coming to a deeper understanding of it. I'm memorizing it as I go, to practice memorizing. I have the first movement exposition pretty well learned (at a slow tempo), but I'm stalled on the development. The notes aren't hard, but remembering them is hard.

Mendelssohn, Song Without Words in E major, Op. 30, No. 3.
This is the easiest of the Songs Without Words, but it's quite a challenge for me. I had commented to Richard elsewhere that when I work on memorizing a piece, it becomes easier to play even when I'm reading the music (reading rather than memorizing is by far my preferred method of playing). He pointed out that this said something important about the value of memorizing. So I'm working on memorizing this piece as I learn it. I had been going to learn all the aspects at once, not start with just fingering and then add the other aspects. But I am finding just getting control of the fingering and remembering the notes to be completely all-consuming. So I'm mostly just learning the fingering to start with after all (and some experiments with pedaling), and will layer the other things in later: dynamics, voicing, phrasing, certain subtle articulations, etc.

Khachaturian, No Walk Today in...unclear if it really has a key, let's call it C minor, Children's Album I, No. 2
This is for the next ABF recital, and I've been practicing Richard's method of playing it with the metronome at a very slow tempo to start with, and only slowly ramping up the tempo. This method is being very productive. Time spent at 60 bpm really helped solidify the fingering for me, and now I have all the leisure in the world to really explore expression in it.
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Ebaug(maj7)

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#2001629 - 12/19/12 09:42 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2339
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
I don't have any idea of how long slow play will be necessary before I can speed up

The tempo can come up when there are no errors and no hesitation. When you're error free start to use the metronome on alternate days and when it feels slow going back to it increase the tempo to match where you are.

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
I'm stalled on the development. The notes aren't hard, but remembering them is hard.
Reduce the size of the section you're working on. Short term memory has a limited span. Work only with as much as you can comfortably remember.

Mendelssohn, Song Without Words in E major, Op. 30, No. 3.
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
I'm mostly just learning the fingering to start with after all (and some experiments with pedaling), and will layer the other things in later: dynamics, voicing, phrasing, certain subtle articulations, etc.

There are some sForzandos in this piece that I'd be loathe to leave until I'd learnt the notes.

Here's how I'd tackle it.

December
M11.2 to M12.2 get the notes down but start to build the crescendo before joining onto
M12.2 to M13.1 get the notes down before joining onto previous but get crescendo while joining and practise as M11 to M13.

January, early
M13.2 to M15.1 get the sforzandos in while learning
M15 to to M17.2 bring out the melody notes from the beginning and when fluent join as M13 to M17

January, late
M3.2 to M5.2 bring out the melody notes from the beginning
M5.2 to M7.1 include crescendo and sforzando from the beginning
M7.2 to M9.1 include the sforzando, M8.1, from the beginning
M9.2 to M11.1 note the piano in M9 and the changed bass in M10.

February, early
M21 & M22 join when fluent with M3-5 and M9-10 as M17-24
M1-3 note the third arpeggio is the same but precedes it with a B to end on the beat

February, late
when all the above sections are memorised and fluent as individual sections join as
M1-M11
M11-M17
M17-M27

Use March to join together and start preliminary recording, listening and improving.

If the tempo isn't happening work on it in very short sections, hand separately, but accept whatever you get up to by the time you record. Don't let wrong notes in for the sake of speed.
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Richard

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#2001647 - 12/19/12 10:35 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
Greener Online   content

Platinum Supporter until July 22 2014


Registered: 05/29/12
Posts: 1180
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Mendelssohn, Op. 102 No. 1

Originally Posted By: zrtf90

M1-5 (early December) is a good start and worth isolating early just to build up some tempo.

M14-19 (late December) and M29-33 (early Jan) are the difficult areas.

M8-11 (mid January) isn't as difficult but is the key to the rest of the piece.

The sections M20-24 (late Jan), M25-29 (early Feb) and M34-40 (mid Feb) can be built up afterwards, one at a time, and I'd leave M5-7 and M12-13 until I start joining the sections in late Feb.

March can be used for preparatory recording, listening and identifying awkward details.


I like the sound of this tactical approach. I've printed off and will give it a whirl. I will need to change up the dates a little, as I have some ground to make up. I just started on it this week. At any rate, my approach to date is resulting in some fairly heavy sledding and I welcome a more strategic plan of attack. So, thanks for this and the timing is perfect to now apply.

I was already staring to move along to M6-M12. But will be going back to M1-M5 now, and M14-M19 next. Also, I will take an even larger step back and view the entire work again to get a better appreciation of what is happening overall and perhaps post some findings.
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#2001667 - 12/19/12 11:34 AM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: Greener]
zrtf90 Offline
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Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2339
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Mendelssohn, Op. 102 No. 1
Originally Posted By: Greener
I was already staring to move along to M6-M12. But will be going back to M1-M5 now, and M14-M19 next.

I thought you'd done M1-5 and got the rhythm down? If it's any help try this.

Get the left hand and right hands done separately then get LH going with a consistent pulse (you don't have to use a metronome, just get it consistent) and add the RH one note/chord at a time. M1 is a doddle, of course but do the RH for M2 and you'll have the key to the rest of the piece (note, chord, both, note, both).

You might want to use rhyhmic sentences like 'be sure to tell me' for RH alone and 'going to the barber's' for both hands. I do this so that I know where I am in the sentence without having to keep reading the note values. You'll see what I mean when you try it.

Once you've got M1-2 done in a loop you can build the speed up quite quickly and it will influence all the later measures. Work each half measure up separately then do the whole bar, then join in pairs etc.
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Richard

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#2001679 - 12/19/12 12:14 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Offline
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Mendelssohn, Op. 30, No. 3

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Reduce the size of the section you're working on. Short term memory has a limited span. Work only with as much as you can comfortably remember.

That will be one chord at a time.  Sigh.  I feel so stupid at memorization.  It seems like everyone else just memorizes without hardly trying, and I'm slogging along one note at a time.  It's a good thing I can read music, because if I could only play things I had memorized I would be toast.

There are some things about memorization I'm still learning, like how good is good enough before moving to the next segment.  Sometimes I think something is solid and only later discover it's not.  I am hopeful that over time I will come to recognize "true solidity" vs. "needs more work" better.

Actually that sort of implies that there are more things I have already learned about memorization, and I'm not sure that's true.  It's such terra incognita for me.  But I think it's good for me to learn how to do it, partly on general principle and partly because I think it leads to me playing better even if I later go back to playing from the score.

I've been learning my Song Without Words in order from the beginning, which may not always be ideal but feels good on this piece, and in the Clementi Sonatina also.  I may choose some other piece to practice memorizing out of order.

I hear you Richard about the things to learn in from the beginning, but it feels like it will slow me down even more.  OK, that's a stupid thing to say because surely the point is that not learning the dynamics (for example) on the first pass along with the fingering will slow me down even more in the long run.  I think your way makes a lot of sense, but somehow it's really hard for me at this point, having experienced just how hard it is just learning the fingering and notes, to want to also do it your way about the dynamics and voicing.

I was at a truly wonderful Messiah Sing last night, (this is leading to a related point), and the soprano soloist was utterly impressive.  She had that beautiful ring that professional classically trained singers have, but that wasn't what made her so impressive.  If all she'd had was the ring, she would have been a big impressive voice, but no more.  No, what she had that was so special was that every single word was perfectly shaded dynamically to emphasize the meaning.  A slight emphasis on "Saviour", telling you subtly how important this Saviour is.  A profound sense of peace and calm when singing about peace.  An excited emphasis when addressing the shepherds: listen to this good news!  And not just the few 10-dollar words, but every word had its delivery carefully chosen and shaded.

So here's the connection:  did she learn all that shading at the same time as she learned the notes, or did she learn the notes and then work on the shading?  Or maybe something slightly different (I learned this when I took voice lessons) where you can work in the shading without the notes, just by reciting the lyrics in all possible variations and by exploration finding out many ranges of expressiveness.  I guess the piano equivalent would be singing or humming the piece, exploring different dynamics.  And not just the ones assigned by the composer, but all variations, even the inverse of the written dynamics, so that
Quote:
We shall not cease from exploration 
And the end of all our exploring 
Will be to arrive where we started 
And know the place for the first time.

(T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding V)


I'm so close to knowing all the fingering in my Song that I want to finish that and then start on the other aspects.  I could say it's because I don't want the part I know so far to be practiced so much more than the part I have yet to learn, but this may be just an excuse covering up for the pianist's bane: impatience.

On voicing, I can say it's only as I have whole phrases memorized that I seem to be able to start voicing them, because I have a sense of creating a whole melody line.  This may be because of a flaw, which is that my (limited) voicing ability is based more on intuition than on conscious technique.  Or maybe it's because of impatience (again with the impatience): I haven't found the patience and focus to repeat just one chord over and over until I can voice it properly.  But if I am going to have to do all that one-chord-at-a-time focused work eventually, I'm not entirely sure that it's a bad thing to come to it after learning all the fingering.  Otherwise I might spend from now till March just on one chord before learning the next chord, and still not be satisfied with the result.

Consider scales: you learn the fingering first, and only after the fingering is learned do you start practicing them in various dynamics and articulations.

Or chords and inversions: you learn them just as fingering, and later get introduced to voicing (at least this is how it worked for me). 
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#2001680 - 12/19/12 12:19 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
Greener Online   content

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Registered: 05/29/12
Posts: 1180
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Mendelssohn, Op. 102 No. 1

Originally Posted By: zrtf90

I thought you'd done M1-5 and got the rhythm down?


Yes, well that was still morning. I was anxious to move along in the afternoon. At any rate, a new strategy now.

Originally Posted By: zrtf90

Get the left hand and right hands done separately then get LH going with a consistent pulse (you don't have to use a metronome, just get it consistent) and add the RH one note/chord at a time. M1 is a doddle, of course but do the RH for M2 and you'll have the key to the rest of the piece (note, chord, both, note, both). ...


OK, will do this. In listening to it more (for my preliminary analysis forthcoming) one of the things that is very apparent in my playing vs. playing correctly, will be in keeping the melody singing cleanly above the accompaniment. There is a lot going on in this. So far my melody, albeit there, is being drowned out. This will need some work for sure.

OK, here is preliminary assessment:

I think there are really just two themes at play. Theme 1, and the theme from the Godfather smile . Kidding, but it does have some similarities.

M1 - Intro
M1 - M5; Theme 1
M6 - M11; I'll call this Theme 1b as it has a new ending starting mid point of M9

M12 - M14 This is why I am calling it, "theme from the Godfather." I'm willing to bet that this is where the idea came from. That is, the movie makers got it from here. Not, Mendelssohn got it from the movie makers laugh

M12 - M20 Theme 2
M21 - M24 Theme 1b comes back again here (this section is from M8 - M11)

M25 - M32 is all of theme 2 again.

M33 - fine ... is coda

Have not looked at keys yet. Doesn't look like I'll be getting off easy with anything though.


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#2001692 - 12/19/12 12:31 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Offline
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Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3171
Loc: Maine
Mendelssohn, Op. 102 No. 1

Score.

Does the rhythm in the accompaniment have a name? Either the RH alone (mp-BAH-ba mp-BAH) ("mp" are the rests), or the effect of both hands together: 1 e and a 2 AND. I can imagine a Latin band playing this, with percussion marking the different RH rhythm.
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#2001697 - 12/19/12 12:44 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Offline
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Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3171
Loc: Maine
Mendelssohn, Op. 102 No. 1

The Mendelssohn Songs Without Words that I have looked at so far have a structure that might loosely be called ternary, or verse break verse. They can be split up into lines like a song, and go something like A A' B A (or A A' B A A'', or other variations like that.). That is, most of the lines of the song are broadly similar, except for a contrasting line in the middle. Also my Mendelssohn book says they (all?) have a matching intro and coda: X A A' B A X.

Greener, do you see or hear something like that structure in yours? I haven't sat down at a piano yet with the melody of this song to be able to tell what I find in it.
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#2001717 - 12/19/12 01:38 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Offline
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Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3171
Loc: Maine
Mendelssohn, Op. 102 No. 1

OK, I've looked more closely at the score and see what you're seeing in it, Greener. Ignore my question in the preceding post about ternary form. Also from looking at another of the Songs Without Words I see that there isn't always a matching intro and coda X ... X. In A's and B's, could you say 102/1 is:

A A' T B A' B X

Where T = Transition, X = Coda, and the second A' is actually only half of the first A', but I didn't have a good shorthand way of saying that.

So in a way it's a dressed up form of AABAB, or maybe ABCBC if you prefer (leaving the coda off of the analysis momentarily).

The second half of A' is almost entirely the same as the second half of A, just a third higher, so these two phrases, A and A', are very closely aligned, and can be thought of as essentially the same line, but adjusted to end up at different notes.

[ETA: and given that A and A' are so much talmost alike, then the format ABCBC is misleading, and this is really a dressed up form of AABAB.]
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#2001722 - 12/19/12 01:45 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
zrtf90 Offline
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Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2339
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Yes, learn just the notes fingering first and, maybe, the phrasing, then bring out the melody. Then add some dynamics. And get it perfect later.

And then...

Join it to another equally well perfected phrase.

Don't learn the whole piece and then go back and put the dynamics in. When you have the whole piece it's so frustrating having to focus on that little bit there when there's this other problem elsewhere. Meanwhile you're practising the whole thing and drumming the nondescript dynamics into your fingers...

There are advantages to analysing the piece first, listenening to recordings, following the score and audiating until you have the piece memorised, the way you learnt songs on the radio (assuming you did).

Then stop listening, go to the piano and start learning to play it.

It speeds up the learning process an enormous amount.
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#2001723 - 12/19/12 01:45 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: PianoStudent88]
Greener Online   content

Platinum Supporter until July 22 2014


Registered: 05/29/12
Posts: 1180
Loc: Toronto
Mendelssohn, Op. 102 No. 1

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88

The Mendelssohn Songs Without Words that I have looked at so far have a structure that might loosely be called ternary, or verse break verse.
...
Also my Mendelssohn book says they (all?) have a matching intro and coda: X A A' B A X.

Greener, do you see or hear something like that structure in yours?


Yes, similar but not exact. I would call it A A B A B X. X being the coda with no matching intro. This structure is based on where I had identified themes previously.
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#2001726 - 12/19/12 01:53 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: PianoStudent88]
zrtf90 Offline
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Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2339
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Mendelssohn, Op. 102 No. 1

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Does the rhythm in the accompaniment have a name?

Not that I'm aware of. The RH in M2 is used for the cowbell intro to Honky Tonk Woman.

The vast majority of the Songs are simple ternary form. The intro and (often matching) coda are not always present.
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#2001730 - 12/19/12 02:01 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Offline
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Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3171
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
When you have the whole piece it's so frustrating having to focus on that little bit there when there's this other problem elsewhere.

But it's also frustrating to have a phrase that has become reasonably facile to play, and then to have to go back to zero with learning the next phrase. (*) I don't know, I guess this is because I don't have experience with knowing that the process will work. I'm really astounded with the Clementi Sonatina at having been able to learn the whole development, and it feels like I know what I'm playing, and not just performing a brute force recollection. I think it will take me learning a lot more pieces practicing memorization for me to start to have confidence in the rhythm of the process, and confidence that out of the oh-so-incomplete initial steps, will come eventual mastery of the whole.

[(*) ETA: hmmm, this isn't really accurate, because that's still what it's like the way I'm doing it: I'm getting reasonably comfortable with one bit before going on to the next bit, it's just that I'm not going so far in what I'm mastering about that bit as you are recommending.]


Edited by PianoStudent88 (12/19/12 02:05 PM)
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#2001738 - 12/19/12 02:16 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: PianoStudent88]
zrtf90 Offline
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Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2339
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
But it's also frustrating to have a phrase that has become reasonably facile to play, and then to have to go back to zero with learning the next phrase...that's still what it's like the way I'm doing it
And again, learn all the phrases, individually, with just the fingering. Then add dynamics etc. to all of them. But only when they're all how you want them put them together.

Once you put them together you can easily be tempted to leave a little imperfection when there's a bigger one later in the piece so you practise that little imperfection while you're improving the other bit and then that little imperfection becomes a sore thumb come the recording but your ear is numb to it in playing.

Learn all the phrases in order also, if you like, but then practise the hardest ones first.

Learning them out of sequence as isolated extracts keeps you from continuing on when you get to the end of the bit you're working on and playing the next bit with less care and gradually repeating the careless playing until it's ingrained.
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#2001802 - 12/19/12 04:41 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: zrtf90]
PianoStudent88 Offline
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Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3171
Loc: Maine
I don't know if I can distinguish little imperfections from big imperfections. I can just identify "this is the aspect I'm working on right now" and work on that aspect. Then go on and work on another aspect.

Sometimes I'll think something is solid, and then later an imperfection will appear. I don't know quite what hidden flaw might have been in place in my initial learning from which that imperfection grows.

If playing with imperfections ingrained all of them with no hope of change, then it seems to me it would be impossible to learn anything, since for me at least nothing is perfect when I start it. Even a single chord may not be perfectly voiced, or at the right dynamic, or two chords in succession may not make the transition in the most efficient way needed to later speed them up, or make their relative dynamics correct, or have the right articulation. Etc. etc. etc. So in some sense I have to start with imperfections, and ignore some while I iron out others, and try to be on an upward spiral of improvement.

Or so it seems to me.

This conversation is sort of terrifying because it means that when I come to play it for the BIG recital, you will be able to hear everything wrong about how I've practiced it.
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#2001835 - 12/19/12 05:59 PM Re: Classical Sonata Analysis [Re: Greener]
zrtf90 Offline
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Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2339
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Mendelssohn, Op. 102 No. 1

Originally Posted By: Greener

M1 - M5; Theme 1
M6 - M11; I'll call this Theme 1b as it has a new ending starting mid point of M9
M12 - M14 This is why I am calling it, "theme from the Godfather." I'm willing to bet that this is where the idea came from. That is, the movie makers got it from here. Not, Mendelssohn got it from the movie makers laugh

M12 - M20 Theme 2
M21 - M24 Theme 1b comes back again here (this section is from M8 - M11)

M25 - M32 is all of theme 2 again.

M33 - fine ... is coda

The only point I would dispute is that Theme 1 starts again as a segue from M19. The melody is from M2 but the harmony is a little different and it has the extension from M9.

The melody from M9 rises by a second in M7 from M3/M20 and M8 rises a third from M4/M21.

Theme 2 is up a fourth in M25 from M12 and the melody begins its descent to the coda a measure early.
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Richard

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