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#2072857 - 04/28/13 02:48 PM Use of highest and lowest keys?
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7514
Loc: New York City
I am a little bored right now, so I thought I'd start this thread. ha

Anyway, I'm looking for pieces which use the highest (C8) or lowest (A0) key on a standard 88-key piano. They can be concertos, chamber music, solo pieces, anything.

I'm starting off with one example for each:

Lowest note: Franck A major violin sonata, 2nd movement: the low A occurs in the last bar of page 21 in this score: http://javanese.imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/0/05/IMSLP83742-PMLP04994-CFranck_Violin_Sonata.pdf

Highest note: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto 3, 3rd movement: the high C is indicated in the 4th-to last bar of page 124 in this score: http://javanese.imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/1/1c/IMSLP03554-Rachmaninov-Op30arr2p4h.pdf

Yes, I know this is kind of a stupid thread, but who cares, it's interesting. grin

Any more you guys can think of/find?
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Polyphonist

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#2072862 - 04/28/13 02:51 PM Re: Use of highest and lowest keys? [Re: Polyphonist]
Ferdinand Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/23/07
Posts: 936
Loc: California
Lowest -- Brahms op. 118 #1.

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#2072863 - 04/28/13 02:53 PM Re: Use of highest and lowest keys? [Re: Polyphonist]
Whizbang Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 738
In the Hall of the Mountain King is an also-ran. Using B0.
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Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2072864 - 04/28/13 02:53 PM Re: Use of highest and lowest keys? [Re: Ferdinand]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7514
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Ferdinand
Lowest -- Brahms op. 118 #1.

And, for those that aren't familiar with it, that would be in the 3rd-to-last bar of page 3, in this score:
http://petrucci.mus.auth.gr/imglnks/usimg/3/33/IMSLP23162-PMLP04652-BraWV__S._474.pdf

Thanks Ferdinand.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2072868 - 04/28/13 02:54 PM Re: Use of highest and lowest keys? [Re: Whizbang]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7514
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Whizbang
In the Hall of the Mountain King is an also-ran. Using B0.

Almost! grin
(Technically it's an arrangement, but I never explicitly said arrangements weren't permitted, I guess. grin I'm saying it now.)

Edit: The last note of the Liszt Sonata is also a B0. grin
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Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2072901 - 04/28/13 03:48 PM Re: Use of highest and lowest keys? [Re: Polyphonist]
NathanShirley Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/28/13
Posts: 9
Loc: North Carolina, USA
I composed a set of 10 "Images" years back, all inspired by paintings. The 9th, "St Catherine" ends with the lowest and highest notes at the same time (A0 and C8).

Here is the link to the score on IMSLP- http://petrucci.mus.auth.gr/imglnks/usimg/3/35/IMSLP112291-PMLP229329-Images_-_CC.pdf
And here is a video where you can see the piano keys and painting- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHnh7bUzhSg

Enjoy!
_________________________
~Nathan

Composer-Pianist
http://www.NathanShirley.org

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#2072908 - 04/28/13 03:56 PM Re: Use of highest and lowest keys? [Re: Polyphonist]
DanS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/28/12
Posts: 550
Lowest, Ravel Jeux d'eau & Debussy L'isle joyeuse

Highest, Kapustin Etude 1

(Highest B- Rzewski Piece no. 4 from 4 pieces).
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"Most pianists are poor musicians, they dissect music into bits-and-pieces, like a roast chicken" -Debussy

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#2072909 - 04/28/13 03:57 PM Re: Use of highest and lowest keys? [Re: Polyphonist]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7514
Loc: New York City
Interesting!

I think I may have found another, but I have to look up a score...give me a few minutes. grin
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Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2072938 - 04/28/13 04:45 PM Re: Use of highest and lowest keys? [Re: Polyphonist]
bennevis Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4845
The Yellow River Concerto by Xian Xinghai (et al) hits the bottom A in the first piano entry (as octave A's) and the top A in the same mini-cadenza, then the top B just before the end of the first movement. But though both those notes are required several times in the four-movement work, the top C is never reached.....

The Grieg concerto hits the bottom A in the mini-cadenza right at the start.

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#2072996 - 04/28/13 06:01 PM Re: Use of highest and lowest keys? [Re: Polyphonist]
patH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/13
Posts: 551
Loc: Germany
Helmut Lachenmann - Hänschen Klein (1980, first movement of "Ein Kinderspiel")
Youtube link

Uses all 88 keys.
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Everything is possible, and nothing is sure.
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#2073005 - 04/28/13 06:14 PM Re: Use of highest and lowest keys? [Re: patH]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7514
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: patH
Helmut Lachenmann - Hänschen Klein (1980, first movement of "Ein Kinderspiel")
Youtube link
[video:youtube][/video]
Uses all 88 keys.

...and starts with C8! A great piece for the Name That Piece game... ha
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Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2073023 - 04/28/13 06:41 PM Re: Use of highest and lowest keys? [Re: Polyphonist]
Kuanpiano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2117
Loc: Canada
A0 is used incredibly frequently and it's usage isn't all that special..though the use of the highest C, I can only think of Rach 3 and possibly parts of Ligeti's etudes.
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Working on:
Beethoven - Piano Sonata op. 109
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#2073025 - 04/28/13 06:43 PM Re: Use of highest and lowest keys? [Re: Kuanpiano]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7514
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
...for the highest C, I can only think of Rach 3 and possibly parts of Ligeti's etudes...

...and the piece patH brought up two posts before yours...
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Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2073027 - 04/28/13 06:45 PM Re: Use of highest and lowest keys? [Re: Polyphonist]
Kuanpiano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2117
Loc: Canada
Yesyes, tyty....
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Working on:
Beethoven - Piano Sonata op. 109
Brahms - 6 Klavierstucke op. 119
Rachmaninoff - Piano Sonata no.1

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#2073077 - 04/28/13 08:04 PM Re: Use of highest and lowest keys? [Re: NathanShirley]
DanS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/28/12
Posts: 550
Originally Posted By: NathanShirley
The 9th, "St Catherine" ends with the lowest and highest notes at the same time (A0 and C8).


I saw Humerto Quagliata play a modern Spanish piece (which is the only genre he plays, I think) that ended with a series of lowest/highest notes. I have no idea who the composer was, but it was something from the last 30 years or so.
_________________________
"Most pianists are poor musicians, they dissect music into bits-and-pieces, like a roast chicken" -Debussy

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#2073078 - 04/28/13 08:05 PM Re: Use of highest and lowest keys? [Re: Polyphonist]
fledgehog Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/09/11
Posts: 273
Loc: West Hartford, CT
There are a couple spots in Ravel's music - I believe Jeux d'eau and Une barque sur l'ocean - where the lowest key (A0) is notated, but a G#0 is actually implied.

When Grieg's concerto was written, it utilized the full range of the keyboard just in the opening (there were 88-key pianos being made then but most still only went up to the high A). The same is true of a lot of Beethoven and Chopin's music, written for instruments with smaller ranges.

The Liszt sonata was already mentioned for the low B at the end, but the low A also makes a few appearances - most notably before the first statement of the grandioso D major theme.

Debussy's L'isle joyeuse has an A0 as its final note.

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#2073113 - 04/28/13 08:51 PM Re: Use of highest and lowest keys? [Re: Polyphonist]
DameMyra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/21/04
Posts: 1940
Loc: South Jersey
There was a thread similar to this a while ago. The first of Tcherepnin's Bagatelles Op. 5 goes up to the C8 and the seventh goes down to A0.
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#2073121 - 04/28/13 08:58 PM Re: Use of highest and lowest keys? [Re: Polyphonist]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7514
Loc: New York City
That would be this thread. Thanks. smile
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2073179 - 04/28/13 10:27 PM Re: Use of highest and lowest keys? [Re: Polyphonist]
Damon Online   happy
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6074
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist

Edit: The last note of the Liszt Sonata is also a B0. grin


Curiously, Cortot plays the B0's as A0's right before the fugue. A number of pianist have added octaves that reach to the lower notes that aren't indicated in scores. Friedman and Horowitz come to mind. Horowitz adds an A0 in the repeat of the middle theme of Chopin's military polonaise.
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It's been scientifically proven that Horowitz sucks.

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#2073210 - 04/28/13 11:28 PM Re: Use of highest and lowest keys? [Re: Polyphonist]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6070
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Doesn't the very ending of Prokofiev's 3rd piano concerto use the top C?

And the very first note in the piano of Ravel's concerto for the left hand uses the low A, and it is used many times. Actually, the low A is also used in his Concerto in G, too.

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#2073232 - 04/29/13 12:12 AM Re: Use of highest and lowest keys? [Re: Polyphonist]
beet31425 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3717
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Let's not forget the low A in the very last note of the first movement, and the last movement, of Prokofiev's 6th sonata. Epic moments both of them.


-J
_________________________
Beethoven: op.109, 110, 111

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#2073244 - 04/29/13 01:47 AM Re: Use of highest and lowest keys? [Re: Polyphonist]
maestro57 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/13/13
Posts: 38
Loc: Canada
I remember Valentina Lisitsa (in her DVD "Live at the Royal Albert Hall") playing the black keys on the Boesendorfer Imperial Grand 290. I think it might've been Liszt's Totentanz (solo piano verison).

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#2073245 - 04/29/13 01:50 AM Re: Use of highest and lowest keys? [Re: maestro57]
fledgehog Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/09/11
Posts: 273
Loc: West Hartford, CT
Originally Posted By: maestro57
I remember Valentina Lisitsa (in her DVD "Live at the Royal Albert Hall") playing the black keys on the Boesendorfer Imperial Grand 290. I think it might've been Liszt's Totentanz (solo piano verison).


Those wouldn't have been notated that way though, it would just be her own octave-doubling. I believe she does the same in the 2nd Liszt Ballade as well.

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#2073246 - 04/29/13 01:52 AM Re: Use of highest and lowest keys? [Re: maestro57]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7514
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: maestro57
I remember Valentina Lisitsa (in her DVD "Live at the Royal Albert Hall") playing the black keys on the Boesendorfer Imperial Grand 290. I think it might've been Liszt's Totentanz (solo piano verison).

For those that don't know, that's not the Chopin etude, that's the extra keys (down to C0) on the 97-key piano. grin

If they had gone 1 note further, they would have been in the -1 octave. ha
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Polyphonist

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#2073310 - 04/29/13 06:45 AM Re: Use of highest and lowest keys? [Re: Polyphonist]
dolce sfogato Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2626
Loc: Netherlands
highest: Kapustin op.40/6
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Longtemps, je me suis couch de bonne heure, but not anymore!

Couperin pices, Ravel tombeau de C

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#2073394 - 04/29/13 10:11 AM Re: Use of highest and lowest keys? [Re: Polyphonist]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6070
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
I gave a couple recitals in high school on an Imperial Bosendorfer with 97 keys. Didn't really use them, though :P

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#2073689 - 04/29/13 06:11 PM Re: Use of highest and lowest keys? [Re: Polyphonist]
mtnmanchuck Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/29/11
Posts: 16
Loc: Southern California
Prokofiev Piano Concerto #2 - Dat crazy 1st movement cadenza uses both the low A and high C


Edited by mtnmanchuck (04/29/13 06:12 PM)
_________________________
"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties."
-Frédéric Chopin

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#2073766 - 04/29/13 08:23 PM Re: Use of highest and lowest keys? [Re: Polyphonist]
Ahmediy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/27/13
Posts: 43
Low A is the final note of the Poulenc toccata.

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#2074014 - 04/30/13 08:57 AM Re: Use of highest and lowest keys? [Re: Polyphonist]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2290
Loc: San Jose, CA
I believe that Bartok's Out of Doors begins with A0 and Bb0 played together.

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#2074045 - 04/30/13 09:36 AM Re: Use of highest and lowest keys? [Re: Polyphonist]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2290
Loc: San Jose, CA
Also, Shostakovich's 1st Piano Concerto makes extensive use of the top C in the last movement.

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