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#2135080 - 08/18/13 10:36 PM Moonlight sonata question
Pierre-Luc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/21/12
Posts: 33
Loc: Montreal
I have been learning the famous moonlight sonata from Beethoven and have been struggling with this passage (as shown in the picture below).

Should I be playing the G at the bottom of the bass clef as a G# or a normal G?

The key signature is made of C#, D#, F# and G#.

It sounds quite awful when I play a G# there but I have really been wondering since there are no accidental on that note and there is on the two top G.

Thanks!


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Yamaha YDP-181
Alfred's All-in-One Level 2

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#2135092 - 08/18/13 10:55 PM Re: Moonlight sonata question [Re: Pierre-Luc]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
The note your red arrow points to, 1 ledger line below the bass clef, is E, not G (nor G#).
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Ebaug(maj7)

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#2135100 - 08/18/13 11:06 PM Re: Moonlight sonata question [Re: Pierre-Luc]
Pierre-Luc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/21/12
Posts: 33
Loc: Montreal
Thank you PianoStuden88

I'm a bit ashamed of not seeing that before.. I've been so used to seeing the two bottom notes of that piece being octaves.


Edited by Pierre-Luc (08/18/13 11:08 PM)
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Yamaha YDP-181
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#2136220 - 08/20/13 07:26 PM Re: Moonlight sonata question [Re: Pierre-Luc]
Bamburg Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/07/13
Posts: 82
Just out of curiosity, since E and G are so far apart would it be acceptable while playing this to play a G octave with your right hand and just let the left take care of that lone E even though the bottom G is written in the bass clef? The reason I ask is because That interval is barely out of my reach (I can press the keys but the ones beside move a bit.) also as a related question, is it likely that my hands will stretch out any as I play more, even though I'm 26 already?

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#2136222 - 08/20/13 07:33 PM Re: Moonlight sonata question [Re: Pierre-Luc]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
Yes, it's fine to redistribute the notes to whichever hand(s) makes sense. I think I normally play all (or almost all) of the triplets with my right hand, throughout this piece.
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#2136605 - 08/21/13 12:44 PM Re: Moonlight sonata question [Re: PianoStudent88]
cmb13 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/15/13
Posts: 15
Really? Then how to you hit the higher G? Finger 1 on lower G, 5 on higher? I haven't tried this piece yet, but am finishing Alfred Book 1 soon and wanted to consider this. I know I'm not quite ready but just wondering.

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#2136619 - 08/21/13 01:26 PM Re: Moonlight sonata question [Re: Pierre-Luc]
Saranoya Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/13
Posts: 620
Loc: Brussels, Belgium
In the version of the score that I have (Wiener Urtext Edition), nearly all of the triplets are in the upper staff, and those that aren't mostly have their stems pointing upwards, which I've always been told means they should usually be played by the right hand. Have a look at the specific measure you were talking about:



In this specific measure, my right hand plays F#(octave)-B-D, and then again F#-B-D while holding the upper F#. Then G(octave)-B-C and E(octave)-B-C.

Left hand plays B(octave) for two beats, and then just the two lower quarter notes: E and G.

Hope that helps!
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Beginner with some priors since 9/2012

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#2136637 - 08/21/13 02:15 PM Re: Moonlight sonata question [Re: cmb13]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: cmb13
Really? Then how to you hit the higher G? Finger 1 on lower G, 5 on higher?

Yes.

Originally Posted By: Saranoya
In the version of the score that I have (Wiener Urtext Edition), nearly all of the triplets are in the upper staff, and those that aren't mostly have their stems pointing upwards, which I've always been told means they should usually be played by the right hand.

Sometimes it suggests that the notes be played by the right hand. Sometimes it's simply a way of distinguishing voices in the left hand. I think it takes time, experience, and judgment to decide which is which.

Notice for example that in the measure's third beat just visible to the left of your image, the triplets in the treble clef have their stems down. But you interpret this as being played by the right hand, and in this case do not interpret the stems down to mean you should play these notes with the left hand.

Stem direction sometimes -- but not always -- suggests which hand to use. I think more often it indicates separate voices, rather than which hand, but sometimes it's very clearly used to indicate which hand -- but even then, you can still choose to distribute the notes differently, if a different way lies better under your hand.

Staff (upper vs. lower) sometimes -- but not always -- suggests which hand to use. Very often it's upper=right, lower=left, but this is by no means universal. Again, you can choose to distribute the notes differently, if a different way lies better under your hand.

It's not always easy to tell. An example of this is a Grieg piece I'm playing where there were some notes above the treble clef with stems down. I interpreted this to mean that it was indicating a second voice that should be emphasized in some ways. It took posters here to point out to me the other clues that suggested that the stems down were suggesting that the notes be taken with the left hand.
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#2136644 - 08/21/13 02:30 PM Re: Moonlight sonata question [Re: PianoStudent88]
Saranoya Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/13
Posts: 620
Loc: Brussels, Belgium
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88

Sometimes [stem direction] suggests that the notes be played by the right hand. Sometimes it's simply a way of distinguishing voices in the left hand. I think it takes time, experience, and judgment to decide which is which.

Notice for example that in the measure's third beat just visible to the left of your image, the triplets in the treble clef have their stems down. But you interpret this as being played by the right hand, and in this case do not interpret the stems down to mean you should play these notes with the left hand.


You're right, of course. In this context, I play the triplets in that measure in my right hand even though they have their stems down, just because it would be impractical to switch to playing the triplets in the left hand there.

It took me a while to figure this out (mostly because when I first started playing the piece, I had no score to go by and no teacher to give me hints about hand position), but when you play most of the triplets with your right hand (all of them, in fact, except for a couple of measures at the very end), then there's actually only one spot in the entire piece where you have to stretch wider than an octave.
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Beginner with some priors since 9/2012

Currently Playable
Bach 846, 926, 930
Beethoven 27/2 mvt. 1
Burgmüller 100/3, 4, 7, 12, 15, 19, 25
Chopin 72/1
Clementi 36/1
Grieg 12/1, 7
Tchaikovsky 39/9

Future
Burgmüller 109
Bartok Sz 56
Mozart K331

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#2136653 - 08/21/13 02:59 PM Re: Moonlight sonata question [Re: Pierre-Luc]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3181
Loc: Maine
I don't think in your Moonlight Sonata that the stems are indicating hand. I think they're indicating voice. They vary between down and up depending on which staff they're on, but regardless of staff they're indicating "middle voice."

Other considerations, apart from the stems, are used to determine which hand to use. In the Moonlight Sonata, playing the triplets almost always with the right hand gives a reasonable reach; playing them with the left hand gives an insane reach. Ergo, right hand. If there's a place where right hand triplets would give an insane reach (I haven't checked the score) then switch to left hand triplets if that has a more reasonable reach.

This is not always the same in every piece: Sometimes stems give a clue to hand, sometimes they don't. Sometimes staff gives a clue to hand, sometimes it doesn't.
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#2136842 - 08/21/13 10:24 PM Re: Moonlight sonata question [Re: Pierre-Luc]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7605
Loc: New York City
As long as you differentiate the voices clearly and maintain the texture of the middle voice while switching hands, it doesn't matter which hand you are using at any given time.
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Polyphonist

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#2181641 - 11/13/13 02:11 PM Re: Moonlight sonata question [Re: Pierre-Luc]
Pierre-Luc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/21/12
Posts: 33
Loc: Montreal
Does anyone know what means the small "x" in the last notes of the bass clef in the first measure of page 3 ?

http://www.all-about-beethoven.com/pdf/beethoven/moonlightsonata_I.pdf

Thanks in advance!
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Yamaha YDP-181
Alfred's All-in-One Level 2

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#2181646 - 11/13/13 02:19 PM Re: Moonlight sonata question [Re: Pierre-Luc]
timmyab Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/08
Posts: 461
Loc: Bristol, UK
^Double sharps

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#2181662 - 11/13/13 02:44 PM Re: Moonlight sonata question [Re: Pierre-Luc]
Pierre-Luc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/21/12
Posts: 33
Loc: Montreal
so in that case, the notes actually played would be G# ?

The notes on the sheet is F double sharp and the key signature includes F#. F# + 2x # = G# ?

Does this logic makes any sense?
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Yamaha YDP-181
Alfred's All-in-One Level 2

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#2181669 - 11/13/13 02:54 PM Re: Moonlight sonata question [Re: Pierre-Luc]
timmyab Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/08
Posts: 461
Loc: Bristol, UK
No, play G natural.

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#2181672 - 11/13/13 02:58 PM Re: Moonlight sonata question [Re: Pierre-Luc]
Pierre-Luc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/21/12
Posts: 33
Loc: Montreal
Thank you timmyab. I will try to find some reading material on that subject as it is still a bit confusing to me smile
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Yamaha YDP-181
Alfred's All-in-One Level 2

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#2181701 - 11/13/13 03:35 PM Re: Moonlight sonata question [Re: Pierre-Luc]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7605
Loc: New York City
A sharp means the note is raised a half step.

A double sharp means the note is raised two half steps, or a whole step.

What's confusing about it? smile
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Polyphonist

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#2181715 - 11/13/13 03:49 PM Re: Moonlight sonata question [Re: Pierre-Luc]
Pierre-Luc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/21/12
Posts: 33
Loc: Montreal
The only thing that confuses me is that in the example, the F is already sharped because of the key signature.

F# + double sharp equals G# to me smile

I'm guessing double sharps needs to be played while ignoring the key signature?
_________________________
Yamaha YDP-181
Alfred's All-in-One Level 2

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#2181721 - 11/13/13 03:54 PM Re: Moonlight sonata question [Re: Pierre-Luc]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7605
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Pierre-Luc
The only thing that confuses me is that in the example, the F is already sharped because of the key signature.

F# + double sharp equals G# to me smile

I'm guessing double sharps needs to be played while ignoring the key signature?

Yes; it has nothing to do with the key signature, it will always be (the enharmonic equivalent of) G. If we did it your way, then an F double sharp would be F# in Cb major, G in C major, and G# in C# major. Too confusing. grin
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Polyphonist

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#2181729 - 11/13/13 04:00 PM Re: Moonlight sonata question [Re: Pierre-Luc]
Pierre-Luc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/21/12
Posts: 33
Loc: Montreal
Ahh, that makes sense. Thanks a lot smile
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Alfred's All-in-One Level 2

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