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#2148953 - 09/12/13 05:44 PM Das Lebewohl - to pedal legato or not
Hfffoman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/24/09
Posts: 12
Loc: Kent, England
(Beethoven op 81a) There are two passages I am undecided on.

In bar 4 of the allegro, it is impossible to get a legato without the pedal but the chords are fast making legato pedalling for each chord a real challenge. If you can't pedal each chord separately you must either lose some legato or blur a chord. Listening to my Kempf, the legato is so perfect, it seems that he must be pedalling each chord separately. Is that the normal method, or just what the superhumans do?

Bar 184 is interesting. We have to play A flat/F then G/E flat. Tovey's fingering is 31-53. If you pedal over the gap, it brings out a nasty resonance because the pedal picks up the left hand's A natural against the A flat. It is possible to produce a good legato without the pedal by sliding 3 to 5 on the A flat and taking the next chord with 42. This is difficult because you have to slide from 3 to 5 getting 4 out of the way and ready to play the next note with it. However, with practice it sounds quite good. Is this a crazy idea? Would you pedal or just leave a break in the legato?

Thanks for your thoughts

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#2148959 - 09/12/13 05:59 PM Re: Das Lebewohl - to pedal legato or not [Re: Hfffoman]
beet31425 Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 4068
Loc: Bay Area, CA
First of all, for those of use whose measure count starts at the beginning of the movement, your questions are about measure 19 and measure 199.

For measure 19 ("bar 4 of the allegro"): Yes, you should be able to pedal each chord separately. If you're having a hard time, you just need to develop more hand-foot coordination. Work on it slowly. I don't consider the pedaling here to be particularly rapid, so this is a good opportunity to improve an important technique.

I imagine there are some who can achieve legato in this measure by connecting top notes, but for most of us, this would be ergonomically harmful!

For measure 199 ("bar 184 of the allegro")... good question; I'll have to get home to a piano and see!

Jeux d'eau
Goldberg Variations

#2149205 - 09/13/13 05:35 AM Re: Das Lebewohl - to pedal legato or not [Re: Hfffoman]
Hfffoman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/24/09
Posts: 12
Loc: Kent, England
Thank you that's very interesting. I look forward to your thoughts on the second point. Actually this raises another question. There are several similar passages (measures 53/57, 93, 145/149 and 166). 166 will need pedalling but most if not all of the chords in the other passages can be achieved with legato fingering. Is it a general rule that you get legato with fingering if possible, and the pedal if you can't? Sometimes there may be a tradeoff because the legato fingering is more awkward and may detract in other ways.

It is very helpful to get feedback after practising in isolation. There is another point that troubles me. I have assumed I just need to work on it but maybe there is something helpful that can be said.

Sometimes I try to play a note quietly and it fails to sound. I am not trying to play below the threshold of the piano. If I strike correctly it will sound very quiet. But sometimes the mechanism slips on the escapement and there is no sound. I am not sure what I am doing differently in the two instances.

Good examples are the A/E flat/F sharp chord in measure 4 of the same sonata and the G/E flat 2nd 8th note in measure 6. Sometimes I even miss the left hand F/B flat chord half way through measure 10 even though I am not trying to play it particularly quietly.

I wonder if I should just increase the volume of the whole movement slightly. I am playing on a 7'10" Bluthner grand in a room 23' long so it will inevitably sound loud.

Edited by Hfffoman (09/13/13 06:38 AM)


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