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#509862 - 12/07/06 05:19 PM Fingering in LvB Op. 7
ctnski Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/01/06
Posts: 272
Loc: Jacksonville, FL
For anyone who has mastered Beethoven's piano sonata no. 4 in Eb (1st movement): what fingering do you use for the legato octaves, mm. 85-92. Overall, I find Schenker's fingerings very helpful. His propensity for using 1-3 in octaves, however, can be a bit of a stretch, especially white-to-white. Should I just play these octaves with 1-5 and 1-4 and a judicious use of pedal? I realize that fingering is very personal but I just wondered what others were doing here.

Much obliged for your thoughts.
_________________________
NY Steinway A 2005; Roland FP-7F/ FP-4

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#509863 - 12/07/06 05:31 PM Re: Fingering in LvB Op. 7
PoStTeNeBrAsLuX Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 2618
Loc: Geneva, Switzerland
Craig,

I wouldn't say that I have mastered this work as such, but I do play it quite often and have spent an hour's lesson on the 1st movement with my teacher a year ago or so, after I had spent a goodly while preparing it for inspection, as it were. In the measures you quote, I used the 1-3/1-4-/1-5 combinations suggested in the Henle edition, which I found OK-ish for my hand, but certainly not particularly easy or comfortable.

However in discussion with my teacher on this very passage, he suggested that with the una corda pedal engaged (those bars are marked pianissimo after all), and a light touch, one can be really quite generous with the damper pedal such that the result is more than acceptable even if one plays the octaves almost in portato fashion (using the usual 1-5 white notes, 1-4 black note style fingering), certainly better than a badly-executed attempt at legato. I tried it out during our lesson and, as usual, he was right \:\) .

-Michael B.
_________________________
There are two rules to success in life: Rule #1. Don't tell people everything you know.

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#509864 - 12/07/06 05:38 PM Re: Fingering in LvB Op. 7
Shosti Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/06
Posts: 433
Loc: Boston
I've been working on this sonata and have performed the first movement a few times recently. I actually play them all 1-5 except for the black note ones, which are 1-4. I know this sounds odd, but my teacher recommended it, and it actually works very well now. The point is that although you won't get a true 'finger legato' this way, it is easier to get an extremely even tone this way. I do a kind of half-pedal on top and it creates a nice sounding legato. When I practice this passage, I try to lift my fingers as little as possible.

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#509865 - 12/07/06 06:36 PM Re: Fingering in LvB Op. 7
ctnski Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/01/06
Posts: 272
Loc: Jacksonville, FL
Michael and Shosti,

Thanks for both your replies. I too find it much more comfortable using 1-5 with 1-4 on the black keys. I am practicing it now una corda. It does sound lovely that way! Isn't this great, being able to converse across continents with those amicable to our pursuits of happiness?

Thanks again.
_________________________
NY Steinway A 2005; Roland FP-7F/ FP-4

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#509866 - 12/08/06 12:42 AM Re: Fingering in LvB Op. 7
argerichfan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 9019
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
 Quote:
Originally posted by ctnski:
Isn't this great, being able to converse across continents with those amicable to our pursuits of happiness?
Indeed. And here's a hello from the other side of the pond.

My Tovey edition asks for the 4th finger only on black notes, which for a normal sized hand seems fair enough. A larger hand could throw in the 3rd finger on occasion, but it risks strain. One pianist I knew always used 1-5 on octaves, but I think that only worked for her. In quieter passages -as opposed to the octave volleys in the Tchaikovsky concerto- using the 4th finger (or 3rd) on black notes makes more sense.

Ultimately, take a look at Beethoven's phrasing and the dynamic levels. Sing those passages to yourself as you would wish to interpret them. Find a fingering that matches what you silently heard. It will work because your hands are as unique as you are as a person.

Hope that helps.
_________________________
Jason

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#509867 - 12/08/06 09:27 AM Re: Fingering in LvB Op. 7
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
I performed this piece several times, and used it for auditions. I used 1-5, and 1-4 for black keys with half pedalling or flutter pedalling - depending on the piano.

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#509868 - 12/08/06 01:09 PM Re: Fingering in LvB Op. 7
ctnski Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/01/06
Posts: 272
Loc: Jacksonville, FL
Jason & Phlebas,

Thanks too for your comments. It would appear I can leave the 1-3 octave fingering for hands larger than my own. I can make the stretch, but not rapidly. Much better, I presume, to have the passage flow evenly and spritely.

Jason, I agree with you regarding finding a fingering that will produce for you the sound you are hearing in your head. I would like to offer the following for the opening 5-note figure in the left hand in the Menuetto of LvB Op. 2/1: 3-4, 2-1 (2 on Bb), 3-4, 1-5, 3-4. This feels non-intuitive at first, but after much playing around I settled on it as the best way to get these thirds running smoothly.

Speaking of London, I just got my Oxford Univ. Press edition of the Bach-Hess chorale, "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring." Talk about some fingering! I played it through with my right hand only and got a severe cramp. (Reminds me of the first time I played Schubert D. 946/2, the middle section in Ab minor--yikes!) Then I listened to both Myra and Dinu playing this through. Such felicity! I have some catching up to do. So lovely though, I cannot put it away, nor get it out of my head.

Ciao!
_________________________
NY Steinway A 2005; Roland FP-7F/ FP-4

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