Piano repertoire that covers a wide range on the piano

Posted by: jjc12345

Piano repertoire that covers a wide range on the piano - 01/08/13 10:30 PM

Hi all

I'm looking for piano repertoire that span as wide a range as possible across the piano. For example Chopin's Etude Op 25 no 11 or op 10 no 1.

However, those pieces are really hard for me and I'm looking for repertoire that is at an intermediate level. And also as the pieces I mentioned are all pretty fast with a whole lot of running notes, I am also looking for ones that are slower and more lyrical instead.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thank you in advance!
Posted by: jeffreyjones

Re: Piano repertoire that covers a wide range on the piano - 01/09/13 12:59 PM

Beethoven - "Tempest" Sonata slow movement, Op. 31 No. 2. Not so much because it goes outrageously far to the top or bottom, but because it emphasizes its extremes in such a way that it feels much farther.

Rachmaninoff - C# minor Prelude. Uses a lot of the keyboard and especially the low registers.

Debussy - Prelude No. 4, Les parfums et les sons tournent dans l'air du soir.
Posted by: Tim Adrianson

Re: Piano repertoire that covers a wide range on the piano - 01/09/13 01:50 PM

One that comes to mind for me is Edvard Grieg's "Peasant's March" from his Op 54 Lyric Pieces (I believe No 2 in that set).
It rather specifically covers the entire range of the keyboard, and is IMO not overly difficult. Also, you might give the Brahms Intermezzi Op 117 a try -- particularly NO 2. I consider those to be early advanced rather than intermediate, but they're all beautiful.
Posted by: BDB

Re: Piano repertoire that covers a wide range on the piano - 01/09/13 02:02 PM

Jean Françaix wrote a Scherzo which uses A1 to A85. It is not too difficult.
Posted by: BruceD

Re: Piano repertoire that covers a wide range on the piano - 01/09/13 03:38 PM

Unless I'm missing something, I see that the "Norwegian March" Op 54, No 2, goes down only to G in the bass and C in the treble, leaving almost an octave in the left and a full octave in the right untouched. The "Notturno" from the same set (Op 54, No 4) has a wider range: low C to uppermost E.

While the Brahms, Op 117, No 2, goes down to a low B-flat, the uppermost note (last chord) is only a B-flat, leaving a whole octave untouched.

In both cases, the lowest/highest notes are touched only once.

I would have to say that one might be hard pressed to find repertoire within the technical grasp of the OP that really fulfills his requirements. Of course, "a wide a range as possible" might be the limiting factor that makes all suggestions appropriate.

Regards,
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Piano repertoire that covers a wide range on the piano - 01/09/13 04:17 PM

I'm very curious...

From a composition point of view such a restrain might be interesting to work with, but as a performer I really can't see a reason to find such a work.

Would the OP be willing to explain the 'why', please? As I said... I'm just curious...
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Piano repertoire that covers a wide range on the piano - 01/09/13 05:05 PM

I frequently use the opening cadenza of Grieg's Piano Concerto to assess the tone across the whole keyboard of a piano, if I have only a few seconds to do so. The cadenza uses the lowest note and just misses out the top three notes, in just 5 measures - and you can extend the upward flourish by an octave to take in the highest note too, if desired grin. But it's fast and not exactly easy...

For a self-contained piece, there's Carl Vine's The Anne Landa Preludes No.8: Sweetsour, which uses both the bottom A and the top C, and isn't difficult, because it's slow.
Posted by: jjc12345

Re: Piano repertoire that covers a wide range on the piano - 01/09/13 05:53 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions. In response to Nikolas, I'm looking for pieces to play that will give me an idea of the sound of the piano across the entire range if I play different pianos for the first time, like bennevis' suggestion to use the start of Grieg's concerto.
Posted by: justpin

Re: Piano repertoire that covers a wide range on the piano - 01/09/13 06:05 PM

Evangelion - Both of you dance like you want to win.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRLwFkp5V6M (the 60 second version)

The full orchestral version is here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPH6nDJmqxI

Uses every white key except for A0 B0 C1 + A7 B7 and C8.

I can play about 32 seconds of it

Its on Sperions website the sheets
Posted by: Derulux

Re: Piano repertoire that covers a wide range on the piano - 01/09/13 06:11 PM

The D-major recapitulation of the main theme in Rachmaninoff's 3rd piano concerto. Goes down to the bottom D, and up to the top C. Plus, you can play it a little slower, since you're not playing it with the orchestra, and the harmonies are so rich you'll get a real idea of the sound the piano can make. You can also really overdo the swell in the dynamics to get a true appreciation of the piano's dynamic range.

(Yes, the concerto is not even close to "intermediate" level, but I feel these two pages can be played by someone mentioning Chopin's etudes. Start after the mini-cadenza, and end before the octave runs.)
Posted by: martijefre

Re: Piano repertoire that covers a wide range on the piano - 01/09/13 08:33 PM

I'm looking for pieces to play that will give me an idea of the sound of the piano across the entire range if I play different pianos for the first time
Posted by: BDB

Re: Piano repertoire that covers a wide range on the piano - 01/09/13 08:57 PM

I use chromatic scales.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Piano repertoire that covers a wide range on the piano - 01/09/13 09:22 PM

Originally Posted By: martijefre
I'm looking for pieces to play that will give me an idea of the sound of the piano across the entire range if I play different pianos for the first time


Other than the opening of the Grieg concerto, when checking out pianos for their tonal quality, I also play the opening piano solo (starting with a cadenza) - three pages long, lasting around two minutes - of the third movement of the Yellow River Concerto. It extends from the low B flat to the top B flat, and you can tack on your own conclusion so that it doesn't sound like the orchestra needs to follow where you stopped.....
Posted by: btb

Re: Piano repertoire that covers a wide range on the piano - 01/10/13 08:54 AM

Talking of Grieg
there's always "Wedding Day at Troldhaugen"
and that tricky syncopated bit from m32 and rising to M42 and then cadenzing over 6 octaves by m45.

But then you wanted something easy to play.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Piano repertoire that covers a wide range on the piano - 01/10/13 09:18 AM

You can play the Rachmaninoff Prelude in g minor, there is a section with octaves that start up as high as A6 (or you can start with the preceding chords and go up to A#6) and goes down to G1. You can play this as slow as you like.

Perhaps a Chopin Nocturne would be good, like the e minor? That one in m. 37 goes from F#1 to B7.
Posted by: dolce sfogato

Re: Piano repertoire that covers a wide range on the piano - 01/10/13 06:41 PM

Czerny made an effort or 2000plus...
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Piano repertoire that covers a wide range on the piano - 01/10/13 07:46 PM

Originally Posted By: martijefre
I'm looking for pieces to play that will give me an idea of the sound of the piano across the entire range if I play different pianos for the first time
If you are trying out pianos, there is no reason why you need one piece to test the different ranges and the extremes of the piano. It makes more sense to learn a couple of pieces that you like, are appropriate to your piano study, or for any of countless reasons other than the one piece happens to use notes in every range.

And if your are trying pianos there's no reason to play an entire piece. Just choose a few measures from different pieces to hear how every section of the piano sounds.
Posted by: btb

Re: Piano repertoire that covers a wide range on the piano - 01/11/13 12:24 AM

12345 sounds like a newcomer ...
the spare 11 count would indicate a freshness at the Forum.

Also, the request for a slow piece of music covering a wide range of keyboard, might suggest hoping to get a handle on the distant ends of the piano.

However, it might be wise to start where we all did ... with the Bach Prelude I (BkI) and then drift into the Mozart Fantasia.

Who knows what next ... perhaps the redoubtable Moonlight Sonata... well, the first two movements at least ... the last
romps over the full reach of the keyboard, but at lightning speed.
Posted by: didyougethathing

Re: Piano repertoire that covers a wide range on the piano - 01/11/13 12:25 AM

"They" (whoever they are) say Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit uses every key on the piano. I'm not sure if that's true but it definitely uses most of them, and many in the outer reaches of keys.
Posted by: beet31425

Re: Piano repertoire that covers a wide range on the piano - 01/11/13 12:41 AM

Originally Posted By: didyougethathing
"They" (whoever they are) say Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit uses every key on the piano. I'm not sure if that's true but it definitely uses most of them, and many in the outer reaches of keys.


This raises a related and interesting (to me) question.

Is there indeed a piece in the standard repertoire that uses all 88 keys? Let's make it harder and say that glissandos don't count.

-J
Posted by: didyougethathing

Re: Piano repertoire that covers a wide range on the piano - 01/11/13 01:04 AM

Originally Posted By: beet31425
Originally Posted By: didyougethathing
"They" (whoever they are) say Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit uses every key on the piano. I'm not sure if that's true but it definitely uses most of them, and many in the outer reaches of keys.


This raises a related and interesting (to me) question.

Is there indeed a piece in the standard repertoire that uses all 88 keys? Let's make it harder and say that glissandos don't count.

-J


I've always wondered this myself. Not counting glissandos definitely adds a twist, I think I'll actually look through pieces and try to figure it out. I'm going to start with Gaspard when I have some free time. Does it count as one piece? I think it should! (I'm almost positive it doesn't use the last C though frown )
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: Piano repertoire that covers a wide range on the piano - 01/11/13 09:17 AM

When assessing the tonal structure of an unfamiliar instrument, I tend to fall back on Debussy La cathédrale engloutie. It certainly covers the range of the piano and at a speed where you can actually hear the tonal interaction of the extended range of the instrument.

Also, it is just plain hauntingly gorgeous.
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: Piano repertoire that covers a wide range on the piano - 01/11/13 09:26 AM

Speaking of glissandos - Do you use your thumbnail or the nail of your middle finger when playing a chromatic glissando?

Posted by: bennevis

Re: Piano repertoire that covers a wide range on the piano - 01/11/13 09:51 AM

Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Speaking of glissandos - Do you use your thumbnail or the nail of your middle finger when playing a chromatic glissando?



I don't know that you can play chromatic glissandi with one hand. You'd need both, and it's probably impossible to synchronize properly.

As for normal white-key glissandi, have a look at this lady's left middle finger soon after she played the glissando at the end of her first piano solo: http://youtu.be/KJTUUKAdZDU ......
Posted by: jeffreyjones

Re: Piano repertoire that covers a wide range on the piano - 01/11/13 11:19 AM

Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
When assessing the tonal structure of an unfamiliar instrument, I tend to fall back on Debussy La cathédrale engloutie. It certainly covers the range of the piano and at a speed where you can actually hear the tonal interaction of the extended range of the instrument.

Also, it is just plain hauntingly gorgeous.


Great suggestion.