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J.S. Bach, Harmonic Analysis and Phrasing

One of my piano students who is learning J.S. Bach's Little Prelude in E minor, BWV 941 wanted to explore the modulations permeating this soulful work to advance her understanding of phrasing. The Analysis: In a series of broken chords through 22 measures, the composer artfully departs from the home key of E minor to… Continue reading J.S. Bach, Harmonic Analysis and Phrasing

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A Perky Finale to Clementi Sonatina in C Major, Op. 36, No. 1

https://youtu.be/U4-A28lJfrQ A fun-filled romp through a short Rondo form last movement invites a mood lift of One beat per measure, rather than a rigid progression of 3/8ths counted methodically. In this sense, I'm reminded of Vivace movements (very brisk) from Classical era symphonies that are conducted with a single stroke of the baton, measure by… Continue reading A Perky Finale to Clementi Sonatina in C Major, Op. 36, No. 1

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Correction of 2/19/2021 video embeds for Subscribers who were sent a version by WordPress that left one out.

I published a blog on 2/19/2021 that should have been sent to my blog subscribers with two embedded you tube videos that were post-lesson tutorials. (RE: Chopin Nocturne in E minor, Op. 72, No. 1) Unfortunately, Word Press support, aware of the issue, was unable to resend subscriber mailings so that both videos would be… Continue reading Correction of 2/19/2021 video embeds for Subscribers who were sent a version by WordPress that left one out.

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Post piano lesson video tutorials of Chopin Nocturne in E minor, Op. 72, No.1

I frequently send my students video reviews of main ideas that have been explored during their lessons. These recaps imbue stepwise learning strategies while promoting thoughtful practicing sessions between meetings. Over time, they grow a consciousness of melodic contouring, harmonic rhythm, choreographies, and fingering choices, imparting a solid foundation from which to grow independent wells… Continue reading Post piano lesson video tutorials of Chopin Nocturne in E minor, Op. 72, No.1

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Tchaikovsky’s Morning Prayer: A fusion of vocal model ingredients, rhythmic color, and harmonic movement

As I approach the opening tableau of Tchaikovsky's memorable "Morning Prayer," (Op. 39), I draw on the vocal model to shape the very top soprano line that's embedded in a Russian church choir setting. But sculpting the melody is not achieved by intuition alone. It requires an understanding of how rhythmic "color," and harmonic flow… Continue reading Tchaikovsky’s Morning Prayer: A fusion of vocal model ingredients, rhythmic color, and harmonic movement

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J.S. Bach Invention No. 8: A Harmonic Analysis opportunity

As I reviewed J.S. Bach's ebullient Two Part Invention in F, BWV 779, I quickly realized that it would be an ideal springboard to teach basic essentials of keyboard harmony, not to mention, fundamentals of two-part "counterpoint." In this endeavor, my video tutorial follows: https://youtu.be/0Yx_kC1UoKU The extraction of ascending broken chords and descending scales (Major… Continue reading J.S. Bach Invention No. 8: A Harmonic Analysis opportunity

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Small hand challenges playing Gershwin’s Prelude No. 2

As teachers, we're in a position to advise our students about navigating big stretches that may not comfortably fit hands that are small or even moderate in size. George Gershwin's Prelude No. 2, a bluesy lullaby, is exemplary in requiring artful phrasing of relentless measures that have these wide interval spans beyond the reach of… Continue reading Small hand challenges playing Gershwin’s Prelude No. 2

piano, piano blog by Shirley Kirsten, piano blogger, piano blogging, piano blogs

Piano Technique: Folding in Thumbs for smooth keyboard transit

Most piano students experience the nemesis of hard-falling, accident-prone thumbs during their scale and arpeggio romps. If unchecked, these power-grabbing fingers of each hand have a tendency to interrupt smooth-playing keyboard journeys. As a start, a player should imagine a scale or arpeggio as a seamless outflow without "bumps" or undesirable "accents." Even in a… Continue reading Piano Technique: Folding in Thumbs for smooth keyboard transit