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Scarlatti Toccata in D minor with rapid fire repeated notes: Melodic contouring, dusting the keys, and slow motion replay (VIDEOS)

Here’s my anti-anxiety solution to playing those demanding, rapid-fire repeated notes in Scarlatti’s D minor Toccata.

First, being a technology nerd, I never dreamed I could master a slow motion replay on iMac’s iMovie, but through trial and error, I managed a half-speed rendering of the opener. Naturally, I deleted my sadly depressing droning voice that would have curbed the enthusiasm of players geared up for the Scarlatti challenge.

Essentially, I framed the bullet-fire repeated notes in real time, then slowed them up on the re-take. (A golden teaching moment, perhaps?)

Regardless, if you have to face the music, deal with it like I did, one clip at a time. (Just a reminder to use fingers 3,2,1, 3,2,1 for the repeaters)

Major Bullet Points:

1) Think MELODY through the dizzying repeated notes. There’s no time to count how many you miss. (You’re only human, so cut yourself some slack)

2) Let your arms completely relax– poof, they’re on puppet strings, or maybe if you’re the domestic type, let them hang over a clothesline, pleasantly suspended.

3) In the same spirit, make believe you’re doing some house cleaning and dust the keys, shaking loose your wrists.

Now take good mental notes and store them in your MUSCLE memory box as paradoxical as this may sound.

A snatch of Scarlatti with slow-motion replay.


Don’t expect a beat up old clunker with squeaks, squawks, and stiff, sticking keys to do the job!

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