Piano Technique: Re-arranging hands for speed and agility in Burgmuller’s “La Chasse” (The Chase) Videos

I used Burgmuller’s “La Chasse” (The Chase) as my springboard for this particular discussion.

The opening section of this composition, at break neck speed, quickly builds to a forte dynamic with an ensuing spill of staccato broken octaves, against a chordal Left Hand carrying a melody. It’s plainly a bummer!

For some players, the only way to deal with a technical challenge like this, is to come up with a creative fingering alternative. Or they can just decide to shuffle the hands when no one’s looking.

I devised a change many years ago that I kept tight to my vest until one day I snatched a You Tube performance where a world-class pianist divided a set of rapid fire thirds between his hands that were notated for one.

At last! I was purged from my closet of shame, ready to be outed with my epiphanies.

So they follow:


1) First, the play through is offered with a surprise ending. Suggestions for more special effects are welcome.

2) What works for me.. and hopefully, for you.

A couple of points need emphasis:

Don’t feel like an oddity for re-arranging notes or chords between your hands, as long as you preserve the musical line/phrasing intended.


If you have a fiery staccato broken octave passage as occurs in “La Chasse,” first play it LEGATO–get into the keys– but have a big all encompassing motion that drives the passage. (LET YOUR WRIST SPRING FORWARD! Don’t lock it!)

Freezing your hand, wrist, and arm will get you nowhere fast. Besides, you’ll start to ache. Snip your over-riding legato into a staccato and explore varying degrees of weight application to realize dynamic contrasts, as between forte and piano.

Hopefully, the video ties everything together and is helpful.

About arioso7: Shirley Kirsten

International piano teacher by Skype, recording artist, composer, piano finder, freelance writer, film maker, story teller: Grad of the NYC HS of Performing Arts, Oberlin Conservatory, NYU (Master of Arts) Studies with Lillian Freundlich and Ena Bronstein; Master classes with Murray Perahia and Oxana Yablonskaya. Studios in BERKELEY and EL CERRITO, California; Member, Music Teachers Assoc. of California, MTAC; Distance learning and Skyped instruction with supplementary videos: SKYPE ID, shirleypiano1 Contact me at: shirley_kirsten@yahoo.com OR http://www.youtube.com/arioso7 or at FACEBOOK: Shirley Smith Kirsten, http://facebook.com /shirley.kirsten TWITTER: http://twitter.com/arioso7 Private fund-raising for non-profits as pianist--Public Speaking re: piano teaching and creative approaches
This entry was posted in 25 Progressive Pieces Op. 100 by Burgmuller, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, La Chasse by Burgmuller, pianist, piano, piano instruction, piano lesson, piano teacher, playing piano, Romantic era music, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, word press, word press.com, wordpress, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s