Piano Instruction: Don’t always accentuate the downbeat– Burgmuller’s music proves it (Video)

“Inquietude” from Burgmuller’s Op. 100 collection of Twenty-Five Progressive pieces, invites a player to examine harmonic progressions as a clue to phrasing a composition that’s often pounded to death with unnecessary DOWNBEAT accents.

Seymour Bernstein, distinguished pianist, teacher and author, noted in a recent conversation we shared in New York City, that our musical universe is made up of DOWNBEATERS and UPBEATERS. The former, he exclaimed, are convinced that every measure must have an emphasized first beat.

Beethoven’s “Fur Elise,” for example, is often played with obtrusive accents that distort its phrasing. It can be compared to ending a spoken sentence with a roar.

Burgmuller, a Romantic era composer, who created many miniatures with a strong teaching dimension, challenges the Intermediate level student to play one of his high intensity, rapid fire pieces without falling into the down-beater booby trap.

To avoid such a predicament the pianist must examine harmonic rhythm or the flow of the Left Hand chords to discern how to shape the melodic line–one that is replete with slurred groupings of three 16ths. (These spring out of a punctuated bass)

Leaning on certain chords, such as the Sub-dominant (IV) that don’t land on the first beat validates a clear alternative to being an automatic pilot, crash-landing musician.

My instructional video should assist not only one of my students who is studying this composition but those in the cyber piano cosmos who might be open to new ideas about “Inquietude” and how to approach/practice it.

Inquietude p 1

Inquietude p. 2

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
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