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A Well-known Haydn Piano Sonata is pinned!

I don’t mean to inject pins into this post, but it amply introduces Haydn’s vibrant Sonata no. 35 in C Major.

Yesterday, as I diligently embarked upon learning this masterpiece, I had to deal with basic housekeeping matters: How to practice the pages-long first movement without breaks in continuity?

My short-term solution:

Harpsichordist, *Elaine Comparone e-mailed a quick reply:

“You either hire a page turner or turn them yourself. Or you can memorize the whole damn thing! Pinned up that way, only a giraffe could read it.”

My response:

“I’ll grow into it.” (like a giraffe, maybe?) even though I had an ELEPHANT (grand piano) in my room vying for undivided attention. (pun unintended) The place was turning into a zoo!

Elaine was painfully right, however, that Haydn’s pages were PINNED so high that my neck got a major workout. And besides, all scores PINNED before it, were demoted to sub-bench status. (My Little Bach Preludes? where were they? .. the ones delivered in break speed by an industrious Greek Skype student who kept me on my toes! Even on my toes I could barely reach the Haydn to make proper eye contact!)

But, resoundingly, I said, NO to an Ipad-driven page turner as recommended by a few tech-crazed nerds. As it was, my Berkeley apartment was over-run with computers, accessories, mics, video cams, etc. that ate up its precious space. Besides, my budget could not absorb more hardware?

So in a compromised spirit, I settled down to learn the Haydn Sonata, and in my baby-step journey set out to impart a few tips about tackling the Exposition:

The Development, Recap and Coda will soon follow, still pinned, until memory better serves me.

*P.S. A big thumbs up to Elaine Comparone for her index of ornament executions (directly applicable to the Haydn score)

“With turns and trills, they INVARIABLY begin on UPPER note (DCBC) so one less note for your turn. This ornament practice holds true through Beethoven and beyond— but I can’t personally vouch for later than Ludwig. The only ornaments beginning on main note are:

“1. Mordents (trill sign with a slash–usually one shake but can be more and they begin on main note and alternate with lower: e.g. CBC.
“2. Main note trills which are very long notes—at the least a half note.(CDCDCD…) These perform a different function than normal trills, which ALWAYS begin on upper note (appoggiatura) (DCDCDC).”

Comparone highly recommends CPE’s Treatise on Keyboard Playing


How to improve Memorization at the piano

Excerpted CPE Treatise on Keyboard Playing:

Piano Lessons by Webcam:

2 thoughts on “A Well-known Haydn Piano Sonata is pinned!”

  1. Hi Shirley – I just played this at NCTM Fall Piano Festival and turned my own pages. Although it was 99% memorized, I felt better with my score. Of course with all my church playing, I turn my own pages in crazy pieces all the time. It adds to the excitement. Especially when the music falls off the piano! In my experience, hiring a page turner can be even more disastrous!!


    1. Christine, Thanks for sharing. Your last comment reminds me of a performance I attended at Carnegie Hall decades ago.
      It was Martin Katz accompanying either Nathan Milstein, violinist, or Daniil Shafrin, cellist. Anyway, mid-sonata, the music fell into his lap because of the page turner. And Katz continued playing without skipping a beat until the movement’s end. Then the music was restored to the rack. I agree with all that you’ve said.


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