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Piano Lesson in progress: Beethoven “Tempest” Sonata, Op. 31, No. 2 (shaping the opening phrases) Video

An adult student practiced the transition from the opening Largo broken chord, to grouping double 8th-notes in the Allegro, by blocking them, then unraveling the duple figures.

The Adagio that followed required phrasing with an ear toward shaping the line in a different temporal universe before a spill of note-pairs in a tension-building crescendo.

Video:

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Part Six Piano Instruction, Beethoven’s “Tempest” Sonata No. 17, Op. 31 No. 2 and all FIVE teaching segments preceding

In order from Part One to Six:

I.

II.

III.

IV.

V.

VI.

LINKS:

Part ONE: Beethoven Tempest Sonata in D minor

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/practicing-tips-for-beethovens-tempest-sonata-op-31-no-2-part-one-video/

Part TWO Instruction

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/piano-instuction-part-two-beethovens-tempest-sonata-hand-cross-over-with-tremolo-in-the-middle-voice/

Part THREE Instruction

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/04/03/piano-instruction-part-three-beethoven-tempest-sonata-in-d-minor-op-31-no-2/

Part FOUR Instruction

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/piano-instruction-part-four-beethovens-tempest-sonata-in-d-minor-op-31-no-2-measures-55-93/

Part FIVE Instruction

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/piano-instruction-part-five-beethovens-tempest-sonata-op-31-no-2-measures-93-to-158-development-recitative-submerged-pedal/

PART SIX, referenced in You Tube format

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwQzBpWJWqs

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Piano Instruction: Part TWO, Beethoven’s “Tempest” Sonata, Op. 31, No. 2, Hand Cross-over, with tremolo in the middle voice

A tricky chromatic scale with a turn-around at its end ushers in a stormy, impassioned section with cross-over hands. Some players observe the notation to a tee, and avoid these hand-over-hand maneuvers, but I, like many other pianists do the re-arranging in the interests of smoothly trailing a melodic line that starts in the bass and shifts into the treble. (This involves Left Hand over Right, where for me, at least, it’s easier to keep a consistent tremolo in the middle voice PLAYED BY THE RIGHT HAND)

Sorry for the confusion in visualizing this. It’s best to watch the video that goes into detail and fleshes out the choreography.

Measures 19 to 41:

RELATED:

Part ONE Beethoven “Tempest” Sonata instruction:

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/practicing-tips-for-beethovens-tempest-sonata-op-31-no-2-part-one-video/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/piano-instuction-part-two-beethovens-tempest-sonata-hand-cross-over-with-tremolo-in-the-middle-voice/

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Practicing tips for Beethoven’s “Tempest” Sonata, Op. 31 No. 2, Part ONE: (Video)

Because I found myself rambling on and on about the first page, I decided to compartmentalize the instruction to make it easier to absorb.

And since I played the “Tempest” years ago, the surest route to my restoring the piece to a respectable performance level, was to practice it from the ground up in slow tempo.

As I re-approached this Sonata, I relied heavily on CLUMPING or CLUSTERING groups of notes.

The opening two measures that resonate with a peaceful broken chord in the Dominant, are followed by a rapid stream of melodic seconds in a tempestuous descent. (The duality of the motif is clear)

In the video, I demonstrate a wrist forward motion as I clump the seconds which embody non-harmonic upper neighbor tones that are passing dissonances.

Clumping these 2nds (appoggiaturas) and throwing the wrist forward for each group of two allows a bigger and more effective energy to mobilize the passage.

It also helps with developing a “feel” for the composer’s keyboard landscape before advancing tempo.

The Video Instruction further amplifies: Part 1

LINK

PART TWO, Instruction, Beethoven “Tempest” Sonata

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/piano-instuction-part-two-beethovens-tempest-sonata-hand-cross-over-with-tremolo-in-the-middle-voice/

Another Beethoven Sonata landscape:

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/10/12/practicing-a-difficult-section-in-beethovens-sonata-pathetique-op-13-movement-1-video/

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Emotion and Meaning in Music with examples from Beethoven’s piano works (Videos)

As I thumbed through a soft cover copy of Leonard B. Meyer’s Emotion and Meaning in Music, a book required for an elective course I took at the City University of New York, I became thoroughly confused by the author’s eclectic vocabulary of “absolute music,” “theories of continuation,” “tonal organization” and the rest.

Yet, I recall that my professor at the time, synthesized Meyer’s concepts in a way that I could understand and apply them to my performances and teaching.

According to the Wikipedia, “Meyer’s most influential work, Emotion and Meaning in Music (1957), combined Gestalt Theory and theories by Pragmatists Charles Sanders Peirce and John Dewey to explain the existence of emotion in music.”

Peirce had suggested that any regular response to an event developed alongside the understanding of that event’s consequences. John Dewey elaborated: “If the response was stopped by an unexpected event, then an emotional response would occur over the event’s ‘meaning.'”

Meyer used this paradigm to create “a theory about music, combining musical expectations in a specific cultural context. His work influenced theorists both in and outside music, providing a basis for cognitive psychology research into music and human responses to it.”

Put in simple terms, when a listener absorbs music, he has certain “expectations” that are built into the composer’s design. In Beethoven’s “Fur Elise,” for example, on page two there are two phrases that sound strikingly parallel until the second one ends with a harmonic deviation that has an emotional “meaning” or at least triggers a “response.” It defies “expectation.”

In the video below, I’ve selected various portions of Beethoven’s compositions that elicit emotional responses in the way they defy expectation, though Meyer alludes to the fact that trained musical ears might further an appreciation of these emotional events.

I would add that having a theoretical background, including an understanding of harmonic progressions and their implications, augments an understanding of a composition’s emotional dimension as it unfolds in performance.

I’ve selected the following musical examples in the context of Meyer’s framing psychology:

Excerpts from,

Beethoven’s “Tempest” Sonata in d minor, Op. 31, No. 2, Allegretto (last movement)

Sonata “Pathetique” in C minor, Op. 13, No. 8, Adagio cantabile (second movement) and “Fur Elise.”