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Piano Technique: “Butterfly” by Grieg, a revisit (playing and exploring the rolling, rotational motion) videos

I can see the butterfly in my mind’s eye in its flight of fancy. But I wish it were as easy to play, as to imagine.

Relaxation is the key word here, but not to the point that the 16th-notes become like glissandi–a faint gloss over the keys. First in slow practice tempo you would rotate your right hand in a circular, counter-clockwise motion, as the left hand has its “rolling” effect to feed a roll-out between the rolling hands. (an abundance of rolls)

And despite what appears to be a dizzying display of chromatically woven 16th-notes, the litheness of the butterfly should be preserved.

In the middle section, side to side hand rotation works best in the right hand, while the left continues its roll over the octave span.

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The Background

A Norwegian Romantic era composer, Edvard Grieg wrote ten sets of these colorful, descriptive miniatures with illuminating titles. “March of the Dwarfs,” “Little Bird,” and “Butterfly,” among others particularly appeal to children because of their lush harmonic tapestries and engaging melodies.

“Butterfly” is a heart flutter with an improvised quality. It epitomizes Romantic music from the mid 19th Century with its fluid, rubato style of playing (flexible time)

Words cannot adequately express how beautifully Grieg weaves this Butterfly mosaic that uplifts the spirit while it touches the heart.

Analysis of harmony and movement: in back tempo

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