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

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.