An Intriguing Measure in Beethoven’s op. 101

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Re: An Intriguing Measure in Beethoven’s op. 101

Post by Schonbergian »

What are your thoughts on those in light of Schenker's personal observations, John, and (additionally for me) the initial gesture in the first movement? Is its notation just designed to show the three registers used, or would Beethoven have seriously intended for both the low note and the chord to be played with the left hand in quick succession?

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John Ruggero
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Re: An Intriguing Measure in Beethoven’s op. 101

Post by John Ruggero »

Regarding the A# in the Hammerklavier, I may post a thread on that. In short, Schenker had no doubt whatsoever that it was a mistake and that an A natural was the intended note. To me, the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the A natural. Much of the evidence is presented in an excellent article by Paul Badura-Skoda called appropriately enough "Should we play an A natural or an A sharp in Beethoven's Hammerklavier Sonata, op. 106?" Notes vol. 68 no. 4 June 2012 p. 751-757 if you have access to JSTOR.

There is already a thread on the metronome markings in op. 106.

The B-flat pick up note is to be played by the left hand. Playing the opening leap with two hands, as sometimes suggested, breaks up the first statement of the dramatic 10th motive that will be used throughout the entire piece. Not a great way to start.

Try playing the B-flat with the third finger and the lowest note in the chord with the fifth and see if that helps.

Playing leaps with accuracy, like everything else in piano playing, depends a number of factors:

1.One must know where all the keys of the piano are with all fingers without looking at the keyboard. In this way, "jumps" don't really exist; one is simply playing two keys in succession that happen not to be within a single hand span.

2. One must be able to accelerate the keys to produce tone with the fingers alone, applying arm energy only when absolutely necessary. This is particularly important in the case of "jumps".

3. One must use good finger coordination, moving the fingers as a unit from the hand-knuckles only with a simple tapping motion.

4. One must be able to apply various degrees of finger pressure in holding down the keys suitable to the task at hand. In the case of "jumps", it is essential to grip the key that is played before the jump for stability and also get a good grip on the goal note that one is aiming at. In this case it would be the D played by the thumb. The standard error is to let go of the first note with the fingers slightly before the jump. It is much better if the finger never really lets go of the key, but is pulled off by the action of the arm.

5. One must maintain good arm balance on the keyboard at all times, which involves curved motions of the whole arm to place each finger in its best and most balanced position. In the case of the jump in the 106, that would be an "over gesture", the upper half of an oval, that would carry the third finger well-balanced on the B-flat up to the thumb well-balanced on the D. It would start with a "wind-up from below" a lifting action of the elbow and arm started before the first note plays to carry the arm smoothly into the beginning of the "over gesture."
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