In this month’s Practice Clinic, Graham Fitch answered questions on works by Brahms, Chopin and Burgmüller. Topics discussed included playing rolled chords, practising grace notes, tackling demisemiquavers and Baroque style.
Practice clinic questions
Brahms – Intermezzo in B-Flat Minor (Op. 117 No. 2) – I have been working on this work for quite a while and am still struggling with all those passages in demisemiquavers. How should I deal with the tension caused by all those stretches in both hands? Like f – b flat in the right hand (bar 2 first full bar) which occurs reversed in the left hand in bar 3, and so on. I find playing those softly and without wrong accents really difficult. A quasi staccato seems to produce a wrong colour of tone, so does rotation and from bar 60, the stretches get even bigger! Furthermore, the arpeggios in bars 24 are difficult for me to control and to play in time and blending them in with the pedal.
Baroque Style – How is Baroque touch different from other periods, and how does one teach this to students?
Chopin – Nocturne in C Minor (Op. 48 No. 1) – Can you please walk through the rolled chords in the Poco piu lento section of this work? A walkthrough of bars 27-37 would be great!
Burgmüller – La Pastorale (Op. 100 No. 3) – I am currently learning this work and am having some problems with the grace notes in bars 3,5 and 6. I can’t play them fast enough, so I can’t keep up with the general rhythm. Could you advise me on how to practice this?
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