The next instalment in our “Pieces to play” series features a selection of popular works at a more advanced level for which we have published annotated study editions and other resources.

JS Bach – Prelude and Fugue No. 2 in C Minor from WTC Book I

The prelude for the work is built on a continually repeated pattern of broken chords with sharp, often dissonant accents on main beats and constant movement in-between them. This makes the score conducive to simplification using blocking to discover the underlying harmonic progression. Click here to find out more about simplification methods or click here to hear a recording of this work on Spotify.

piece to play - JS Bach Prelude No. 2 in C Minor from WTC Book I

Fugues are one of the most complicated musical structures and as a result, many pianists shy away from them. However, there are ways to approach learning a Fugue that make the challenge less daunting. One of these is to use the “practice stepladder” which is based on learning voices separately (or in various combinations) rather than hands. Click here to find out more about the practice stepladder.

Click here to purchase our study edition for this work.

Beethoven – Sonata in C# Minor (Moonlight), First Movement

Cover of first edition of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata

Beethoven’s Sonata in C# Minor (Sonata quasi una fantasia), Op. 27 No. 2, is surely one of the most famous pieces of music of all time. Completed in 1801, it was dedicated to his student, Countess Giulietta Guicciardi. The title “Moonlight” was given not by Beethoven, but by poet Ludwig Rellstab; even though Rellstab dreamed this up five years after Beethoven’s death, his nickname stuck.

One of the particular challenges of the piece is voicing. In this video, Graham Fitch demonstrates exercises to help projecting the melody in the right-hand while playing the accompaniment figuration softly, evenly and comfortably:

Another interesting factor to consider is that the functioning of the pedal in Beethoven’s time was different to that of today. This blog post provides some background and further suggestions on pedalling for the work.

Click here to purchase our study edition for this work.

Schubert – Impromptu No. 2 in E-Flat Major, D899

The second of Schubert’s first set of Impromptus opens with a scale-based melody comprising fast triplets, almost in the style of an etude. The A section is charming, delicate and pretty but is contrasted with a darker, more ominous B section.

Developing speed while retaining evenness is one of the challenges in this work. This video demonstrates  various method for developing speed in this work.

Click here to purchase our study edition for this work.

Chopin – Fantaisie Impromptu in C-sharp Minor (Op. Posth. 66)

This is undoubtedly one of Chopin’s most popular works for the piano and as a result, many pianists attempt to play it before they are ready to tackle the various challenges entailed.

The biggest challenge when attempting to put the hands together is managing the 4:3 polyrhythms found throughout. This video provides a simple, but effective exercise to develop the coordination for the polyrhythm:

NEW STUDY EDITION! Our new study edition for this work featuring six walk-through videos, numerous annotations, additional video demonstrations and practice worksheets. Click here to find out more or click here to purchase it.

Brahms’s Intermezzo in A Major (Op. 118 No. 2)

Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms

Written for Clara Schumann towards the ends of their lives, this piece by Brahms is full of nostalgia, tenderness and yearning. Click here to find out more about the touching back story to this work

Our collection of resources for this work include a downloadable study edition, a video walkthrough series on how to learn it and a set of “fantasy analysis” videos which offer  a personal narrative on interpretation. Click here to purchase from our store.

More Pieces to Play?

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These editions can also be purchased as a combined bundle for £19.99 from our store and are included with an annual subscription to the Online Academy. Click here to find out more about the Online Academy or click here to subscribe.