In this month’s Practice Clinic, Graham Fitch answers questions on rhythmic challenges, hand-redistribution, building speed and pedalling in works by Beethoven, Uwe Korn, Ravel and Grieg.
Practice clinic questions
Beethoven Sonata in E Major, Op. 14 No. 1 (3rd mvt) – I’m having difficulty with the syncopated polyrhythm that starts at bar 108. It feels like I’ve spent longer on those three bars than the rest of the sonata combined! There is a similar problem spot in bar 81 of Op. 14 No. 2, and Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 27 No. 1 (B section) where one hand is missing the first beat.
Uwe Korn Caballos Espanoles (from Tango Meets Jazz) – I’m finding it difficult to play the rhythm of the left hand correctly, especially when playing with the right hand together in Chorus 1 and 2 (bars 22-53). How should I practise to secure the rhythm of the left hand and with pedal? How should the notes in Chorus 2 (bars 38-53) be phrased, and how to practise so that right hand can play through easily in this section. Lastly, is pedal needed for this section?
Ravel Sonatine (3rd mvt) – I have been struggling to come up with a workable fingering for a section from bar 43. I’ve tried redistributing some of the 16th notes from one hand to the other which works OK at a slow tempo but comes adrift when I play at the speed.
Grieg Wedding Day at Troldhaugen. Op. 65 No. 6 (from Lyric Pieces) – I have a question about the pedalling in the opening section. The printed pedalling is very murky, may I alter this or is there a reason behind it? Also, I am finding it hard to make sense of the second part, with the alternating semiquavers. Can you suggest how I might practise it so I can play it at the tempo?
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