Playing 13 against 3

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Hello all piano players,

My question is about playing some figure, scale or arpeggio (often appears as an ornament) with an odd number of notes in it, that has to be played against a number of beats in the basic measure. To explain it a little bit more concrete, I have found in some of Chopins' walzes 'arpeggios' with 13 notes that has to be played exactly covering three beats in the 3/4 rythm. It is rythmically even more complicated as the arpeggio starts on the third beat in one measure and covers the first and second beat in the next measure. It is a challenge for me to manage this ornamental scale in a smoth and gentle way and without changing the natural pulse in the playing.

Has anyone any advices or suggestions how to solve this problem? I have tried to start grouping the 13 notes in 5 + 4 + 4 and playing these groups straight against the basic measure.

I have also found ornament scales including 11 tones to be played against two beats in the walz. I then grouped them 5 + 6. Any better suggestions ? Fingerings ?

Thanks in advance for any ideas !

Regards Rune Sj÷berg

-- Rune Sj÷berg (Rune.Sjoberg@uab.ericsson.se), October 18, 2001

Answers

Your groupings are fine, though you might want to try varying the 5-4- 4 to 4-4-5 and the 5-6 to 6-5 to determine which one adds better shape to the particular phrase. Fingering is whatever works for you, as long as you can keep your hand and arm relaxed. Tension will kill your velocity and the evenness of the tone. As for keeping the pulse, remember that this is Chopin. Rubato can be taken for granted here. Keep the measure the same length, but compress the rest of the measure to allow for a little extra on the longer arpeggios and scales. I suggest you listen to several performances of this piece to hear how others have tackled the tricky sections, then adjust what they do to suit your own style. Good luck.

-- Beth Doyle (stevenbeth@mediaone.net), November 04, 2001.

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