3 (Prokofiev) – Martha Argerich. Steinway: Why is it your Favorite Pianist’s Piano? 67 No. Perhaps the most famous example of a musical perpetuum mobile is Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumble Bee, an orchestral interlude from his opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan. Many teachers and tutor books describe rotary as “turning a doorknob” (an old-fashioned round doorknob, obviously) or turning cooker knobs. It is not so much the pitch or range of notes that present the challenge, but the sheer speed of it and the musician’s ability to move quickly around the notes. The repetitions of the melody make it a hypnotic piece, but the changes prevent it from being boring. Speed the movement up so that the student understands that it is the rolling (“rotary”) movement of the wrist that makes the sound, rather than the fingers. Frédéric Chopin completed the work while living in George Sand’s manor in Nohant, some 250 km (160 mi) south of Paris, a year before it was published in 1840. Instead, the accumulation of elements and orchestration make this an energetic and exciting piece to listen to, and to play. PCO’s Perpetuum Mobile is built on a simple repetitive melody which is put through several harmonic and textural changes, building in grandeur as it goes. Encourage the student to watch the movement of the wrist: if the wrist isn’t moving, it ain’t rotating! The Cross-Eyed Pianist is free to access and ad-free, and takes many hours every month to research, write, and maintain. Before playing a single note on the piano, we practice rotary motion above the keyboard, or even away from the keyboard. The beauty of this music, in my opinion, is the clarity of the writing, and the elegant song lines which are subtly embedded in the triplet figures. I. Scherzo (in Eb minor) 13:21 III. The two-bar melody, which is scored in 7/8 and 4/4, contains an octave leap which might be tricky for smaller hands. If you find joy and value in what I do, please consider making a donation to support the continuance of the site, “My instrument is my body, so it is always in flux, and my identity as a singer has gone through many transformations as a result”, The Case for Classical Music in a Crazy World, “I believe music feeds our souls. The difficulty in this piece, as in the Chopin, is keeping the triplets even, though with some give-and-take/rubato and dynamic shading to add interest: unlike the Chopin, there is prettiness and charm in this piece, and the dance rhythm of the bass line should be highlighted too. Examples from classical music include the presto finale of Chopin’s Piano Sonata No. This popular work, often performed as an virtuosic encore, consists of nearly uninterrupted runs of chromatic semiquavers, with leitmotifs (Givdon’s themes) from the opera. Several of my students have been learning and enjoying this well-known piece by the Penguin Café Orchestra, and so I thought it might be helpful to have some background. But my teacher and I decided the movement was more like the windscreen wipers of a car: it’s an “out-in” movement rather than “in-out”. This may sound daft, but I can confirm that in my Diploma recital, I probably played the restatement of the opening section on one breath. Careless or over-pedalling won’t highlight these interior elements to the listener. Other famous perpetuum mobiles from classical music include Debussy’s ‘Mouvement’ for piano (from the first book of Images), and Francis Poulenc’s Trois Mouvements perpétuels. 2 in B-Flat Minor, Op. The Penguin Café Orchestra (PCO) was a collective of musicians, founded by Simon Jeffes in the 1970s. By The Cross-Eyed Pianist | Perpetuum Mobile is one of PCO’s most famous pieces, and comes from their fifth album, ‘Signs of Life’ (1987). 29 (Hammerklavier) - Yuja Wang, Rachmaninoff - Sonata for Cello and Piano - Wang; Harrell, Rachmaninoff – Piano Concerto No. Humanity has and will always work together to further music’s flexible, diverse capacity and innate power.”, pieces or parts of pieces of music characterised by a continuous steady stream of notes, usually at a rapid speed. Interestingly, Chopin himself said of the movement: “The left hand unisono with the right hand are gossiping after the [Funeral] March” (source: James Huneker in his introduction to the Mikuli edition of the Sonatas). And in rehearsal one afternoon, my page turner was so absorbed in the music, he forgot to turn over the pages for me! 35, is a piano sonata in four movements. 7, Precipitato - Yuja Wang, Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. The music also contains references to South American and African music, and uses a variety of instruments including strings, pianos, harmoniums, slide guitars, cuatros, kalimbas, experimental sound loops, mathematical notations and more. 6 – Yuja Wang, Satie – Gnossienne No. Scherzo 09:06 III. whole pieces, or large parts of pieces, which are to be played repeatedly, often an indefinite number of times. 1 – Hélène Grimaud, Piano. 2 in B flat minor. Happy Birthday Musical Mice ! Keep the wrist and hand flexible and soft throughout: this will also help achieve a good tone. Marche funèbre: Lento (in Bb minor) 20:53 IV. Marked “sotto voce e legato” (literally “under the breath and smoothly”), the entire movement is a musical stream of consciousness of unremitting parallel octaves, with unvarying tempo and dynamics, and not a single rest or chord until the final bars. A further danger of this piece is getting so caught up in the perpetual motion of it that you forget to breathe! The difficulty for the pianist, aside from keeping the triplets absolutely equal and even throughout, is the sotto voce (a fairly common marking in Chopin’s music) which suggests a muted sound. I taught myself to keep the fingers curled into the keys and to start with a slightly higher hand position: the result was a pleasing “trickling” effect in the long scalic runs, and the piece was far less tiring to play. However, this also offers a great opportunity to practice ‘rotary motion’: I get students to practice the second, 4/4, part of the melody first, as the smaller stretches make rotary movement easier to grasp. Chopin’s Piano Sonata No. Allow the hand to “flop” onto C with the thumb, and repeat. To practice it at the piano, start in a 5-1 position, G-C (either Middle C position or an octave higher, if more comfortable), and place the hand in a “karate chop” position on the G with the fifth finger. My problem when I was learning this piece (or rather relearning – I first encountered it in my teens) was lifting the fingers too high, which produced a chunky, “notey” sound and interrupted the flow of the music. Grave - Doppio movimento 00:20 II. July 14, 2012. A number of their works are very familiar as they have been used in film, tv and advertising. This movement has a strange and mysterious cast: Arthur Rubenstein remarked that the fourth movement is like the “wind howling around the gravestones”, and a pianist colleague of mine described performing it as “horrible – like having your entrails picked over on stage”. 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