Correct tempo for Mozart's Allegro Vivace

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Correct tempo for Mozart's Allegro Vivace

Postby Chopinesque » Sun Jul 13, 2008 5:29 pm


I was wondering if you could give me your views on what would be an acceptable minimum tempo for the first movement of Mozart's Sonata in D Major, K. 311, marked Allegro Vivace.

I understand that the metronome range for Allegro starts at 120, but I can't play accurately at this speed throughout (I think that most professional pianists play this piece at this speed, if not faster). I can manage this movement at about 112, but I have recently played it to a piano teacher and he said I'm way too slow and would fail my diploma exam straight away. What is your view on this?

Many thanks.

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Postby juufa72 » Sun Jul 13, 2008 5:59 pm

Do you own any recordings of this piece? I am quite bad at keeping the rhythm without having heard the piece professionally recorded. So what I do is listen to the big shots play a piece, then I try to match it.

Does this mean that what the professionals play is the correct tempo? Not always, tempo can vary greatly; it can drag on when marked Andante or it can be brief at the same BPM.

For Allegro Vivace I would say 115-125 would be pleasant to the ears given this movement of K311.
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Postby pianolady » Sun Jul 13, 2008 6:00 pm

In my score the first movement is marked, Allegro con spirito.

As far as tempo goes - Yes - sorry, but 112 is too slow. The first line really drags at that tempo. Even 120 seems a little slow until you get to the third line where all the 16th notes kick in. Then it seems just right. That's only my opinion, though.

From 112 to 120 is not so much different. If you can play this accurately and evenly at 112, then maybe you can work your way up the numbers just a little more. :)
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Postby PJF » Mon Jul 14, 2008 5:52 am

Articulation trumps tempo. Play it accurately at a comfortable tempo then very carefully increase the speed, making sure you articulate exactly as Mozart wrote. Don't try to reach a tempo at which the details get muddled.


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Postby Chopinesque » Mon Jul 14, 2008 8:05 am

You're right, it is Allegro con Spirito (not Vivace) - I don't know what I was thinking of.

Thanks for your replies.

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