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beethoven moonlight 3rd movement

Discussion in 'Technique' started by echoyjeff222, Aug 8, 2015.

  1. echoyjeff222

    echoyjeff222 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi all,

    I'm wondering what tempo I should aim toward for this movement. I've been practicing it for the last 8 months or so (took a 2 month hiatus, been practicing it more seriously in the last few weeks), and I have finally got it up to a decent speed. I'm currently playing around 140 bpm apprx. without the metronome. I'm not sure how to practice from here on forward. I just put the tempo on 145 and tried practicing along. I fell behind at a few spots, mostly because I relax the tempo at points throughout the piece. I listened to some recordings, and they're all decently fast.

    This is a very tough piece, so I'm not sure how to proceed. Does anyone have some tips on where to take the tempo? Master it at around 135-140? A little faster? Thanks.
     
  2. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hello Jeff,

    This illustrates why I'm not a believer in metronome practice, since it can tend to make playing stiff, dull, and... well, metronomic. As you imply, it also distorts the interpretation and the natural flow of the music. This isn't to say that the tempo in a piece like this (most fast movements in the classical style, for that matter) shouldn't be rather relentless. They should, but my advice would be to ensure that you've conquered the not inconsequential difficulties of this movement first before upping the tempo. In my experience, once the technical difficulties have been overcome at slower tempos, speed will fall into place. I'd also advise practicing straight arpeggios and broken chords alongside the figurations in the movement.

    A great many pianists play this movement too fast IMO (e.g., Schnabel, Friedman, Horowitz), making it rather difficult to accentuate the broken-chord patterns. One performance of this that I love is Backhaus's, which though it could be a little stormier in places, achieves a granite hardness and insistence that is rarely heard in this piece: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1ykQ46tWrE
     
  3. echoyjeff222

    echoyjeff222 Member Piano Society Artist

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    great recording and tips. I've been working on specific sections each day, and I'm definitely finding that the speed comes naturally.
     

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