Piano Song - Sonatina Op.55, No.1

Raise the middle finger slightly higher above the keys and lower them gently to softly awaken the first note of the piano song – a dotted crotchet C. Stay there for bit longer to ensure that it is played long enough and get the timing right before you proceed to the next note.

By doing so, the contrast of the melody of the phrase is brought out because the following notes are all quavers that have to be played in quick sucessions. Manifest the difference in the length of the sound between the dotted crotchet C and the sebsequent quavers to express your interpretation of the opening phrase.

Crisp as it is, the phrase is again played in the second bar of the piano song. I recommend that you learn it well for it sets the mood to the rest of the sonatina. Later, in the second movement, it is also the one that ushers us in.

Once you have it mastered, the next phrase can be connected to it seamlessly. It is not an extended one, only over 2 bars. But because all the notes in it are quavers, there are lots of them to be played. 

We do get to catch a break here; it is a straightforward ascending scale that goes from G to E. Adorned with a beautiful string of quavers A,G and F# woven together to enlighten the music. Finally, descending again from G to C.

You should watch out for the F that has been lowered a semitone during the descent from G to C, before concluding it with a resounding pair of 2 note chords.

When playing the scales, try to add in some dynamics into your execution. Make your ascent by playing the G really soft and getting louder as you progress towards the E. Do the same for the descent.

As you reach the highest note in the phrase, A, use the 5th finger to land on the key as softly as you can without compromising clarity. From then onwards increase the volume incrementally, getting louder as you climb down the scale until C. This is how color is added to the music, by varying the touch and tone.

Speaking of which, make certain that they are played with fingers raised high after each note and played in legato. Open your arms and move your body towards the direction the scale is moving. Proper arm and body coordination help to produce improved legato and connect a well rounded musical line in a piano song.

Let us have a look at the accompaniment in the piano song now. 

Except for the C in the beginning they are all 2 note chords. To play in time with the C in the RH, when you commence, play C using the LH 5th finger and leap quickly one octave higher to land in harmony on C and E. Be sure to hold them down together a while longer as they are minims.

As you continue to embellish the piano song with the accompaniment of the bass clef, slur the chords without fail as indicated in the score. The slurs and many apperances of rests signs, when observed correctly results in a stirringly cheerful rhythm the sonatina was intended to convey.

One difficulty I faced while trying to get the accompaniment in the bass clef keep up with the melody in the treble clef was control - more specifically, how strong to strike the keys in the LH. You see, an accompaniment should always be softer than the melody. They are not to be played with equal strength. The fine subtle sweetness of the accompaniment is lost that way. 

If you are struggling with the same problem, try practising an octave of the scale of C major softly with the LH and louder with the RH. After you have managed it, switch roles - RH soft, LH loud. Then go back to the piano song.

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