This morning I read a quote in the newspaper that went; “Marriage is a celebration. It needs to be announced and glorified. ” The gentleman who uttered these words is a man working towards making the dream wedding for the lucky few brides and grooms to be in Dubai - lucky as in filthy rich.
He is building a wedding venue that when completed will look like the Taj Mahal, only 4 times bigger. It is to be called the Taj Arabia. It costs one billion dollars to build. Hey, dream weddings do not come cheap.
In two years time when the Taj Arabia is completed, during the reception ceremony in one of its lavish ballrooms, the husband can present to his new wife a wedding gift in the form of a piano song titled “Mariage D’Amour”, French for dream wedding.
This piano song was written by two French composers, Messieurs Paul de Senneville and Olivier Toussaint in the key of G minor. We are be able to see that by observing the keys signature of B flat and E flat on the score.
They also serve as a reminder that throughout playing this piano song we shall have to be careful to not miss the black keys whenever we come upon the notes E and B. I am reminding myself more than anyone else because I have been hit on my knuckles with a pencil by my piano teacher for that mistake so many times in the past.
The bass clef is given the privilege to introduce the opening musical phrase to this piano song. The right hand rests for the most part of the first bar. Even so, the first bar is not a total honeymoon for the right hand because at the end of the bar there is solitary semiquaver G it has to play.
Timing is of the essence here. Prior to the G, the rests have to be played in full, be careful not to strike the note too early. The dotted quaver rest is what eludes most piano beginners. Counting the beats of the rests is helpful in this case - one, two, three, AND…G.
The subsequent bars consist of a string of semiquavers, with each note repeated twice. Play it smoothly to let the melody flow freely as if it was a Ferrari cruising on an empty expressway at midnight unimpeded, in perfect legato.
While cruising, there is a wonderful exercise you can try – begin to play softly and gradually make it louder as you make your way up the phrase, then soften it again as you approach the end.
Gradually elevating the tone of a musical phrase and gently softening it again brings out the color of the piece being played. Instead of a flat sound of a bunch of piano keys being stricken, add the dynamics so that the listener is awe struck by the up and down roll of musical wave it creates.
The wave ends in the first bar of the third line, the introduction of the song concludes here but before the next parts begins, a grace note D makes an appearance. It is an acciacatura D located two octaves higher from middle C.
Hit it firmly and leap immediately to the next note which is an E one octave higher than the acciacatura D. Note the numerous ledger lines above the staves. It is so high that I completely missed it the first time I played this piano song.
An energetic line of melodic wonders adorn the middle parts of this composition. It starts with a rhythm of G,B flat,D,C and D played two times continuously using fingers 1,3,5,4 and 5, the pattern is broken suddenly with a different set of notes G,B,E-flat,D and E-flat. The rhythm stays the same though it demands the application of fingers 1,2,4,3 and 4.
The change in the combination of fingers used to execute this particular phrase made it a bit of a challenge for me. If that was not difficult enough, the melody is repeated one octave higher to produce an echo of the previous phrase at a higher pitch. Make the jump to the G one octave higher accurately, failing to hit the note precisely here would be such an anti-climax since this is the most beautiful part of the piano song.
Its beauty is amplified as the song nears the ending when the melody is played in octave chords. Open the right hand wide to stretch the fingers so that they can reach the higher notes on the keyboard. Even though stretching the fingers may be straining, maintaining the curl of the fingers has to be emphasized. If they are not curled, you will not be able to move up and down the piano to play octave chords.