If you were holidaying in Paris, you must see the Eiffel Tower. If you were visiting Beijing, you must see the Great Wall. If you were adventuring through Egypt you must see the piramids. If you can play the piano you must learn how to play a piano song by Mozart.
Like those man made wonders of the world that we have looked at in amazement for years, a piano song by Mozart is no different. Many of those who marvel at the sophistication in the building of these structures also listen in awe to the beautiful arrangement of melodies woven together with quavers, crotchets and minims by the great maestro.
A person who appreciates beauty will recognize it whether it was created with rocks and stones or with the piano and violin.
Sonata K545 is one of the gems among the treasure trove of musical jewels left behind by Mozart for mere mortals such as us to savour. Since I began playing this piece about three weeks ago, I find the piano song be a cheerful one. It is a fun, playful and a joy to play - very different from the Sonatina by Dussek that I struggled through in my first attempt to study a complete classical piece.
The piano song proved to be a smoother affair this time around as I have reached the end of the second page of the piano score in less than two weeks. There were a few bars that were punishingly difficult. I will be sharing some of those parts of the song in this article.
In the beginning as I kicked off the song, I was relieved to see that the pace appeared to be rather unspectacular. The time signature is shown to be 4/4 – that should be a walk in the park.
The first three bars were actually easy to play considering that this is a piece by Mozart. They start off in a sweet gentle tune and end with a rapid dash of a C and D. I described ‘rapid’ because the C and D are semiquavers, the rest of the phrase consists of crotchets.
The short bursts of those two notes played rapidly is actually a preview to what would come in the next phrase, it mirrors the previous one in rhythm but in it lies a gargantuan obstacle – a trill played with the notes G and F. I have accomplished trills successfully before when I learnt to play ‘Venetian Boat Song’, however I have not practised them for a while so now I find myself in trouble.
Just to remind myself; trills are two notes played together so fast that it results in a ringing sound. The delay between the first note struck and the second one is undistinguishable in a perfectly executed trill. To achieve this feat, I am playing the two notes in succession slowly at first and gradually build up speed as the fingers adapt themselves to land on the keys evenly.
Upon successful execution of the trill, in the second line of the piano you shall encounter one of Mozart’s favourite ingredients in his music – the scale. If you have the luxury to browse through his many compositions the scale makes regular appearances.
In this one, the first note played while ascending is held a bit longer than the notes that follow it. That is the only adjustment you will have to make, the rest is just like playing the scales as we always do to warm up before starting a song.
While the fingers of the right hand make their run up and down the keyboard, the bass clef seems to be having a relatively easier time. Up until now the left hand has been kept busy trying to keep the alberti bass alive. Here, it is only required to play double note chords.
There is a catch. In the piano score I am referring to, the chords were written as regular notes. While practising at home I played them as regular notes, but in my next session of lessons with my teacher I was told I had to play them staccato.
Since I have been practising them as regular notes for a week, it was difficult to suddenly alter my play into staccatos. I am sharing this bit of tragedy with you so that you would be able to save your self the trouble by playing these two-note chords in the bass clef of the second line of Sonata K545 as staccatos, even though the score may not indicate as such. Continue reading part 2 of 'Piano Song - Sonata K545'