“Music is a moral law. It gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, and life to everything. It is the essence of order, and leads to all that is good, just and beautiful, of which it is the invisible, but nevertheless dazzling, passionate, and eternal form.”
Plato

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Tchaikovsky Concerto: Fingering or Grouping


P.I. Tchaikovsky
     A student came with the Tchaikovsky concerto, asking for help with fingering for the following passage, measures 17 and 18. I've written before about concepts that govern our fingering choices, pointing out that a lot can be discovered about a pianist's technical point of view from the fingering he chooses. In this passage, the first question to ask is what is the most convenient grouping? Is there a way to make the passage seem fluid, without awkward jumps? I'm happy to report that the answer is yes. Instead of following the metric grouping by locking into the beamed 16ths as groups, move the group over to the next eighth, so that the groups would be sung "and 3, and 4, and 1," etc. Oh well, I never could sing. Maybe you'd better look at the example:
Tchaikovsky Concerto, mm 17 and 18. Grouping vs fingering.
Click example to enlarge.
     So, this is really first about  how to group the chords conveniently, and only then about which fingers to use. There's a related passage in the opening cadenza of the Liszt E-Flat concerto, but that's another story.
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