“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.”

Friday, February 7, 2020

Solfeggietto by C.P.E. Bach: A question of Fingering

C.P.E. Bach
     My student, diligent as always, brought the little Solfeggietto by Bach's famous son, Carl Philipp Emanuel. He proudly offered  a revised fingering, one that corresponds to principles I teach. That is, notes that move in the same direction are often grouped together. This concept, however, does not always apply to fingering. He proposed the following: (Click image to enlarge.)

C.P.E Bach Solfeggietto, MM 1-2Awkward Fingering

     Notice that this fingering does encompass the entire triad and its octave, all notes that move in the same direction. Notice, too, that notating the middle C in the bass clef seems to argue in favor of playing it with the LH.  Logistically, though,  the LH hand is perhaps too much in the neighborhood when the RH gets to play, creating choreographic congestion.  I propose the following, which, if memory serves is in the Emil Sauer edition:

The choreography in this version works more smoothly.
     So, if a passage feels awkward, look for a different solution. Start with fingering and don't be unduly swayed by the layout of the notation on the page. "The score tells us how the music sounds, not how it feels in our hands," to quote myself.

1 comment:

Mary G said...

I played this piece when I was in 4th grade public school and stunned everyone with a very lucky, perfect memorization and comfort level with the John Thompson Piano Course fingering. It is similar to the first fingering given by your correspondent. I am not sure why primary piano teachers use the printed fingering as gospel. They will not deviate. One only learns about being flexible and finding more comfortable technique once to the college level. I guess that is when "music teachers" are called, "Professor of Music." Pianists should be concert level themselves in order to effectively teach.