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Moonlight Sonata By Beethoven (what Grade Level?)


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#1 lyndyloo

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Posted 24 November 2006 - 15:58

Hi there,

I'm a bit of a lurker here (posting on the Adult Learner board). I've just taken my Grade 5 for Piano after a 22year gap. Bit nervewracking but I'm still glad I decided to learn again. Having a break before Grade 6 and expanding my repetoire by playing everything I can get my hands on.

To get to my point. In amongst all my old piano music from years ago I have unearthed the rather daunting but beautiful Beethoven sheet music for Moonlight Sonata and I was wondering what the opinion was on the grade level.

My ultimate goal is to be able to play this beautiful piece but I don't want to get ahead of myself and end up taking backward steps. If its Grade 8 standard then I'll put it back into the pile for a few years . If however, the general consensus is that a potential Grade 6er should be able to tackle it (or some of it) then I'm game for giving it a go.

Thanks for reading
Lynda
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#2 IrisH - LoonY

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Posted 24 November 2006 - 16:46

1st movement - 5/6 but requires that extra special something to make it unique (harder than it looks too! especially with bringing out the melody in the right hand)

2nd movenet - 7, former Grade 7 piece smile.gif

3rd movement - DipABRSM ph34r.gif Extremely dexterous technique needed here!
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#3 AnotherPianist

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Posted 24 November 2006 - 19:12

I think this is the most debated grade level piece on the forums laugh.gif.

The whole thing is on the DipABRSM syllabus, the final movement is the trickiest technically as I-L says. At grade 5 standard you should be able to play through the notes of the first movement without too much issue; making it musical there's an endless scale, as one improves one will always play it better. Depending on how musical you are at grade 5 you may struggle musically but I think it's one of those pieces that if one waits until one can do it justice one will never play it.... I guess what I'm saying is yes you'll probably manage the notes okay, interpretation you could wait for ever, so just do it when you feel ready and are happy with the standard that you'll achieve smile.gif.

I know an amazing pianist (not too far from here) who has a music degree and still doesn't think they can do this piece justice ohmy.gif; although I'm sure they can smile.gif.
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#4 Dulciana

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Posted 24 November 2006 - 20:36

QUOTE(AnotherPianist @ Nov 24 2006, 07:12 PM) View Post

I think this is the most debated grade level piece on the forums laugh.gif.



I know an amazing pianist (not too far from here) who has a music degree and still doesn't think they can do this piece justice ohmy.gif; although I'm sure they can smile.gif.

I seem to be on your tail here, AP, en route down the viva piano topics tonight!

I think there is a distinction between pleasing yourself and pleasing your audience. I'm quite sure the person you have in mind would please his audience, but it's also important to please yourself. If I play something for someone before it has reached a stage that I'm happy with myself, and they say "That was wonderful" I feel almost aggravated. I can't quite explain why, so I'm not going to try in case I tie myself in knots! With regard to the Moonlight Sonata, this is a piece which I feel depends very much on an excellent instrument in accoustic surroundings for true success. (As well as the pianist, obviously!) And if you open the curtains and turn off the light on a moonlit night it will help too! As for grade, I imagine that it wouldn't be too hard to pass for a grade 6 player, but I doubt if there'd be many distinctions unless the pianist was playing below his grade - relevant to another thread that I've just replied to!
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#5 lizbun

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Posted 24 November 2006 - 21:03

QUOTE(IrisH - LoonY @ Nov 24 2006, 04:46 PM) View Post

1st movement - 5/6 but requires that extra special something to make it unique (harder than it looks too!



I find it very hard to play this one. I'm trieng, but I just can't play the first page

I can't reach octaves anyway, so I need to wait
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#6 AnotherPianist

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Posted 24 November 2006 - 21:04

QUOTE(Dulciana @ Nov 24 2006, 08:36 PM) View Post

I think there is a distinction between pleasing yourself and pleasing your audience. I'm quite sure the person you have in mind would please his audience, but it's also important to please yourself. If I play something for someone before it has reached a stage that I'm happy with myself, and they say "That was wonderful" I feel almost aggravated. I can't quite explain why....

There's no need to explain I understand, it's most often the case that the hardest person to please is oneself, particularly the better one gets. The beginner will almost always find their teacher harder to please than themself: they haven't developed enough musically to understand the mistakes yet; a professional, on the other hand, can delight a packed concert hall but still not be pleased with their performance: they are the person most in touch with it. A bit of a dilema really one never gets any better in one's own mind because the better one gets the more one realises on still has to learn....

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#7 lizbun

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Posted 24 November 2006 - 21:17

QUOTE(IrisH - LoonY @ Nov 24 2006, 04:46 PM) View Post

1st movement - 5/6 but requires that extra special something to make it unique (harder than it looks too! especially with bringing out the melody in the right hand)


My teacher would make me learn this if I could reach octaves.

QUOTE(IrisH - LoonY @ Nov 24 2006, 04:46 PM) View Post

3rd movement - DipABRSM ph34r.gif Extremely dexterous technique needed here!



I know an amazing pianist my age in japan who can play this very well.




This sonata is one of very few classical music I know the theme for all 3 movememts
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#8 chocolatedog

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Posted 24 November 2006 - 23:26

I didn't perform the Moonlight until 2 years ago - roughly 25 years after first being able to 'get through' the notes of the first movement. Why? Because it's incredibly difficult to get the interpretation and the fine control of expression and balance that's needed for every note and I didn't feel I could do it enough justice before........
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#9 Alias

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 06:01

1st movement - 5/6 but requires that extra special something to make it unique (harder than it looks too!

The notes are no problem, but you're right about needing that 'extra special something'. Musically, i think it would be about grade 7/8 standard and beyond, and like someone mentioned, this is one of those pieces that can only get better with experience. I played this last year, and the mood of the first movement is just so hard to maintain!


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#10 La_Chopiniste_

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 15:08

QUOTE(chocolatedog @ Nov 24 2006, 11:26 PM) View Post

Why? Because it's incredibly difficult to get the interpretation and the fine control of expression and balance that's needed for every note and I didn't feel I could do it enough justice before........


Exactly.

In the third movement, when concentrating on expression - hello to wrong notes , when trying to concentrate on getting it right technically - it sounds very shallow and not expressive at all.

It took me ages to finally get it right ..

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#11 tiger_vio

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 11:44

Hah.
My piano teacher told me the 1st mvoement was grade 3 blink.gif He's an excellent teacher but he doesn't have much of an idea with grades because he hasn't entered anyone for a very long time. But I actually believed him, because i've played so much hard repetoire now that I find the first movement very very easy.
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#12 chocolatedog

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 17:22

Anyone who says the first movement is easy clearly doesn't understand the first movement properly......
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#13 lizbun

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 17:41

QUOTE(chocolatedog @ Nov 26 2006, 05:22 PM) View Post

Anyone who says the first movement is easy clearly doesn't understand the first movement properly......



I think so
My dad would class it as G8 because of the expression etc. needed to play it proporly.
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#14 Boo Radley

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 17:29

QUOTE(chocolatedog @ Nov 25 2006, 12:26 AM) View Post

I didn't perform the Moonlight until 2 years ago - roughly 25 years after first being able to 'get through' the notes of the first movement. Why? Because it's incredibly difficult to get the interpretation and the fine control of expression and balance that's needed for every note and I didn't feel I could do it enough justice before........

Interesting! smile.gif Would you say that the popularity of the piece was the major factor in not feeling like you could do it justice?
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#15 chocolatedog

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 19:05

Nope - I'm just a perfectionist.........
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