Feb 19 2008, 05:31 PM
My son is doing this piece for his exam. The exam book suggests crotchet = 88 (and the demo disc plays at this speed) but he has been told to play it quite a lot slower. He tells me that a square bracket around the time means you can choose. Is he right? What is the slowest he can play it and not lose marks (in grade 4 his piece marks were 28, 29 and 30 and he would hate to lose marks for playing too slow!)
Feb 19 2008, 05:43 PM
The square bracket means that the speed written in the book is editorial.
It's a suggestion in other words and it is quite possible to play at a slower or faster tempo and still give a musically convincing performance which is what it's about in the end.
It's not really easy to say what is the slowest he could get good marks for as it's not just about speed.
With the guidance of his teacher it's a good time to start making more decisions about how HE wants the music to sound and this can include palying at a tempo other than the one marked, particularly where it's an editorial choice.
Feb 19 2008, 06:14 PM
I prefer to play this piece at a slower tempo as I feel 88 is too fast for me.
Feb 19 2008, 10:20 PM
I've got 2 pupils doing this, and can't see either of them being able to play to crotchet=88. I think the piece needs to "bounce" and as long as it does that I shan't worry about it being not up to speed.
Feb 22 2008, 01:31 AM
I've been practising this piece at a slow 66 crotchet beats per minute for the past 3 months. I know my teacher will want me to increase the speed soon. But I will never be able to do 88 cpm! The best maybe I can up it to 72 cpm . I think as long as the speed sounds "brisk" and cheery, it's ok? In the CD, the piece is played very fast (88 cpm I'm sure!) and the trills are executed most beautifully... but it's beyond my technical ability. Even now, sometimes my trills work, sometimes they don't!
Feb 22 2008, 09:37 AM
If Scarlatti did not see fit to impose a speed on you, why should be worried that you and some (as yet unknown) examiner, might come to different conclusions about the "correct" speed? [A dodgy concept anyway, as it can vary with the instrument, the venue, the audience, the particular aspects of the piece you wish to make the most of, and even the other pieces in the concert]
Listen to more Scarlatti, and his contemporaries. Listen to harpsichord recordings as well as piano. Read about the music and conventions of the period. Sight read the best you can through a dozen more Scarlatti sonatas. Try your exam piece at different speeds. Then weigh it all up and pick the speed that you believe best presents the musical ideas.
If the examiner doesn't like it - tough. But you'll have a dozen reasons to justify your choice.
Feb 24 2008, 03:11 PM
Hi there. Mad Tom such a good answer you gave.....so many young pupils seem to want to learn classical music in a vacuum, i.e. with little or no interest in the music other than trying to play it. I often say to my pupils "how do you think that (say, Oasis, Coldplay etc) got the idea to form a band, of course, cos they were into that sort of music, so why do you think it`ll work doing it backwards" etc etc, gets them thinking a bit. I tell them to stick classic fm on don`t know if they ever do though lol
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