Erster Wiener Lehrmeister im Pianofortespiel, Op. 599, Nos. 21 – 40
Last post, I announced my great expedition to record all 100 exercises from Carl Czerny’s book of études, Erster Wiener Lehrmeister im Pianofortespiel (no, don’t ask me how to pronounce that).
This Musical Monday, you will learn about accidentals and key signatures, the qualities of an étude, and of the history behind this collection.
But without further ado, let us begin with post two (hey, that was a rhyming couplet!).
- We start this new post with a pretty lighthearted, easygoing exercise. Remember to keep your right hand legato-y and your left hand staccato-y. Pronounce that ‘ssssstha-CAT-oh-eeeeee’, not ‘STAY-caw-tuu-why’.
- I actually had to take this video twice because the staccato-legatos really screwed me up. Remember to differentiate between the two! The left hand is always staccato here.
- In contrast to the previous two exercises, the left hand is always legato here! Make sure to switch fingers on repeated notes, especially when they’re slurred, because it sounds choppy when you use the same finger to play repeated slurred notes.
- Have you guys noticed how the ending sounds the same for the past few exercises yet? For this exercise, remember to staccato the repeated notes and legato the moving thirds. You can see from this angle that I switch fingers on the staccatos in bars 9 to 12; remember to do that too! (And please don’t notice all the times I didn’t play thirds correctly…)
- Études (the French word for ‘study’) are short instrumental exercises meant to develop a particular skill. For example, this étude develops wrist movements in the left hand. Although this étude collection may seem boring, at least every exercise has a melody: other études are simply things like repeated scales, trills on one note forever, and shaking your wrists like you’re really uncertain of whether or not to touch that boiling hot dog (or shaking your wrists after accidentally touching a boiling hot dog). Actually, the last one may not be an étude.
- In the second half of this exercise, the correct fingering for the right hand in bar 9 is 1-3-5-2-4 (thumb-middle-pinky-index-ring). Don’t do 1-3-5-3-5 because switching fingers on notes (for more difficult pieces) is more accurate, more precise, and actually faster. Trust me on this one.
- I might be speeding here. The police might give me a ticket but I always eat inside restaurants. Get it? Since I always eat inside restaurants, I never get take-out? Then I won’t take it? The ticket? Take-it? Ticket? Ha ha haaaaaayeahimneverdoingstandupcomedyeveragain
- Back before the 18th century, most études were boring. Suddenly, the Romantic Era came, and with it the popularity of the piano rose. With more pianists than ever before, everybody wanted to improve their skills; but the existing études were too boring. Enter people like Czerny, Clementi, and Chopin (it’s a coincidence all their names begin with C, alright), who made études that actually sounded like something. Chopin’s études aren’t even ‘mere’ exercise material anymore: they’re part of the concert repertoire! I mean, just listen to this. Doesn’t it sound amazing?
- That stacc. il basso. means that the left hand staccatos everything. Though, I mis-slurred this exercise. Miss Lur. Ha ha ha. The funny thing is there’s probably a person called Miss Lur somewhere. Anyways, don’t mis-slur like me. Miss Lur likes me?! oh my >///<
- Remember to hold down your left hand’s pinky finger during this exercise. Also: do you notice how the song sounds /different/ during bars 8 – 15? This is because we actually changed keys in this part. What does that mean?! Well, you’ll have to watch Lypur’s piano tutorials to find out (or just wait until exercise #39)…
- I honestly don’t know whether I’m speeding up or slowing down anymore… but try to put more focus on the right hand and less on the left. This video sounds really bad because I’m doing exactly the opposite…
- Strike the notes staccato, but loudly and clearly. A lot of people associate staccato with softness and wimpiness but NOPE, this staccato is LOUD SHOUTING STACCATO that you want THE WHOLE WORLD TO HEAR. So don’t make it soft. And by Madoka do NOT slur the bass in this exercise – stacc. il basso means ‘staccato the bass’, remember? I just told you three exercises ago!!
- Yep, that was me hesitating in the middle of that video. You see, I memorize every single exercise before playing it, because a) I have a sketchy possibly illegal contraband Chinese copy and I don’t want you guys to find out b) it lets me look at the keys and not grope around blindly c) I’ve already memorized every single upload I put onto YouTube, so why not? Unfortunately, memorizing two pieces every single day is quite hard, and my memory slips quite often, causing me to take quite a number of retakes. Thankfully, I have a wonderful short-term memory which lets me forget anything I’ve memorized after ten minutes
- Separate the notes that are slurred from the other notes that are slurred! This exercise was especially confusing for me because my sketchy possibly illegal contraband Chinese copy slurs the first and last notes of each measure, while G. Schirmer’s edition links the notes inside each measure.
- Everything that applies to number 32 applies here as well.
- Oh boy, welcome to a new section: learning sharps and flats! What are sharps and flats? Together, they are called ‘accidentals’ because they’re on the black keys and whoever made the piano is pretty racist (did you know: the harpsichord’s larger keys are black and its smaller keys are white). Since we’ve never explored black keys before, now’s a good time to explain how there’s really no difference between black and white keys. It’s a tiny miniscule imperceptible bit harder to play the keys because you have to move a few tiny millimetres upwards, but other than that, it’s all fine.
- I’m not going to teach you how to read accidentals because this isn’t beginner exercises anymore – as I said, Czerny’s learning curve is stupidly steep. So, head on over to Lypur’s tutorials to learn how to actually, uh, play the piano. Seriously. This is not an advertisement. (OK, maybe it is.)
- I RUSHED THIS (and the next one, too). DO NOT PLAY AS FAST AS I DO. A note about this collection; I have no idea when it was published, but knowing that Opus 603 (his ‘Preludes and Fugues for Organ with Obligatory Pedal’) was published around 1836 and that the opera Le Sherif was first performed around 1836 and that Czerny’s Opus 591 was a ‘Scherzo Brillant on the Opera’, we can guesstimate that Opus 599 was also published in 1836. Hmmm, that has nothing to do with this exercise, but…
- Remember exercise #30, when I talked about different keys? Well, you see that sharp in front of the F on the clefs? That tells us that we’re in G major. It’s called G major because the most important note is G. The key we were in before was C major – did you notice how every exercise always ended on C? That’s because it was the most important note. That sharp means that every F must be played sharp. That is to say, you must also look sharp and dress sharp.
Don’t forget to bring a sharp knife so we can move in for the kill-what was that
- This key has a flat in front of the B. It’s called F major. An easy way to see which key a Czerny exercise is in is to look at the first and last notes. Chances are, those are the most important notes, and in this exercise, they’re F – meaning that it’s in F major. (For other pieces, this may not be the case, but Czerny’s exercises are relatively easy.)
That… written, congratulations! We’re 40% through with the book, you’ve learned about music, and this post is 1337 words long. Pat yourself on the back. I’m patting myself on the back; it’s sore from doing nothing all day but practising piano and typing bad posts