Galuppi - Allegretto, 3rd mv from Sonata in A
Galuppi (1706 - 1785) was an Italian composer from Venice. Although he was principally famous for his operas he also wrote keyboard sonatas, some of which would have been intended for harpsichord or clavichord. However since the piano was invented during Galuppi's lifetime it is probable that he also wrote with this new instrument in mind.
Here is Galuppi's Sonata in C minor on harpsichord.
Pupil Match & Suitability
This piece is suited to a student who can play with neatness and control of tone and articulation.
It is technically quite challenging for a Grade 3 piece, with the semiquavers moving fairly fast, although in the edition suggested, the tempo marking is marked Allegretto rather than the Allegro seen in some editions.
Style & Tempo
Although this piece is the third movement from a sonata, the style of the music is reminiscent of the Baroque and it is easy to imagine it played on a harpsichord.
We need not try to emulate the sound of the harpsichord but we can use detail in characteristic ways, as explained in the 'phrasing and articulation' and 'tone and texture' sections. The extract here of Bars 1 - 16, played by Glemser, demonstrates a lightly detached articulation style that complements the character of the music.
The phrasing detail in the ABRSM is perfectly sound, however, and inexperienced teachers and students may feel safe to follow this precisely. Bear in mind that the detail is editorial and that other equally valid interpretations are possible as long as they reflect the style and character of the music.
Phrasing & Articulation
The articulation given in the suggested publication is editorial. It works well enough but it is not the only solution!
You could experiment with alternatives such as adopting a more detached articulation style for the longer notes (the crotchets and quavers) in Bars 1 - 4 and similar. If this style is employed it is important to make the notes sound lightly detached not crisply staccato, otherwise the sense of elegance will not emerge.
Bars 5 - 8 and similar need a more legato touch to contrast. Care should be taken to sustain the LH notes for their correct value in these bars.
The middle section (heard here played lightly detached), is based on scales in semiquavers so it could be legato if desired. Whichever choice is made, the LH notes must be sustained for exactly their full value.
Tone & Texture
The texture consists of a RH single line melody accompanied by a mainly single line LH that only thickens in texture at bars 6-7 and the corresponding bars 35-36.
The RH therefore always needs to be more prominent than the LH. Precise time values are needed, particularly of rests such as in Bar 29. Also holding the LH notes for the full value is essential, especially in the middle section, which could otherwise sound sparse.
Fluent scale playing is needed in the middle section and although choosing correct fingering is not strictly speaking a technique, this is essential for fluent playing here.
A technique that is especially useful is rolling the hand slightly from side to side to assist with fast playing of semiquaver scales. Over-working the fingers produces tension.
A clean, bright sound can be achieved by holding the hands off the keys, keeping a little gap between keys and fingers rather than resting the fingers right on the keys and lifting them high.
The fingering in the given publication is generally good. The following alternatives are offered however for Bars 23 and 27-29.
Bars 23 RH:
43 2 3 1 3 2 5 4
This avoids awkward use of finger 5 on the G sharp.
Bars 27-29 LH:
5 2 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 1
This fingering seems to flow more naturally when the hands are played together.
The grace notes in Bars 2, 4, 10 and 12 are actually appoggiaturas, meaning that the take on an equal value of the semiquavers.
For example Bar 2, Beat 1 is therefore equal semiquavers
A G sharp F sharp G sharp.
Bar 8 is also an appoggiatura so the time values are quaver followed by dotted quaver, coinciding with the first two LH quavers.
Bar 15, Beat 1 is four equal semiquavers followed by six, equal value notes: C sharp, B, C sharp, B, A, B. These fit into the time value of one crotchet beat. See Trouble shooting for further suggestions regarding ornamentation.
Pedalling is not needed in his piece for the Grade 3 student.
Begin teaching from a standpoint of what is easy. It is encouraging for the student to realise how much repetition there is is this piece, so explore the structure first, comparing the first and last section which is a virtually identical repeat.
The grace notes make this piece look much more difficult than it is, so teach Bars 1 - 4 by the 'I play, You copy' method. Point out that LH Bar 1 is simply an A major scale. Teach RH Bar 2 by explaining it as a 'turn around the G sharp' followed by an E.
Next analyse the LH patterns, which are all based on scales making that part easy to read. Insist on correct fingering and on the desired articulation in either hand right from the start.
When these bars are memorised you can show the music to the student and they can find the places where they repeat.
Take care and time to explain Bars 6 - 8, LH and RH - the LH is, again, two scales descending, one slightly after the other. Be sure to show the correct time values for RH Bar 8.
Practice needs to be done in chunks, tackling Bars 1 - 4 separate hands, then hands together. Then move on to Bars 5 - 9 in a similar way. Phrase endings need extra practice since the end of the section (Bars 14-16) is different from the end of the second phrase (Bars 6-8).
Practise the fingering and articulation agreed with the teacher in the lesson and never ever deviate from it. First playings of any piece remain firmly in the memory so never just learn the notes without care over how they are played.
The middle section needs to be tackled in sections too, taking note of the sequential pattern. Remember that practice will then be needed to 'stitch' the sections together with fluency.
Ornamentation needs to be clearly understood or omitted and worked on in lessons - again, getting this wrong to start with will make it much more difficult to get it right subsequently and to give a fluent performance.
Generally this piece is good for small hands since there are virtually no chords and it sounds perfectly acceptable to detach any octave leaps, such as in RH Bars 6, as heard here.
The lower note of the octaves at Bars 9 and 38 could, if necessary, be omitted by a child with small hands.
An excellent performance will give the listener a feeling of confidence in the performer's ability to keep the fluency and accuracy throughout. The bright character will be evident in stylish choices of articulation and dynamics and the pace will be lively without feeling rushed.
A good performance will have reliable continuity and some sense of character. The hands may not be balanced as sensitively as in an excellent performance and articulation may be more random than carefully considered. There will be a little dynamic contrast with a developing sense of phrase, with the pace well maintained.
A sound performance will have overall continuity despite, maybe, small slips in accuracy, such as the odd note stumble or maybe a misjudged rest timing. There will basically be a sense of pulse although the middle section might be a little slower to accommodate the faster moving notes.