Debussy - Le Petit Negre

Debussy - Le Petit Negre

1/ The tempo needs to be lively enough to give a jaunty sense of the musical character. A cake-walk was a kind of high-stepping, walking dance from the late 19th century so the performance needs to be very rhythmical.

2/ The many accidentals in the LH need not be a difficulty since most of them indicate chromatic movement.

3/ Fingering as shown works well, although it seems easier to use RH finger 2 on the first note in b10, as in b9 and b11.

4/ Familiarity will be needed with the French performance markings, which should be observed carefully for an effective interpretation. The accents are particularly important and, unusually, give emphasis to the final RH note at some of the phrase endings.

5/ Note that the pedal indications suggested on the first page also apply in subsequent, similar contexts. It is possible to use tiny dabs of pedal elsewhere as long as the detached character of the music is maintained.

6/ The character changes at b16, with the start of the un peu retenu section, which is gentler and more flowing, returning to the livelier mood of the opening theme again at b39, and so on. Notice the off-beat feel in bb35-38, which is emphasised by the tenuto on the first note of the slurred pairs and then even more by the accents.

7/ The staccato minim, as in b8 and b46, should not be cut excessively short to sound like a staccato quaver - the staccato dot means that it is to be detached from the next RH note.

Debussy - Le Petit Negre played by Pascal Roge

^ Top