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20/10/2018

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MusicOnline UK Teaching Notes - ABRSM Piano 2019/20 Grade 1 - B1

Wiegenlied: No. from Five Songs. Op 49

Johannes Brahms

ABRSM Grade 1 Piano 2019/2020.


Teaching Notes:

Despite appearing like one of the easier pieces in this grade, Wiegenlied has plenty of opportunities to gain or lose marks in a Grade 1 Piano exam.

The examiner will be looking out for a singing tone in the RH, where the LH does not obscure, but gently rocks away in the background (it is a lullaby, by the way). Speaking of the LH, notice the frequent use of rests on the first beat of the bar. Be careful that the last note of each previous bar does not hang over into the rest.

Also notice the phrasing. Try to think of this piece as if you were singing it. Where would you breathe? The curved slur lines give a good indication, and even when on a piano, the music needs to "breathe", that is, have a little lift between the phrases.

Be careful that the minim C in the RH bar 8, is held for it's full length, but then, as mentioned above, ever so slightly lift both hands together, before starting the next phrase, a beat before bar 9.

The ending will need extra control to reduce the dynamic down to pianissimo, being especially careful not to bump the very last bottom C (making sure here, that you are also holding on to the two notes above also.)

14/10/2018

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MusicOnline UK Teaching Notes - ABRSM Piano 2019/20 Grade 6 - B1

Moderato (No. 4 from Sechs KlavierstĂĽcke, Op. 12)

Max Bruch

Grade 6 ABRSM Piano 2019/2020 B1





Teaching Notes.

This piece will need very careful attention to articulation. For example, in bar 2 (and others similar), notice how there is a slur from the 1st to the 2nd semiquaver, but NOT on the others. This means that the final 4 semiquavers in this bar should be separated slightly. Not staccato as such, like the LH, but also, not completely legato. Generally the LH is staccato throughout, but sometimes a longer note is required. Notice that the staccato dots have disappeared from the LH in bars 22-24.

The slurred chords also provide a challenge. In some instances, the fact that the RH doubles one of the notes in the chord, will help (e.g. bar 8). In others, a careful fingering will be required to achieve a legato effect. For example, the chord on the 2nd quaver should be fingered 2,3,4 to enable a slur onto the next quaver chord.

Be careful also when there are dotted crotchets in the bass (bars 8 & 40) Make sure these are held to overlap the above harmonies.

There are quite a lot of tempo changes within this piece, and not just the ones that are marked. If you listen carefully to this performance video again you will notice the frequent use of rubato. Regarding the ones actually written in the part - the "a tempo" markings (bars 15 & 39) should start exactly on the semiquaver before the 2nd beat. Also, the stringendo in bar 30 indicates a quickening of pace, before the calando  (dying away) of bar 32.

Finally, always be careful to let the tune sing out, not letting the LH chords obscure the melody. As it says in the start - molto cantabile

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12/10/2018

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MusicOnline UK Teaching Notes - ABRSM Piano 2019/20 Grade 1 - A2

Minuet in C - Grade 1 Piano

William Duncombe.

ABRSM Grade 1 Piano 2019/2020 A2.


Teaching Notes.


Make sure you hold the dotted minims of the LH their full length, not only in the opening bars, but also in the middle section (bars 10, 12, 14 & 16).

Unless marked otherwise with a legato slur, the crotchets in this piece should be lightly detached. This particularly applies to the bass line e.g. bars 5-8.

Also make sure that any changes of dynamics are "stepped" or terraced, that is, sudden changes rather than gradual changes.

A slight "rit" at the end might also be stylish.


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08/10/2018

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MusicOnline UK Teaching Notes - ABRSM Piano 2019/20 Grade 6 - C1

Tugela Rail

Darius Brubeck

ABRSM Grade 6 Piano 2019/2020.



This delightful piece explores a slightly different genre to that usually found in the ABRSM exams. You will need very exact counting and it might be helpful at first to practise against a metronome to get the chords that "anticipate the beat" timed correctly.

The whole piece is supposed to describe a rail journey, so bear that in mind as you perform. Although it is quite a fast tempo according to the suggested metronome marking, it should still have a "laid back" feel, with the the almost ostinato LH chords, possibly describing the monotony of the train's motion and the RH tune describing more the variation in scenery.

The rhythm of RH vs LH usually coincides. However, there are a couple of unexpected corners that could catch you out. For example, it might be tempting to place the first chord of bar 13 a quaver early, to match the RH. Be careful here that the RH "anticipates" the LH. Another place that might catch the less observant out is bar 44, where the harmony changes the pattern of the preceding bars.

Regarding, pedalling - the instruction at the beginning sempre refers to bars that have the same LH pattern. However, in bars 18 & 20, some variation from this pattern will be needed. The whole of these bars, should be without pedal, being careful here especially to lift between the phrases marked and observe the accent and staccato chord at the end. Similarly, the last chord of bar 44, should NOT be pedalled to enable the staccato. Other places where a deviation from the opening pedalling pattern is needed, are marked in the copy (bars 32-34 and 37-41).


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06/10/2018

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