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04 January 2019

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ABRSM Piano 2019/20 Grade 5 A1 - MusicOnline UK Teaching Notes

Aria (4th Movement from Partita No. 4 in D, BWV 828.)

Grade 5 ABRSM Piano 2019/2020 A1

J. S. Bach

While this piece should not be too slow, it is in fact a lively dance full of character, setting too fast a tempo at the beginning may prove a challenge to maintain.

Liveliness can be obtained by other means apart from the metronome mark. For example, very crisp articulation and a slight leaning on the syncopated notes.

Regarding articulation, you will notice in this video performance, most quavers are separated. Careful attention will also need to be paid to the lengths of notes and rests. For example in bar 3, it might be tempting to hold the first LH quaver too long (ignoring the rest) and then be sure that the long tied note at the end of the bar is sustained throughout the next three bars.

A definite fingering plan is essential to develop muscle memory and execute some of the trickier moments of this movement. Notice for example the spread thumb over two notes in bar 5, and the use of a quick substitution in bar 6 (different to, but in my opinion superior to the suggested fingering in the ABRSM edition). Using a thumb on the last note before the large downward leaps in the LH bars 25-31 will also make life easier.

Dynamics are left up to the performers discretion. Although none are printed in the part, they should definitely be added to add shape to the movement. You might take some suggestions from this video performance or express yourself differently, but bear in mind, baroque dynamics are generally terraced.

Although pedal is generally unnecessary, you might want to add a "dab" for just the first quaver of bars 41-44, to imitate the extra resonance of the bass notes of a harpsichord, making sure you release on the second quaver.

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