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19/09/2020

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Grade 8 ABRSM Piano Teaching Notes 2021 2022

Fantasia in C minor - J. S. Bach

Grade 8 ABRSM Piano 2021 2022 A1



Teaching Notes


Let’s start with the ornaments. The realizations printed in small notes in the ABRSM edition are generally a good guide, but this performance moves away from them to some extent. For example, the long trill in bar 8, is not measured exactly as suggested, but rather a rapid trill, starting after the second LH semiquaver and finishing exactly on the seventh. A similar effect is found in bar 15 where a normal trill starts after the 4th triplet semiquaver.


For the written out lower mordents of bars 21-23, make sure they finish before the 2nd note of the other hand starts.


Bar 37 is rather complicated. After the initial lower mordent, startthe turn after the LH C withthe last two notes of the turn coinciding with the LH B flat. Then the ornament on the 2nd beat is like that in bar 1 but without the last two notes (of bar 1), finishing instead with a single “C” triplet semiquaver.


Watch out for sustained crotchets that continue through pairs of surround slurred quaver pairs e.g. bars 1, 2, 17, 18, 34 and 35 (all on 3rd beats of these bars)


As with any baroque piece there should be a slightly detached style of played the next to shortest note value, in this case the quaver. Another stylistic way of playing Baroque pieces is to use terraced dynamics. You will note that there are none actually printed in the ABRSM edition, but in the above performance there have been some added which are a suggestion only. Feel free to add some creative ideas of your own. In general, crescendi are not usually used, but you can give the effect of a crescendo by short sections stepping up a dynamic level. For example in bar 33, it feels like a crescendo would be appropriate, but instead, you could have steps up each group of six semiquavers.


Jingo - Christopher Norton

Grade 8 ABRSM Piano 2021 2022 C2




The direction “Marcato” at the beginning should set the tone as to how you should approach this piece. Accents abound and should be observed strictly. For example at the very beginning, notice the off-beat accents in bar 2. In bars 7 and 8, these accents are applied independently to the right hand, so be careful here that the left hand is kept a little lighter.

Take care also with the lengths of notes. The section from bars 12-14 is heavily pedalled, but be sure to pick out the odd staccato note that is not pedalled. Again in the second half of bar 15, the staccato applies to the right hand ONLY, so watch that the last left hand octave chord is longer than the notes above.

If you find the page turn problematic, try memorising the last three bars before the turn although from the video performance above it can be seen that a page turn at the very end of the page is just about possible.

Bar 21 requires a lighter touch and watch carefully here the exactly notation of the slurs. Some very precise pedalling will be needed in bars 27 and 28, being careful again to observe the isolated staccato notes.

Probably the most difficult part of this piece is the last two notes, with the very fast jumps of varying distances in each hand. As with most of the piece, metronome practice will be very useful here as you build up muscle memory, not only in the fingers but also the arm movements for the jumps. The same might be said for the jumps throughout the piece, where it IS POSSIBLE to build a good sense of “piano geography” without having to look down at your hands.

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