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18 June 2023

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Minnelied - Heinrich Hoffmann - Grade 5 ABRSM Piano 2023-2024 B1 Teaching Notes

Minnelied: No. 7 from Stimmungsbilder, Op 88
Heinrich Hoffmann

Teaching Notes
The translation of the title of this piece is "Love Song", and in particular, the German word "Lied" means "Song". Added to this, the composer himself encourages the piano to sing in a legato cantabile style  according to the footnote in the ABRSM edition. In order to do this effectively, you will need to distinguish what is tune and what is accompaniment. Very often you will find in the RH notes that have stems going up and  at the same time other that have stems going down. In general the "stems up" notes are the melody. So for example in bar 1, the RH quavers B, A, G#, A are the voice that you need to bring out and the lower E semiquavers in between each of the aforementioned quavers, should be played softer. 

Additionally, these quavers must flow legato from one to the next, so effectively they overlap the lower semiquavers. A piece like this will lend itself to extensive use of the pedal, so if every quaver of the first bar is pedalled, the "overlap" will be taken care of.

Extra care is needed when there are longer melody notes (e.g. the dotted crotchet in bar 2). Here the variation between tone of melody and accompaniment must be big enough so that the tune is still dominant in the listener's ear, right up to the end of the dotted crotchet.

In bar 6, notice the precise phrase marking that finishes a quaver before the end of the bar, and in fact the above performance has a slight breath just before this final note.

Rubato is another stylistic device that would suit this piece well and again you will notice for example, the easing of the tempo in bar 8.

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