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11 June 2023

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Minuet and Trio - Joseph Haydn - Grade 5 ABRSM Piano 2023 - 2024 A2 Teaching Notes

Minuet and Trio: Second Movement - Sonata in D, Hob. XVI:4
Joseph Haydn

Teaching  Notes

In the footnote at the bottom of the first page of the ABRSM edition it states that, "all slurs and dynamics are editorial, as are the trills in bars 6 and 18". Therefore all of the aforementioned is optional. Obviously if you didn't use the suggested dynamics, you would need to come up with some creative shaping of your own since playing everything at one level wouldn't go down well with the examiner. Furthermore, technically you could leave out the trills mentioned above, but that could be viewed as an easy way out. They can be easily mastered if you start with a slow quaver pulse playing a triplet on each quaver.  

For example, that in bar 6 would be executed thus: 

Suggestion - set a metronome to 60 (which you will use as a quaver)

D on 1st beat tied over to the start of 2nd beat, meaning you will hear 3 metronome "quaver" clicks on this D, the third being the start of the 2nd beat. 

First quaver of 2nd beat - starting with tied D then C#, D as a triplet rhythm where the tied D is part of the triplet group

Second quaver of 2nd beat - continue with a triplet rhythm C#, B, C#.

Third beat - finish trill on a D to coincide with LH chord.

Increase metronome pulse gradually to quaver = 120, which you can then convert to crotchet = 60.

Although Haydn is considered as coming from the classical period, there will still be "Baroque" influences on his composing style. Note particularly, again in the footnote, this piece comes from "Divertimento 2 per il Clavicembalo" the latter being a type of Harpsichord, an instrument commonly used in Baroque pieces. With this in mind, you will notice in the video performance above that crotchets are often played separated, much like the detached style you would get in Baroque keyboard music, due to the fact that the instruments of that period didn't have the same sustaining ability of the modern piano and so it has now become common practice to try and imitate this sound by not making some of the longer notes so legato. 

The exception to this detached style, is when there are slurs marked. As we noted above, these are editorial, but stylistic. You will notice that they always occur at points where there is a dischord on the beginning of the slur, which resolves onto a more pleasing harmony on the note at the end of the slur. Take bar 2 for example. The RH "D" is foreign to the harmony of the LH chord and clashes with it (first note of the slur). This however resolves onto a more harmonic C# at the end of the slur. 

Somewhat deviating from the editorial suggestion, it would make sense to also slur the tied B at the beginning of bars 3 and 15 onto the following A,  (if we were to be consistent with the idea of slurring off dischords onto resolutions).

Rests abound throughout this piece and care should be taken to make sure notes finish when written. For example (and we won't go through every scenario here as there are too many, but...) many students will be lazy in not lifting the final RH minim of bars 22 and 44, thus missing the fact that only the bass D should be audible on the last beat.

Historically a Trio would be contrasting in style to the minuet, maybe slightly calmer (a minuet is a lively dance in three time). You will notice in this piece, there are more quavers allowing for a more legato style. The editor has also dropped the dynamic, a suggestion worth considering, although the rising sequences from bar 37, do suggest an increase of intensity. You may well want to swap out the gradual crescendo from bar 38, with terraced dynamics that would suit the Baroque echoes that have influenced the composition of this dance movement. Just be sure to give it some shape and not leave it as flat as Dutch lowland plain.



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