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17 July 2023

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Scherzo - Grade 5 ABRSM Piano 2023-2024 C2 Teaching Notes

Scherzo: No. 14 from "30 Children's Pieces" Op. 27
D. B. Kabalevsky

Teaching Notes
The key to performing this piece well is in the articulation and voicing. You will notice in the first bar the instruction "p  leggiero" but on close inspection it is written nearer the bottom stave than the top. This immediately gives us a clue that the RH has the melody and the LH should play a light accompanimental role. 

Again in bar 2, note the "tenuto" marking on the long RH dotted minim. Apart from meaning to hold a note for it's full length, this sign is usually associated with giving a note some extra pressure - again a means of distinguishing between tune and accompaniment.

Be careful in bars 6 and 8 etc where the articulation of the first two quavers changes from the previous staccato style. Typically slurs with dots would indicate a "semi-staccato" that is, not completely smooth but then not as short and detached as a normal staccato. Long - detached notes if you like. However at the speed of this Scherzo long quavers with separation would  not be easy to execute effectively without spoiling the playful character of this piece, so I would suggest a light slur is required here.

Pay attention to the two sections marked with a "ritardando" (bars 12 and 28). Also in these bars notice that the LH chords are longer than usual, a tenuto crotchet in bar 12 and minim (which needs to release exactly at the end of the 2nd beat) in bar 28.

The only pedalling marked in this piece is right at the end on the penultimate bar. This will need careful timing, that is it needs to catch the staccato bass B, but not be so early as to catch the F# from the previous bar. In practice however, since the purpose of the pedal is to sustain this bass note, you can hold it longer than the literal notated staccato. That said, everything must release (both hands and foot) exactly on the first beat of the last bar to achieve the staccato effect.

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