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22 September 2023

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Indigo Moon - Grade 6 ABRSM Piano C2 - Teaching Notes

Indigo Moon - from "Pepperbox Jazz Book 2" 
Elissa Milne

Teaching Notes
This expressive piece will need to feel almost without a strict pulse, although at the same time you must be very careful to make the long tied notes in many of the bars the correct length. For example compare bars 22 and 23 where the former has a quaver at the end of the bar and the latter, a semiquaver. Whilst learning the piece, it might be useful to count 8 semiquavers for each bar to enable accurate rhythm.

Another aspect of rhythm that you need to be aware of is that fast notes at the ends of bars must always follow through across the bar line onto the next beat. For many of the students I have taught playing this piece, they will get to the demisemiquavers at the ends of bars 1, 3, 5 etc, play a very fast pair of notes and THEN think what comes next, invariably ending up with a hesitation on the bar line. You should however always be conscious of what follows the demisemiquavers before starting them.

To make an outstanding performance, dynamic shaping will be key. There is plenty of direction given in the score which doesn't need to be repeated here, but just to say don't be shy to let the passion out in the big crescendo section from  bar 20 to the "piu forte" in bar 2. Indeed the direction "piu forte" asks for something not lacking in emotion. Notice also the "molto rit" in the previous bar that allows for some idiomatic rubato.

The following bars are mainly a repeat of bar 9 to 15 albeit louder, but watch out for the extra notes that didn't appear the first time, that is the extra bass E at the end of bar 27 and the extra bass A at the end of bar 28.

Finally, make sure the ending is not hurried. Bar 38 instructs first a "rit" and then a "molto rit". Here is would be an idea to silently count the semiquavers, that are gradually slowing down, especially through the tied crotchet of bar 39. The final chord also, must not be cut short, continue to count another 8 of these ever slowing semiquavers with the bottom B and then some more for the pause. 

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