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27 September 2023

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Vals Poetico - Grade 6 ABRSM Piano B2 - Teaching Notes

Vals Poetico: No.6 from Valses Poeticos

Enrique Granados

Teaching  Notes
Timing should not be too strict with this piece as the instruction at the beginning indicates "Quasi ad libitum". There are numerous places where an easing of the tempo is indicated and these opportunities should be explored fully (e.g. bars 7, 14, 23, 39, 45).

Pedalling also requires careful attention. In some cases it is just once per bar such as in the first 3 bars, but at other times the harmony changes every crotchet and so pedalling must reflect this (e.g. bar 4). Also be careful that the pedal does not linger over into LH rests, so for example, the last beat of bar 7 into bar 8, only the RH should be heard. Similar passages include bars 23, 24, 29 and the RH rests in bars 16 and 32. Also be careful that RH and LH finish at different times in bar 40.

Another aspect that the examiner will be looking out for is the voicing of the melody. Often this is simply a case of bringing out the top lines, but sometimes the melody is in a lower part such as bars 11 to 13. 

There are even occasions where the RH is split into parts that need to be voiced differently. For example in bars 5, 6, 21 and 22 the melody is the higher dotted minim, but there is a moving lower RH part on the second beat of each of these bars. These "second beats" should be at a lesser dynamic so as not to distract from the top melody note.

Finally notice the rather strange pause on the final rest which seems to be AFTER the music is finished. Why would you pause on a silence after the final note. I would argue that the composer is trying to suggest here that the music does NOT finish with the last note, but rather that the final two beats of rest are PART of the music. As such, you should stay involved with the performance during this silence, not taking your hands off the keys immediately but rather holding the silence without moving away from the piano, thus creating a "you could hear a pin drop" atmosphere that captures your audience's attention until the end of the bar which can be as long as you feel appropriate bearing in mind that these two beats rest are not only with a pause but also part of a "molto rit".

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