Debussy, Burgmüller, Finger Pedalling and Ornaments –

In this month’s practice clinic, Graham Fitch answered questions on works by Couperin, Burgmüller and Debussy. Topics discussed included finger pedalling, ornaments, applying rotation and attaining accuracy and speed in fast passages.

Graham Fitch answers questions on debussy, burgmuller, finger pedalling and ornaments

Practice clinic questions

  • Couperin – Les Barricades Mystérieuses
    1. How to use good technique to hold a key down while stretching the hand out to pressing another note simultaneously. I’m not sure if it makes sense to stretch and collapse the hand or keep it stretched due to the speed and timing, it does seem to cause quite a bit of tension in the hand. Wondering if there is a special rotation/bouncing or other secret technique he is using to accomplish it!
    2. How to know when to release the tied-over finger-pedalled note to achieve optimal sound.
    3. How to correctly handle the more complex ornaments (not the simple trills) e.g. the ornament specially noted at the end of the 1st couplet in bar 22 of this edition.    
  • Burgmüller, La Source (Op. 109 No. 5) – I have practised various rotation exercises and have yet to find one which addresses how to hold down the 1st melody note while playing the 5-thumb octave rotation of each of the 4 sets of beats in each measure. The tension of holding down each melody note becomes unbearable. How would you approach the rotations in this piece?
  • Debussy –  Reflects Dan’s l’eau, from Images, Vol 1 (Bars 22 & 23, 24-31, 49-50) – I’ve been working on it for many months now with a teacher and am challenged to keep the runs even, fast with each note struck, not missed, in various measures.

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