Rolling Chords, Left Hand Leaps & Building Speed

Our latest Practice Clinic recording features answers to questions on left hand leaps, rolling chords, harmonic analysis and building speed in works by Schubert, Heller, Brahms and Debussy.

rolling chords jumps analysis and building speed in schubert, heller, brahms, debussy

Practice clinic questions

Schubert / Liszt Ständchen, D889 – I’m currently working on this piece and I stumble on the LH leaps. I’d also appreciate advice on where and how to pedal.

Stephen Heller Etude in F Major (‘Spinning Song’), Op. 45 No. 19 – I’m happy with my playing of this piece at a slow tempo and am able to balance the voices reasonably well, but struggle to achieve anything approaching the recommended tempo (dotted crotchet = 76).

The main point of difficulty is in bars 3 to 4 where the right hand B flat-A-G melody notes are played with finger 5. These are tricky to co-ordinate precisely with the accompanying RH notes. If I play with the metronome I discover that I tend to slow down slightly in these 2 bars. Please could you give me some advice on how to achieve a faster tempo without sacrificing expressive details?

Harmonic Analysis – You’ve mentioned the benefits of a good knowledge of musical theory and understanding of chords in various videos and workshops. I’m wondering if that means the structure based on the key signature or the particular chords in a piece. I would appreciate some advice on how to approach analysing a piece, perhaps using Brahms’s Intermezzo in A Minor (Op. 118 No. 2) as an example?

Playing Rolled Chords – What are the protocols for playing rolled chords? Does the LH play before the RH, or are both hands played together playing both hands together e.g. in Debussy’s Danse bohémienne, Clair de Lune (Bar 25) or the end of Chopin’s Nocturne in F Minor (Op. 55 No. 1)? What happens if the rolled chord is just in one hand e.g. Clair de lune (Bar 55) or Arabesque No. 2 (Bar 8)? Do I start the arpeggio on or before the beat?

Further resources & links

The following are links to resources mentioned in this practice clinic:

Next practice clinic & new format

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Online Academy subscribers can submit questions for practice clinics up to two weeks before each session. This can be done using the link provided on the Online Academy dashboard under “subscription benefits” (click here to sign-in and visit your dashboard).

Further information on how our practice clinics work is available here or please click here to find out more about the Online Academy.