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Mendelssohn Song Without Words Op.53 No.1


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#1 EllieD

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 06:56

Please could anyone say approx how hard this piece is? I'm looking for something Romantic, of about this length, and fairly challenging but not impossible, and this sounds and looks like it should be doable .... just wondering if it would be. Up to an easier Grade 8 piece should be manageable, if not I'll need to think again!


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#2 fsharpminor

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 08:29

I know and play that one, in A flat. Probably about right for you Id say Grade 7 to 8 but not harder. Its not as hard as another A flat one (Duetto) which I played for ALCM in 1963, but has since been in Grade 8 syllabus.


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#3 EllieD

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 09:30

Thank you F#m!! I'll look forward to playing it! :)


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#4 fsharpminor

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 10:56

These are grades listed for the Songs without Words on the Edexcel 'difficulties' list, but yours isnt on it. The list is complied from old syllabuses.  The Duetto is given as Grade 9, but that usually means Grade 8 to Dip.   There are 48 to go at from Grade 5 to Dip level so a very useful progression can be made. Particulalry good for bringing out a solo melody against an accompaniment, oftern you are playing a melody with fingers 4 and 5 and the accompaniment is 1 and 2 (same hand) which has to be quieter !  
 
Song without Words (Duetto) Op.38 No.6       Grade 9
Song without Words in E Op.30 No.3      Grade 6
Song without Words in E Op.67 Mo.3      Grade 6
Song without Words Op.19 No.2       Grade 6
Song without Words Op.19b No.1 in E Grade     7
Song without Words Op.30 No.6 Venetian Gondola Song       Grade 7 

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#5 EllieD

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Posted 05 September 2020 - 06:51

I'm surprised that list is so short! I would have thought SwW were ideal exam material, since they're all a suitable length and very approachable. I like the challenge of getting the tune out; I'm usually OK with it unless I have to make a jump or big stretch to reach the melody on a black note with finger 5, when it tends to fall off! Not much fun if also aiming for a healthy forte.... All good practice though!


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#6 fsharpminor

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Posted 05 September 2020 - 08:44

I'm surprised that list is so short! I would have thought SwW were ideal exam material, since they're all a suitable length and very approachable. I like the challenge of getting the tune out; I'm usually OK with it unless I have to make a jump or big stretch to reach the melody on a black note with finger 5, when it tends to fall off! Not much fun if also aiming for a healthy forte.... All good practice though!

There are a couple of the easier ones I didnt list also.  The 'Duetto' has the melody alternating between soprano and an inner part which you are playing with the 123 of the right hand. Towards the end they both 'sing' together.


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#7 EllieD

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Posted 24 September 2020 - 07:46

I think I'm getting a bit carried away, but I'm tempted to suggest "Duetto" to my teacher for my next piece .... Good to stretch yourself. Though I'm a bit concerned I'd get half way through it and then lessons would all be banned again ....


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#8 Nine and a Half Fingers

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Posted 24 September 2020 - 08:28

Duetto is a lovely piece which I've played a lot over the years. I always find bars 43-46 quite troublesome - delicate touch required and I don't think I have the skill-set. I also don't like it played too fast.


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#9 EllieD

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Posted 25 September 2020 - 07:51

 I also don't like it played too fast.

 

I don't think you need to worry about my performance in that respect!! :)


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#10 EllieD

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Posted 23 October 2020 - 07:35

Duetto is a lovely piece which I've played a lot over the years. I always find bars 43-46 quite troublesome - delicate touch required and I don't think I have the skill-set. I also don't like it played too fast.

 

9.5Fingers and F#m, and anyone else who plays Duetto - just wondering, what do you do for pedaling, especially on those tricky bars and really for all of bars 42 to the end? I'm inclined to leave the pedal off all together. To bring out the tune, which is really hard to do in bars 43-46, doesn't it make it easier to make the little semi-quavers go away without sustaining them? I haven't got that far with my teacher yet. For the first 38 bars he's suggested changing the pedal with each change in the melody, but I think when I get to the last bit, that idea may just bury the melody in all those semi-quavers? What do you think?


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#11 fsharpminor

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Posted 23 October 2020 - 08:18

Bar42  (begins with middle C in case we are counting differently). I pedal that beat, and the second beat. The no pedal until the penultimate bar to hold that chord on the second beat, and hold till youve finished.  Of course you have to take that Aflat and C with left hand and pass it to the right hand (smoothly) in order to play the two  (separated !) chords in the last bar.  Hope that makes sense.  In bars 42-45 those bass notes are marked staccato in my old edition, but as I said above I do pedal bar 42.


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#12 Edwardo

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Posted 23 October 2020 - 08:24

I've only played one of these (Op. 19 No 4) which I love (not that hard either).  There's a complete performance of all the Liede on YouTube here.


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#13 Latin pianist

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Posted 23 October 2020 - 08:32

I have an edited edition, Augeners, of Songs without words which has pedal marks in for each piece and Duetto has very little marked, in fact the only pedal marked is in bars 32- 34 with a change in each LH chord. Having said that, I do much as your teacher suggests but if you want to observe the staccato in bars 42-45, omit pedal there.
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#14 Nine and a Half Fingers

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Posted 23 October 2020 - 11:53

I would not be surprised to discover that I use the pedal slightly differently every time. At the extremes, this is not a piece I could imagine being played on a modern piano with no pedal at all, and too much pedal quickly turns it cloudy thereby obscuring the detail. In the Notes to my ABRSM edition it mentions two elements in the editor's approach to Pedal markings - that effective pedaling depends on the piano, the room, etc, and that we all judge these things differently. The score has four pedal indications from bar 43 to the end which I use as a guide, but not as a strict rule, and the editor does say they are suggestions which can be accepted or rejected. I believe Mendelssohn's own pedal markings are quite vague.


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#15 EllieD

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Posted 24 October 2020 - 06:48

Thank you everyone, that's really helpful! F#m - that sounds like my intended approach too! It's quite hard when I'm still only learning something which, for me, is quite difficult, to know how it will sound when it's all a bit more fluent.


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