'Grand Form' Piano Scales?
April 18, 2006 7:29 PM   Subscribe

PianoFilter: I'm a long-time pianist, but for some years (since an aborted college education), I've focused on popular music - or my own pop/rock compositions - to the exclusion of almost anything classical. Now I'm looking to remedy that error.

In working on Mozart's K. 545, his 'Don't you dare try to audition with this' Piano Sonata in C Major, I've discovered that my left hand lags alarmingly behind my right in technical ability. The problem is not so apparent in the second movement's arpeggiated bass as in the first movement's left-hand scales following the F-Major restatement of the initial theme.

If I recall my piano teacher's advice, the best remedy for that ailment is Bach and scales. Since a relatively trivial Scarlatti Sonata commands all of my baroque attention at the moment, I've decided to focus my attention on scales.

I found fingering charts for all major and harmonic minor scales online, but I've forgotten the exact composition of the four-octave parallel and contrary-motion 'grand' scale form as practiced in conservatories. Can anyone here describe for me exactly how it goes?
posted by The Confessor to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Pischna exercises are what you need.

As for the scales, two octaves in parallel, then diverge into contrary for two octaves (right hand continues up, left hand goes down); then contrary back down for two octaves (right hand down, left hand up), then together up parallel for two octaves, parallel back down two octaves; then contrary up and back for two octaves, then parallel down to the starting note two octaves.

(does that make sense?)
posted by mothershock at 8:32 PM on April 18, 2006


Yup, your description of the grand form matches my own dim recollection. I was uncertain simply because each repetition seems to take an interminably long time... but that's probably because I'm so far out of practice.

Pischna, eh? I'll remember that next time I'm able to scrounge up a few dollars
posted by The Confessor at 9:19 PM on April 18, 2006

mothershock answered your question as asked, so I'm going to throw in my unsolicited $0.02. Bach 2-part inventions. I know I know. You said no Bach. But seriously, just do them.
posted by knave at 10:54 PM on April 18, 2006

You might also look at the Hanon exercises. They are tedious, sure, but they will bring your left hand up. Use a metronome.
posted by plinth at 8:28 AM on April 19, 2006

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