Sunday, September 3, 2017

What's in Your Eighteenth-Century Ornamental Toolbox? (Discovering Three Often-Used Ornaments)

This blog was first published by Oxford University Press:

To many musicians, the word “ornament” brings a sense of foreboding dread. The mere thought of deciphering and interpreting the funny little signs and symbols into a line becomes paralyzing. But step back and look at the word: ornament.  What does it really mean?  Isn’t it simply a decoration? An addition to make something more…beautiful, lovely, exciting, adventuresome? C. P. E. Bach tells us that ornaments are equally important to correct fingering and proper performance (execution). Yet, ornamentation does not have to be complicated, and in all actuality, simpler is often better; a single, exquisitely placed gem sparkles the brightest.

Originally, ornaments served to merely extend the line on instruments that had a rapid tonal decay, such as the harpsichord and fortepiano. But they also provide spontaneity, creativity, variety, and expressivity. In the Classical Era style, the performer’s goal is to move the listener, to have something to say, and in that, ornaments play an important part. Deciding on which ornament to use and how often to use ornamentation calls for good taste which can be cultivated through listening to many performances of esteemed fortepianists such as Malcolm Bilson and Tom Beghin.

Ornamentation notation was not standardized in the eighteenth century. Some ornaments were absorbed into the texture of the music while many were indicated as symbols or small notes in varying rhythms such as an eighth, sixteenth, or thirty-second note(s), with or without a slash. The differences in size of notes or numbers of flags have no bearing on the length of the notes but are determined by the proportioned relationship to the principal note and the affekt (mood or emotion) of the piece.

On or before the beat? On or above the main note? Oftentimes one hears that Classical Era ornaments are all to begin on the beat and above the main note. Historical perspective is not conclusive in this matter. Period literature points to harmony and voice leading as the main determining factor and suggests we go to the dissonance to highlight the affekt.

Period practices recommend that ornaments are to be played in the context of the immediate key of the section, sometimes notated by the composer. Generally speaking, ornaments are to begin on the beat with the upper auxiliary. C. P. E. Bach suggests that each excerpt be played initially without ornamentation to clarify melodic direction and appropriate voice leading, making appropriate choices more obvious. If one cannot execute an ornament, it is better to reduce the number of rotations or leave it out completely than to stumble along and destroy the integrity of the excerpt.

Executing ornaments can go from foreboding dread to joyful anticipation. The three simplest and most commonly used ornaments are the appoggiatura, the turn, and the trill. The appoggiatura is one of the “must haves” in the Classical Era. In his Klavierschule, Türk devotes an entire chapter to this ornament. He explains that it comes from appoggiato, which means “actually: leaning, supported, and in music; sustained.”[1] It serves as the basis for the turn and the trill, both of which grow out of or are an extension of the appoggiatura. It enhances the melody and harmony and provides an accented dissonance. The appoggiatura is never approached in a legato fashion. There is always space in time directly before the appoggiatura, called an articulated silence. It is louder than, and must be slurred to the following note, whether notated as such or not. They are oftentimes notated as little notes to differentiate between a regular sixteenth-note run and should be leaned into, usually with an agogic accent. The length of the appoggiatura is determined by affekt, tempo, and where it appears in the line.

Mozart, Piano Sonata, KV 311/I, mm. 1-4 (Henle)

The turn is nothing more than a short trill with only one rotation. It is a utilitarian ornament: it may occur on any beat, on ascending and descending notes, in skips or stepwise progressions, on repeated notes, on unprepared notes, and on or after an appoggiatura. The interval between the outer notes usually encompasses a minor third. Execution and timing depend largely on affekt, rhythmic arrangement on context. If there is enough time, the turn should be on the beat and allow a pause on the main note.

 Beethoven, Bagatelle, Op. 119, No. 1, mm. 9-12 (Henle)

C. P. E. Bach believes the trill is the most important ornament. Execution of the trill varies according to its function within context. The speed of the oscillations adjusts to the tempo and expression of the passage. It typically lasts for the full value of the main note. To execute a long trill, the performer may start somewhat slowly and accelerate. The predominant view is that the starting note of the trill is the upper auxiliary. The suffix is frequently written out in the form of a turn ending. If a termination is not indicated, the performer is expected to add one where it would fit to effect a smooth transition from the trill to the melodic line.

 Beethoven, Bagatelle, Op. 119, No. 3, mm. 17-24 (Henle)

It’s time to open those scores, discover the ornaments, and see how your playing may be transformed by application of these basic tenets. Visit resource books and add more tools to your ornamental toolbox. The possibilities are endless!

[1] Daniel Gottlob Türk, Klavierschule (1789, Leipzig and Halle), as translated by Raymond H. Haggh (University of Nebraska Press, 1982), 111.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Perseverance from the Pioneers

As we say our farewells to summer and look ahead to a new academic year and fall season filled with possibilities and promise, there always seems to be a bitter-sweet mix of sadness and joyful anticipation. Sadness for putting lazy, carefree days behind us and joyful anticipation of new opportunities for learning and growth. And with the joyful anticipation comes lots of newfound energy that takes us through the first stages of hard work. But once the novelty of starting a new project wears off, the day-in-day-out drudgery can be a bit overwhelming and we must rely on sheer determination and perseverance. During those moments, it is good to learn from those who have gone before us for words of wisdom and hope; it is during those lulls that we can turn to The Oregon Trail pioneers and lean on their courage and experience. Here are just three examples of the fortitude, strength, and perseverance exhibited over 150 years ago.

From Lucinda Spencer’s remembrances of her 1847 journey across The Oregon Trail:

Up to this time…all was going well. The distance [remaining] was only 60 miles, but there was more suffering and hardships to be endured…than in the entire journey. The first day the weather was pleasant but cloudy; at night, the rain began to descend in torrents and the next morning it was succeeded by a cold, driving sleet and snow.  The road became a quagmire through which the teams and teamsters floundered until Summit Prairie was reached. The storm increased in fury and in the morning, it was found that ¾ of the stock had perished, leaving only enough to haul 3 or 4 wagons; into these the provisions, bedding and children were placed while the men and women heroically waded along in the mud.

On the 16th day of October 1847, the teams were unhitched for the last time at Salem, Oregon and the long journey was finished, being eight months and sixteen days from the time we left Wilmington, Illinois.[1]

Ezra Meeker retells the final steps of his 1852 journey (the first of several trips across The Oregon Trail): 

And yet, the dress and appearance of this assemblage were as varied as the human countenance and as unique as the great mountain scenery before them.  Some were clad in scanty attire…Here a matronly dame with clean apparel would be without shoes, or there, perhaps, the husband without the hat; the youngsters of all ages, making no pretensions to genteel clothing other than to cover their nakedness. We were like an army that had burned the bridges behind them. Here we were, more than 2,000 miles from home. Go ahead we must. Many were on the verge of collapse. Some were sick from lack of food and hard work. Such were the feelings as the motley crowd of 60 persons slowly neared that wonderful crevice through which the great river flows from the Cascade mountain range.[2]

And George Frederic Young describes the ability to laugh in the face of danger: 

What wretched conditions we endured:  Whortleberry swamps that we had to wade through; horses mired with the least load put upon them. We could only make 3-5 miles a day.  A snowstorm covered the ground with a foot of snow, leaving nothing for the horses to eat but “laurel” bushes. One horse died; they cut out the hams and saved them for an emergency. 

Laughter appeared in the midst of our fear of “double-dying” –  from starvation and cold!  But we were in the midst of plenty:  plenty of snow, plenty of wood to melt it, plenty of horse meat, plenty of dog meat.

One family had rolled up a feather bed & packed it on one of the oxen. The animal objected to the unusual load & bolted through the woods.  The feather bed was snagged on some low-lying limbs, scattering feathers in all directions, like a miniature snow storm![3]

These stories put my struggles in perspective!  As we move through the new season and the newness of the year wears off let’s persevere with the joy, fortitude, ingenuity, and determination that those who have gone before us exhibited.

Happy new school year and fall to one and all!

[1] Spencer, Lucinda. Transactions of the Oregon Pioneer Association, Fifteenth Annual Reunion. Press of Geo. H. Himes, Portland, Oregon, 1887.
[2] Meeker, Ezra. 1906. Ox Team Days. Applewood Books.
[3] Young, Frederic George, ed. The Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society, Vol III, March 1902-December 1902. (W. H. Leeds, State Printer, Salem Oregon).

Friday, June 30, 2017

Another Summer Day...

Here we are, fully into summer.  In the Midwest, days are filled with swimming, biking, and trips to the zoo while nights are for star-gazing and fireflies. Have you ventured out into the community to take in all the free community concerts you can find in your area? Or taken a trip to the library to find related literature about the works performed, composers represented, or geographic/historical references found in the music as a preparation for or follow-up to the event?

Oppressive heat brings everyone inside for movie watching and book reading. Yet, if you awake to “another summer day” in the “in-door stage” of summer, consider adding something musically new to your traditions. Make a game of it. See who can listen or watch the most for a trip to the local ice cream store for the winner!

  • Netflix: Try a new musical you’ve never seen before like Across the Universe that uses music of the Beatles or revisit some oldies like Fantasia or White Christmas for vicariously cooling off! You will also find interesting music documentaries on everything from Nina Simone to Tony Bennet, Pentatonix to Back Street Boys.
  • YouTube:  Pick anything at all and you’ll find a hit on YouTube!  If that is too much from which to choose, visit the Focus On Piano YouTube Channel: Here, you will find a variety of performances to widen your musical horizons: Music on the Trail, works written by Scarlatti, Beethoven, Mozart and Gershwin. Special related playlists have been created to make the search easier and to get you started: Eastman School of Music graduate and former Piano Place student Rosa Egge, fortepianists Malcolm Bilson and Tom Beghin.
  • Pandora:  Pandora, Spotify, GooglePlay, and other similar sites offer the entire spectrum of music from which to listen and grow. 
If you are lucky enough to live in a neighborhood with several young musicians, consider creating a Young People’s Neighborhood Orchestra or Band in someone’s backyard or basement. Participants meet each week for a 30-minute jam session!

Another Summer Day…another chance to make music in a new way. What new summer tradition will you create this year?

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Louder isn’t better, it’s just louder: what eighteenth-century performance practice teaches about dynamics.

This Blog was first published by Oxford University Press:

To the modern player, when dynamic indications are found in the score, the typical reaction is to think in terms of changes in volume.  Not entirely true for the eighteenth-century musician – dynamic indications mean much more than loud or soft. Volume shift was only part of the story and was a rather new and novel concept that took hold with the advent of the fortepiano and its ability to quickly alternate from loud to soft. According to the Harvard Dictionary of Music, the use of abbreviations to indicate dynamics appeared as late as 1638.[i]  Notated dynamic markings came into their own during the rise of the fortepiano and its expanded capabilities.

From early Haydn to late Beethoven we see the frequency of use increase and more varieties of indications come into play. Crescendo and diminuendo were developed and exploited at the renowned Mannheim School and modern use notation appeared later, in 1739.[ii]

Interestingly, C. P. E. Bach and D. G. Türk speak very little about dynamics in their tutors.  Bach writes about only three terms: p, mf, and f. Türk defines ff, f, mf, p, and pp. What they do speak to at great length is affekt, the foundational pillar for eighteenth-century style. Affekt is the ability of music to stir emotions. It was achieved through attention to detail and proper execution, including execution of dynamics.

The novelty of the fortepiano wasn’t the extreme range of volume as we know today, but its ability to quickly alternate and facilitate finesse. Forte and piano are associated with a deeper meaning behind the marking. Consider forte to possibly portray heavy, wide, broad, angry, anxious, big, or strong; piano to portray light, sweet, pleading, sorrowful, or melancholy. The make-up of the fortepiano allows these characters to be expressed beautifully. When this understanding is applied to the repertoire, the results become quite exciting:

Mozart, Piano Sonata, K. 332/I, mm. 55-65 (Henle)

The natural tendencies on the fortepiano bring the energy to the forefront:  Mozart Audio Example 1

It can be achieved effectively on the modern piano when appropriate adjustments are made:  Mozart Audio Example 2

Forte and piano are the backbone, indicating more and less rather than an absolute extreme loud or soft. It provides the means to shading and nuance. And it should be done in good taste, which requires further understanding of proper practices of the time.

Forte followed by piano is not necessarily an absolute direction for the notes specifically under the marking until the next change, but serves as a guide for dynamic direction from one marking to the next based on melodic, harmonic, and contextual clues.  In the example below, direction is from forte to piano rather than an absolute forte on beat 1 that continues until piano on beat 2.  The performer should start forte and arrive at piano by beat 2.

Mozart, Piano Sonata, K. 309/II, mm. 17-19 (Henle)

The subtle rise of the line is expressed well on the fortepiano: Mozart Audio Example 3

Forte directly followed by piano is often declarative in nature. The breadth is determined by affekt. We turn again to Mozart for clarification. The marking may be expressive:

Mozart, Piano Sonata, K. 280/III, mm. 55-59 (Henle)

These types of subtleties are expressed well on the fortepiano:   Mozart Audio Example 4

Or it may give direction for a terraced crescendo or diminuendo.  Here, the line builds bit by bit, leading up to the forte at the peak of the line.

Mozart, Piano Sonata, K. 309/I, mm. 48-51(Henle)

The fortepiano provides excellent opportunity to terrace the crescendo: Mozart Audio Example 5

As understood practices are incorporated it is important to remember that the overriding goal is to express affekt and dynamic markings are one of many notational clues provided by the composer to guide the performer in achieving the desired affekt. Once the clues are uncovered and adjustments are made in translating the affekt from fortepiano to modern piano, the musical message can be carried quite effectively. From the context of the piece, determine how and to what extent the dynamic marking(s) will best describe the affekt the composer is portraying.

Listen carefully to make artistic adjustments.  Guard against playing loudly simply because there is an f in the score. When considering extreme f or p, remember the volume capabilities available on the fortepiano. As Malcolm Bilson suggests, playing “as if” the modern piano is a fortepiano will go a long way in achieving the goal. Making appropriate adjustments on the modern piano will bring authenticity to the performance. The modern piano requires time for the tone to develop. Listen with a discerning ear to avoid cutting the sound off too quickly and creating a choppy, undesirable effect.

Continually consider the intended affekt, how the piece was probably performed on the period instrument, and how that intention can be best realized on this instrument. In doing so, playing will no longer simply be loud or soft, but an organic, living expression of the soul.

[i] Apel, Willi, ed. 1969. Harvard Dictionary of Music. 2nd rev. and enlarged ed. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 303.
[ii] Ibid.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same

 Connections Between MTNA 2017 National Conference & Eighteenth-Century Pedagogues

While at the Music Teachers National Association 2017 National Conference in Baltimore, Maryland in March I attended a variety of excellent sessions on everything from musicianship, business trends, and pedagogical strategies to recitals highlighting competition winners. It was impressive to see so many well-prepared and well-thought out presentations. 

Less than four hours into the conference, I started to have Deja-vu moments. Here I sat at a 2017 conference, listening to relevant insights being shared right and left while vividly remembering reading many of these same wise words of advice from great eighteenth-century pedagogues such as C. P. E. Bach, Leopold Mozart, and Daniel G. Türk. The topics broached were based on current scientific data and years of esteemed pedagogical experience, yet I found it ironic how the period musicians knew intuitively that which we continue to study and dissect in our desire to better understand. I’m not trying to disparage the conference presentations, I simply found it intriguing. Let’s turn to salient points from the workshops, followed by advice from the eighteenth century to see the continuity through the years.

***Let the mood and structure drive your learning and playing (Affekt)***

  • During an intermediate level master class led by Diane Hidy and Elissa Milne, students were instructed to learn the mood and structure by first playing the “skeleton” of the piece, playing the rhythmic concept (with less regard to exact notes), and feel the overall direction of the piece before attending to any details.

  • Instruction from Leon Fleisher during the advanced master class included:

  1. The notation tells the story, implying the importance of knowing the story [affekt] behind the composition.
  2. Concentrate on the left hand rhythmic scaffolding.
  3. Find the choices the composer has made to determine your choices regarding what you are going to bring out.  Here, in the Waldstein Sonata, long long short is the unusual structure to highlight.

  • Loise Svard led an insightful session, The Art & Science of Memorizing Music. Her presentation was based on the latest neuroscience as it relates to memorization.  She revealed that neuro paths for memorization begin developing during the initial learning stages. Emphasis was on the need to lay a solid foundation before rehearsing: analysis, structure, affekt, and the correct encoding of score. She emphasized the need to use all learning styles for stronger neuro connections: cells that fire together get wired together which develops reliable outcomes. In her concluding remarks, she summarized that the harder we work (understanding the structure), the more reliable the memory.

Eighteenth-century thoughts on structure and affekt:
  • Haydn speaking to L. Mozart, observing the young Mozart:  Your son has “taste and a profound understanding.”                      ---etching on a wall at Mozarthaus, Vienna, Austria

  • Türk devotes Part Three of Klavierschule and Bach devotes the entire “Performance” section in Versuch to executing the underlying concept.

  • “If everything that has been taught in the last two parts [on execution] is followed in the most meticulous way, it is still not possible to have good execution because the most essential part is missing, namely the expression of the prevailing character without which no listener can be moved to any degree.”[1]

  • “A knowledge of thoroughbass is indispensable to good execution because without this knowledge, the various rules concerning appoggiaturas and ornaments, the required strength or weakness of consonant and dissonant harmonies, and the like cannot be followed.”[2] 

  • “This difference of meters is very well suited to express particular nuances of the passions. Above all, the composer must have a definite impression of the particular passion that he has to portray and then choose a more ponderous or lighter meter depending upon whether the affect in its particular nuance requires one or the other.”[3]

  • To highlight affekt, it is best to go to the unusual or the dissonant, which implies knowing the usual form and expected outcome: “So-called deceptive progressions are also brought out markedly to complement their function.”[4] The typical Classical formula is 2 + 2 + 4, so in looking to the different structure in the Waldstein Sonata, the performer has a clear message from the composer regarding how to proceed.

  • During the Hidy/Milne master class a student was encouraged to follow the slur groupings.
  • Likewise, Fleisher instructed a student to do the same when determining musical direction in a work by Chopin.

Eighteenth-century thoughts on slurs:
  • The slur was the pinnacle of expression in the Classical Style. At one point Beethoven admonished his publisher to copy his markings exactly.  Much direction was provided in notational slurs and their impact on performance. 

  • In L. Mozart’s Violinschule, he provides an example of three measures in triple time with thirty-three different possibilities for accentuation and then proclaims, “Now this changes indisputably the whole style of performance.”[5]

***Rhythmic energy***
  • From Leon Fleisher: 

  1. Rhythmic LH figures in the Beethoven’s Waldstein Sonata are covert energy
  2. Follow the LH’s lead
  3. Follow clues the composer gave us to help in determining pulses [referring to beaming in a Chopin sonata]
  4. Make timing choices to highlight color changes

Eighteenth-century thoughts on rhythm:
  • 25% of Bach’s Versuch is devoted to thoroughbass.  For pianists, that means the left hand and the driving rhythmic energy inherent in the style.

  • On page 220 of L. Mozart’s A Treatise on the Fundamental Principles of Violin Playing, the concept of rhythmic energy and drive is methodically worked out. WA Mozart’s Piano Fantasy K 397 demonstrates this concept well.

  • On page 334 of Türk’s Klavierschule, he points out that beaming oftentimes denotes phrasing gestures. See Bagatelle in G Minor, Op. 119, No. 1, mm 59-65 by Beethoven for a clear example.

  • Rhythm is musical, not metrical. Time was expected to be used to highlight changes in color and affekt. Beethoven endorsed the metronome to set the tempo. He never intended it to be used for metronomic playing.

How fascinating! Many of the very concepts we continue to delve into and push forward with scientific research to better understand were already explained centuries ago through intuitive, musical understanding. To uncover more eighteenth-century gems, refer to Discoveries from the Fortepiano: A Manual for Beginning and Seasoned Performers (OUP, 2015).  

[1] Daniel Gottlob Türk, Klavierschule (1789, Leipzig and Halle), as translated by Raymond H. Haggh (University of                Nebraska Press, 1982), 337. Permission by the author’s daughter, Barbara Haggh-Huglo.
[2] Ibid., 323.
[3] Johan Philipp Kirnberger, 1982. The Art of Strict Musical Composition, (Berlin: 1771.) Translated by David Beach                    and Jurgen Thym. New Haven, CT and London: Yale University Press, 400.
[4] C. P. E. Bach, Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments (1753.) Translated and edited by William J.                       Mitchell. New York: W. W. Norton, 163.
[5] Leopold Mozart, 1948. A Treatise on the Fundamental Principles of Violin Playing, (Augsburg, 1756, 1787.)                             Translated by Editha Knocker. London: Oxford University Press, 123-124.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Help Available for Plate-Spinners!

It has been my experience in working with students of all ages, that we have become a culture of plate-spinners.  Whether it is participating in several after-school activities or getting members of one’s family from said place-to-place, there seems to be too many activities and not enough time.  Students get overwhelmed, skim over their assignments (without looking at the assignment sheet), and come with very little accomplished from the previous lesson.  Never fear – help is here for the “music plate!” Once you have the music plate spinning smoothly and efficiently, you may find that you can apply the same principle to the other plates in your life.
  • Look at your assignment sheet.  Make sure the goals for the week are prioritized.  If you and your teacher did not do this at lesson, do it now.  What is item one   that one thing you want to make sure you accomplish this week?

  • Go the item one. Take the tool from your practice tool box that will help you most. Maybe it is focused hands-alone playing of a small section 7-10 times accurately. Perhaps it is time to put the section hands-together, which requires super-slow practice in tiny tidbits. Look at previous blog posts for more ideas if the practice strategy isn’t listed on your assignment sheet. 

  • With focused attention, work on item one for a large chunk of your practice time on Days 1-3. If you are honest with yourself, you will know when you are devoting the appropriate amount of time!

  • By Day 4, item one should be more readily under control, taking up less of your focus and requiring much less of your practice time.

  • Take the extra time now available from having accomplished item one, and apply it to the next item on your assignment sheet (priority list).

See?  It is really that systematically simple:  Do one thing, do it well, and move on to the next thing.  The research is in…multi-tasking is not a thing; it doesn’t work.  It simply fragments the mind, sends anxiety through the roof, and results in ever-diminishing mastery of whatever tasks are at hand.

With diligent application of these steps, your plate spinning will become smooth and efficient.  You will find yourself enjoying the array of creative orbs filling your life in a harmonious flow.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Fingering Choices for Musical Gain in Eighteenth-Century Piano Performance

This Blog was first published by Oxford University Press:

The proper use of fingering to perform accurately is of concern to all instrumentalists.  However, there is a dangerous pitfall awaiting keyboard players that does not exist for other instrumentalists.  Simply put, for non-keyboardists, wrong fingering usually equals wrong note. But for the pianist, we can stumble along, playing the right pitches, while all the while making a complete mess of the musical message because of inept fingering.  As C. P. E. Bach cautions: “Today, much more than in the past, no one can hope to play well who does not use his fingers correctly.”[1]  Therefore, it is not surprising that C. P. E. Bach devotes 37 pages to proper scale fingerings of all stripes and colors for good execution in chapter 1 of Versuch, and Türk devotes 60 pages to the same in Klavierstücke.

What is distinctive to eighteenth-century performance practice is the acknowledgment of the important role fingering plays in musicality; how it is completely interconnected.  It is inseparable from interpretation.  It serves a vital musical function so much so that Bach believed the musical function of fingering was more important than its technical role.
Clementi puts it succinctly: “To produce the best effect, by the easiest means, is the great basis of the art of fingering.”[2]  The best fingering is achieved by the easiest means, which is not always a 1-2-3-4-5 legato approach. Instead, this suggests choosing fingering that supports a hand shape and execution which will facilitate a reliable technical and musical outcome. Türk demonstrates the concept well in Klavierstücke.  As suggested in Discoveries from the Fortepiano (2015, OUP), try the excerpt below using consecutive fingering (1-2, 2-3, 3-4…) while at the same time following the slur indications.  Now, play it with Türk’s suggestions which require one gesture, one muscle movement, gliding up and down the keyboard – the best effect by the easiest means.

 Türk, Klavierstücke. 158.[3]

Oftentimes today, scores are interpreted with a fully-connected, legato execution. The Mozart example below is a case in point. The fingering choice suggested by the editor in the right hand on beat one of measure 33 is 2-1-2-4-5. This proposed fingering implies connecting the line through the slur which contradicts the articulation subtleties Mozart notated. If we are to play the score as directed by Mozart, this “easiest” fingering approach, in reality, becomes more difficult to execute musically and the following interpretation usually results.

 Mozart, Piano Sonata, K. 309/II, mm. 33-36 (Henle)

Instead, using 1-2-4-5-3 on beat one of measure 33 produces Mozart’s notated articulation by using the natural inclination of the fingers: starting with a heavier gesture with naturally heavier fingers, breaking the legato after finger 5, and landing with a rich, thick finger 3.  A natural gesture followed by a newly articulated stroke. The best effect by the easiest means. Listen to the difference that is demonstrated on the fortepiano:

By following these principles on the modern piano the same nuanced interpretation is readily achieved:

The conscious employment of this technical approach provides rational solutions to the perceived “problems” of executing eighteenth-century repertoire. The added bonus? A style that is easier to execute, that offers a variety of articulation, that contains new palettes of color, and that provides imagined sound energy through intentionally executed technical paths.

[1] C. P. E. Bach, Essay on the True Arts of Playing Keyboard Instruments, (Leipzig: Schwickert, 1753, 1762), translated by William J. Mitchell, (W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 1949, renewed © 1976 by Alice L. Mitchell), 41.
[2] Muzio Clementi, Introduction to the Art of Playing on the Piano Forte (London: Clementi, Banger, Hyde, Collard & David, 1801), reprinted (Da Capo Press, 1974), 14.
[3] Daniel Gottlob Türk, Klavierschule (1789, Leipzig and Halle), as translated by Raymond H. Haggh (University of Nebraska Press, 1982), 158, with permission from the author’s daughter, Barbara Haggh-Huglo.