• rudyapffel-czerny

Czerny Op 299 #11, 3 Versions

Updated: Apr 4, 2019

Practicing stepwise broken thirds has always seemed uniquely valuable to me for gaining independance of the fingers and preparing for scales in thirds. The typical 6-note figure of stepwise broken 3rds (using 5 fingers equally) has built-in euphony, and when the melody line moves through different harmonies the effect is very pleasing, especially at speed–Scarlatti exploited this device notably.

One feature that makes studies in the 6-note broken 3rds figure particularly valuable for ballet class is that they’re in quick 6/8 (or 12/8), and that’s a meter used regularly in ballet class, a meter whose character of lightness and skip and amiability supports jetes and degages and balancoire. Czerny’s tempo is, of course, far too fast for such a character, so my arrangements of #11 reduce his speed by about 30%.

For most of his smaller-scale piano studies Czerny favors a ternary structure, with a repeated A section followed by a developed B section in the dominant and finishing with a repeat of the A section ending in the tonic. Czerny usually develops his material more elaborately than this simple scheme (AABA): his B section will present sequences and pedal points; his recapitulation of A will involve considerable variation; and he'll tag on a coda. But you can take shortcuts with these studies if you’re in a hurry for finished repertory by eliminating these elaborations, and that’s what I’ve done with my 1st version.

1st Version: light, skipping 6/8, 8 sets of 8-count phrases

Op 299 #11 1st Version Audio

This is a performance of my shortcut arrangement of #11, for which I supply a score.

Op 299 #11 1st Version Score

I always try to get double use out of Czerny studies in compound meters (6/8, 12/8), playing them in both their original meters and in new meters with a change of accent. This is easily done with #11: the 12/8 meter can be re-accented with each RH sextuplet projected as two triplets. But you have to be careful to supply a LH accompaniment that keeps the duple meter very strong against the potential ambiguity of the RH.

2d Version: light, skipping 2/4, 8 sets of 8-count phrases

Op 299 #11 2nd Version Audio

This is a performance of my 2/4 arrangement of #11, for which I supply a score. It’s basically my shortcut arrangement recast in 2/4, but I’ve also written a new LH part with some melodic interest, and I’ve re-written the cadences to give the phrases breath and finish. In performance I try to make the RH more of an accompaniment to the LH’s melody.

Op 299 #11 2nd Version Score

3rd Version: light, skipping 6/8, 16 sets of 8-count phrases

Op 299 #11 3rd Version Audio

This is a re-imagining of #11 as a little trio using my DAW program to introduce melodic material in long-note values and create a complex 3-part contrapuntal texture.