Hi, and welcome to the second part of Czerny’s book “100 Progressive Recreations”. We’ll slowly cover this book, as well as other important collections, as we progress.
If you’d like to see the previous video in the series, pieces #1-10, check out the link below:
And sheet music for Czerny’s 100 Progressive Recreations can be found here:
http://pianoexercises.org/exercises/czerny/ (at the bottom)
The study guide is below. Enjoy! 🙂
Czerny’s 100 Progressive Recreations Study Guide
Exercise 11: Sustaining LH notes, 3/8 time signature
There are a few crazy things going on in this piece. The first one is the time signature – 3/8, which means each measure equals three 8th notes (you still count it 1-2-3, 1-2-3, etc). Also there’s a very wild and liberal amount of ledger line usage here, so be prepared to sharpen your treble clef note reading skills.
The most important technical challenge of this piece, aside from playing it an allegro (fast) tempo, is how the first LH note of each bar must be held and sustained while the next set of notes play. In other words, your pinkie (finger 5) will be hanging on to that first LH note for the entire measure, so don’t lift it up when you go to hit the next set of notes (which your fingers will probably want to do). This is one of those things that’s easier to demonstrate than explain, so take note of the video carefully.
Last detail is the 8th rest, which is the only rest in the piece, and means – you probably guessed it – to rest for the duration of an 8th note (half a beat).
Exercise 12: Quick blocked chords
The most difficult aspect about this piece is playing blocked chords that are both light (staccato), and crisp – that is, having every note sound simultaneously. Sometimes with playing quick chords, there might be a note that sounds louder than the rest, or there might be a note that doesn’t make a sound when you press it – watch that you’re attacking all three notes evenly, and simultaneously.
Notice how the dynamics rise in volume for the highest notes, and when those high notes descend, so does the volume.
Exercise 13: The dotted quarter note
Here we have a new rhythmic pattern – the dotted quarter note, followed by an 8th note. The dotted quarter note gets one and a half beats (as opposed to the quarter note, which gets one beat), so the sound gets held a little longer.
Your fingers will also be stretching all over the place, notably in the second line where the RH stretches a full octave. Octave work is very common in piano music, so best begin getting used to it now.
Really pay attention to all the little slurs in this piece, as well as the accents, as adhering to them will drive the rhythm of this piece.
Exercise 14: Waltz pattern, and more rhythmic fun
Waltzes have a very distinct pulse to them – they’re always in ¾, or 3/8, and that beat can be felt very strongly when emphasis is placed on the first beat of each measure (STRONG-weak-weak).
Notice in the second line of music, the sustained LH note from exercise 11 reappears, as well as the RH stretchy fingers, spanning a full octave.
Some Italian for you – “poco” means “a little”, so in this piece where is says “poco cresc.”, it means something like “get a little louder”.
And now we’re delving into some 32nd note territory – which is twice as fast as a sixteenth note. Listen to the recording to hear what that rhythmic pattern will sound like, as an in-depth discussion on counting is beyond the scope of this video walkthrough.
Exercise 15: The musical “Air”, and syncopation
An “air” is an aria (Italian), which was originally a lyrical vocal piece. Instrumental airs have a strong tie to singing, and the melody should be played with that in mind (instead of robotically moving from note to note). If you’re up for it, it really helps to sing or hum the tune of this piece while learning it, to really internalize its lyrical qualities.
For more rhythmic fun, this piece switches it up by placing accents on the second beat of most bars. Generally, accents fall on strong beats (like beat 1), so to place an accent on a weak beat (like beat 2) creates something called syncopation. Because variety is the spice of life!
Hopefully by this point, the left hand chords are beginning to become very familiar.
Exercise 16: The Arpeggio
Waltz on a French Romance
Speaking of stretchy fingers (were we?), this piece incorporates both arpeggios and scales into it. An arpeggio is basically a chord, played one note at a time (in this case, C chord, played C – E – G – C). Watch the finger numbers carefully to play this correctly. A descending C scale can be found at the end of the right hand part.
Again, take notice of that sustained LH on the first beat of each bar, just like exercise 11. Looking for other details, you can notice that as the RH notes ascend in that arpeggio toward the end, there’s an accompanying crescendo, and when the notes descend in a scale, there’s a diminuendo. Pay attention to those natural dynamic valleys and peaks.
Exercise 17: switching fingers on the same note
At first glance, this piece seems very simple, especially compared to some of the others so far. But it does something important but peculiar – it asks you to switch fingers on the same note. This isn’t arbitrary, it’s to help gracefully move your hand to a different spot in order to play a pattern most effectively. Also, it can be a really great brain exercise to play the same note with a different finger – it can help break the tie of associating finger 1 with C, and so on. This technique can be much more difficult than it first appears.
Keep this one light and beautiful! Focus on musicality here.
Exercise 18: Tie, Tenuto, Marcto
Something we haven’t come across yet in this book are ties. Ties look a lot like slurs, but serve a very different function – instead of meaning to play smooth, they mean to tie one note to the next – to continue holding it. So if you have two quarter notes tied together, you’d hold it as though it were a half note. You can spot a tie if it’s between two of the same notes (like a C to a C).
Marked by “ten” in the score is a tenuto, which means “long and strong”. Hold the note to its full value or a little longer, and play it a little stronger too.
You’ve also got a symbol that looks like a funny little party hat for the notes – these are called “marcato” and can mean to play loud, like an accent, and short, like a staccato.
Exercise 19: A review
This piece is basically a warm-up for the next one. It’s very fast, which is its main challenge (the next piece, #20, is faster). Think of this as a review piece, since it incorporates a variety of things you’ve learned so far (rhythms and countings, dynamics, Italian words, chords, etc).
The nice thing about this one, I find, is your RH gets to hang out in a 5-finger position the whole time, leaving your mental faculties free to focus on playing a quick and even tempo. The LH basically alternates between two chords, with the exception of the ending. This one is simple in theory, but more difficult in execution.
I hope you enjoy practicing #11-19 of Czerny’s 100 progressive recreations – this batch of pieces isn’t easy, but the tunes sound really good for being exercises.