Beethoven – Russian Air, op. 107 no. 3 – tutorial

 

 

Hello!

Russian Air, op. 107 no. 3 is for relative beginners – you’ll probably want at least several months under your belt before trying out this one, but it’s lots of fun if you’re ready to work hard!  Beethoven’s Russian Air, op. 107 no. 3 is a fairly famous piece from a set of 10 folk songs of various nationalities, composed in 1819.  In this video, I’ll play the piece for you, we’ll talk practice details, and as always, sheet music can be found below.

Sheet music for Russian Air, op. 107 no. 3

Beethoven: Russian Air, op. 107 no. 3 sheet music

For further information, be sure to check out the video below, which is a fast-paced recap on the Life and Times of Ludwig van Beethoven.

Enjoy! 🙂

Backstory

In music, an “air” just refers to a composition that has highly melodic melodies, usually based from vocal folk songs. This is the third of a set of 10 folk songs in op. 107, all with various nationalities and influences, this particular one being Russian. Beethoven’s op. 107 was published in 1819.

Italian terms

By and large, the most difficult part of this piece is the tempo. Vivace means fast and lively. Don’t be discouraged if this piece takes you longer than a week or two – it often takes a little longer to learn a fast piece as your fingers learn to get comfortable executing patterns quickly.

Phrasing and slurs

Let’s talk about phrasing. Phrasing is indicated by slurs, and you can think of the ends of phrases to be like punctuation marks. Though you don’t need to physically breathe at the end of a phrase like a singer might, make sure you let the piano “breathe” by lifting the note and creating a slight break in the sound.

Left hand versus Right hand

The LH and RH are doing completely different things in this piece – different rhythms, different notes and directions, so be sure to learn this piece hands separately first, as it will make playing hands together infinitely easier.

tempo of Russian Air, op 107 no. 3

You gotta walk before you run. Once you can play a piece at a comfortable slow tempo, without mistakes, then it’s time to speed up bit by bit. Push yourself, but don’t overwhelm yourself – if you’re making lots of errors, slow it down a bit.

Conclusion

Depending on your skill level, commitment, etc., getting this song up to speed could take anywhere from a week to a month. Give yourself goals, like speeding up a certain amount in a week, and slowly make your way to the finish line, instead of trying really hard to play fast when your fingers can’t keep up.

xo,
Allysia

Allysia has been teaching piano in Canada for nearly a decade, and has her Grade 10 RCM certificate. She especially enjoys nerding out to music history and theory. When she’s not making videos or teaching, she’s reading, writing, and jamming in a rock band.