Here’s a fun one for you today – Spring by Vivaldi. This is but a fraction of the full piece, and Spring is 1/4 of Vivaldi’s full “The Four Seasons”, but it’s instantly recognizable and not too intense on piano, either.
Spring by Vivaldi – Sheet Music
Be sure to check out the full version below, a la violin, to get a sense of the sound you’re going for! 🙂
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Backstory! Antonio Vivaldi was an Italian Baroque composer, which means he was active in the early 1700s. He was a wildly awesome violinist and wrote a ton of concertos, of which the collection ‘The Four Seasons’ is the most famous.
Four Seasons is four violin concertos, one of which is La Primavera, today’s piece (Primavera = spring). Even though it was composed for violin, I think the tune translates really nicely to keyboard.
Learning points for Spring
- Key signature: Two sharps, which means we’re in either the key of D major (see this video on D major scale), and if you remember how to tell major and minor keys apart (major vs. minor keys), B minor. But the first LH note is a D, and the first right hand notes are DF#, so we can pretty safely assume this is D major. Not to mention the super happy tone of the piece – definitely no minor there.
- Italian: Allegro simply means fast.
Harmony of Spring by Vivaldi
Notice how this melody uses a ton of 3rds to harmonize the melody. If you want to learn more information on why the composer would make that choice – just some harmony backstory, you can check out the video on harmony basics.
A note on dynamics
In this song, we have very sudden dynamic shifts – in the violin version you’ll notice this as well. It goes to forte, piano, and back, and forth. There’s a couple reasons for this. One, if you look at the song structure, the first and second line are basically identical, so changing up the dynamics creates contrast where otherwise it might get boring. The same thing with the 3rd and 4th line.
Another reason is that in the Baroque era, composers used what are called ‘terraced dynamics’, or very abrupt shifts as opposed to long crescendos and diminuendos. You’ll notice this as a feature in most baroque music, if there are even dynamic marks at all. Once the classical and romantic eras rolled around, sheet music started being notated much more expressively as the style and instruments evolved.
Challenges of playing Spring
One of the main challenges of this piece is aligning the left and right rhythmically. Since you have this repeated rhythm in the left hand, it’s important that it be steady, almost like a bass drum beat. As soon as the pulse starts getting random and unrhythmic, the piece will fall apart.
What I find helpful is to turn on the metronome really slow, once you’ve tried it HT a few times, and really focus on matching that LH to the beat.
Have fun learning Spring by Vivaldi! This is such a nice light piece – and don’t be afraid of learning it in the midst of winter either.