Today we’re going to work on another piece that’s far beyond our beginner level – well, if we were to do the entire thing, anyway. Like we’ve done before, we’re just going to learn a little snippet – a taste of what’s to come in our virtuosic futures. The piece in question is from Beethoven’s third concerto,
from the very beginning of the second movement ‘largo’.
Sheet music for Beethoven’s Third Concerto: Largo introduction
Beethoven’s Third Concerto: Backstory
First of all, if you want to know more about my pal Beethoven, check out this video: The Life and Times of Beethoven. This third piano concerto of his, in C minor, was composed in 1800, when Beethoven was around 30 years old. Concertos are not solo performances like sonatas – they include use of an orchestra, but feature a specific instrument (in this case, the featured instrument is piano).
We’re focusing in on the second of three movements, the largo – slow – part, but you should really check out the whole thing. I’ll link a full performance of it below (it cues in at the beginning of the “Largo” section).
A Note on the Sheet Music for Largo
The first note I will make is that I transcribed the original sheet music into something far more readable – the original version has all kinds of wacky dotted 16th notes and 32nd notes. Since that kind of counting is a little more complex than I want to do right now, I made an easier reading version – it sound exactly the same, even though it’s changed to 6/4 and there are no 32nd notes anywhere.
Practice points for Largo: Intro
First of all, the key signature has four sharps – F, C, G, D. if you remember from last week, these four sharps can be found in the key of E major (E major scale). Since the opening notes outline an E major chord, we can assume that this piece is in E major, and not it’s relative minor counterpart, C sharp minor.
This piece includes the use of arpeggiated chords, which looks like a funny squiggle beside the notes. To play this, simply press the notes “guitar style” – rolling them up, from the bottom to the top. Make sure to keep each note held down as you roll it.
Last note is to really take care to tell if a note is tied or slurred. There’s a healthy mix of both in this piece, and some ties might look like slurs, and vice versa. Remember, ties always connect the same notes (like a C to a C), whereas slurs connect different notes, and often multiple notes at a time.