My passion is to help others in the community, young, old, and everyone in between, find relevance and joy in learning, performing or listening to classical music.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Musical Investigations: Episode 3 - Langer's Konzertante Musik Nr. 4: Allegretto amoroso

I keep naively thinking that I'm done having to learn pieces that drive me nuts.  Silly me. 

So here's the latest.  I'm playing for a recital coming up that features the oboe d'amore, soprano, and piano.  Yep, the oboe d'amore.  I don't believe I had ever seen one before our first rehearsal last week and in all honesty all I knew about the instrument was that it had a really cool name.  Needless to say, I don't think there's a whole lot of music written for this particular instrument so I was quite curious to take a look at the music.  Well, so now I have the music.  And I've looked at it.  Played some of it.  Looked at it some more.  Scratched my head a bit.  Walked away to eat some cookies.  Returned to the music.  

Get the picture?  I had a difficult time moving past "Go" at first.

But no point wallowing in self pity - what needs to be learned needs to be learned. 

One of the pieces in question is the Konzertante Musik Nr. 4 for oboe d'amore and cembalo, or piano, by Hans-Klaus Langer.  In the first movement, marked "Allegretto amoroso" there's one page that doesn't seem too bad at first sight but it's still managed to make me kind of grumpy.  Here's the page in question:

The tempo is quite fast, with the quarter note (or crotchet to some) at 104 beats per minute on the metronome.  

In my usual fashion I decided to sit down and find as many patterns as I could find to help me out.  It very quickly became apparent that patterns where everywhere.  In fact, there weren't many notes that I couldn't squeeze into a pattern that repeated somewhere else.  After playing around, here is what I came up with:

(My apologies for the not-so-easy-to-read quality of this color scan...I was having difficulties with managing the larger file size.)

The first thing I discovered was that the first line repeats itself identically up a fourth.  That means all I had to do was memorize it and then use my ear to slowly transpose it.  Now I'm not good at explaining the why of this, but the other really interesting thing about these first two statements is that because of the way it's written, the right hand's orientation to the white and black keys almost remains the same, regardless of which statement I'm playing.  For instance, the first chords of each line are white key chords, the following chords have black keys in the top and bottom voices with white notes in the middle, and so on.  There are a few tiny exceptions to this pattern but for the sake of sanity I'm going to focus on feeling of familiarity in my right hand in conjunction with my ear to get me through the passage gracefully.  If I miss a few accidentals now and then, oh well.  

There are some other great patterns in there.  I particularly like the one I labeled in green.  The top voice in those clips are always made up of a whole step followed by a half step.  When I was practicing this at first I played that first one in measure two then went to the next one in measure 3 and without looking at the music, played it by ear.  Then I moved on to the one in measure 4 and so on throughout the entire page.  There are 10 of them in the right hand within 17 measures.  If worse comes to worse I could just play that pattern willy nilly and probably be just fine.  

Sacrilegious?  Oh, perhaps.  But I've said it before and I'll say it again.  Sometimes the music beyond the notes are just as important, if not more important than the notes that are actually on the page.

Hopefully these patterns will help lead me there.

Click here if you'd like to see some more of my musical investigations.


  1. Excellent approach. Thank's for sharing.



  2. Antonio,
    You're welcome. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment!

    All the best,