Saturday, December 31, 2016

Fun with Five Octaves

The question of what music you can play on a 61-key keyboard occasionally comes up, but I haven't yet found an actual repertoire list.  While it's true that a fair amount of music up through Bach can be played on such a keyboard, there are notable exceptions, enough to make it worthwhile to list the works that will fit.  In music after Bach, the selection is much more limited, and most of the important piano pieces don't fit.  This list is restricted to pieces that range from two octaves below middle C to three octaves above.  Pieces that require any re-writing (leaving out an octave doubling, for instance) are not included.  Pieces requiring harmonics also don't appear here; most digital keyboards I've heard/played on don't produce them, at least in any "piano" voice.  Some of the pieces do require long held tones, which can be problematic in voices named "piano" since they tend not to have much sustain.  If the piece will work using an organ-style voice (maybe called "Church Organ", "Chapel" or something like that), held tones won't be as much of a problem.  Organ music that doesn't require the pedals can often be played using an appropriate voice; one possible concern is registration, since on a short digital keyboard the possibilities are limited.

Note added April 7, 2018: I've been expanding this list as I've run across appropriate music.  It would be good to know if anyone finds it at all helpful.

Partial list of music that can be played on a 61-key keyboard:
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach:
Some of the sonatas; the famous "Solfeggietto" won't fit

Johann Sebastian Bach:
The vast majority of the Well-Tempered Clavier Books I and II, and the Inventions and Sinfonias (Sinfonia #6 doesn't fit)

"English" Suites:
I in A Major, BWV 806: Prelude, Sarabande
II in A Minor, BWV 807: the whole suite
III in G Minor, BWV 808: Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Gavottes I and II, Gigue
IV in F Major, BWV 809: the whole suite
V in E Minor: the whole suite
VI in D Minor: the whole suite

"French" Suites, BWV 812-817:
All of Suites I, II, III, IV and V; all but the Bourée from Suite VI

I in B-flat major, BWV 825: Sarabande, Menuet I and II, Gigue
II in C Minor, BWV 826: Courante, Saraband, and Rondeau
III in A Minor, BWV 827: Fantsia, Sarbande, Burlesca, Scherzo, Gigue
IV in D Major, BWV 828: Allemande, Courante, Aria, Sarabande, Menuet, Gigue
V in G Major, BWV 829: Tempo di Minuetto, Passepied
VI in E Minor, BWV 830: Toccata, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Tempo di Gavotta, Gigue

Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variations 6 and 18 require transposing the keyboard down an octave; Var. 24 contains a high d''' which will be out of range if the keyboard is transposed down to reach the G' at the low end.

Béla Bartók: 
All of Mikrokosmos, vol. II

All of Mikrokosmos, vol. III except Variations and the second Chromatic Invention

These pieces from Mikrokosmos, vol. IV:
Notturno, Thumb Under, Crossed Hands, In the Style of a Folk Song, Diminished Fifth, Major and Minor, Through the Keys, Playsong, Children's Song, Clashing Sounds, Intermezzo, Variations on a Folk Tune, Bulgarian Rhythm (1 and 2), Theme and Inversion, Triplets in 9/8 Time, Dance in 3/4 Time, Fifth Chords, Two-Part Study

These pieces from Mikrokosmos, vol. V:
Chords Together and Opposed, Staccato and Legato, Boating, Change of Time, New Hungarian Folk Song, Major Seconds Broken and Together, Studies in Double Notes, Perpetuum Mobile, Whole-tone Scale, Merry Andrew (this one has some held tones that may not work well)

These pieces from Petite Suite: Whirling Dance, Bag Pipe

Rumanian Christmas Carols 2nd Series; Number 10 is the only one from the first series that won't fit.

Rumanian Folk Dances, nos. 2-5

Ludwig van Beethoven:
  • Variations on "Nel cor piu non mi sento"
  • Three Easy Sonatinas (C Major, G Major, and F Major)
  • 6 Ländlerische Tänze
  • 7 Ländlerische Tänze
  • Rondo in A Major
  • Numbers 1, 3, and 4 from 6 Menuette (not the famous one in G Major)
  • Menuett in E-flat Major
  • Rondo in C Major, Op. 51, No. 1
  • Two Preludes through all the major keys, Op. 39
  • Allegretto quasi andante, from Seven Bagatelles Op. 33, No. 2
  • Tempo di Menuetto from Sonata in G Major, Op. 49, No. 2
Buxtehude: All of the keyboard suites

Cecile Chaminade: These pieces from Children's Album, First Series, Op. 123:
Prélude, Intermezzo, Canzonetta, Rondeau, Gavotte, Gigue, Romance, Barcarolle, Air de Ballet, March Russe

Chopin: the following Mazurkas:
  • Op. 6, no. 2
  • Op. 7, nos. 1, 4, and 5
  • Op. 17, nos. 3 and 4
  • Op. 24 no. 3 contains a long note but is otherwise playable
  • Op. 33 no. 3
  • Op. 50 no. 2
  • Op. 67 no. 3
  • Op. 68 nos. 3 and 4
  • Op. posth. B-flat major, D Major (two of them), and C Major
      Waltz Op. 69/1 "L'adieu"

Muzio Clementi:
Sonatina in C Major, Op. 36, No. 1
Sonatina in C Major, Op. 36, No. 3

François Couperin:
from Ordre II:
  • Menuet
  • La Charoloise
  • La Diane
  • Fanfare pour la Suitte de la Diane
  • La Florentine
  • La Babet
  • Les Papillons
from Ordre III
  • Gavotte
  • L'Espagnolette
  • Les Matelotes Provencales
from Ordre VI
  • Les Moissonneurs
  • Les Langueurs-Tendres
  • Le Gazoüillement
  • La Bersan
  • Les Bergeries
  • La Commére
  • La Moucheron
Louis Couperin:
  • Chaconne, C Major
  • Passacaille, C Major
  • Sarabande, C Major
  • Menuet, C Major
  • Chaconne, C Minor
  • Chaconne, G Major
  • Branle de Basque, F Major
  • many others
Louis-Claude Daquin: Le Coucou

Antonín Dvořák: Humoresque

Elizabeth Jacquet de la Guerre:

The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book

Girolamo Frescobaldi:
  • Gagliarda, G Minor
  • Passacaglia, B-flat Major
All of the organ music (occasional chords have to be re-written because they require the pedal)

Alberto Ginastera:
“In the First Pentatonic Minor Mode”, No. 5 from Doce Preludios Americanos

Grieg: These pieces from Lyric Pieces:
  • "Arietta", Op. 12, No. 1
  • "Watchman's song", Op. 12, No. 3
  • "Elfin Dance", Op. 12, No. 4
  • "Album-Leaf", Op. 12, No. 7
These pieces from Op. 38:
  • "Skipping Dance", Op. 38, No. 5
  • "Elegy", Op. 38, No. 6
  • "Waltz", Op. 38, No. 7
Georg Frideric Handel:
Suite in B-flat Major (G. 30-33)

Franz Joseph Haydn:
Sonata in D Major (1767)
Sonata in C Major, Hob. XVI/1: Allegro
Sonata in G Major, Hob. XVI/8

Fanny Hensel
Mélodie (Op. 4, No. 2)

Marianne Martinez:
Sonate No. 3

W. A. Mozart:
complete sonatas
  • Sonata in E-Flat Major, K. 282
  • Sonata in C Major, K. 545
individual movements
  • Sonata in F Major, K. 280, II. Adagio
  • Sonata in B-Flat Major, K. 281, III. Rondo. Allegro
  • Sonata in G Major, K. 283, II. Andante
  • Sonata in D Major, K. 284, II. Andante [Polonaise en Rondeau]
  • Sonata in D Major, K. 311, II. Andante con espressione
  • Sonata in C Major, K. 330, I. Allegro moderato
  • Sonata in C Major, K. 330, III. Allegretto
  • Sonata in A Minor, K. 331, III. Alla Turca. Allegretto
  • Sonata in F Major, K. 332, II. Adagio
  • Sonata in F Major, K. 332, III. Allegro assai
  • Sonata in B-Flat Major, K. 333, II. Andante cantabile
  • Sonata in F Major, K. 533, I. Allegro
Other pieces:
Minuets in G Major, K. 1, F Major, K. 2, and C Major, K. 6
Adagio for glass harmonica, K. 356

Johann Pachelbel:
At least the following chorale preludes:
  • “Ach, Gott vom Himmel sieh darein” (the shorter setting)
  • “Ach, Herr, mich armen Sünder” (the shorter setting)
  • "Christe, der du bist Tag und Licht"
  • "Da Jesus an dem Kreuze stund"
  • Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt” (at least two of the settings)
  • Es spricht der unweisen Mund wohl” (both settings)
  • Es woll' uns Gott genädig sein”(both settings)
  • "Gott Vater, der du deine Sonn'"
  • "Ich hab' mein' Sach' Gott heimgestellt" 
  • "Vom Himmel hoch, da komm' ich her" (the shorter setting)
Fantasia in G Minor
Ricercare in F-sharp Minor

Bernardo Pasquini: Partite sopra l'aria della Folia d'Espagna

Franz Schubert:
  • Moments Musicaux Op. 94/3, Op. 94/2
  • Variation on a Waltz by Diabelli
  • Andante (C Major)
  • Alegretto (C Major)
Robert Schumann: These pieces from Kinderszenen, Op. 68:
Von Fremden Länden und Menschen, Kuriose Geschichte, Hasche-Mann, Bittendes Kind

Florent Schmitt: Prelude in G Minor

Georg Philipp Telemann:
Twelve Easy Chorale Preludes
Fantasias for Harpsichord, TWV 33:1-36

Happy New Year!

It's been a long time since I've posted, which has been the product of two things.  One, I prefer doing things to writing about them.  Two, it's hard for me to come up with things to write that would actually justify the time I'd spend writing them.

2016 has been a year of a lot of changes.  Most of them aren't really on-topic for this blog; I'll leave writing about politics to others, and while it's attractive to write about the environmental, financial and humanitarian disasters both looming and in progress, it's not my purpose here.  My own life has had a major upset or two, and as a result I've had to re-think a lot of plans.

So, what has 2016 contained?

Not as many new compositions as I'd like, but that's par for the course:
Forebodings, Too Easily Dispelled for saxophone choir
     A companion piece, Ignore the Clouds, the Droplets are not Rain, is in the works

The beginnings of a set of pieces for hatun kena and piano; two pieces basically done, unsure how many will follow.

"The Gardener's Song," a short song in Esperanto about a groundskeeper who painstakingly sorts the autumn leaves into piles by color, and has to re-think when the wind comes along and mixes them up again.

A number of performances, of which the most interesting are probably the ones at the Spanish Benevolent Society with a group of Spanish-language writers, artists, poets and musicians.  It's an honor to share the stage with them, and I'm looking forward to more wonderful programs in 2017.  Here's where to find their upcoming events.

I also played some Azerbaijani music up at Lake George for the Autumn Esperanto Convention
in October; it was my first time attending that gathering, and already I can't wait for next year.

In performing terms, 2016 has been the year of the 61-key keyboard; mine has a very different sound and feel from the pianos and 88-key digital keyboards I've played, and I've enjoyed getting to know its more intimate feel.  I'm working on a list of music that can be played on such a keyboard; I was surprised to find pieces by Bartók, Chaminade, and Florent Schmitt that will fit.  It's not a surprise that most of the important works of the piano repertoire need a bigger keyboard, of course.

My wish list for 2017 is still in progress; the above-mentioned piece for saxophone choir heads the list, followed closely by some keyboard pieces.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Cultura SIN Límites, May 3, 2016 - POSTPONED

The event that had been scheduled for May 3, 2016, Culture with NO Limits, has been postponed.  It will take place on June 7 at 7:00 PM at the same location (The Spanish Benevolent Society, La Nacional, 239 West 14th St., Manhattan, New York City).  My apologies to everyone for the inconvenience.

I didn't know, two years ago, when I posted about the 300th anniversary of the birth of C.P.E. Bach, what kind of adventure would follow.  I've discovered a rich collection of beautiful music, in which every page begs not only to be read, but repeated, savored, treasured.  This coming Tuesday evening, March 3, 2016, I'll be continuing that exploration, by playing C.P.E. Bach's Sonata in D Minor, W. 6/15.  Not all of his music works on a five-octave keyboard, but this piece certainly does.

For those unfamiliar, Culture with NO Limits has been a place to cross boundaries.  Previous events have included readings in Spanish, French, Portugese, English, and Esperanto, and songs in Spanish, Basque, Esperanto, Azerbaijani and Bengali.  This event will extend the tradition.