ABOUT FRIEDRICH BURGMÜLLER AND HIS PIANO PIECES
Johann Friedrich Franz Burgmüller was born in 1806, Regensburg Germany. He was the son of Johann August Franz Burgmüller (German organist and conductor 1766-1824) and elder brother of Norbert Burgmüller (German composer and pianist 1810-1836). Friedrich studied with Ludwig Spohr (1784-1859) and Moritz Hauptmann (1792-1868). After years of studies with Spohr and Hauptmann, Friedrich settled in Paris (until his death in 1874), and he adopted Parisian music. Friedrich Burgmüller wrote numerous pieces of salon music for piano and published several albums of piano studies that have become standard works.
Burgmüller's piano music is mainly intended for juvenile performers, and his opus 68, 76, 97, 100, and 105 etudes are widely used for piano teaching today. Etudes in opus 100, Twenty-Five Easy and Progressive Studies for Pianoforte, are used for piano lessons especially for juvenile learners with small hands because of the following reasons:
Zen-On Publishers' Burgmüller Op. 100 Twenty-Five Etuden (published in Japan) has been used for piano lessons by Yamaha method. After completing a two-year primary course (age 4-6) and a two-year secondary course (age 6-8) of basic musicianship, Yamaha students (age 8-10) usually start taking individual lessons with this etude book.
BURGMÜLLER OP. 100 TWENTY-FIVE ETUDEN FOR KIDS
No. 1 - La Candeur (Frankness) in C major
This is a mild (frank) practicing piece. At the beginning levels (elementary to early intermediate levels), it is difficult to use the fourth finger, but there is not difficult fourth-finger usage with this piece. Practice with rhythm (an accent on the first beat and third beat), and pay attention to expression marks; try to be expressive.
No.2 - L' Arabesque (Arabesque) in A minor
This piece is very fast. Like a foliage (arabesque design), try to express brilliant sound movements. It is also basic practice for scales; playing 1,2,3,4, and 5 of the right hand (also left hand) with fast speed are difficult at the beginning levels because it usually comes up unevenly. Try to get rid of unevenness, listen to your sound carefully, and articulate clearly.
No. 3 - La pastoral (Pastoral) in G major
Try to make the melody sing because sound movements with "feeling" are necessary among the well-balanced melody lines of this tune. Follow exact fingerings as indicated; this piece is good for fingering practice. Do not use the same finger for the repeated notes in the melody; using a different finger makes a better balanced melody and phrase. Do not hurry to play grace notes, take a time before the beat, and put an accent on the beat.
No. 4 - La petite Reunion (The Little Party) in C major
The first six measures are formed like an introduction; imagine that the left hand is "calling everybody" and the right hand is "everybody starts gathering." Then the party begins in the seventh measure; the left hand talks and the right hand responses, or the right hand talks and the left hand responses. There are many conversations and discussions, and the party continues until it gets back to the first atmosphere (in m. 27, motive of m. 7). Be aware that the third-interval scales (sequence in m. 10 and other) are very difficult. Practice to play two notes (sound) simultaneously and the same strength (intensity). For scales with the second and fourth fingers, settle the fingers and try to play by movements of hand (arm), but do not tense fingers too much.
No. 5 Innocence in F major
This is a descending-scale-practice piece (see "Arabesque" as ascending scale practice). This piece also contains an ascending scale, so practice to play lovely (pretty) ascending and descending scales.
No. 6 - Progres (Progress) in C major
This is a piece to practice both hand scales and staccato evenly. After the ninth measure, there are unusual accents with slurs. It is very important to practice those unusual accents correctly. Play staccato with light feelings like hopping.
No. 7 - Le Courant limpide (The Limpid Stream) in G major
Well-balanced sounds (even-sounds) are quite necessary to express "the limpid stream." The first notes of triplets play melody lines, accompanying by other two notes (of triplet); therefore, make (put) a little accent on the first note of each triplet, and play other two notes (rests of triplet) softer and evenly. The left hand plays melody and the right hand accompanies in mm.9-16.
No. 8 - La Gracieuse (Grace) in F major
This is a piece to practice embellishment (grace notes). There is a variety of fingerings; however, it is very important to play embellishing notes evenly and clearly. Notice the locations of accent marks (on the eighth notes or on the doted-quarter notes) and practice those accents correctly.
No. 9 - La hasse (The Chase) in C major
There are octave fingerings (g1-g2) in this piece, but they are not played at the same time, so that there is no problem for children with small hands. Leap fingers to play if fingers can not reach octave notes, but make sure to practice to play (land to) the correct key. Here many hunting-whistle sounds approach, horses start cantering, hunting dogs also start cantering, the whistles sound again louder, and everything (hunting band) gradually goes away.
No. 10 - Tendre Fleur (Tender Blossom) in D major
This is a very important piece to practice to play flowing melody, well-balanced left hand and right hand dialog, and minute (delicate) fingerings.
No. 11 - La Bergeronnette (The Wagtail) in C major
Bird-singing-like sounds (played by broken chords) cheerfully come up part by part. Try to play lightly like bird flying with the attention to dynamics.
No. 12 - L' adieu (The Farewell) in A minor
This is a very agitated piece, expressing sadness of a farewell to close (intimate) friends. Triplets are very tiny and vertiginous, but practice to play evenly with clear articulation. The tune becomes C major in the middle part, expressing gentle consolation; then the tune returns to A minor, expressing sadness again. At the codetta, the tune starts falling away, expressing resignation. Play the final cadence resolutely, expressing a period (full stop).
No. 13 - Consolation in C major
This is a piece to practice to make clear distinction of melody-line notes and accompanying notes; in the first five measures, make (put) an accent on the whole notes of the hand (play them as a melody line), and play the eighth notes (right hand) as accompaniments (make sure to articulate clearly). In the sixth measure, melody moves closely (the eighth notes); then from the third beat in the seventh measure, "G" starts accompanying. Remember these points throughout the piece, try to make melody sung, and pay attention to balance of the sound.
No. 14 - La Styrienne in G major
This piece is a waltz. Understand well the waltz rhythm, One (strong) -- two (weak) -- three (weak). The tempo is fast; practice slowly, but try to catch up the tempo indicated later. Make clear distinction of legato and staccato.
No. 15 - Ballade in C minor
Ballade is a story tune. The right hand plays accompaniments and the left hand plays the melody in the beginning part and ending part. In the middle part (C major), the right hand plays the melody and the left hand plays accompaniments, so make sure to play the melody louder (right hand, not left hand). Try not only to make the melody sing but also to make melody recite.
No. 16 - Douce Plainte (Tender Grieving) in G minor
This is a sad tune in minor to practice P (piano-soft sound) beautifully. Practice an accent among weak sounds, and make the rhythm clear and even.
No. 17 - La Babilarde (The Chatterbox) in F major
In the first six measures, the right hand plays legato and the left hand plays staccato with a big leap. Practice to play surely. Make the left hand's rhythm clear mm. 7-14, and practice (left hand) to play the same note (key) with different fingers (the first and second) evenly and smoothly mm.15-18; don't you think that the tune is chattering? Practice to play the right hand's third-interval melody evenly and 3-2-1 (fingering) on the same note from m. 33; it might be awkward at first, but be patient and practice slowly.
No. 18 - Inquietude in E minor
Make a strong accent on the left hand's chords and make the right hand's P (piano-soft) sounds clear and even. The left hand and right hand should be linked each other, so practice "not to scatter them."
No. 19 - Ave Maria in A major
Melody is both polyphonic and monophonic, played by both hands (sometimes by LH and sometimes by RH). Practice with the attention to these points and with gentle singing aspect.
No. 20 - La tarentelle (Tarantella) in D minor
La tarentelle has a unique rhythm. Platy lightly with two beats in one measure. Pay attention to grace notes in the middle part. Make an accent on the down beat (the first beat) and practice slowly.
No. 21 - L' lfarmonie des Anges (Harmony of the Angels) in G major
This is a piece to practice a wide range (compass) and broken chords. The most important thing is to understand the distinction between an accent on only the first beat in one measure and an accent on each beat. The first and second measures are examples of "first beat accent" and the third and fourth measures are examples of "each beat accent." Link the right hand and left hand evenly; do not let listeners notice (sense) the "left hand and right hand change."
No. 22 - Barcarolle (The Chantey) in A-flat major
This is a typical sailor's-song-rhythm piece, 6/8. Do not play too strongly (roughly) the left hand's rhythm from m. 12, and play the melody rollingly with rhythm like a boating.
No. 23 - Le Retour (The Return) in E-flat major
This is a piece to practice chords. Avoid scattered chords; practice to play the notes (for the chords) simultaneously. Melody lines are top voices (right hand), so make them come up.
No. 24 - L' Hirondelle (The Swallow) in G major
This is a piece to practice the left hand crossing over the right hand. Notes played by the left hand are melody, and the right hand plays accompaniments. Practice to play melody lines and accompaniments clearly.
No. 25 - La Chevaleresque (The Horse Riding of A Titled Lady) in C major
This is a piece for all-round (synthetic) practice (review for what you have learned so far). Express an elegant but unsteady horse walk with various rhythms and scales. Remember everything you have learned, adapt your technique, and make the piece as a brilliant finale for your study with this etude book.
BIBLIOGRAPHY AND REFERENCES
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Last Revision: 08/10/1998 by Noriaki Nomoto