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Discourage young students from extremes of dynamics in this piece, but encourage a pleasing tone. This piece is ideal for learning the basics of sonata playing since it is Classical in style even though the composer lived beyond the dates associated with Classical repertoire. The opportunity to play a short piece with Alberti bass and few technical demands can enable the student to enjoy this kind of music in preparation for the sonatinas of Mozart and later for playing lengthier sonatas.

You can hear a complete performance of this sonatina played here by Phillip Sear. The main technical issue here is that of balancing the hands sensitively whilst maintaining a controlled, even LH part.

If the student is to learn the outer sections first then each phrase may be secured in the first section before comparison with the corresponding phrase in the final section. Always insist on consistently correct fingering right from the start of the learning process.

Diabelli : Sonatina Op. , No. 2 (I) –

Some students will question the RH majorr fingering which suggests changing from 2 to 3, then using thumb-under on the last quaver of Bar 1. The performer comments that she is working on increasing the tempo, so the end result will probably be excellent! Using some rotary motion in the LH will help to achieve even control.

The LH part could be learned by playing each set of four quavers as a chord. Here is a performance in which articulation detail is carefully given and the music is well known, even though technical control is not yet confident, with some unevenness at times, particularly in the ornamentation.

Curious students could try various fingering combinations to find out that keeping Finger 2 gives an awkward thumb on the F sharp. This is not a piece that will present many difficulties but those that do arise will probably be related to interpretation – giving a clear sense of the elegant character, with well shaped phrasing and dynamic variety. Pedalling Small children playing this sonatina need not use any pedal at all.

Diabelli – Sonatina in G Op No 2

Troubleshooting This is not a piece that will present many difficulties but those that do arise will probably be related to interpretation – giving a clear sense of the elegant character, with well shaped phrasing and dynamic variety. The fingers need to be quite close to the keys, ih should not all rest on them as this can encourage pressing the key with individual fingers, causing too much tension.


The hands will be sensitively balanced and dynamic contrasts will be colourful, antkn maintaining a pleasing tone. In particular draw attention to the changes in the outer sections that depend on the key change to the dominant in the first section, with the introduction of the C sharp, as compared with the final section that remains in the key of G major.

However keeping the fingers on the keys and pushing with each finger will create excess tension and give rhythmic unevenness. It is always difficult to mark down a performance like this one! Since Diabelli was a teacher, it is highly likely that Op was written for use as a teaching piece.

Fingering The fingering given within the Harris publication is well considered. Practice should be undertaken in sections, in accordance with what has been taught in the lesson. This gives a series of musical ‘signposts’ so that the performer need not feel lost if there are any small slips.

Diabelli – Sonatina in G Op 168 No 2

The piece has no wide stretches and is easily manageable mo.2 small hands. Ornamentation Sonatjna ornaments are turns, as shown below the first page of the piece. Notice the well shaped phrasing and detail in dynamics and articulation. Using a rotary action a rocking movement of the hand as the forearm rotates will help to achieve even control.

This is a side to side, rocking motion created by rotating the forearm. An equally good alternative is using 5 – 1 – 3 – 1.

There will be detail in dynamics and articulation at an appropriate pace, although technical control may be less assured than in an excellent performance. It is so lovingly played with such a genuine feel for the beauty of the melodic lines, with phrasing tenderly shaped, that the fact that is is not even moderately allegro can begin to seem unimportant!

An excellent performance will be confident in fluency with poised tone control. Students who are comfortable with pedalling might pedal the first and second of crotchets separately but it is easier to simply pedal the first crotchet of each bar unless the note is a minim in which case the pedal might extend for the whole two beats.


7 Piano Sonatinas, Op.168 (Diabelli, Anton)

A sound performance will show continuity at, perhaps, quite a cautious pace. Plenty of time should be allowed for learning the middle section so that this becomes as fluent as outer sections.

It also helps the student to appreciate and remember the chord progressions. If you agree with the LH playing Fingers 4 – 1 – 2 – 1 for the first bar, do insist on a healthy hand position where a straight line is kept down the Finger 5 side of the wrist, rather than bending the hand to the side.

The performance marking is Allegro moderato so the tempo needs to reflect a moderately lively character. The RH needs arm weight to give a prominent melodic line, rather than either pushing with the fingers or bouncing the hand on the keys.

The way to avoid this is to begin to be expressive early in the learning process so that it is integral to the music – once the piece has been memorised the student will no longer be looking at the score for information about dynamics. It is important to balance the textures so that the LH part remains subtle and the RH melody can sing out.

Separate hands work of each two-bar phrase before trying very slowly, hands together should yield good results. Small children playing this sonatina need not use any pedal at all. Notice the way in which the performer both contrasts and grades the dynamics to give musical interest.

Teaching Strategies If this piece is to be played from memory the teacher will need to give clear guidance about understanding the structure of the music. Accuracy will be reliable overall and there will be quick recovery from any slips.