Minuet C: Duncombe
He is known by a few small piano pieces that are still reprinted in elementary teaching books. They are probably excerpts of the progressive lessons for the harpsichord and piano forte, published in 1778 (or 1785).
This piece although titled Minuet is not so much of a dance but a piece with the same time and rhythm, similar to what was expected at that time. It is, at heart, a fanfare which brings to mind heraldic dress and grand rooms with royal guests.
A firm touch is required to produce a confident forte imitating the power of brass. The skill of changing finger on the same note would be beneficial.
A confident sound is required from the start with the first four bars preparring the listener. The following bars need to be a soft but clear and well phrased.
The middle section has the trumpet call layered to make, eventually, a full triad and is all loud. There is no subtleness here, loud and proud is the order of the middle section.
The tempo is quite quick for some students however the simplicity of the chord structure will allow the learner to achieve. A tempo above 108 would be acceptable.
An elementary piece which strikes the mood immediately. The repeated notes of the fanfare which will benefit from finger changes on the repeated notes of the first 4 bars. The 3 note phrases will need careful translation to ensure the detached 3rd beat is acknowledged.
The left hand is detached, as was the style of the day, and accuracy is required over the octaves.
The texture starts with a solo announcement and the ring and confidence needs to heard by the audience.
The middle section increases the texture, use the imagination to see the extra trumpet players stand and join the lead player.
The soft (piano) sections are also confident, imagine the trumpet has been muted for these sections.
Listen to a trumpet, and a muted trumpet to understand the sound to be imitated in tone and texture.
The piece is in simple triple time with a two main rhythm patterns which are opposite to each other. This can help students balance the bars to ensure a tight adherence to the beat.
It is preferable to change finger on the repeated notes, this will produce a clear and balanced sound. In the middle section the growth in texture will help to ensure this.
There is no pedal required in this piece.
This minuet required a confident depression of the key to give a clean and clear sound.
The finger changes will help to give clarity to each repeated note.
Ensure the speed is balanced throughout each bar, phrase and section. If is very easy to speed up as the texture increases and slow down as the right hand becomes more melodious.
Warm up with a C major scale, arpeggio and broken chord, the G major broken chord would also be beneficial.
Practice the finger changes using the broken chords as the basis for a finger exercise.
This piece offers the opportunity to display confidence and clarity of tone. The posture at the keyboard should reflect this confidence as should the movements. The action of the performer is as important as the sound and adds to the total effect.
An distinction performance will be confident and full of heraldic jubilance with a secure pulse. It will include plenty of detail and have a clear purpose.
A merit performance will have accurate rhythms, contrasting dynamics and a good balance between hands.
A pass performance will be a little under time but will have an accurate rhythm and some dynamics.
Available to Purchase
A 12 page downloadable workbook with a story, questions, quizzes & practice charts.
A 12 page downloadable workbook of ear training and sight reading with QR codes.
A 12 page downloadable booklet with scales, exercises, arpeggio and broken chords.
Purchase the required
book for this piece.
A 12 page booklet with related theory questions.
Need help? Book a lesson with Chris, or a Music Academy teacher on this link.
C.L. Caton-Greasley CT ABRSM DipLCM(TD)