Quasi Adagio: Bartok

Learner Skills

This piece requires a good understanding of pulse and rhythm which will aid the phrasing, rests and ties.
The dynamics require a sublty that is a little more advanced than usualy required for the grade.

Although from a collection pieces called "For Children" it is appealing to many adults due to its tonality and hypnotic rhythms.

Knowledge Skills

Béla Bartók (25 March 1881 – 26 September 1945) was a Hungarian composer, pianist, and ethnomusicologist. He is considered one of the most important composers of the 20th century; he and Franz Liszt are regarded as Hungary's greatest composers.

Technical Skills

The phrasing in this piece requires careful observation as the slur may continue in one hand and break in the other. Careful observance will enhance the performance, singing the melody using a multi syllable word on the slurs may help perfect this technique.

Articulation Skills

This is a slow piece based on a Hungarian folk song. The style is gentle in character with a gentle lilting rhythm. The tone is slighly melancholy with the dynamics playing a significant role in the character.

The name Quasi Adagio gives the tempo "as if resembling adagio or slowly"

Sound Skills

The tone of the piece is slightly haunting in character, the key is A minor but uses the melodic variety of the scale ascending with the raised sixth note (F sharp) giving a major second interval to the E. However the expected raised seventh note never arrives leaving an uncertainty. The occasional natural sixth adds to the confusion in its descending nature leaving a feeling of 'missing'. This is added to by the smorzando and the listener is left feeling that something is complete; yet not quite.

The homophonic texture of this piece leads to a cantabile melody which we are told should be dolce or sweetly. You can achieve this by advising a learner to raise the right hand slightly giving a clearer bell like tone.

Pedal Skills

Pedal work would enhance this piece however is not expected at this grade.

Stylistic Skills

This is a slow piece based on a Hungarian folk song. The style is gentle in character with a gentle lilting rhythm. The tone is slighly melancholy with the dynamics playing a significant role in the character.

The name Quasi Adagio gives the tempo "as if resembling adagio or slowly"

Practise Skills

This piece will benefit from individual hands practising the phrasing and dynamics.

Performance Skills

The final performance of this piece should leave the listener wanting more, although short it is a powerful few bars that can change the feeling in the room. This would be apparent in an excellent performance.

Teaching Skills

Demonstration is essential with this piece. The phrase movement is difficult to describe but easy to demonstrate. Use the piece for the learner to develop listening skills and understand by sound before attempting the notes. This way the learner is not pulled in to the thought that this is an easy piece.

Exam Skills

An accomplished learner will be confident and full of character with a rocking tempo and a secure pulse. It will include plenty of detail.

A satisfying performance which will have accurate rhythms, contrasting dynamics and a good balance between hands.

On completion of the learning process an acceptable performance will contain the correct notes and show a burgeoning awareness of timbre and texture.



Author

C.L. Caton-Greasley CT ABRSM DipLCM(TD) ALCM(TD) LLCM(TD)

Created

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