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Czerny Op 299 #39, 3 Versions

Czerny’s marking “a la galopade” gets your attention. He’s not just saying the study is for dancing; he’s saying it in French–he’s signalling style and fun. But Czerny’s tempo (the quarter @104) makes me wonder what kind of galop it is, what kind of dancing he has in mind, particularly with the barest of LH rhythmic support…

You can play #39 a lot of different ways and with different LH stride patterns depending on what you’re using it for: loud and heavy with the LH doubled for big swinging grands battements; quick and light and sharp for degages, picques… Generally I play #39 in 2/4 with the quarter @145, and Czerny’s RH in 16th’s, LH in 8ths. This isn’t the piece Czerny wrote, but I think you’ll get a lot more use out of it in ballet class. Taking #39 at my slower tempo means you’ve got to create a fuller LH stride, otherwise the support sounds empty.

Czerny structures #39 neatly in repeated 8- and 16-count phrases (until the final drumroll), very much in keeping with popular dancing, so there are many shortcut arrangements you can make to get this piece up-and-running in your repertory. My three versions are all recast in 2/4 rather than Czerny’s 2/8; I’m going for a two-beat-per-measure feel rather than Czerny’s one-beat feel.

Op 299 #39, 1st Version: short galop, 16 sets of 8

This is my performance of a shortcut arrangement of #39 using only mm 1-24 and filling out Czerny’s LH. It’s very short, so I take repeats to make it more useful in class . I supply a score which shows only the basic shortcut. With such a small amount of material you’ll want to introduce dynamic and rhythmic variation as much as possible in the repeats.

Op 299 #39, 2nd Version: fast polka, 32 sets of 8

This is my performance of an arrangement of #39 that uses all of Czerny’s material (except where trimmed to make the piece an even number of 8’s). I’ve reharmonized Czerny’s mm 41-48 to create more color and excitement for the return to the tonic Db, and I’ve simplified Czerny’s final cadential material. I supply a score.

Op 299 #39, 3rd Version: military march, 32 sets of 8

Using my 2nd Version as a template, this is my arrangement of #39 as a big noisy military march, Czerny’s RH relegated to the role of accompaniment. It was realized for two pianos using DAW software.

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