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Czerny Op 335 #19, 3 Versions

Updated: Mar 31, 2022

Many of Op 335’s staccato studies are in 2/4 with RH melodic material in dotted 16ths and LH accompaniment in simple 8th-note stride. All these studies have friendly charm and all of them well support the execution of tendu, degage, frappe, battue. But they can all sound alike, so you should pick the 3 or 4 that really appeal to you.

For me, one appealing feature of #19 is its tune. Another is that the tune is in double notes (3rds and 6ths) and consists of 2-bar phrases starting with an 8va jump and then a stepwise diatonic descent: this gets the E Major scale in thirds into your fingers. I also like the relative complexity of Czerny’s ternary structure: after the repeat of the A section we’re ready for the B section in the key of B, but Czerny puts it in G. I think there’s a peculiar beauty we all respond to when a piece of music modulates without preparation to the key a 3rd away; the ear gets a tiny thrill when the tonic suddenly sounds as the mediant, or, as here, the dominant becomes the mediant. It’s easy enough to get back to the home key of E and the recap of the A section, but Czerny adds a long flouncy coda made up of insistent pedal points and repeated cadence figures, and this gives the piece substance.

Op 335 #19, 1st Version: light quick march, 16 sets of 8-count phrases

This is my performance of a shortcut arrangement which uses only Czerny’s first 15 measures. I provide a score. I’ve slowed Czerny’s tempo to the quarter @72. This makes Czerny’s LH accompaniment in mm 1-8 sound very bare, so I’ve filled it out. This filling-out undermines the contrast that Czerny aims for between the skipping airiness of mm 1-8 and the groove he settles into with m 9 (the surprise of G major as well as a LH stride with 8vas on the beat), but you can still project the musical contrast. In the closing iteration of mm 1-8 I alter the harmony of mm 7-8 to return to the home key. In general I like to exaggerate the RH dotting, especially because I’ve slowed Czerny’s tempo so much.

If you like one of these light 2/4 studies of Czerny’s always fashion some kind of triple meter piece out of it; that way you can get double-duty practice on it in class. The procedure can be quite mechanical, as here: to #19 add an eighth to each beat of the LH for a 6/8 measure, then experiment with how you want to space the RH above it.

Op 335 #19, 2nd Version: stompy 6/8, 16 sets of 8-count phrases

This is a performance of my 1st Version recast in 6/8, for which I supply a score. To turn Czerny’s 2/4 measures into 6/8 measures I followed the recipe above.

Op 335 #19, 3rd Version: light quick march with counter melodies in bass and tenor, 32 sets of 8-count phrases

This is an idealization of Czerny’s study. Using DAW software I’ve re-imagined it as a contrapuntal fantasy—and used all of Czerny’s material.

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