top of page
  • rudyapffelmusic

Czerny Op 335 #36, 2 Versions

You probably won’t have many opportunities to play #36 for a combination in class. It’s a “grazioso” 3/4, and quiet until the very end, but it’s also robustly dotted and paced. It might serve a polonaise or big pas de basque, but its quietness and lightness don’t support such character steps. This is the kind of 3/4 that you play when the teacher sets a combination ordinarily in a duple meter--say jetes at the barre, or tendus--but asks for 3 jetes instead of 4, or 3 tendus instead of 2. Each beat of your 3/4 measure is a count of the combination. Some teachers love doing that kind of thing, training students to count and not get in a rut of “2 en croix” and “4 en croix.” But many teachers never do it. If you learn this piece you may never get a chance to play it.

Of course as with many other Czerny studies, you can rebar, renotate and fashion a second piece which will be far more useful in class. With #36 you can renotate Czerny’s LH eighth notes as quarter notes, turning it into a 6/4, then rebar it as a 3/4 and rewrite the LH as an um-pah-pah accompaniment, and with Czerny’s robust dotting and some added accents on the second beats you’ve got a mazurka. That works for most of the piece, but Czerny’s descending scales in broken octaves with a harmonic change on each beat (mm 3-4, 7, 15-16) is powerfully resistant to such a process.

Op 335 #36, 1st Version: mazurka, 8 sets of 8 counts

This is my performance of #36 refashioned as a mazurka, for which I provide a score. The challenge was to preserve as much of Czerny’s RH as possible and find ways to keep the ear hearing a steady mazurka against the grain of Czerny’s phrases. I used the LH accompaniment to keep the beat clear and reshaped Czerny’s RH phrases to project two 3/4 measures for each of his original measures. The broken octave passages are projected as hemiola and shouldn’t be a problem for the dancers keeping count. Czerny’s B section presented more challenges: the texture is very dense and the harmonic rhythm is very quick. My solution was to reduce the harmonic rhythm and rewrite the last 8 measures as a recapitulation of the A section ending in the tonic.

Once you’ve got a satisfactory 3/4 version of #36 (whether as a mazurka or waltz) you should have no trouble reshaping the piece as a 2/4 by adding a quarter to each 3/4 measure and then rebaring the measure as two 2/4 measures.

Op 335 #36, 2nd Version: light skipping 2/4, 16 sets of 8-count phrases

This is my performance of my 1st Version refashioned as a 2/4, for which I provide a score. My compositional process was that suggested above: to my 3/4 arrangement I added a quarter to each measure, making each a 4/4 measure, then rebarred the piece in 2/4. I then reshaped each phrase to create a light skipping momentum toward its cadence. In the A section I added the quarter by repeating the first beat of the measure. The hemiola that arises in the broken octaves passages of my mazurka automatically became three 2/4 measures, so I left them alone and doubled the cadence to get the necessary additional counts. In the more melodically complex B section I added the needed quarter in different places in different measures.

8 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Czerny Op 335 #37, 3 versions

This lovely cortege recommends itself in every way--squarely structured, effective in a wide range of tempos and dynamics, easily mastered. Riisager’s darkly splendid orchestration (Etudes, #3, “Sillh

Czerny Op 335 #38, Single Version

This is a fascinating piece to look at on the page, feel in your fingers (even if you can only play it slowly), and listen to as it unfolds: a perpetuum mobile made up of 2 voices moving in parallel a

Czerny op 335 #40, Single Version

If you can master this very difficult and fiercely beautiful wild ride you’ll want to save it for a recital; in a ballet class it’s more likely to bring down the house than support a combination. But


bottom of page