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Czerny Op 335 #4, Single Version

Almost all the studies of Op 335 feature polyphony in 2 or more voices, and often, as here, 3 and 4 voices. But with 4 voices Czerny tends, as here, to avoid counterpoint; the voices congeal into chordal writing, all moving in the same note values and at the same time (see also #23).

Bringing out voicings in 4-part chords is indeed very difficult on the piano; Bach requires it in most of his keyboard fugues. But Bach doesn’t linger in such chordal writing; Czerny usually persists to the end after a few measures of counterpoint, and while such writing is good training I don’t think it results in the most interesting or attractive music.

To me the most interesting and attractive music of #4 is the contrapuntal material: the brief duet of mm 17-20, and especially the chord progressions of mm 1-8 and 9-16. Czerny’s repeated melodic patterns, with wide intervals in the lower register and close intervals in the top, create the sound of 2- and 3-voice counterpoint, just as Bach’s do. With that in mind, I’ve re-imagined #4 as a roccoco “praeludium” in AABA, with the A section shaped from Czerny’s opening broken chord figures, and the contrasting B section an extension of Czerny’s little duet (mm 17-20). And it’s no longer a study in legato.


Op 335 #4, Single Version: flowing broken chords in “Praeludium” style, 8 sets of 8-count phrases.

Op 335 #4 Single Version Audio

This is a performance of my shortcut arrangement of #4, for which I supply a score. I slowed Czerny’s tempo to the half @70, which is about the pace of a typical ballet class 4/4 adagio, but I don’t hear my arrangement as an adagio. I hear it as temps lie, or maybe fondus, or slow tendus. In any case, I feel that Czerny’s common-time material now has, in my arrangement, a cut time rhythm. The means you have to decide on a 2-bar or a 4-bar preparation depending on your tempo and the rhythm you want to project.

Op 335 #4 Single Version Score

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It’s well to go into some detail analyzing my approach to this first study of Op 335; the analysis can serve as illustration of my approach to the rest of the studies in this and the other collections

This is certainly very modest music, and at Czerny’s deliberate tempo you have to work to keep it from sounding banal. But the clear 2-part counterpoint and the character of calm simplicity make it we

This is great frappe music. The energetic staccato and the 8th note anacruses in the A Section powerfully energize the downbeats--the “strike” of a frappe--and in my arrangement I’ve dotted the chords