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Czerny Op 740 #24, 4 Versions

Czerny’s researches into different note patterns and their sonorities on the piano led to the particularly happy device of #24: the RH playing an off-accent melody embedded in a continuous ripple of harmonizing 16ths with simple, placid support from the LH. It’s reasonable to assume that many 19th century composers “learned” this device from Czerny, and I’d go further and say that Czerny’s #24 compares well to Chopin’s etudes which exploit this device (Op 10 #5, #10, etc).

A very useful feature of #24 is its ternary structure and regular 4-bar phrasing (apart from the enjambment at m 25). This allows us to fashion short and long pieces from it. But there’s something else that’s very useful, and that's Czerny’s RH note pattern in triplet 16ths: you can create an entirely new piece projecting them as regular 16ths in a 6/8 bar and supplying a simple LH accompaniment. In 6/8 the piece can work well in class at tempos considerably slower than Czerny’s, and this gives you opportunities to practice the note pattern as you gradually get up to (or at least near) Czerny’s speed.

You can literally do a one-pager playing just mm 2-17, but it’s very short and most likely would need to be repeated several times. A better recipe is mm 2-25 with a turnaround at m 25 allowing you to repeat mm 10-17 for a miniature version of Czerny’s ternary piece.

My four versions of #24 are presented as a graduated series from easy to more difficult. Note: I avoid Czerny’s opening anacrusis; even with a 4-count preparation I think it’s potentially confusing.

Op 740 #24, 1st Version: light 6/8 waltz

This is my performance of #24 recast in 6/8. I was especially eager to work out a 6/8 version, re-beaming Czerny’s triplet 16ths as regular 16ths, because I like his original very much and wanted a vehicle for the slower practice of the note pattern that would help me get to faster speeds. I supply a score where you can see my ideas for the LH. Of course the LH can be much simpler than what I’ve done.

Op 740 #24, 2nd Version: short 3/4 Adagio

This is my performance of #24, mm 2-25 recast in 3/4 for a short adagio. Again, this is a vehicle for the slower practice of Czerny’s note pattern, but it’s meant to be good class music too.

You can apply the generally reliable algorhithm of repeating the second beat of a 2/4 measure to make it 3/4: whatever material occurs on the second beat is simply repeated on the third. I supply a score which shows this. However, if you can manage it it’s much more musical to vary the melodic line in the second iteration of the second beat, and that’s what I’ve done in my performance.

Op 740 #24, 3rd Version: Fondus in 2, 4 sets of 8

This is my performance of the “miniature” of Czerny’s #24: that is, mm 2-25, a turnaround at m 25, and a repeat of mm 10-17. I’m playing the quarter @100, almost at Czerny’s tempo. The music can work well for ronds de jamb en l’air in 2 as well as fondus.

At the end of his B section Czerny creates a long and very pretty turnaround with a pedal point on the dominant, and that’s reason enough to work up an arrangement that includes it. Of course if you do so you might as well work in Czerny’s coda to square off the structure. And so you end up using the whole piece. That’s an achievement.

Op 740 #24, 4th Version: Chainees, 16 sets of 8

This is my performance of #24 using all of Czerny’s material. I’m at Czerny’s tempo, the quarter @110. I take the RH mm 57-58 down an octave to vary the color, and I trim Czerny’s leisurely ending to square off the structure.

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