28 March 2019
By Ellie Palmer
Get to grips with this tricky yet playful Turkish delight.
Pianist Noriko Ogawa’s latest video lesson explores Mozart’s playful Rondo Alla Turca. It’s a piece that many of us will recognise immediately, but how many of us struggle to play it? This rondo has a lot of technical tricky spots, but Noriko is on hand to teach us how to master this wonderful piece.
We’ve highlighted 7 important technical points that Noriko explores in the video. Make sure to check out the full-length lesson at the end of this article.
Find the sheet music for this piece inside our new issue.
1. Learn about Turkish rhythms
Before starting any piece, it’s important that we know the background and history of it. Rondo Alla Turca roughly translates to a ‘Turkish recurring leading theme.’ But what does Turkish piano music sound like? Noriko demonstrates in the video at the end of this article.
2. Learn how to insert your own original articulation into the piece
Immediately after the opening theme, you’ll notice that Mozart doesn’t specify exactly what articulation he would like. He allows a certain degree of freedom of expression. Noriko shows you how to articulate in a couple of different ways.
3. Make sure your left-hand does not overpower your right-hand
Mozart wrote this piece on a very small piano! Therefore, we have to make sure not to go overboard in the left hand. It mustn’t over-power your right hand.
4. Be very loyal to the fingering pattern in the chromatic section
Keep a nice healthy wrist shape and maintain control over your fingering. This is key if you want to master this noticeably difficult section. Inside our latest issue, you can find the sheet music for this playful piece.
5. Keep the recurring rondos as similar as possible
When coming back to the main theme, try and play it as similar to the first occurrence as possible. It’s a rondo, which means the same theme keeps coming back. If you lose that similarity, the whole meaning of rondo disappears.
6. Practise your broken octaves close to the keyboard
Towards the end of the piece, Mozart features a section of broken octaves. This is easily the most technically challenging section of the piece. You cannot slow down! Practise close to the keyboard to avoid missing notes. Be economical with your movement.
7. Emphasise the percussive effect in the coda
As Noriko explains in the video, Turkey was very exotic during Mozart’s time. Their percussive instruments were very attractive to Austrian musicians, one of which was Mozart himself. Emphasise those percussive effects. Broken chords, grace notes and arpeggios should be imitating those percussive instruments. Practise slowly at first before increasing the tempo. Remain lively!
Watch the full-length video below.