Which notes align in 5 against 4?
Question: I am not sure which notes to play together when a piece is written, i.e., five notes against four, etc. I am working on Scriabin's Sonata No. 2, the first movement, and there are a number of places where I am not sure which notes should be played simultaneously. ****THANKS.**-Bill

Answer: I don't have a score of the Scriabin handy, but in 5 notes against 4 the only notes to align are the first of each group. It takes some practice to maintain 5 in one hand against 4 in the other and I think a metronome would help. Yet this is not an impossibly difficult task: try it just tapping your fingers on the table. Start with the thumbs of both hands, tapping 1,2,3,4 with one and 1,2,3,4,5 with the other. Make the thumbs tap together and the others tap evenly. It's kind of neat. Nothing lines up except the thumbs, but you don't want to think about individual fingers anyway: just the group. Once you have the feel of the rhythm I think it will be easier to transfer that to the keyboard.

Don't overthink it. I once had a wonderful piano teacher, the late Robert Sheldon, who admonished me when I couldn't handle a fast passage: you can drum your fingers that fast on the table, can't you? Of course I can. "Then do it on the piano!"

Return to Q&A Index