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Second Year of Piano - The Clementi Sonatinas

Updated on June 02, 2013

Beginning Piano

Second Year of Piano - The Clementi Sonatinas. You’ve done your homework. You’ve put up with that elderly and nagging teacher from the old country who nitpicks at all your hand movements, expressions, posture, you name it. Let’s face it, you’ll never be good enough in his/her eyes, you think to yourself! But you try, and try, and then try again, because you love the piano and want to improve on your skills. What’s next? Unless you start playing some piano pieces, be it simple ones, you’ll most likely become bore and possibly quit. But what’s out there for someone who has been playing the piano for less than two years? Well, say that you like classical music, as many people who love the piano do. You love Mozart, but he’s a bit too difficult and involved at this time for you, so you pass him up. You then start to ask and research, and all of a sudden, there it is: the Clementi Sonatinas. Muzio Clementi was a contemporary of Mozart, and some said he had equal skills to Mozart at the piano. Clementi wrote a great deal of piano music, but unlike Mozart, he lived a very long life (Clementi lived to be 80 years old, which isn’t a big deal nowadays, but it was a big deal 250 years ago). Yet, unlike Mozart, Clementi’s fame rests on 6 Sonatinas that he wrote for the piano. The Sonatinas have become a cult amongst pianists, because most piano students eventually come across them sooner or later....

Here they are:

Sonatina No. 1 Opus 36
By far the most famous of the set, perhaps most famous of Clementi’s piano compositions. Most pianists have played this piece. It’s in three short movements. In Clementi’s time, the second movement of most sonatas were always in the Dominant or Subdominant regions of the work’s main key. Since this Sonatina is in C major, the second movement is in F major (which is the Subdominant region of C major). Advice, practice the C and F major scales.

Sonatina No. 2 Opus 36
This one is quite nice, and a bit more difficult than the first one. It’s in G major, so practice the G and C major scales.

Sonatina No. 3 Opus 36
This one is in the key of C major, so practice the C and G major scales.

Sonatina No. 4 Opus 36
This is probably the least known of the set, yet beautiful nonetheless. It’s in F major, so practice the F and B flat major scales.

Sonatina No. 5 Opus 36
The slow movement of this one is quite lovely; it's a Swiss air in the work’s Subdominant region of C major - the work’s main key is G major of course.

Sonatina No. 6 Opus 36
This is by far the most difficult of all the set. It’s in the key of D major, and it’s the only one in the set that does not have a second movement - practice the D major scale!...

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