25 Easy and Progressive Etudes


13. Consolation in C Major

The thirteenth étude, Consolation (Comfort), returns to the familiar key of C major. Marked dolce lusingando (sweetly and caressingly), it calls for careful control of tone as we balance melody and accompaniment not only between the two hands, but also within each hand. There are many beautiful, expressive moments in this etude that we need to enjoy and savour as we play them. The harmonic progression in bars 5 and 6 that enhances chord ii in what would otherwise be a standard sequence of chords is one example, the modulation to E minor (bars 14-15) another.

The semibreves in the right thumb in the introduction need to be held loosely as the upper fingers spin a melodic quaver pattern above; an elastic wrist and a supple hand will ensure we do not commit the sin of keybedding (pushing down unnecessarily into the key after the note has sounded). From bar 8 the G is now replayed on the off-beat quavers, giving a sense of melody and accompaniment in the one hand. In bar 16 the left hand has the same idea, its melodic notes in crotchets forming a counterpoint to the main line (which is still in the right hand).

Once you have learned the notes of this étude, play it regularly thereafter to maintain and refine the skills you have acquired. This is a good philosophy for all studies.

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