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Diabelli's Sonatina in F Major, Op. 168 No. 1

Cory Hall

This delightful gem has recently become my favorite teaching piece for a variety of reasons. I currently have several of my students working on this sonatina, students of different levels and abilities. This is "feel good" music that is fun to play and listen to, and in addition, is valuable for all piano students from the intermediate level up. Even students at the "advanced" or collegiate level can benefit from studying it. For more on the life and career of the lesser known Anton Diabelli, please CLICK HERE.

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The thing I like most about this work is that its brevity does not sacrifice musical quality. Every note and articulation is perfectly placed while each movement flows into the next with ease and grace. This sonatina teaches students many valuable skills, such as: staccato, legato, cantabile, staccato in one hand and legato in the other hand simultaneously, grace notes, short slurs, contrasting dynamics (pp to ff), ability to play in three different meters (4/4, 3/4, 6/8), ability to play in three contrasting tempos (Moderato, Andante, Allegretto), hand crossings.

In my opinion, this sonatina is an even finer work and has more to offer students than perhaps the most famous of all sonatinas, Muzio Clementi's famous Sonatina No. 1 (Op. 36 No. 1). Moreover, this sonatina serves as an ideal "litmus test" for the intermediate level pianist's overall technical and musical aptitude. If one has trouble with the technique and musicality in this sonatina, then one is not ready to study any of the Beethoven sonatas. However, if one plays this sonatina well and up to tempo and with good technique and musicianship, then one is ready to begin studying some of the less difficult Beethoven sonatas.

I urge all piano students to play and enjoy this sonatina, which is probably Diabelli's most well-known solo piano work. Please enjoy the video and thank you for reading this blog!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sLbHit2ows&w=560&h=315]