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everyone. I am a beginner pianist and I am to improve my technical and sight-reading skills. I have been sight-reading Primavera - Ludovico Einaudi for the past week and I came across something odd. At the start of bar 74, there are a few instances where the same note on both clefs (treble) are meant to be played. This does not make sense to me because it is the same exact note. How is this meant to be played? I attached an image for reference. Thank you for the help!

enter image description here

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    See also: How does one maintain voice integrity when longer and shorter notes of the same pitch occur in two voices and How does one play a longer note interrupted by the same note in another voice?. Consider that this is a piano arrangement (the original is for piano and strings), and it's common to have same notes on different staves (or even in the same), when different voices are used and those notes are important to those voices. – musicamante Jun 4 at 14:46
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    Probably begging to differ from a lot of other players, I feel it's non-sensical. True, it might come up in many pieces, but nonsensical nevertheless. It's not playable as written, on one keyboard - easily playable as writ on two - or with two separate instruments. Yes, it could be played roughly as written, but that's not the point. OP needs to find better quality and more appropriate writings for practising sightreading! – Tim Jun 4 at 15:21
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    @Tim This is absolutely standard piano notation. It's not intended to be literal; it's intended to express musical intention. – Aaron Jun 4 at 15:37
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    @Aaron - well aware of that, more's the pity. In my little world, the purpose of writing out dots is to make music easily playable, and simply understood. This does neither - for me. I guess it's an easy option for the writer, but for OP - and many others, it does defy logic. Otherwise we wouldn't be discussing it. – Tim Jun 4 at 15:41
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    I agree with Tim on this one: more's the pity. – Michael Curtis Jun 4 at 15:45
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This piece clearly uses pedal heavily. It's typical of the style and composer. With that in mind, m. 74 is easily played: The pedal will be down for the entire measure, so the right hand plays the C and gets out of the way of the left hand.

Measure 77 is a bit of a trick. The issue isn't so much the coincident Cs, but how the lines cross. The right hand needs to be played a bit louder to highlight the line, which is difficult when the hands get on top of each other. I would play the entire right hand as written, and omit the coincident C from the left hand. That is, I would play beat 3 with the Bb in the right hand and the C in the left. Other people might come up with a different solution, but I prefer this because it makes it easier to keep the melody line distinct.

But since you say this sightreading practice--I'm an excellent sight reader, and this is otherwise trivial music for me, but I had to work out m. 77 a few times to get it to work right. If I were sight reading this in a real performance scenario, I would see the potential collision approaching and drop notes to simplify. Dropping both Cs in the left hand barely changes the music and makes it substantially easier to play.

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If you were to play this on an organ with each hand on a different manual, you could maintain a fluid line in both hands with no choppiness. Also, if this were played by two different instruments it would work or sung by two people.

I think in the case of older music, composers thought along these lines. For example, if you looked at any SATB hymn, some people may see vertical clusters of chords on each beat but the composer probably saw four distinct lines running horizontally because that is how the score is to be sung. That is why organs are preferred instruments for vocal singing because the organist can maintain a fluid line with the S, T and B. They can do the same with the A if they share it between the two hands which many never figure out. So I would imagine that is why older composers would do this, to maintain a line's integrity and fluidity then they leave it to the performer to do it or not.

Younger composers are doing this a lot today because they are using software to engrave their music and they may hyperscribe each line individually and become totally unaware of the collision, especially if they judge it by the computer's playback, they will never hear nor feel it. At this point they probably become blind to these types of issues because their brain may not see them and just fills in the blanks. I always have to have someone else proof my music.

In this piece, I would maintain the melodic line and either skip that note in the LH or I'd be a renegade and substitute some dissonant note in the LH in place of that C. You don't always have to trust composers, editors and publishers. They can be just as blind/error prone/stupid as the rest of us. Collisions like this are prevalent in a most organ music, hand division is always written poorly and it is incumbent upon the organist to either mark up hand distribution and line cohesiveness on their own or risk strain and sloppy playing. You NEVER have to be a slave to the notation. Especially at the risk of tension, strain, fatigue or injury.

Finally, sight reading improves with both the increase in music theory knowledge and technique. Nothing exists in isolation and these skills will all progress together and grow with one another. When you see a cluster of notes and your brain just knows what they are without thought and your hand can reach them with no effort or thought, that is sight reading. Just like reading words. You are not sounding out each syllable and not even seeing every letter. Your brain is seeing key letters and filling in the blanks. Music is the same but sight reading is more of a symptom of the other skills. IOW, your sight reading can only progress to the point of your technical fluidity and your technique can only progress as far as your knowledge of music theory. Then there is progressing into being an artist and that pulls in emotion, confidence and vulnerability. Learning to read numbers instead of letters helps, too. Numbers allow you to sight transpose and play anything you hear in your head or ears. It allows you to write out a whole score from the deck chair by your pool.

Regarding your salvo on technique, that comes from moving properly acording to the laws of physics and anatomy, not from practice nor exercises. Practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. Each finger has about eleven movements,directions or muscles which can be used to play and you need to learn which to use when and how to get them all to move in the same direction at the same time. You can't use two muscles on one bone at the same time. Just like your leg can't move both left and right at the same time. If you tried, your tear your ACL. On the piano, that is why we get tension, cramps, fatigue and injury. Like running in a three legged race, the only way to run fluidly is if you and your partner move each leg in the same direction at the same time, lest anarchy of gravity ensue. You have multiple muscles and probably millions of tendon fibers which can move the fingers in a multitude of visually imperceptible ways and you need to learn to get them all to work together, even if you are not using a finger. It must move in the direction of the one playing which can be up/down/in/out/forward/backward/left/right and thousands of combinations thereof which is called shaping. Or, you can just play the piano and that is nice, too.

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IMO this is a bad arrangement of some original piece which importantly didn't concern itself with overlapping hands. You should get some real piano scores appropriate for your sight reading level. Czerny wrote tons of such material, like his Recreations.

But, anyway, about what is in the example, assuming there is no pedaling, as the score indicates, I think do this to play it literally as written:

For the first one, lift the RH finger when the LH plays the C5 eight, but before releasing LH C5 put the RH finger back on C5 - at this point there are two fingers on C5, continue holding RH, then continue LH... and then do it again, because it happens again on beat 3. Sort of like this...

enter image description here

...the RH fingering is an approximation, the rest show that you have to release RH so LH can play C5, the parenthesis on (1) means it's "silent" fingering, it happens a fraction earlier that LH G4 just before LH releases C5.

For the second one, just hit C5 with LH and RH at the same time. RH holds it when LH moves to G4.

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  • Mmh, considering the tempo and the character of the piece (which clearly uses the sustain pedal), the left/right thumb alternation is pointless and unnecessarily complex (also, the OP is a beginner, that kind of technique is quite complex to master). – musicamante Jun 4 at 14:52
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    @musicamante - 'Clearly uses pedal'? While it's clearly arpeggiated, there's clearly no ped. markings. – Tim Jun 4 at 15:10
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    @musicamante - I reckon the only way to play it as written is with pedal. Ironic that 'ped' is missing..? Still not right, though. The C (l.h.) should last for a quaver, but with pedal will sound for longer. – Tim Jun 4 at 15:24
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    It's clear at a glance that this piece is intended to be played with pedal. It's stylistically expected, and knowing the composer reinforces that. Einaudi's music nearly always has pedal assumed. In piano music generally, the absence of pedal marking often just means the editor assumes the performer is experienced enough to recognize it should be used. (Of course, given this begins at m. 74, there very well could be pedal markings with "ped. simile" earlier on.) – Aaron Jun 4 at 15:35
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    The lack of an explicit pedal marking does not forbid you from using the pedal. Pedaling is implied in a lot of piano literature. The suggestion to avoid using the pedal and replace the fingers on the keys is ridiculous. – MattPutnam Jun 4 at 15:36

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