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I'm learning the "el Fango del Candil" by E. Granados and I am struggling with the following two parts:

Measure 9

section 1

Measures 22-23

section 2

For the first one: how can I make the three chords so legato? Should I use C#4-G-C#5 as 1-3-5 and slide the C# to D, put a pedal and play the last chord?

For the second one: these kind of progressions (octaves and then a wide chord) are everywhere in this piece. How should I play the progression, the chord and the melody? The main problem is I can only play the chord F4-A4-D4-F5 as 1-2-4-5 but I need immediately the pinky to play the G5...

Any help will be very much appreciated!

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  • 1
    If it were me, I'd force myself to play the FADF chord as 1-2-3-4, "rolling" a little, if necessary, to have my pinky available for the G. I don't see a better alternative. Jul 29 at 21:43
  • I thought about that. But sadly, I can't do that with my hand so I need to find alternatives.
    – Jzbach
    Aug 1 at 17:05

1 Answer 1

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Preface

Liberal pedal use is stylistically and musically appropriate — even expected — in this music. (However, jump to the end for a spoiler: the piece can be convincingly interpreted non-legato where otherwise marked legato.)

For a general post concerning fingering options with wide intervals, see also
What is the best way to play a chord larger than your hand?

Measure 9

1. Use the pedal (see above), Granados himself can be heard pedaling in this measure.

2. Fingering options

Option A: 1-2-4; 1-2-5; 1-4-5 (My preference)

I would play C#4-G-C#5 1-2-4. This allows me to maintain a legato 4-5 when moving from C#5 to D5.

The main melody note — here the topmost notes — more important than the "supporting" notes in maintaining legato sound. Sliding the thumb here and/or using the pedal will cover any minor lapse of finger legato.

Having arrived at 1-2-5 on D4-G-D5, I would use the pedal to maintain my legato to the E4-G-E5.

Option B: 1-2-4; 1-2-(5 to 4); 1-3-5 (for finger-legato-with-no-pedal sticklers)

As in Option A, one can maintain a good enough legato by using 1-2-4 to 1-2-5 on C#4-G4-C#5 to D4-G4-D5. Where the present approach differs is that after arriving with finger 5 on D5, one immediately swaps in finger 4 for finger 5, thus freeing up finger 5 for a legato move to E5.

This does mean that finger 4 is not available for C#5 in the third chord, and for my hand, it's awkward to move from finger 2 on G4 to 3 on C#5 in a legato way.

Option C: 1-2-3; 1-2-4; 1-3-5 (for wider hand spans)

An excellent legato can be achieved if one's hand span allows for this fingering. It has the unique benefit (compared to Options A and B) that each finger, other than the thumb, receives a unique note. In particular, finger 3 is used for the initial C#5, so is already in place for the upcoming C#5.

Option D: 1-(2 or 3)-5; 1-(2 or 3)-5; 1-(3 or 4)-5 (for smaller hand spans)

This provides the least pure finger legato, but sounds perfectly fine will well executed pedaling. Which finger is chosen for the interior notes (G4 and C#5) is purely up to individual comfort and effectiveness.

Measures 22-23

Skillful pedaling is one's friend here. By applying the pedal with the downbeat chord, one can hold the pedal across the G5, releasing it with the arrival of the E4 (left hand) and F5 (right hand). (See below on who the pedal should be released rather than changed.) Done properly, there will be no sense of "blurring" of the sound, with the added benefit of a full and rich D2 on the downbeat.

Measure 23

Although not asked, the bigger problem is the second chord in measure 23. It's given in the question that 1-2-4-5 is the only option for this chord. As a consequence, there's no "truly legato" fingering available.

Hypothetically, one could play the preceding F5-E5 with 1-4, then the chord with 1-2-3-5, but that doesn't work here given the stated restriction.

To deal with this, apply the pedal as the left hand plays C#4 while the right hand is still playing E5. The latter point is critical, because if the E5 is released to early (or the pedal applied too late), there won't be a legato connection to the following chord's F5.

Again, one can hear Granados's use of pedal in this passage:

Pedal and Granados's recordings

One might object to my using Granados's recordings as examplars or pedal usage as the recordings are piano rolls which could have been hand adjusted (though perhaps more likely, IMO, to remove pedal than to add it).

In that case, I recommend Alicia de Larroccha. Note that while she uses pedal in both m. 9 and m. 22-23, the latter maintains no pretense of legato.

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  • Granado's recording is great but I see the same caveat as you meant. The interpretation by Alicia de Larrocha is one of my favourites and it is true that she's pedaling quite much with a refined technique to pedal short but concise groups to keep the definite thrills around the piece so it looks I'll be drilling that technique as well. I actually tried option A before posting the question and it seems it is also the best one for me. I manage to make legato in the end by using a fraction of the pedaling and it still makes the cut I'd say :)
    – Jzbach
    Aug 1 at 17:14

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