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Does anyone have any suggestions for fingering and for practicing the scale-run at measure 228 in Scarbo? I am working on all three movements and have had particular trouble with this quick run. I cannot seem to get that fast, effortless, continuous stream of notes down. As it descends the keys, I am fine and can go fairly quickly. But, the trouble is doing that 5 against 3 arpeggio that ascends to the high keys. I can't get that wet and intense sound in the bottom notes to contrast with a delicate and dry top notes. I know one of the answers is practice, but I'm trying to make my practice more efficient. Same question goes for a similar run in measure 253.

Lastly, does anyone have fingering suggestions for the majors seconds in measure 460? I have actually been using my thumb to play two white notes and my second and third finger to play the black notes. Thoughts?

  • Yes, using the thumb on two white keys simultaneously is exactly the kind of cochonnerie that Ravel would write. In fact, the edition I have is explicitly annotated 11-23-11-23. – Kilian Foth Apr 3 '16 at 20:32
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With regards to the runs, the fingering I recommend is as follows:

  • For the downwards run:
    • Right Hand: G#: 5, D#: 2, B: 1, F#: 5, C#: 2, A: 1 (repeat each time)
    • Left Hand: G#: 1, F#: 2, C#: 4, A: 5 (repeat each time)
  • For the upwards run:
    • Right Hand: A: 1, C#: 2, F#: 4 (repeat each octave)
    • Left Hand: Bottom F#: 4, Bottom A: 2, Bottom D: 1, from then on:
      • F#: 4, G#: 3, A: 2, D: 1 (repeat each octave).

The same fingering works for the next set of runs too.

I think in terms of the fluidity, the most important thing is to lean enough. If you lean to your right at the beginning of the downwards run, and travel to the left as the run descends, you are moving your body to in front of the notes, and so it should be no more difficult than if you are playing these figures around middle C. Leaning up and down the piano to enable your reaching of the notes is essential to achieve the fluidity you are after when playing Ravel. The same goes for leaning and travelling the other way for the upwards runs.

With regards to the sound of the upwards run, from the sound you are describing you want, this sounds like a combination of dexterity practice (I recommend practising the run slowly and staccato to get the touch) and then using a touch of pedal towards the bottom (something around 1/4 depth pedalling just to thicken the sound at the bottom).

As for the major seconds, using the thumb on all the pairs of white notes and 2/3 on the black is the fingering the Durand edition uses, and it works very well for the whole style (provided you still create a sense of line and don't thump the thumbs!).

Hope this helps!

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