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Study in Canon No.6 Opus 56 arr. piano


This quiet slow movement in reflective mood with a compositional approach that is vocal in its style and reminiscent of Bach’s 4 part chorale writing although presented with romantic harmony. The melody is not always in the top line and as in 4 part chorale writing it is the tenor line that often needs to be prominent. The second middle section is presented as a fugal exposition. The final section is introduced by a dotted rhythm as an upbeat in bar 32 and returns to the mood and style of the first section although this final section has more contrast and is more dramatic. Schumann’s intention is to combine beauty of sound with a legato touch and it is important for pianists to aim for the best legato possible in their playing. The realisation plays back at 56 quarter note beats to the minute with the tempo is marked adagio in the score. The challenge playing the piano version is simply managing the musical lines and imitation embraced in the texture. The music editor suggests playing through the separate lines of the score to gain understanding of the compositional process and points of imitation. This is a challenging movement from the music reading point of view because of the chromaticism and tied notes. For those wishing to see how the ornaments in the realisation are played refer to the video score on the PlentyMusicCo YouTube channel. Simply click the link on the PlentyMusic home page and search for the score. The final chord should be spread evenly from the lowest to the highest sound. There are many arrangements of this particular movement and the music editor suggests that along with Schumann’s other Studies in Canon they are ideal works to introduce intermediate level players to chamber music playing. It is quite understandable that other composers and arrangers have re-visited the Studies in Canon by Schumann, in a practical way, with arrangements for various instrument combinations. These arrangements encourage a clearer understanding of the contrapuntal aspects of the original composer’s writing. Do explore the organ, piano duet, two piano and trio versions available on the PlentyMusic website.





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