Piano Instruction: “Ballade” by Burgmuller– phrase contouring and curves of energy (Videos)

Burgmuller’s Ballade from his Opus 100 Progressive Piano Pieces is often coined “spooks” because of its Halloween-like opener. Composed in 3/8 time, it moves along in ONE, though the performer should not over-emphasize the first beat in each measure.

The way the composer slurs and phrases notes suggests another approach.

Thinking LONGER lines and phrases gives this piece the Romantic era polish it deserves. (A descending, Forte C minor arpeggio, for example, can use this overall curve down without redundant rhythmic accents or punctuations in every measure)

In the video below, I demonstrate the CURVES of melody as they appear in the Left Hand with light chords in the Right, and how the contrasting middle section is a fluid, lyrical line with subdued after beats. (Play like a vocalist)

To render this piece with finesse involves using a supple wrist. On big, resounding chords, approaching these from below with the flexible wrist avoids a pencil point impact.

In the Codetta (starting measure 88) with its stream of rapid 16ths from forte to piano, the dipping wrist on every C after 6 notes, keeps the passage bristling with a looping energy, that allows a controlled, dynamic tapering.

A lesson-in-progress with Albertina, 13 who will play this piece on our Spring Recital.