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Melody in F - Sight Reading a Late Romantic Elementary Piece

Updated: 6 days ago

This week, we are featuring a melodious little piece composed by German composer, pianist and conductor, Friedrich Baumfelder, who was a very well-known composer during his time (1836 - 1916).

This piece was composed during the 'Late Romantic period', a time where composers of music pushed the limits of of classical rules and produced music at the peak of emotional content and expression.

Unfortunately, many of Baumfelder's works were destroyed during World War II. He is relatively unknown because of this, apart from little gems like these that stood the test of time and history.

Melody in F by Baumfelder is great for exploring shaping long phrases in the right hand, while balancing a broken pattern in the left hand using forearm rotation technique. It is a great quick study for sight reading practice if you are a mid-late elementary piano player.

Friedrich Baumfelder is a lesser known German composer and pianist in today's modern world. Many of his works were destroyed in World War II.

Sight Reading Tip

Before you start to read a piece, always take note of the key signature and time signature of the piece. You will find that this is in triple meter, and in the key of F major.

A quick check to see if it is in F Major and not its relative minor - look at the last note/chord of the piece. Is it an F chord or a D chord (D minor)?

Sight Reading Tip on Melody in F by Friedrich Baumfelder
Sight Reading Tip: Analyze how the repeating patterns are moving. Be aware of any patterns that are completely different!

Another important thing to do is to always give yourself a count-in of one or two measures before you start reading and playing. Try not to rush the process. You can work on speed if you plan on learning the piece completely.

It is also very good habit to practice tapping the rhythm before you play. I don't recommend a metronome at the early stages. Counting internally is more important to establish as a foundational skill.

Watch this video for some ideas on how to tap/clap the rhythms in this piece. Pick either your foot or your hand claps to be the "base beat" (like a metronome), and either clap or speak the rhythm that is notated.

This excercise is important because we work on the gross motor actions first, before attempting it with our fingers (fine motor action). This is a useful tip especially when you come across challenges in putting hands together playing.

Remember the goal of sight reading is to keep a steady pace from beginning to end by practicing reading or "seeing" what's coming next.

This piece is relatively straightforward in that the both hands stay in closed positions in the F pentascale (five-finger position) throughout. Therefore, it is great for working fingering mentally, without having to overly glance at your fingers while you read.

I have deliberately left out finger numbers in this piece so that you can practice writing down the starting positions yourself.

The technique required in the LH of this piece is a forearm rotation. Take care not to rotate between the two notes with locking the movement only at your fingers. You should have a relaxed arm, and the movement should feel like you are turning a doorknob, controlling the tone back and forth from the pinky finger and the rest of the fingers.

Once you've sight read the piece through, try it a second time and aim for a more elegant shaping of the RH melody as you balance the LH broken notes, taking care to keep the melody clearly heard in the RH. Work the dynamic contrasts between the two sections as you go from mezzo piano to piano.

Enjoy your sight reading practice!



This piece is categorized as elementary Preparatory - Level 1 in the conservatory syllabus.

Download the free sheet music - "Melody in F"- by clicking the link below.

Don't forget to join our Reddit sight reading nerd community to learn more of repertoires for your sight reading studies! r/sightreadingpianonerd

Baumfelder - Melody in F
Download PDF • 51KB

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