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Interpretation Level 5: Allegretto by Diabelli

Updated: Jun 6, 2021

This piece is from a volume called "Les Premières Leçons" pour le piano. You can see an historic score on this link. It is understood to be composed in 1821 and the copy on the link is assumed to be printed in 1931. The Opus number is 125 and it is the 3rd piece in this set.

This piece is in the public domain which is 70 years following the death of the composer.


  • Acoustic or digital piano with full size keys.

  • Traditional metronome or an app.

  • Copy of the music

  • Notebook

Learning Objectives

This list is selective but not exhaustive.

Interpretation Skills

  • Playing a balanced Alberti style bass

  • Playing with an even tone

  • Cantabile melody

Fluency Skills

  • Using the I, IV, V chords in a piece

  • Emphasize the stronger beats

Knowledge Skills

  • Define the character of the piece


Demonstration Video


This piece is a delightful study in chord playing. The hands initially move at a similar speed with the theme presented in the minor and related major key. Following this the left hand moves to a quaver rhythm over the second presentation of the main theme.

The melody needs to sing above the chord accompaniment and be phrased in a classical style. The dynamic contrast provides a clear definition to the phrases which means that each phrase moves to a peak and then falls away again. Additionally this piece involves a 'drop-lift' phrase in bar 2 and 4, and their repeats.

The tempo is given in the title fairly quick, but not as quick as Allegro. At this speed the left hand chords can become heavy and over bearing. Ensure these are softer and allow the right hand melody to sing.

Pay attention to the finger numbers given, watch for the second finger curl in the right hand of bar seven. Preceding, this between bar six and seven, the left hand has a significant move which should be practised before the piece is completed hands together.

Practice Method

  1. Listen to the demonstration video and follow the music focusing on the right hand part.

    1. Repeat focusing on the left hand part.

  2. Complete the question sheet for the piece.

  3. Practice each hand alone until the part is secure.

    1. Secure finger pattern

    2. Articulation followed

    3. No pauses, play with the metronome at practice speed.

  4. Start to play the piece hands together in two bar sections. It is important at the stage to play slowly and avoid any pauses, changes to finger pattern or incorrect rhythms. Play at a slow tempo.

    1. Play the first phrase three times correctly at a very slow tempo.

    2. Play the second phrase three times correctly.

      1. If both phrases are secure put these together maintaining a slow speed and clarity of finger patterns and rhythm

  5. After a couple of days repeating this, and when you feel confident with line one repeat the pattern for both two bar phrases on the second line.

  6. When the piece is complete with all articulation and finger patterns secure start to speed up. Remember all the time the accuracy of finger patterns and notes alongside rhythmic and technical security is important.

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Chris Caton-Greasley LLCM(TD) MA (Mus)(Open)

Ethnographic Musicologist, Teacher, Researcher

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