January 22nd: The Little Bell & an Arabesque

1) F. Liszt, La Campanella "The Little Bell" from Grandes études de Paganini

Another composer who brought the etude to the concert stage - Franz Liszt.  A pianist of unparalleled virtuosity,  Liszt's composition certainly reflects his incredible technique.  There are even more notes than you can hear.  Try to follow along with the notes - it can be a dizzying sight!


  • What is an etude?
  • What technical challenges do you think this etude focuses on? (Hint: take a look at the music notes)


2) Claude Debussy - Arabesque no. 1

A much more serene piece, but much like the previous one, there are many 'hidden' notes.  This is the fact with most good piano playing - a melody that must stand out crystal clear though all the other notes.  Advanced students might recognize the polyrhythm of triplets playing against eighth notes.


  • What images come to mind after listening to this piece?
  • For advanced students: Can you tap the 3 against 2?  Try tapping triplets with one hand while tapping eighth notes with the other.