TEACHING Piano Adventures®

Petite Minuet

Lesson Book page 43

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  1. This couple (point to the picture) is doing a minuet, a graceful, old court dance that's always in 3/4 time.
  2. While I play some famous minuets, you play dotted half notes on high Gs. Use both hands with braced finger 3s. Feel the three beats. (See video and download duet)
  3. Let's tap this rhythm (Mm. 1-2):
    quarter quarter quarter half-note quarter
  4. Here's how this rhythm pattern looks in the music. Find and circle other patterns like this in the piece.
  5. On which note does your LH begin? How about your RH? Your hands are ready to dance the minuet!
A 3/4 meter dances!

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You are a powerful model when you play for—and with—the student!

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Theory

pp. 30-32 New Time Signature, Counting by Measures

Performance

p. 18 Lullaby and Goodnight

pedagogy pointers

A minuet provides a natural introduction to 3/4 time. All triple meters contain a sense of flow as well as a leaning on the downbeat. Unless the tempo is quite slow, it's almost a feeling of one-to-the-bar. The minuet is not a familiar dance, but the words and illustration provide some clues.

Feeling the meter is more important than an explanation of it. Since the intention is to convey to the student something of the elegance of the dance, what better way than to use genuine minuets as models?

accompaniments on disk

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see it in action

Teaching Video 42

You can almost picture Tatiana dressed for this court dance as she uses elegant braced fingers and flexible wrists to play downbeats while listening to Bach Minuets. This enables her to feel the new time signature, and it also models the spirit and style of "minuet". As you can see, she's ready to keep on dancing!

Recognizing rhythmic patterns in 3/4 prepares her for fluent reading and for feeling the natural stress points in such patterns. And how easy it is to lay some groundwork for Baroque ornamentation by tucking in a little trill on the last note. Tatiana is a good triller! This minuet deserves a special curtsy!

Ask Yourself

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