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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Schumann: Album for the Young, "Wild Rider" Op. 68, No. 8

It’s everyone’s favorite piano proficiency piece! Wild Rider is pretty straight-forward – it’s in ternary form – AABA. It opens with a distinct A section with melodic material played in the right hand. After a repeat of the A section the melody switches to the bass clef, left hand, with some variations. There is no repeat of the B section, and the A section is recapitulated once through.

There are many examples of structural phenomena in this piece. The most obvious device used is a change in motive. The return of the original melody signals a change in musical structure. A change in register is evident in the introduction of the B section, where the melody moves from the right hand to the left hand. Schumann also changes the bottom stave from treble to bass clef to reinforce this transition. Schumann directly modulates from a minor to F major, which is not visually obvious (due to the lack of B flats) but is easily identified aurally. Also, Schumann incorporates straightforward cadences. There is a clear-cut half cadence marking the first half of the melodic motive in section A, followed by a perfect authentic cadence. This cadential pattern of half cadence followed by a perfect authentic cadence is repeated in the B section. In conclusion, Wild Rider is a simple, straightforward piece that perfectly suits its purpose of training beginning pianists.

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