SUGGESTED Selections by Difficulty for Brahms 16 Waltzes op.39

Hey everyone! What are your favorite Waltzes from Brahms op.39?

 

I'd love for you to go on an exploratory journey, but I thought I'd also share with you some of my own ideas!   


Check out these suggested categories I created: 

 

By difficulty:

  • Easy: 2, 3, 5, 9, 12
  • Medium: 1, 4, 7, 8, 15
  • Advanced:  6, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16

By technique:

  • Arpeggio:  
  • Left Hand Attention: 1, 13. 14, 16
  • Rhythm:  4, 15, 16
  • Ornamentation:  11, 13, 14, 15
  • Voicing chords: 5, 8, 11, 12, 15, 16
  • Multiple voices/Polyphony:  2, 7, 9. 12, 16
  • Scale passagework:  
  • Hand shifting (jumps): 1, 3, 6, 8, 13, 15
  • Articulation/Phrasing: 4, 6, 9, 11. 12, 14, 15, 16
  • Double notes: 7, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16

Bonus:

  • My personal favorites: 1, 2, 3, 4, 15

What do you think, which ones did you like best? 

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    • Monika Tusnady
    • The Retired French Teacher
    • Monikainfrance
    • 8 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    The first four waltzes make such a nice grouping, as they show within a few minutes four contrasting possibilities for what a waltz can be. One of the difficulties with this fabulous set (and there are many!) is to keep each piece dancing, to picture couples waltzing on the floor as we play. It doesn't work for me to get too sentimental or too bombastic. 

    Op. 39 reminds me a little bit of Schumann's Carnaval because each waltz is like a character portrait. I love both so very much!

    I LOVE this challenge! This is music to treasure for a lifetime. Learning it in the supportive and reflective context of the tonebase community is a bonus!

    Like 8
    • Monika Tusnady So happy to hear you are excited for this challenge! I certainly am. This is music of such character and fun! :D

      Like 1
    • Gail Starr
    • Recently retired MBA (international consumer products/luxury goods/classical music mgt.)
    • Gail_Starr
    • 8 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Can’t wait to look through them tomorrow and pick a few! 😊

    Like 4
    • Lily
    • Lily
    • 8 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    I happen to be learning #9 per my teacher’s recommendations. And I love it so much! Although I’m more of a beginner so it is quite difficult for me and takes me a long time. But I’m so happy that I can learn with the community now and learn from one another! 

    Like 5
      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Lily That's awesome, Lily! 

      Like
    • Sindre Skarelven
    • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
    • Sindre_Skarelven
    • 8 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    I love this challenge! I have listened threw the collection, and I think in time I want to play them all. It will be very nice to have this as part of the repertoire for a recital. 

    I have a lot on my plate for november so there will be limited practice time, but I want to do the "ornamentation set" 11, 13, 14, 15 for a starter (and do the advanced version). Looking forward to start practicing tomorrow!  

    Like 4
    • Darrell
    • Darrell
    • 8 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Really looking forward to this one. My favorites are 1, 4, 8, 9, and 15.

    Like 3
  • Hard to tell. They all sound great. I’d say 1-5, 10 and 15 were the ones I liked the most.

    Like 2
  • I've been so distracted recently by other (boring) things that I've yet to manage a community challenge. This one sounds great, and I'm going to try, but I'll be coming in late (8 November) because of travel away from my piano! Looking forward, I'm just now discovering these waltzes and am already liking them quite a lot! :-) 

    Like 3
      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Chad Langford Great that you are able to join from next week! :D

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  • I probably will go with my usual pattern of starting with the first variation, but listening to a recording of all I recognized #10 and #11 and remembered probably 15 years ago I played those two in the duet version, which was so fun. I found the old duet book and they are much easier that way! Anyway, now I think I will plan to do #1-4 as a set and #10-14 as another set. #12 starts off sounding like op. 118, no. 2 for a brief moment. #14 makes a great finish for that set. I will not finish the two sets in three weeks 😂 

    Like 2
      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Susan Sounds like a great plan! Yes, #12 sounds like op. 118 no. 2 for a very brief moment! 😂

      Like 1
  • Thanks for the breakdown! As a beginner, I'm always searching for how to evaluate pieces by difficulty

    Like 3
    • geraldw
    • Drjerryw
    • gerald
    • 8 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Hi.  I am not a pianist but want to learn some pieces to play by heart. I have always loved no 15 so I looked it up and there are 2 versions A major and A flat major. So which one? A major seems easier but am I throwing in the towel if I choose that one???  Help

    Like 3
      • Sindre Skarelven
      • Pianist, composer and piano teacher
      • Sindre_Skarelven
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      gerald You’re not at all throwing in the towel if you choose the one in A-major! Brahms did compose both versions, and the challenge presented by Dominic actually suggest the A-major version. I think what matter is witch of these versions suits you the most, witch one will you play the best? 

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      • geraldw
      • Drjerryw
      • gerald
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Sindre Skarelven 

      Like 1
  • Having heard the lot through on YouTube I recognise no.15, and like 1-4, 14 and 15. 6 and 11 also appeal.

    Like 1
  • These waltzes are beautiful , something for everyone . I’m going to start with 1 and 9 as I want to try my hand at memorizing and these look fairly easy to figure out .

    Like 2
  • I am going to take a run at # 5!

    Like 1
  • I like the 1, 2,3, 4, and the 11, 12, 13 and 14...I use to play the 15, 45 years a go, lol! But I forgot! I don't think I will play this one for the challenge. 

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