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This section focuses on the basic skills young pianists need for preluding. This is why the examples are suitable for the size of children's hands. 

The following example in C major can be practiced in different ways and in multiple keys. Each time you play it, you can vary different elements, such as the tessitura and direction of the arpeggios or the speed of playing. This gives the prelude an improvisational character right from the start. 

The same can be done with a scale instead of triads:


The following example has A minor as its key. Make sure to keep in mind that the minor key has an added leading note.

The examples below are taken from Pianoforte Studies (1875) by Friedrich Wieck (1785-1873), with the following advice: 


Before the performance of each piece of music, the pupil is advised to improvise a short prelude of a series of chords, or to play a modulation, that is, to modulate from one key into that of the composition about to be played. In order to do this quickly and with ease, it is necessary often to practice, and in every key, the chords here introduced.

Scherm­afbeelding 2024-06-12 om 20.39_ed

The above examples have an arpeggio as the main element, but other elements such as scales or scale patterns can be used as well, as in the following examples from An Introduction to the Art of Preluding and Extemporizing (1792) by August Friedrich Christoph Kollmann (1756-1829).​


Practicing the basic elements does not have to be done sequentially; a (young) pianist can get started right away with all the different elements: practicing triads, cadences, chord progressions, etc.

In the subsections below these basics skills will be explored one by one.


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