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2 minutes reading time (415 words)

November/December 2018: Pupil Saver

Rev It Up!

David Karp's Toccatina in D Minor (FJH) is a high-energy intermediate piece that will rev up any student. Written almost entirely in the treble clef, the rapid sixteenth notes, syncopated cadences, and interesting mix of major and minor sounds add up to an exciting and riveting contemporary piece. To introduce the toccatina, I play the first few measures as an ear training lesson, blocking the major and minor broken chord patterns. (Blocking broken chords is also an excellent practice strategy.)

Excerpt 1

I then ask the student to analyze these chords before playing the piece. All but one chord in the A section is in root position, and even chords like C-sharp minor and F-sharp minor will be less daunting after this preliminary work. Once this section is mastered, most of the piece will be learned.

The suggested tempo is quite brisk. I like students to practice at much slower tempos and gradually work up the speed. The marcato left hand leads the way, with the nimble right hand remaining light. A crescendo-diminuendo that follows the direction of the left-hand melodic line will naturally enhance the phrases and add an artistic touch. Fast, syncopated pedaling keeps the harmonies clean and clear.

A short eight-measure bridge follows the A section. Here, Karp simply sequences a two-measure pattern, descending down by whole steps from the tonic D to the dominant A. This appearance of the dominant sets up the return of the A section, as seen in measures 21-24.

Excerpt 2

The coda has a harmonic surprise: suddenly, there are augmented chords. This compelling twist keeps this piece interesting through the final note in measure 42.

Excerpt 3

Toccatina in D Minor is exhilarating to perform. Students love to challenge themselves with the quick tempo, and the contemporary style and relentless sixteenths punctuated by syncopated cadential chords give this piece—and will give your student—plenty of energy.          —Carmen Doubrava

Got a Pupil Saver? We love to hear from you. If you are interested in submitting your Pupil Saver for consideration, please contact Susan Geffen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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