Classical Music/Metronome markings

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Question
Hi David
I have never really understood the metronome markings at the beginning of the music scores so please help with these two.

Beethoven Pathetique. (Molto Allegro) - minim = 144

With the metronome set at 144-In the first bar is it correct to play the 1st quaver in the left hand on the first beat and then the 5th quaver on the next beat of the metronome?

Chopin's Nocturne opus 15-2 ( crochet - 40)

If I do the same here it is much too fast.
This is what I am doing:
With the metronome set at 40 I play C Sharp on the 1st beat of the metronome in the left hand and on the next beat of the metronome I play E sharp B.
What am I doing wrong?
Thanks for your kind help.
regards
Louisa

Answer
I think what you are doing is correct. The Chopin is that tempo. I think, though, you have to remember that the Chopin will have rubato.

Listen to some recordings of these -- easy to find on you tube. You'll hear that within these general posted tempi, there is a variety of approaches by good performers. There is some expressive license. Metronome markings are good for practicing evenness and for getting a general sense of what to do, but once you have control of the music and are able to play it evenly, you need to be xpressive. Listen to a bunch of performers. Try playing along or tapping your foot. You'll see how much freedom good players have. A metronome can be good for learning, but it shouldn't be a jail.  

Classical Music

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David Froom

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Classical Music,Modern Classical Music Composition

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College Professor, Composer

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