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Author Topic: Chopin-Etude in C# minor vs. Beethoven-Moonlight Sonata 3rd Movement  (Read 7557 times)
corecase
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« on: July 08, 2011, 06:50:56 PM »

Just curious, which would you guys consider to be more difficult?  I know it will not be an easy question to answer, but i'm just looking for subjective opinions; you don't have to prove anything.
Thanks!

EDIT: I just changed my topic, because i noticed that Fantasie Impromptu is WAY easier.  Hopefully this will bring up more of a challenge.
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Repertoire:
Beethoven Moonlight Sonata 3rd Movement
Chopin Etude in E Major Op. 10 No. 3
Chopin Etude in C# Minor Op. 10 No. 4
Chopin Waltz in C# Minor


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Liszt - La Campanella

piano sheet music of Etude

piano sheet music of Sonata 14 (Moonlight)
pianisten1989
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« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2011, 07:04:23 PM »

Almost everyone would find op 10/4 the most difficult (I assume you mean that one, and not op 25/7?)
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corecase
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« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2011, 07:13:27 PM »

Yes, that's the one i'm referring to. By "most difficult" what do you mean exactly? Do you mean "more" difficult? or is it one of chopin's most difficult pieces overall?
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Repertoire:
Beethoven Moonlight Sonata 3rd Movement
Chopin Etude in E Major Op. 10 No. 3
Chopin Etude in C# Minor Op. 10 No. 4
Chopin Waltz in C# Minor


Working on:
Liszt - La Campanella
pianisten1989
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« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2011, 07:26:45 PM »

Well, you were the one who asked, and that I didn't have to prove anything...

Most people get way more tired by playing the etude, since it's more or less one thing all the way through. The impromptu doesn't have a "famous difficult" place, but the etude has got a few...
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corecase
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« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2011, 07:27:47 PM »

Understood. If you have any ideas on my modified topic, that would be awesome too. Smiley
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Repertoire:
Beethoven Moonlight Sonata 3rd Movement
Chopin Etude in E Major Op. 10 No. 3
Chopin Etude in C# Minor Op. 10 No. 4
Chopin Waltz in C# Minor


Working on:
Liszt - La Campanella
pianisten1989
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« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2011, 07:35:54 PM »

You can't compare those two... You probably couldn't compare the chopin pieces, but it's at least the same composer...
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corecase
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« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2011, 07:43:10 PM »

Honestly, i don't see why you wouldn't be able to compare them...  Why does the composer even matter?  Looking at the technique, speed, musicality, etc. should be enough to base an opinion off of, i think.  I'm not a piano expert or teacher.  Piano is a hobby of mine so i really can't speak from TOO much experience, but i do have about 11 years of experience.  Anyway, if anyone does have an opinion, please give reasons as to why you have that opinion.  Thank you.
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Repertoire:
Beethoven Moonlight Sonata 3rd Movement
Chopin Etude in E Major Op. 10 No. 3
Chopin Etude in C# Minor Op. 10 No. 4
Chopin Waltz in C# Minor


Working on:
Liszt - La Campanella
pianisten1989
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« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2011, 07:59:19 PM »

Ok, but they have different techniques, different musical phrasing. They are both in c sharp minor and they should both be played quite evenly... but that's it. But compare them if you like...
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iratior
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« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2011, 04:09:30 AM »

Having studied both pieces, I'd venture to say the Chopin is the more difficult, but the greatest difficulty of all would be somehow to prove it formally.  Perhaps we could do a statistical analysis of a poll of pianists on the subject.  Or perhaps, adjudicate (by a large number of judges) the performances of a large number of pianists doing both pieces.  I have a hunch we'd find many more who did an at least fairly good job on the Beethoven, but a lousy job on the Chopin, than those who did an at least fairly good job on the Chopin, but a lousy job on the Beethoven.
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scott13
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« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2011, 07:07:52 PM »

Having studied both pieces, I'd venture to say the Chopin is the more difficult, but the greatest difficulty of all would be somehow to prove it formally.  Perhaps we could do a statistical analysis of a poll of pianists on the subject.  Or perhaps, adjudicate (by a large number of judges) the performances of a large number of pianists doing both pieces.  I have a hunch we'd find many more who did an at least fairly good job on the Beethoven, but a lousy job on the Chopin, than those who did an at least fairly good job on the Chopin, but a lousy job on the Beethoven.

You're joking right? Prove that Op 10 #4 is more difficult? Really ? 

My god, firstly we could examine the fact the Trinity place Moonlight in the grade 8 list for the 3rd movement, now where are the Chopin etudes? They are in the LTCL list. Every examination board has the Chopin Etudes in the LTCL list, that alone should be your proof.

Also consider that Op 10 #4 is faster, more harmonically difficult, less repetitive than Moonlight,  and Chopin is mile harder in terms of music difficulty. One does not need to be a skilled musician to produce a fairly good rendition of Moonlight, however one does need to be very skilled to do any resemblance of justice to any of the Chopin Etudes.

There is a reason they are regarded as some of the greatest works in the solo piano repertoire. Some of Beethoven's sonatas fall into this list but they are mainly the later and much more demanding sonatas.
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iratior
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« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2011, 09:33:50 AM »

Well, I know it seems as though I'm being unduly captious not to accept as fact that the Chopin piece is more difficult, but I think that standards of proof as to what constitutes the "difficulty" of a piece have not been developed with sufficient logical rigor.  There need to be more objective standards of what constitutes "difficulty".  How do we measure "difficulty"?  To say that the Chopin piece is more difficult just because examination boards say it is strikes me as being rather arbitrary.  I doubt very much if every judge who sits on such a board has exactly the same opinions about the relative difficulties of various pieces as every other one does.  Not everyone even agrees that the Chopin piece should go faster.  I've seen the Moonlight Sonata at 88 half-notes per minute, versus 80 per minute for the Chopin.
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scott13
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« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2011, 02:43:06 AM »

Well, I know it seems as though I'm being unduly captious not to accept as fact that the Chopin piece is more difficult, but I think that standards of proof as to what constitutes the "difficulty" of a piece have not been developed with sufficient logical rigor.  There need to be more objective standards of what constitutes "difficulty".  How do we measure "difficulty"?  To say that the Chopin piece is more difficult just because examination boards say it is strikes me as being rather arbitrary.  I doubt very much if every judge who sits on such a board has exactly the same opinions about the relative difficulties of various pieces as every other one does.  Not everyone even agrees that the Chopin piece should go faster.  I've seen the Moonlight Sonata at 88 half-notes per minute, versus 80 per minute for the Chopin.

Actually according to my editions:

Moonlight (Augener's Edition) is marked Presto Agitato and 1/4 note = 168
Op 10#4 (Alfred Masterworks Edition) is marked at Presto 1/2 note = 88 (which if counted in 4 would be 176)

Therefore the Chopin etude does in fact need to be played faster. Add to that the LH of Op 10#4 is much more difficult than the LH of Op 27 #2 as Beethoven tends to have single notes in the LH, Chopin on the other hand has the melody quite frequently, it also has chords, octaves, and pedal too.

Then examine that Op 10#4 is an exercise in passing the melody between hands which although moonlight does as well, the melody is single notes, played much slower. Also note Op 10#4 has a key change as well.

Then the musicality aspects: Musically moonlight is not difficult. That is why it sits at grade 8. It does not need an experienced pianist to interpret the work well. Chopin on the other hand does require a very skilled pianist to do musical justice to the Etudes and this is why it sits at LTCL level which is roughly equivalent to 3rd year of an undergraduate degree in piano performance.

2nd to 3rd year undergraduate level compared to last couple of years of high-school level of grade 8, one does not need to be a genius to see why Op 10#4 is regarded (and apart from you, universally accepted) as being the more difficult of the two pieces.
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iratior
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« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2011, 08:23:26 AM »

The trouble I have with scott13's reckoning of the difficulty of the two pieces is that it relies too much on opinion.  It was mere opinion to put the Chopin on the LTCL list.  What's needed is some way to measure the difficulty of pieces without relying on opinion.  It ought to be possible to give the piece to a computer and have the computer calculate, on the basis of what notes are to be played when and how, a measure of difficulty.  If we have ever found, in playing Chopin etudes, that our hands became fatigued and it pained them to go on, we know we had witnessed a neurological process of some kind.  We need to be asking, what was that process, how did the configuration of notes cause it to arise.  Was it because the music was not repetitive enough?  I hardly think so;  sometimes music can be very hard by the very fact of  being repetitive.  Was it because it demanded leaps?  Now that might be more pertinent;  more leaps mean more energy must be delivered to do them.   And as for tempo -- editions differ.  I got the tempi I cited from Schnabel and Friedheim, for the Beethoven and Chopin, respectively.  But since editions can differ, tempo must be of very limited usefulness as a measure of difficulty.
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aweshana21
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« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2016, 03:13:35 AM »

the torrent etude that i'm playing right now is much harder if that's the one you are meaning
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