Piano Forum

Topic: Chopin Ballade #1 fingering  (Read 4797 times)

Offline fiasco

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 75
Chopin Ballade #1 fingering
on: August 19, 2005, 07:24:16 PM
So, I've been practicing Chopin's Ballade in G minor for several months now, and it all seems to be coming together pretty well, except for the Presto con Fuoco at the end... I have small hands, (I'd say a nine key spread is my max) and am having trouble hitting the 2-5 spreads at speed, especially beginning with the ninth measure on the ninth page.  I've practiced it every way I can think of, and am down to deciding whether I should go for 1 2-5,1 2-5 etc... throughout the page and sacrifice clarity (I usually flub with my pinky or miss entirely) for speed and rythym, or jump around with 1 1-5, 1-1-5 and hit the notes more clearly, but slower and choppier.  I know the "right" way is 2-5 on the chords, but I'm wondering if I could manage with jumping up with my thumb and pinky and still play it how it whould be done?  I'm having trouble deciding on the one way which would be best, and end up practicing it differently every time I play it, therefore making no progress.  Getting frustrated.  Anyone help?

Offline chopiabin

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 925
Re: Chopin Ballade #1 fingering
Reply #1 on: August 20, 2005, 12:38:09 AM
There's a thread that was really recently started about the coda of the first ballade. I think it's in the "Student" section.

Offline ako

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 180
Re: Chopin Ballade #1 fingering
Reply #2 on: August 20, 2005, 07:36:16 PM
I have small hands also and when I played it I used the conventional 1-2 5. I just tried your suggestion of 1- 1 5 and jumped around. I found that it's very tiring for me to be making so many different movements at such a speed. If I were to play it again now, I'd still use 1-2 5 and I'd practice them blocked first to make sure I have it under my hand. I'd also practice blocked 2 times at the same octave, i.e. low-low, high high, then low-high or high low as written. Then I would open it up very slowly to make sure I know what it feels like to replace 25 with 1 in going up and vice versa coming down. I hope this helps. It's a hard section and good luck.

Offline quantum

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6054
Re: Chopin Ballade #1 fingering
Reply #3 on: August 20, 2005, 08:12:19 PM
Try the 2-5 for a while.  It may grow on you.  Playing 1 1-5 would mean you are circumventing the indended rocking action between thumb and fingers.  Don't try to play it fast right now, just slow and with lots of concentration.  You have to let your 2-5 fingers get used to the intervals before they can do it at speed. 

Whenever I have the choice between "stretch more" or "jump around", I ususally find the stretching produces better results in the end as there is more ability for control and fluid movement.  Jumping around can seem comfortable at first, but after a while you may find your fingers just get too confused with which notes to play. 
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline dinosaurtales

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1138
Re: Chopin Ballade #1 fingering
Reply #4 on: August 24, 2005, 04:22:49 AM
I, too, have small hands.  So much so that the 1-2-5 fingering is reallllllly stretching for me!  My most difficult task is trying to "relax" enough after the coda (which I have finally figured out how to do!) to do the scale work on the last page!  After all that stretching the scales are very "tight" not fluid sounding. 

Any suggestions?
So much music, so little time........

Offline fiasco

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 75
Re: Chopin Ballade #1 fingering
Reply #5 on: August 24, 2005, 08:25:25 PM
Honestly, and it may sound silly, but I use a psychosomatic approach to this.  By the time I hit that D octave in the left hand, my right hand feels stiff and like it's gorged with fluid.  When I do that scale, I picture the fast finger movement draining everything out of my hand, like pumping all the fluid up to my wrist.  And, seeing how my main trouble spot is with the coda, I look at the scales as time to relax and rock thorugh something I actually can do.  I think of it as a relief that I finally made it through the coda, and tell myself how much easier and elemental the last page is than the previous one.

I've been practicing with the 2-5 method last few days and making some progress.  I just feel like if I simply physically can't reach it, then I can't reach it.  But I see I'm hitting it better the more I do it, so maybe I'll be able to pull it off.  Woke up today with my hand all swelled up, ha ha.

One more question, do y'all use the pedal on those last two 2-handed scales going up?  I feel like to use the pedal through the entire scale makes it sound messy, but I would need to play them lightning fast to make them sound good without pedal.  So I've been hitting the pedal about halfway through, and holding it up until the last note, then releasing and letting the last note ring out a little by just holding it down.  I find this gives it a nice culminating effect.  This piece is fantastic.

Offline phi

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 10
Re: Chopin Ballade #1 fingering
Reply #6 on: August 29, 2005, 01:51:55 PM
One more question, do y'all use the pedal on those last two 2-handed scales going up?  I feel like to use the pedal through the entire scale makes it sound messy, but I would need to play them lightning fast to make them sound good without pedal.  So I've been hitting the pedal about halfway through, and holding it up until the last note, then releasing and letting the last note ring out a little by just holding it down.  I find this gives it a nice culminating effect.  This piece is fantastic.

I use flutter-pedal.... kinda

Offline rapmasterb

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 94
Re: Chopin Ballade #1 fingering
Reply #7 on: August 29, 2005, 05:08:20 PM
I'd play them without any pedal at all. As far as I know you should never play scales with pedal (correct me anyone if this is wrong); it may be hard but it'll be a good exercise to get those scales sounding good without pedal.
 

Logo light pianostreet.com - the website for classical pianists, piano teachers, students and piano music enthusiasts.

Subscribe for unlimited access

Sign up

Follow us

Piano Street Digicert