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Topic: Dorothy Taubman & Chopin op. 25 no. 6  (Read 3137 times)

Offline pianohopper

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Dorothy Taubman & Chopin op. 25 no. 6
on: September 28, 2005, 12:28:59 AM
I'm not very clear on how the Dorothy Taubman method works.  A teacher at my school mentioned it to me, but he doesn't know much about it.  The general idea is using the best technique to get rid of pain/stress in wrists? 

Case in point:  Chopin etude op. 25 no. 6 --- the thirds etude.  Although it is very short, it is very tiring to play.  I am ok for the first two pages or so, but then it gets exhausting and the amount of wrong notes goes up.  I am guessing this has to do with tension in the wrist and forearm -- but how to eliminate it? 

Specifically the diminishing chromatic chords broken up on the third page.  It is stressful to play, but would the correct wrist movement  be side to side, deep into the keys, much like opening a door knob?  I have been relying more on moving my hands in and out of they keys, but this is awkward and slower. 

Also, on the repeated right hand trills, what is the proper wrist movement? 
"Today's dog in the alley is tomorrow's moo goo gai pan."  ~ Chinese proverb

Offline ted

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Re: Dorothy Taubman & Chopin op. 25 no. 6
Reply #1 on: September 28, 2005, 06:32:25 AM
I don't know who Taubman is but I do play that piece. Anything I say is bound to be risky because I haven't been properly trained but I think I just use my fingers for everything more or less. I followed the advice of people on forums to employ more wrist but found the sound of the result not to my liking so I've gone back to fingers now.

The best tip I've heard to avoid fatigue in this one came from Brendan of Pianoworld who advocated practising it using microsleeps (up to speed, separated groups with gaps sufficient to get rid of tension).
"Mistakes are the portals of discovery." - James Joyce

Offline Souza

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Re: Dorothy Taubman & Chopin op. 25 no. 6
Reply #2 on: September 28, 2005, 08:36:04 AM
I'm not very clear on how the Dorothy Taubman method works.  A teacher at my school mentioned it to me, but he doesn't know much about it.  The general idea is using the best technique to get rid of pain/stress in wrists? 

Case in point:  Chopin etude op. 25 no. 6 --- the thirds etude.  Although it is very short, it is very tiring to play.  I am ok for the first two pages or so, but then it gets exhausting and the amount of wrong notes goes up.  I am guessing this has to do with tension in the wrist and forearm -- but how to eliminate it? 

Specifically the diminishing chromatic chords broken up on the third page.  It is stressful to play, but would the correct wrist movement  be side to side, deep into the keys, much like opening a door knob?  I have been relying more on moving my hands in and out of they keys, but this is awkward and slower. 

Also, on the repeated right hand trills, what is the proper wrist movement? 





Pain/stress could appear at many body-parts, not only in wrists,  practicing
or playing this etude the wrong way.

You can play or practice it several times, and  this must  have NO
PAIN....you will speed up, and you could speed over the
metronomic mark minima = 69,  on a reasonable piano, even with a bit  heavy
action, without any pain, and playing as a virtuose.

You have to practice the right way.  A good teacher is fundamental.

If you haven't any previous experience in double thirds, perhaps it is not
the best way to begin.  But if you are a gifted pianist, do it.

There are performances over minima = 69 (Pletnev, Cortot, Lisitsia, Cziffra,
Juana Zayas, Sergio Tiempo, Richter...)...some pianists play very beautiful
a bit under minima = 69...as  Paderewski, Pogorelich, Arrau, Novaes, Earl
Wild, Berezovsky, Shura Cherkassky.

J.Levhine, Polini, Ashkenazy, Perahia, Idil Biret, Sokolov, Freire play
around the tempo minima - 69.

You must listen all these interpreters. I like them all ...the brightness of
Pletnev, the passion of Czifra, the perfection of Levhine.

Hands separate is mandatory...always, even when the etude will be
refined...always singing the better way the left hand...hear Arrau at the
appogiatura of  measure 10...perfect!

There are 3 difficult diatonic double notes runs, more difficult then the
double thirds chromatic runs. Measures: 11, 13, 47.


The worst part is conquer the sense of unity.  Use imagery!

Thinks  in the duality that brings to the unity!

Tthink as says Cortot , in the  birdlike character...bar 3, 4, 5, 6 could represent the first bird..
...bars 7,8,9,10 the second bird...they are the duality of this piece ... They  will
fight against destiny's force present at the left hand...The left hand like a storm, tries every moment to separate these two birds...but these birds represents the possibility to conquer UNITY ....this etude is the confirmation of unity as a synthesis of the duality, fighting against  destructive forces, trying to separate the 2 birds....they fight all the tyme against this violent force...bars 58,59,60 you can hear the heartbeats of the exausting birds...at the bars 61,62,63... they are reconciled to destiny..they assume their unity at the last measure....

Observe that there are four forces that built the fifth force:
1- Two individual birds... two chains  of wills and it's inner weakness.
2- The Union of this birds, that you could name force of LOVE...
3- The destiny force against that Union bringing the perpetuo despair,
desperation, hopelessness, against the desperate exhausting birds.
4- The regain forces,  the strengthen  of will that brings at last  the
affirmation over the destiny  forces with the
5- The reconcilement....the quintessence.

Just imagery possibilities to feel this etude...

The most important... no tension, no pain at any moment...the accomplishment
of right movements on body, shoulders, hip, torso, shoulders, arms, forearms
and the suppleness of wrist...Finger movement will be the consequence of these.

Choose the best fingering !!!
Choose if you will slip thumb between white/white  keys or slip forefinger between
white/black keys.  This is FUNDAMENTAL for the chromatic double runs and
diatonic double runs.  In the Chopin fingering at chromatic double runs the
slip of the THUMB is between white/white keys.  See the exercise I will suggest you bellow.

I use unconventional fingering for the diatonic descending double run
suggested by Cortot, with no repetition of thumb  at 2 neighbour keys.

The main principle is to choose the correct finger for the movements of
arms, forearms,  and wrists... this will give the best position to your hand
the right way..

Mitsuko Ukida in an Interview where she plays Debussy etudes, comparing
Debussy etudes with Chopin etudes, took as example the 25 n 6...she
demonstrates with fast and slowly movements the first10 measures...

You need to have Cortot student edition for orientations to rhythm patterns
etc.


Two very effective exercises....plays in the left hand exact the same pattern
of the right hand... as a MIRROR... not repeating the same notes of the
right hand...ex... first bar, right hand plays b#d  - #ce...the left hand
plays f#c - c#d...do it throughout piece... if right hand ascends, the left
descends in contrary motion.  As if the right hand was in a mirror.You can
play all the etude that way HS and HT, at middle tempo.

It will be very  dissonant, but helpfull for practice of double thirds in both hands... try it! As time goes by you will
enjoy it.

Sergio Tiempo has another beautiful way that facilitate this etude...where
he plays right hand op 25 n 6 .. left hand op 10 n 12, revolutionary,
transposed to G minor.  It facilitates a lot the practice because each note
of the thirds of the right hand will coincidi  with each note of left hand to give
support.  It works!!


Another important way to improve is to play only the melodic line of right
hand with the thumb, the same way you play the thirds....but only with  the thumb of
the bass line note of the third...excelent exercise!!
You will see all the movements your thumb do along the piece.

quote - this way, the right hand fingering will be... 1 2 1 2 1 2.....1 2 1 2 1 1 2 1 2 1 etc...throughout piece, according to your base line of your chosen fingering for this hand.

At this point you will see the very difficulty of this etude - the thumb
playing two neighbour white keys, or , playing a white-black key with same forefinger, dependend on what fingering you choice.
Speed up this fundamental exercise.




For the difficulties in bars 31, 32, 33, 34...right hand is
easier than left hand... Hands together, if there is tension, or if you think that you will fail, the left hand will betray you.  As you say...I have been
relying more on moving my hands in and out of they keys...Exactly...the left hand has to learn it.....the correct wrist movement  be side to side, NOT deep into the keys that brings tension...and Yes! much like opening a door knob...

A good exercise that helps, difficult to explain in words, if you play op 27 n 2 Beethoven... is to play these segment like you play bars...47, 48, 53, 54, 55, 56  in moonlight sonate. I don't know how to explain... if you play this sonate, try to establish some parallels.

You could now understand why Sergio Tiempo plays this
segment with scales in left hand... ;)


Don't forget the expressive fingering of left hand in bars43, 44,45, 46, whith thumb on neighbour notes.  The quality of sound is better this way.

If I remember another tip I will tell you.


Answering your question: Also, on the repeated right hand trills, what is the proper wrist movement?

Try to see Mitsuko interview/performance on Debussy etudes....she will answer it to you.

Please I would like to hear another tips about this etude that I love.

Remember that 25 n 6  had inspired Godowsky to compose his marvelous set of etudes...25 n 6 was the first.

Please, these are non profissional opinions... I am not a piano teacher nor a profissional pianist, nor an amateur...I prefer to say that I just like to play the best way my piano when I arrive at home, after my job. I never had abandoned this very friend all these years....no pains and no tension ...always!



Best wishes
Pedro


Offline vladhorwz

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Re: Dorothy Taubman & Chopin op. 25 no. 6
Reply #3 on: September 28, 2005, 06:06:40 PM
I didn't have time to read that last post, although it looks very good, so this may have been covered.  From what I remember in the tapes she has you rotate every third toward your thumb.  So a separate arm movement for each third, always pressing into the keys with a pronation movement.

Offline ilikefinnissy

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Re: Dorothy Taubman & Chopin op. 25 no. 6
Reply #4 on: October 01, 2005, 01:14:44 PM
I've studied with a Taubman teacher (but he's part of the Golandsky institute - www.golandskyinstitute.org) for about two years now and all I can say is that you need to find a teacher trained in this to really learn how to play without pain.  You CAN NOT do it on your own by simply watching the videos.

Offline pianohopper

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Re: Dorothy Taubman & Chopin op. 25 no. 6
Reply #5 on: October 02, 2005, 01:47:14 AM
aren't Taubman teachers really expensive though?
"Today's dog in the alley is tomorrow's moo goo gai pan."  ~ Chinese proverb
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