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Topic: Chopin Mazurka in F#-minor Op.6 No.1  (Read 5604 times)

Offline hawa1

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Chopin Mazurka in F#-minor Op.6 No.1
on: October 01, 2003, 11:06:36 AM
Hello  :)
This is my first posting here. While looking for information about handspan, I discovered this forum and was immediately hooked.

Anyway, I have a question that's bothering me. Does anyone know what sort of techniques I need to master to play Chopin Mazurka in F#-minor (op.6 No.1) properly? Coz I can play the whole piece, but it doesn't sound nice. So I'm wondering if I didn't "press the keys correctly"  :P

Btw, this is the second original piece I've played so far. I'm new to piano and am learning by myself (and very enthusiastic at it). I started off by playing some short, rearranged pieces, then move on to my 1st original piece: Chopin Waltz in A minor (op posth).  Currently, I'm starting to learn another Chopin Waltz in A minor (Op. 34 No. 2). Am I too ambitious? Coz I think I can somehow manage to play this waltz, but not sure how nice it will sound. Please advise on the sensible learning path! Thanks  ;)

Offline eddie92099

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Re: Chopin Mazurka in F#-minor Op.6 No.1
Reply #1 on: October 02, 2003, 12:29:45 AM
According to tradition, your first step should be to convert your nationality to Polish,
Ed

Offline hawa1

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Re: Chopin Mazurka in F#-minor Op.6 No.1
Reply #2 on: October 03, 2003, 03:45:11 AM
Ah well... yes, I did hear from someone that technically Chopin mazurkas are easier to play, but it's not so easy to play them beautifully.

I was actually wondering about the technical part, coz I know I can't be good enough to play it beautifully, not when I only just started piano a few mths ago, anyway.

Anyway, I've listened to Ashkenazy's recording, and will try to imitate it as well as I can! :p  Also, I tried to relax my fingers more, coz right now I think the notes don't sound as 'crisp' as they should be. Ok, enuff babbling.

Thanks Ed for replying ;)

Any idea on which grade someone who plays this piece might be?

:)

Offline Wired

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Re: Chopin Mazurka in F#-minor Op.6 No.1
Reply #3 on: October 03, 2003, 04:36:16 AM
I'm purely guessing because the book of mine that contains any Mazurkas doesn't actually have the F# Minor one. The other ones look like they require a gentle left hand, with a slightly louder right hand. Phrasing is very important -- that being the technique that makes a series of notes sound more vocal and lively than a series of notes played at the same volume and tempo. For example, try starting the melodies out softer, growing towards the middle, then fading out again. Things like this can make or break a piece.

But for a new pianist, the most important thing to realize is to keep your wrists free, and your hands light. If you feel your whole arm jerking each time you try to hit a note, loosen up ;) It's a hard thing to do, to actually make your hands, wrists, and arms to move fluidly. It wasn't until a few years ago that I finally broke that habit, and I've been playing for around 9-10 years.

As for grade level, unless the F# minor is a lot different in difficulty, it looks like at least 3-4 years on the piano if you have no prior musical background and you try hard :) But don't let that discourage you. If you can't make it sound correct now, go back to simpler things. If you love Chopin's works, he does have some simpler preludes that will help you develop some technique while still playing really beautiful stuff. Once you've worked on a few more songs, try the Mazurka again, and see if it works out better :)

Good luck.
-Jon

P.S.: Eddie, when I your reply, I couldn't stop laughing :) Perhaps I should become a Pol. as well ;)

Offline hawa1

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Re: Chopin Mazurka in F#-minor Op.6 No.1
Reply #4 on: October 08, 2003, 01:23:18 PM
Hey thanks Jon! :)
You're right, I think I played the left hand too loud. I tried to play it softer and it already sounds quite different. Any tips on good tone production? coz sometimes when I play softly the sound tends to disappear :p

Phrasing sounds quite advanced though. I notice that it  also involves how to vary the speed that a passage is played, am I right?

Any recommendation on which Chopin preludes are suitable for beginners like me?

Sorry if I ask too many questions...  ;D

Offline Wired

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Re: Chopin Mazurka in F#-minor Op.6 No.1
Reply #5 on: October 08, 2003, 03:48:29 PM
Quote
Hey thanks Jon! :)
You're right, I think I played the left hand too loud. I tried to play it softer and it already sounds quite different. Any tips on good tone production? coz sometimes when I play softly the sound tends to disappear :p

The rule of thumb I go by is that someone shouldn't be aware of anything other than the melody, but if they are listening for something other than the melody, they'll hear it distinctly. In other words, play it as loudly as you want as long as it doesn't disturb the melody.

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Phrasing sounds quite advanced though. I notice that it  also involves how to vary the speed that a passage is played, am I right?

Yes, tempo has a bit to do with phrasing. Unfortunately, it's hard to describe phrasing without letting you hear the choices. My general approach to phrasing is to listen to others play the song while I'm learning it myself, and when I have it fully memorized or at least have it so that I don't have to focus on reading the music that much, I then try to focus on the melody and bring it out. I do it subconsciously -- I don't actually concentrate on it, I just listen to myself playing it. If something doesn't strike you as good, make a mental note to try it again.

Practicing a song over and over, trying different crescendos and decrescendos, will result in you having your own interpretation of the song because through that trial and error, you will have settled on what you think is the way it should be heard.

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Any recommendation on which Chopin preludes are suitable for beginners like me?


Hmm.. I think Prelude in E Minor should be ok. After that perhaps Prelude in B Minor. I suggest these two because they don't require extraordinary fingering techniques, but present the challenge of bringing out a melody over a repeated note. In the first, the right hand has the melody while the lefthand has repeated chords that change. It's really quite beautiful. The second has the melody being the left hand with repeated notes in the right hand. If you can master these two songs, you'll have what you need down for phrasing :)

Both of those preludes can be found on my site (although I didn't work them up fully, someone wanted to hear them, so I recorded them hastily) at https://jon.maccoding.com/music/. Both are recorded on a keyboard that was really hard to try to put expression and dynamics into, but I think you can still hear what I'm talking about here. (I plan on upgrading my keyboard in the next few weeks, so maybe I'll re-record them on it when I get it)

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Sorry if I ask too many questions...  ;D


One can't ask too many questions ;) Plus, I hope to start teaching lessons once I buy myself a house, so it helps for me to try to answer questions like these :)

Offline hawa1

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Re: Chopin Mazurka in F#-minor Op.6 No.1
Reply #6 on: October 14, 2003, 03:20:42 PM
Thanks, Jon, that's a great recommendation. The two preludes are quite a treasure: short, manageable (for beginners) and yet sounds beautiful. I'm currently playing No.4 in E minor. I can see why u recommend this, the practice for the left hand will be useful for me to shape the RH/LH dynamic ratio. As for No.6 in B minor, it's the other way round, most melody is in LH; will try it after No.4.

Visited ur website too (got the sheet music for the Prelude from there). U must be really good at software, 19 and already employed by REAL  :o
And so far I find ur advice useful, so I think u shd go ahead with teaching lessons :)

Offline lisztrachmaninovfan

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Levels for this piece: Mazurka Op.6 No.1
Reply #7 on: November 01, 2009, 08:06:49 PM
Somewhere else, I saw that the level of this piece was a level 10. Isn't that crazy?
Currently working on:
*Prelude, Op.23 N.4 (Rachmaninoff)
*Prelude & Fugue in F major, WTC II (Bach)
...not fully decided on what else to start (most likely will be a Liszt, Schubert, or Medtner)...

Offline slobone

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Re: Chopin Mazurka in F#-minor Op.6 No.1
Reply #8 on: November 01, 2009, 11:28:53 PM
I don't trust those level ratings, it seems like everything from Chopin mazurkas to Gaspard de la Nuit is level 10...

hawa1, spend some time working on the right hand by itself, until you can play it as a melody, instead of just a series of notes. Your ear will tell you when you're making progress. Some people find it helps them to sing the melody out loud, and then try to duplicate the same sound on the piano.

Also, remember the mazurka is a dance, with a strong accent on either beat 2 or beat 3 of the measure. Here I think it would be beat 2. The left hand should be oom-PAH-pah rather than OOM-pah-pah. (Subtly, a small accent rather than a great big one.) Knowing that will help you give the melody a more bouncy, dancelike rhythm...

Offline samjohnson

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Re: Chopin Mazurka in F#-minor Op.6 No.1
Reply #9 on: November 02, 2009, 04:09:36 PM
Six years later...
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