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Topic: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results  (Read 6356 times)

Offline cloches_de_geneve

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Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
on: April 16, 2006, 07:14:41 PM
As some of you may remember I have posted a number of polls lately in order to obtain a difficulty ranking of the Chopin etudes. The distinctive aim of the ranking procedure was that the ordering should not be based on individual opinions but on an average of the ratings of numerous individuals. In total I received slighly over 120 votes.

Clearly, no procedure is perfect. On one hand, it is impossible to verify how familiar participants actually were with playing the etudes. This clearly is a possible source of distortion. I believe, however, that most participants understood this problem and that they did not vote unless they had actual, practical knowledge of the etudes.

Another potential issue is that some etudes may have been “disadvantaged” by their relative unpopularity. Of course, etudes that are rarely played may come out underrated, because they receive few, if any votes (this may have happened with 25/4).

Finally, I should note that the rankings for etudes 1-7 were based on a progressive elimination procedure, while the rankings from 8-20 are based on the total number of votes that these etudes received in all of the polls. The main reason for this change is that, after 25/8, differences in difficulty rating became too subtle to lend themselves to an elimination approach.

This ranking has no particular pretensions. More than anything else it is an initial, exploratory attempt to establish a difficulty ranking of the Chopin etudes empirically. Thus, it should be seen as a point of departure for discussion, suggestions, and, of course, vigorous disapproval. Especially welcome are suggestions for changes in the ranking and for improvements in the general procedure (for details concerning the Polls, cf. Chopin Etudes Comparative Difficulty Polls I to IV and New C.E.C.D.P.).

1. 25/6
2. 25/11
3. 10/2
4. 10/1
5. 10/4
6. 25/12
7. 25/8
8. 25/10
9. 10/7
10. 10/8
11. 10/12
12. 10/10
13. 25/2
14. 25/1
15. 10/11
16. 10/5
17. 25/4
18. 25/9
19. 25/3
20. 25/5

*Slow Etudes (10/3, 10/6, 10/9, 25/7) were not included in the Polls.
"It's true that I've driven through a number of red lights on occasion, but on the other hand I've stopped at a lot of green ones but never gotten credit for it." -- Glenn Gould

Offline stevie

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #1 on: April 16, 2006, 07:55:30 PM
interesting, the most obvious disapprovial will be about the placing of 10/2 and 25/6

once the pianist knows about the wrist's role in 25/6 and masters it, it becomes a much easier etude

10/2 is all about raw dexterity, and i think its the most difficult generally, but if we are considering chopin's metronome marks, then 25/11 is the hardest(no recording actually reaches this tempo)

Offline elevateme

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #2 on: April 16, 2006, 10:47:01 PM
10/1 the hardest by FAR. its the only one i realy really have difficulty with
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Offline stevie

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #3 on: April 17, 2006, 03:19:22 AM
10/1 the hardest by FAR. its the only one i realy really have difficulty with

again, with employment of the correct use of the wrist, it becomes a much easier etude.....you cant really do this with 10/2

Offline kelly_kelly

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #4 on: April 17, 2006, 02:27:37 PM
How is 10-8 more difficult than 10-12?
It all happens on Discworld, where greed and ignorance influence human behavior... and perfectly ordinary people occasionally act like raving idiots.

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Offline Kassaa

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #5 on: April 17, 2006, 02:46:28 PM
How is 10-8 more difficult than 10-12?
It is, believe me. 10/12 is very comfortable for the hand, while the middle two pages of 10/8 are extremely awkward. And besides that, you can pedal the left hand in 10/12 away while in 10/8 every note played must be extremely clear and even.

Offline lisztisforkids

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #6 on: April 17, 2006, 05:04:44 PM
again, with employment of the correct use of the wrist, it becomes a much easier etude.....you cant really do this with 10/2

You and the 10/2  :)
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Offline stevie

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #7 on: April 19, 2006, 12:31:19 PM
i will echo a statement made by a moderately good amateur pianist i know - 'talking about the difficulty of pieces without specifying the required tempo and accuracy level is like talking about .....um......something silly, ya know'

eloquent, poetic, refined, and girthy.

but enough about me! as i stated, 25/11 has the hardest required tempo so its obviously the hardest, 25/6 strugglers are annoying little bichon frises

Offline gorbee natcase

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #8 on: April 19, 2006, 07:15:21 PM
10/4 and 10/1 Iwould have thought would be higher. and 10/2 lower

But if I could put them on the same row I would as they are all real emmotional challenges as you need to be thick skinned detemined and realistic in how much commitement is realy needed in learning them to any fair standard. Time and obsession come to mind as well as trying to stay possitive when learning them as they are an achievement in themselves once mastered but utterly boring to practice.

I listen to them all mastered (to a fair level 10/1 and 10/2, dredged through some of 10/4 and lost interest, I may return back to it at some time as I have left it on the cards but once again I have allowed myself to get stuck in the same trap of biting off more than I realy want to chew.(It just seems to get that way when I begin new repertoire. I end up adding this, moving on to that, trying to keep my present pieces at a good level while always trying to drive my rep forwards.

I would love to take on all the ettudes as an entire set but I would need so much time that I can't afford. :)

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Offline Waldszenen

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #9 on: April 20, 2006, 02:29:18 AM
I always found Op. 25 No. 3 the most difficult for me.


(it's subjective, people :))
Fortune favours the musical.

Offline stevie

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #10 on: April 20, 2006, 03:24:48 AM
these people that play 10/2 and claim its not one of the hardest, how fast do you play it??

Offline bearzinthehood

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #11 on: April 20, 2006, 05:34:36 AM
these people that play 10/2 and claim its not one of the hardest, how fast do you play it??

144 BPM I believe is what is called for in this piece, which is actually not as bad IMO as the insane 176 BPM for 10/1.

Offline stevie

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #12 on: April 20, 2006, 06:00:19 AM
144 BPM I believe is what is called for in this piece, which is actually not as bad IMO as the insane 176 BPM for 10/1.

not as GOOD, you mean?

Offline cloches_de_geneve

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #13 on: April 20, 2006, 10:28:56 AM
I always found Op. 25 No. 3 the most difficult for me.


(it's subjective, people :))

Interesting, can you tell us why you found it to be so difficult, and how these difficulties compare to the difficulties you encountered with other etudes?
"It's true that I've driven through a number of red lights on occasion, but on the other hand I've stopped at a lot of green ones but never gotten credit for it." -- Glenn Gould

Offline Waldszenen

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #14 on: April 21, 2006, 11:30:58 AM
It's hard to explain with words. I just found that learning and playing 25-3 is uncomfortable and strenuous; even other more challenging etudes (I admit it's nowhere near the most difficult of them) such as 25-6 or 10-1 I found to be more "comfortable" to play.
Fortune favours the musical.

Offline stevie

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #15 on: April 21, 2006, 11:44:15 AM
you evidently have a bit of a random tech, im gonna start a new topic

Offline gyzzzmo

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #16 on: April 22, 2006, 02:39:41 PM
Stevie, i know youre a post-aholic, but try to get i grip on yourself  ;)
We had enough difficulty polls about chopin etudes and this one is definitly sufficient.

Gyzzzmo
1+1=11

Offline stevie

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #17 on: April 22, 2006, 04:36:50 PM
no, clarity was needed on the difference between 25/6 and 10/2

Offline verywellmister

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #18 on: April 26, 2006, 08:19:36 PM
Why is Ocean (25/12) so high up on the list?  I thought it was one of the easier ones (i've sightread thru it).
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Offline orlandopiano

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #19 on: April 27, 2006, 01:48:45 AM
There's absolutely no way 25/11 is the 2nd most difficult etude to play. Maybe when you consider the ridiculous tempo marking it is, but 99% of the great pianists don't play it that fast anyways (when many of them probably could).

Offline houseofblackleaves

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #20 on: April 27, 2006, 09:23:22 PM
Haha


When you start complaing about how it's hard and you hate it because it's so difficult, you know at once... this is a very, very good thing.


It's an Etude.  It's supposed to challenge the pianist, and once you finally do master the peice, not only will you feel incredibly good about yourself, but you've also mastered the techniques that the etude was (or maybe wasn't?) intended for.

Therefore, the etude has succeded in making you a better pianist!

Offline houseofblackleaves

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #21 on: April 30, 2006, 03:45:15 PM
I've also realized that 10/10 is very low....  if the etudes WERE to be put on a scale of difficulty, that would be in the top five.

Offline musicsdarkangel

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #22 on: April 30, 2006, 06:25:29 PM
Stevie - I'm sorry, but you can't put down 25/6 like that.

I have done some (actually a descent amount) of the hardest etudes, and found 10/2 miles easier.


I plan on coming back (possibly this summer) and learning the whole thing (I learned like half-2/3rds of it a tempo).

I didn't find any trouble with fatigue or anything, and I doubt that if I played it through I would.

25/6 however, has been such a B*TCH.  Finally I'm getting the tempo up, but I still have some thirds that are disconnected and shouldn't be.

Now, IMO, there should be 2 categories for this ....  1.  Difficulty to learn a tempo and 2.  Difficulty to bring back

For me, Op 25 no 11, op 25 no 12, and op 25 no 6 have been the hardest to learn, however, op 25 no 11 is cake to bring back, and I have a feeling op 25 no 12 isn't.


It's possible that op 25 no 6 is easy to bring back, but man it sure is a pain to get comfortably learned.

I have always been a pianist, violinist, and play some guitar as well (I play some speedy shred on guitar) so that's possibly why my dexterity is one of my strengths.

Offline jas

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #23 on: April 30, 2006, 06:48:03 PM
I'm surprised 10/11 is so low down, actually. The other ones can be mastered with a good technique, but I've never understood how anyone can manage those massive spread chords...

I also think 25/6 is much harder than 10/2. Thirds at that speed are, IMO, really difficult.

Jas

Offline kony

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #24 on: May 13, 2006, 07:52:36 AM
can someone enlighten me as to why 25/5 is the easiest etude?

after all, it is called the "wrong notes etude" isn't it. and some chords requiring large hands. And although i've sight-read my way through it, i think it's definitely not the easiest etude of them all.

Offline m

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #25 on: May 13, 2006, 09:43:45 AM

I have done some (actually a descent amount) of the hardest etudes, and found 10/2 miles easier.


I plan on coming back (possibly this summer) and learning the whole thing (I learned like half-2/3rds of it a tempo).

Interesting. It really does not matter, but awhile back you claimed that you had mastered it for a concert performance:

https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,16607.0.html

I guess, you should watch yourself ;)...

Offline soliloquy

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #26 on: May 17, 2006, 09:45:56 PM
What is 25-2 even doing on this list, much less half way up?  That's rediculous.  Also, is this list playing or mastery?  Obviously 10-2 and 10-4 are harder to play, but 25-6 is harder to master.  Which is this list referring to?

Offline mike_lang

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #27 on: May 17, 2006, 10:43:04 PM
What is 25-2 even doing on this list, much less half way up?  That's rediculous.  Also, is this list playing or mastery?  Obviously 10-2 and 10-4 are harder to play, but 25-6 is harder to master.  Which is this list referring to?

I would think that this is addressing the difficulty of the technical obstacles contained in each etude, in terms of what presents the most difficulty on average.  For some, thirds are built in, for some octaves are built in, etc.  I find this very subjective (though not condemning the poll), perhaps ranked as some standardized tests are scored - in percentile compared with others, not in cold, hard right or wrong.

Offline alzado

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #28 on: May 24, 2006, 11:20:28 PM
I don't want to pick a fight with you.  Have fun, by all means.

But I believe this entire effort is misguided.  It is highly subjective, and it is really not worth doing. 

How much time is wasted on this forum, continually trotting out collections of pieces and asking contributors to "rank them by difficulty." 

How really silly.  And how very un-musical.  Can't your time be better spent trying to play some of the material?

There is no way to do this accurately anyway.   A technique in a particular etude that is very hard for "Pianist A" may be a piece of cake for "Pianist B."  So then, is it easy or is it hard?  Well, for "A" or for "B" as individuals the question might make sense.   But on a broad scale, no.

Offline chocolatedog

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #29 on: May 27, 2006, 12:10:30 PM
But different people find different etudes easier or harder because of their individual differences in hand size/finger length/ dexterity etc. I find 10/1 difficult (I can't say the hardest as I haven't played all of the etudes) mainly because I have small hands so although I can use a lot of lateral movement, some of it still is really awkward........

Offline stevehopwood

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #30 on: May 27, 2006, 01:02:50 PM
But different people find different etudes easier or harder because of their individual differences in hand size/finger length/ dexterity etc. I find 10/1 difficult (I can't say the hardest as I haven't played all of the etudes) mainly because I have small hands so although I can use a lot of lateral movement, some of it still is really awkward........

I never even came close to mastering that one - a real horror.

John Gough, tutor at RNCM and BBC radio 3 performer said he had it mastered once. The he left it for a couple of weeks and found it had escaped again. He gave up on it after that :D

Steve  :)
Piano teacher, accompanist and soloist for over 30 years - all of them fantastic.
www.hopwood3.freeserve.co.uk

Offline mikey6

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #31 on: May 28, 2006, 01:51:24 AM
according to my teacher who has played all of them - 25/6 is the hardest (which i'm mucking around with now - and recently discovered the LH is harder than the RH - more fun!!!) and 25/2 or the black note is the easiest.
on 25/6, i realised that this could actually help with 10/2, practasing each 3rd's voice seperately, you use the same technique/fingering as 10/2.
Never look at the trombones. You'll only encourage them.
Richard Strauss

Offline mikey6

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Re: Chopin Etudes Difficulty Polls: The Results
Reply #32 on: May 28, 2006, 01:52:32 AM
forgot to add, but of course difficulty is dependant upon the individual, and therefore there will never be a definitive answer.
Never look at the trombones. You'll only encourage them.
Richard Strauss
 

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