\"\"
Piano Forum logo

How to practice the Chopin Etudes (Read 19513 times)

Offline jinfiesto

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 273
How to practice the Chopin Etudes
« on: September 17, 2007, 05:09:13 AM »
We should start a collection of tips on how to practice the chopin etudes. Maybe post some vids too. Who's in?

Sheet music to download and print: Etudes by Chopin



Offline amelialw

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1106
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #1 on: September 17, 2007, 05:45:53 AM »
that's a good idea.

let's start one.

I don't have any videos of me playing chopin etudes yet though...will post one or 2 after i'm done with those in about 1 month's time.
J.S Bach Italian Concerto,Beethoven Sonata op.2 no.2,Mozart Sonatas K.330&333,Chopin Scherzo no.2,Etude op.10 no.12&Fantasie Impromptu

Offline jabbz

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 272
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #2 on: September 17, 2007, 06:35:45 AM »
Really you need to look at what Chopin was getting at in the study you are working on.

For example, the point of the first study (op.10 No.1) Is not really a study in extension, though it works as that too, but mostly a study in how to 'snap' your hand closed, to release tension. Try and find the techniques Chopin was working on, and devise small exercises to help with them. 

Offline counterpoint

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2001
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #3 on: September 17, 2007, 08:01:36 AM »
Just play them as music and forget the title "Etudes"  8)
If it doesn't work - try something different!

Offline invictious

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1033
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #4 on: September 17, 2007, 10:03:57 AM »
Slowly.
Correctly.
Chopin-esque.

Pretend they are pieces of music yea? Don't think of them as etudes, or you will never improve
Bach - Partita No.2
Scriabin - Etude 8/12
Debussy - L'isle Joyeuse
Liszt - Un Sospiro

Goal:
Prokofiev - Toccata

>LISTEN<

Offline franzliszt2

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1003
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #5 on: September 17, 2007, 11:27:42 AM »
Slowly and perfectly. Mega relaxed, with the correct technique all the time. The speed will be easy if you have the perfect technique.

Offline leonidas

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 381
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #6 on: September 17, 2007, 05:19:32 PM »
There is no one way, and 'slowly* is CERTAINLY not the most important way.

Slow practice does very little for practical technique, it is only useful for surety of memory.

Mega relaxed

I can only assume this will result in the utmost flaccidity of execution.

Slowly.
Correctly.
Chopin-esque.

Oxymoronic.
Ist thou hairy?  Nevermore - quoth the shaven-haven.

Offline pianogeek_cz

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 448
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #7 on: September 17, 2007, 08:06:22 PM »
I think the keyword here is PATIENCE.
Chopin etudes are demanding stuff. Demanding stuff takes, believe it or not, time. Don't rush the learning process, let each stage sink in.
From my (albeit limited) chopet experience, slow practice - or, more precisely, slow-motion practice - is indeed a key component. Every single note counts, and there's certainly a damn lot of them in chopets. And they occur in weird places. Patience. And thoroughness, every little detail thought out, every single motion made knowingly and economically, no extra motions, etc., etc., just about like every other hard piece.
My two cents.
Be'ein Tachbulot Yipol Am Veteshua Berov Yoetz (Without cunning a nation shall fall, [But] Salvation Come By Many Good Counsels)

Offline invictious

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1033
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #8 on: September 17, 2007, 10:34:07 PM »
There is no one way, and 'slowly* is CERTAINLY not the most important way.

Slow practice does very little for practical technique, it is only useful for surety of memory.

I can only assume this will result in the utmost flaccidity of execution.

Oxymoronic.

You mean moronic. :P

When we mean slowly, we mean start off slowly, so we can ensure are actually doing it right in the first place. I know people who start off learning Revolutionary at insane speeds, only to never get past to the development.
Bach - Partita No.2
Scriabin - Etude 8/12
Debussy - L'isle Joyeuse
Liszt - Un Sospiro

Goal:
Prokofiev - Toccata

>LISTEN<

Offline mattgreenecomposer

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 267
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #9 on: September 17, 2007, 10:39:45 PM »
Someone's probably asked this already but I'll ask it anyways:

Does anyone have a "generic" list of Chopin's etudes from easiest to hardest?  I say generic as obvoiusly it depends on the player....
thanks
Download free sheet music at mattgreenecomposer.com

Offline leonidas

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 381
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #10 on: September 17, 2007, 11:00:24 PM »
When we mean slowly, we mean start off slowly, so we can ensure are actually doing it right in the first place. I know people who start off learning Revolutionary at insane speeds, only to never get past to the development.

Of course, but that's a different stage, when we talk about practicing a piece, we assume that they actually know the piece already, and are wanting to know how to play it better.

Playing it slowly doesn't really do this, unless the pianist in question doesn't have a decent fundamental technique already.

There really is no secret to technique...the main reason a flawed technique comes about is by attempting to strive beyond the actual limitations of your present mechanique by playing in an unnatural way.
Ist thou hairy?  Nevermore - quoth the shaven-haven.

Offline m

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1107
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #11 on: September 18, 2007, 12:00:46 AM »
Of course, but that's a different stage, when we talk about practicing a piece, we assume that they actually know the piece already, and are wanting to know how to play it better.

Playing it slowly doesn't really do this, unless the pianist in question doesn't have a decent fundamental technique already.

There really is no secret to technique...the main reason a flawed technique comes about is by attempting to strive beyond the actual limitations of your present mechanique by playing in an unnatural way.

Sounds like a complete mess, written by somebody who has no idea what even basic technique is.

Educate yourself before posting.

Offline mike_lang

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1496
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #12 on: September 18, 2007, 12:28:47 AM »
See Alfred Cortot's edition for many useful exercises isolating various techniques involved in the individual Chopin études.  It is published by Salabert and distributed by Hal Leonard.

Best,
ML

Offline leonidas

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 381
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #13 on: September 18, 2007, 12:29:57 AM »
Sounds like a complete mess, written by somebody who has no idea what even basic technique is.

Educate yourself before posting.


Can you refrain from idiotic personal rants stemming from jealousy?

I'd prefer if you actually provided a counter to my statement, I'm not a teacher but this is what my own intuition tells me.

It would be very problematic if only one viewpoint was proposed for all to consider, so even if you disagree, let people use their own minds , make their own choices, and find their own way.
Ist thou hairy?  Nevermore - quoth the shaven-haven.

Offline m

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1107
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #14 on: September 18, 2007, 12:54:32 AM »
Can you refrain from idiotic personal rants stemming from jealousy?

I'd prefer if you actually provided a counter to my statement, I'm not a teacher but this is what my own intuition tells me.


Jealousy??!! You must be joking :o. Post your recording and then let's talk about jealousy.

As far as your intuition concerned, it tells you wrong.
That's why I suggested you to educate yourself and then rely on knowledge rather than intuition.

Re: technique.
I would say mechanics is only 5-10% of technique. All the rest is a very fine mental and physical relationship between relaxation, ability to concentrate energy in the finger tip and immediately dissipate it, tone production, and control.
Technique is a connection between your body and mind, and bottom of the keys.

And everyone will make up their own mind whether they will be able to sense and achieve all those subtleties practicing fast or slow.

All I can say, Richter, Gilels, Rachmaninov, and countless other greatest and not so pianists were practicing slowly.
And what was good for Rachmaninov is good enough for me.

Best regards, M


Offline mike_lang

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1496
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #15 on: September 18, 2007, 01:01:30 AM »
There are many schools of thought on technique - even world class pianists cannot agree on the best way to practice.  Let's be tolerant of one another's views on this [quite beneficially] controversial subject.

I've had teachers that advocated slow practice; others rejected it as worthless.

I've had teachers that advocated scales, arpeggi, double thirds, etc.; others said repertoire only.

I've had teachers that advocated rhythms and others exercises on the text; others said to just practice the score as is.

All of these teachers have had a great deal of success both themselves and through their students; I think that there is more than one way to skin a cat here.

Best,
ML

Offline mike_lang

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1496
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #16 on: September 18, 2007, 01:05:44 AM »
I would say mechanics is only 5-10% of technique. All the rest is a very fine mental and physical relationship between relaxation, ability to concentrate energy in the finger tip and immediately dissipate it, tone production, and control.

Dear Marik,

Just for the sake of semantics, and all of us being on the same page (or at least you and I), what do you mean by mechanics?  Finger speed and agility, or something else?  I would certainly agree that even non-pianists can have a great deal of the former without having the mental (developed) ability to coordinate with the keyboard; and therefore, that indeed much of technique is mental.  As a former teacher of mine said, "your brain is smart, but your muscles are stupid."

Best,
ML

Offline leonidas

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 381
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #17 on: September 18, 2007, 01:07:18 AM »
Re: technique.
I would say mechanics is only 5-10% of technique. All the rest is a very fine mental and physical relationship between relaxation, ability to concentrate energy in the finger tip and immediately dissipate it, tone production, and control.
Technique is a connection between your body and mind, and bottom of the keys.

Mechanique is 0% of technique.

Mechanique is what you have, technique is how you use it.

The fundamenal of my approach is to concentrate more on the aquisition of more pianistic 'girth', and not to waste too much time in attempting to refine the inconsequential.
Ist thou hairy?  Nevermore - quoth the shaven-haven.

Offline leonidas

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 381
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #18 on: September 18, 2007, 01:11:50 AM »
I would certainly agree that even non-pianists can have a great deal of the former without having the mental (developed) ability to coordinate with the keyboard;

This is one of the most interesting illusions.

Consider the initial co-ordination of a scale.

WHen I first played a scale, it was slow and uneven.

Now I play quickly and evenly, though my mental approach hasn't changed, the ability of my fingers have.

Ist thou hairy?  Nevermore - quoth the shaven-haven.

Offline mike_lang

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1496
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #19 on: September 18, 2007, 01:15:00 AM »
Mechanique is 0% of technique.

I would say, rather, that Technique encompasses a mental element which occupies 90%, while there is additionally a physical element, "mechanique," which occupies perhaps 10%.  Both are necessary for technique, which in my humble opinion, is defined as "the means by which potential music is realized by the performer in time."  With this definition in tow, certainly a great deal is done by the mind, but there are certain mechanical elements that are necessary such as finger strength, i.e., strength of the muscles which support the arch of the hand ( In some players, these are weak and they are forced to rely more on "arm weight" to activate the playing mechanism, rather than to sustain it), or simply finger speed.  Admittedly, these are basic elements, but are constituent parts of the overall technique nevertheless.

The fundamenal of my approach is ... not to waste too much time in attempting to refine the inconsequential.

At last, a point upon which we can all agree!

Best,
ML

Offline mike_lang

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1496
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #20 on: September 18, 2007, 01:17:38 AM »
This is one of the most interesting illusions.

Consider the initial co-ordination of a scale.

WHen I first played a scale, it was slow and uneven.

Now I play quickly and evenly, though my mental approach hasn't changed, the ability of my fingers have.

I agree, dear Leonidas - what I meant by my post was that a non-pianist can have raw agility/speed and raw finger (hand) strength (nevertheless, a fundamental aspect of technique).  Coordination, on the other hand, is a mental ability (and obedience of the muscles to the mind) that is developed from hours of hard practice by the pianist.

Best,
ML

Offline leonidas

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 381
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #21 on: September 18, 2007, 01:21:53 AM »
I agree, dear Leonidas - what I meant by my post was that a non-pianist can have raw agility/speed and raw finger (hand) strength (nevertheless, a fundamental aspect of technique).  Coordination, on the other hand, is a mental ability (and obedience of the muscles to the mind) that is developed from hours of hard practice by the pianist.

Best,
ML

Oh yes I agree, but finger speed cannot exist in non pianists without some form of prior use which demanded finger speed - typing, video games, other instruments, etc.

Just like many a baby, they may easily co-ordinate standing if it weren't for the basic lack of prior intense use of their legs.
Ist thou hairy?  Nevermore - quoth the shaven-haven.

Offline dmc

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 113
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #22 on: September 18, 2007, 05:28:14 AM »
As for the original topic of how to practice Chopin Etudes, I appreciate starting this.  My sight reading isn't quite where I think it needs to be yet to take on these pieces but I'm hoping to work up to them.

Does anyone know of a resource that discusses what the focus of each of these etudes is ? For example Op 25 No 6 is a study in 3rds, others maybe octaves or arpeggios etc.  I'd be grateful for any info you could provide.

Thanks !

Offline m

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1107
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #23 on: September 18, 2007, 05:34:54 AM »
Dear Marik,

Just for the sake of semantics, and all of us being on the same page (or at least you and I), what do you mean by mechanics?  Finger speed and agility, or something else?  I would certainly agree that even non-pianists can have a great deal of the former without having the mental (developed) ability to coordinate with the keyboard; and therefore, that indeed much of technique is mental.  As a former teacher of mine said, "your brain is smart, but your muscles are stupid."

I don't believe fingers have "speed or agility", as that's the function of brain and I absolutely agree with your former teacher about "your brain is smart, but your muscles are stupid."

By mechanics I mean some innate conditions of hands which could include limiting factors, as well as the fact that we actually use our hands to push the keys  ;).

there are certain mechanical elements that are necessary such as finger strength, i.e., strength of the muscles which support the arch of the hand ( In some players, these are weak and they are forced to rely more on "arm weight" to activate the playing mechanism, rather than to sustain it), or simply finger speed.  Admittedly, these are basic elements, but are constituent parts of the overall technique nevertheless.

Here I disagree. Finger strength is a myth. There are some 6 year old kids who have bigger sound than some adults. It is all not in the strength, but concentration of energy, its release, and immediate relaxation.
The "arm weight" is an important part of tone production. I am not sure what do you mean by "activate the playing mechanism, rather than to sustain it"?

The fundamenal of my approach is to concentrate more on the aquisition of more pianistic 'girth', and not to waste too much time in attempting to refine the inconsequential.

I think I've already told you once--I knew quite a few people (some were REALLY VERY TALENTED), who went that way. None of them became more or less OK pianists. The most interesting thing, in fact, with years their technique has considerably deteriorated.
This is a DEAD END.

You can whether trust me or do whatever you want. Either way, I don't care.

Offline m

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1107
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #24 on: September 18, 2007, 05:42:14 AM »
Does anyone know of a resource that discusses what the focus of each of these etudes is ? For example Op 25 No 6 is a study in 3rds, others maybe octaves or arpeggios etc.  I'd be grateful for any info you could provide.

There were quite a few threads about many of etudes. Make a search and you will find welth of information, including Op.10 No.1,2,4, etc. as well as Op.25 no.6.

As far as the focus of each etude, there is no better resource as to open the music and look yourself  ;).

Also, somebody earlier suggested to look for Cortot's edition. With all my love and admiration to Cortot's artistry, I don't find his suggestions helpful. In many cases I believe they in fact can make more harm than good.

Offline counterpoint

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2001
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #25 on: September 18, 2007, 11:00:10 AM »
With all my love and admiration to Cortot's artistry, I don't find his suggestions helpful. In many cases I believe they in fact can make more harm than good.

Seconded!
If it doesn't work - try something different!

Offline pianovirus

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 212
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #26 on: September 18, 2007, 11:57:42 AM »
Seconded!

Me too. I bough the Cortot edition of op. 10 a while ago and while I don't think they would do harm, I believe the time spent on the Cortot exercises is better spent on the etudes themselves.

I recently had a revealing experience in the case of op. 10/1: I had been practicing it for quite some time without a teacher, and focused almost completely on the wrist motion (it looks a bit wave-like if done correctly, I think), and were actually thinking that the fingers should feel more or less passive, and the wrist be perceived at the main driver of tone production. Then when I started recently with a teacher she told me that the wrists are very good, but I should not neglect exact, _active_ finger articulation. In other words, as I now understand it, the arm transports the fingers to the keys horizontally, the wrist might adjust the position vertically and also a bit horizontally, but ultimately it is a finger that actively moves for producing a tone -- otherwise there will be no fine control and everything will sound blurry, uneven, and uncontrolled. After a couple of days of exercise in this direction (btw, I often practice slow-motion and legato without pedal), I feel I'm gaining substantial clarity in tone production and also a better feeling (at least I think so) for the coordination between arms, wrist, and fingers. Not sure if others had similar experiences or if this makes sense at all to other folks....  :)

Offline franzliszt2

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1003
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #27 on: September 18, 2007, 01:21:48 PM »
Of course, but that's a different stage, when we talk about practicing a piece, we assume that they actually know the piece already, and are wanting to know how to play it better.

Playing it slowly doesn't really do this, unless the pianist in question doesn't have a decent fundamental technique already.

There really is no secret to technique...the main reason a flawed technique comes about is by attempting to strive beyond the actual limitations of your present mechanique by playing in an unnatural way.

Seriously you've played no chopin etudes. How can you even comment? I agree with Marik on everything he has said in this thread.

Offline leonidas

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 381
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #28 on: September 18, 2007, 02:46:57 PM »
I have, and I also wish you would rot away as a frozen martian corpse.
Ist thou hairy?  Nevermore - quoth the shaven-haven.

Offline iumonito

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1404
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #29 on: September 18, 2007, 02:52:42 PM »
Seriously you've played no chopin etudes. How can you even comment? I agree with Marik on everything he has said in this thread.

Ditto.  Leo, go practice.
Money does not make happiness, but it can buy you a piano.  :)

Offline invictious

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1033
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #30 on: September 18, 2007, 10:36:53 PM »
Instead of arguing over such things here, why not go each to his own and  use the time here to learn a few Chopin Etudes?

.....

I began on Revolutionary while learning my Repertoire for DipARBSM.
Bach - Partita No.2
Scriabin - Etude 8/12
Debussy - L'isle Joyeuse
Liszt - Un Sospiro

Goal:
Prokofiev - Toccata

>LISTEN<

Offline jinfiesto

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 273
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #31 on: September 19, 2007, 04:55:49 AM »
Wow... This thread got way off topic.... On the note of the cortot editions, many of the exercises are useful, but then again, many are not. Personally, I suggest creating your own exercises. I've found, through practicing a number of the etudes, that using grouping to create exercises is really useful. Take the ocean for example. I practice everything through the 51 switch, and then I stop and repeat. And I do this in every octave across the whole piece. It's resulted in an accurate and reasonably fast ocean in a relatively short amount of time. Grouping practice like this can be applied to almost all the etudes. As for a list of specific difficulties.

10:1
Interlocked arpeggios
Arpeggios in a wide hand position
Melody in bass

10:2
Chromatic scales with 345 while playing melody with 123

10:3
Bel Canto
Separation of voices
Division of Hand
Barcarolle bass is difficult to make barcarolle-ish

10:4
Fast passage work (Obviously)
Switching between a large and small hand position rapidly
Passage work that you can't watch because you're jumping in another hand

10:5
Arpeggios on black keys
Leggiero touch

10:6
I haven't looked at it

10:7
Same as 6

10:8
Arpeggios in right hand are difficult to play connected and smoothly (tone wise)
Melody in left hand
Can't watch right hand all the time

10:9
Really big stretches in the left hand
Wrist technique in the left hand
Portato touch in the right hand
Operatic type singing

10:10
Don't know... Haven't played it

10:11
again I don't know

10:12
Relatively easy
Fast left hand passage work obviously
You have to be able to play the left hand without paying attention
This is a piece of music contrary to popular belief
don't play it like a scale
Polyrythms are a little annoying

25:1
Insubstantial Inner voices
Bel Canto... Again

25:2
Those aren't polyrythms... don't make the mistake
fairly easy

25:3
Don't know

25:4
Lots of jumps
Sustaining a melody with staccato insides
requires good division of the hand

25:5
Uh... Lyrical section
Bel Canto
I haven't really spent much time with this one

25:6
Thirds... Obviously
It's a pain in the butt
It gives me nightmares
Try all the cortot fingerings
This etude
requires a personalized approach
The thirds need to be insubstantial

25:7
don't know
haven't done it

25:8
Sixths obviously
it feels like scooting across the key tops
I don't know what else to say

25:9
Don't know

25:10
This one is octaves
It's awful
and has little musical value in my opinion
and it's tiring
but yeah
kind of obvious

25:11
Chromaticism
Coloring the scales
Mystery
fury
is difficult to make the character changes

25:12
This one
is seriously
a
pain
in the
butt
the notes are easy
Arpeggios are obviously the difficulty
the transfer from 1 to 5 and vice versa
is difficult
this etude is also extremely difficult to play accurately


Ok... There's my catalogue of chopin etudes and their respective difficulties... There are some I'm missing. Feel free to post the rest. I'll post some solutions to the problems when I get around to it.

Offline jinfiesto

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 273
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #32 on: September 22, 2007, 12:00:33 AM »
What! I made that beautiful catalogue! And no one replies!

Offline pianowolfi

  • PS Gold Member
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5658
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #33 on: September 22, 2007, 09:43:36 AM »
What! I made that beautiful catalogue! And no one replies!

I appreciate what you did :)

Offline cloches_de_geneve

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 439
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #34 on: October 13, 2007, 06:06:09 PM »
Me too. I bough the Cortot edition of op. 10 a while ago and while I don't think they would do harm, I believe the time spent on the Cortot exercises is better spent on the etudes themselves.

Cortot was an amazing guy. In addition to his political career he found time for concerts and much editorial work such as exemplified in his chopets edition. But I also find that his excercises are of limited use. I am currently learning Benediction de Dieu dans la Solitude by Liszt and thought Cortot's edition could provide some help. What a disappointment. Liszt's own fingerings fit the hand so much more naturally than Cortot's! The latter tends to prescribe cumbersome fingerings I find. Maybe this is why his technique was very unreliable, though refined.
"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 counterpoint

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2001
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #35 on: October 13, 2007, 06:37:42 PM »
Cortot was an amazing guy. In addition to his political career he found time for concerts and much editorial work such as exemplified in his chopets edition.

Cortot - political career? You don't confuse him with Paderewski...?  ::)
If it doesn't work - try something different!

Offline cloches_de_geneve

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 439
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #36 on: October 13, 2007, 07:24:26 PM »
Cortot - political career? You don't confuse him with Paderewski...?  ::)

No, he was minister of culture during the second world war and held political charges already during the fisrt world war. It is not talked about a whole lot because he was a member of the Hitler friendly Vichy regime. In addition, he was an active conductor, editor-in-chief of a leading professional jornal "Le monde musical" and founder and director of of various societies and associations. And he taught tirelessly as a professor at the Conservatoire in Paris. In short: A very busy man.

"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 dnephi

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1859
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #37 on: October 13, 2007, 08:20:08 PM »
That's a fairly superficial guide, no offense. 
For us musicians, the music of Beethoven is the pillar of fire and cloud of mist which guided the Israelites through the desert.  (Roughly quoted, Franz Liszt.)

Offline counterpoint

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2001
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #38 on: October 13, 2007, 08:32:23 PM »
No, he was minister of culture during the second world war and held political charges already during the fisrt world war. It is not talked about a whole lot because he was a member of the Hitler friendly Vichy regime.

Hmm, I didn't know that. Sounds very strange, but wikipedia says the same thing.
If it doesn't work - try something different!

Offline n_n

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 49
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #39 on: October 14, 2007, 03:45:09 AM »
Me too. I bough the Cortot edition of op. 10 a while ago and while I don't think they would do harm, I believe the time spent on the Cortot exercises is better spent on the etudes themselves.

I recently had a revealing experience in the case of op. 10/1: I had been practicing it for quite some time without a teacher, and focused almost completely on the wrist motion (it looks a bit wave-like if done correctly, I think), and were actually thinking that the fingers should feel more or less passive, and the wrist be perceived at the main driver of tone production. Then when I started recently with a teacher she told me that the wrists are very good, but I should not neglect exact, _active_ finger articulation. In other words, as I now understand it, the arm transports the fingers to the keys horizontally, the wrist might adjust the position vertically and also a bit horizontally, but ultimately it is a finger that actively moves for producing a tone -- otherwise there will be no fine control and everything will sound blurry, uneven, and uncontrolled. After a couple of days of exercise in this direction (btw, I often practice slow-motion and legato without pedal), I feel I'm gaining substantial clarity in tone production and also a better feeling (at least I think so) for the coordination between arms, wrist, and fingers. Not sure if others had similar experiences or if this makes sense at all to other folks....  :)


I totally agree with you. I first practiced this piece w/o a teacher too and I thought that it was more about the flexible wrist too,and i just let my fingers "follow the flow". Yet when I played for a teacher, he also commented that my wrists were flexible but fingers weren't doing the work! (handshake) He then started correcting my finger touch which didn't produce the desired tone along with other things... when I tried to change my way of playing, the piece seemed new to me, I almost couldn't play it at all. Now it's getting back together, and much much better!!!

Offline n_n

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 49
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #40 on: October 14, 2007, 03:46:35 AM »
Btw, is there a book that just talks about the Chopin Etudes? It'd be such a best seller if someone could interview great pianists on each etude and put those together...

Offline cmg

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1042
Current repertoire:  "Come to Jesus" (in whole-notes)

Offline counterpoint

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2001
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #42 on: October 14, 2007, 11:56:53 AM »
she told me that the wrists are very good, but I should not neglect exact, _active_ finger articulation. In other words, as I now understand it, the arm transports the fingers to the keys horizontally, the wrist might adjust the position vertically and also a bit horizontally, but ultimately it is a finger that actively moves for producing a tone

Please don't simplify the process of playing so much.

Space has 3 dimensions and all movable parts of the hand and the arm must be integrated to get the desired sound coming out of the piano. If the arm is moving, the movement of fingers has to be different as when the arm is at a defined position. Every movement of every part of the playing mechanism influences all other parts. It doesn't make much sense to me, to practise (or change) the movement of one part of the playing mechanism separately from the other parts. They all work together, they work only together.
If it doesn't work - try something different!

Offline zheer

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2780
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #43 on: October 14, 2007, 12:28:33 PM »
We should start a collection of tips on how to practice the chopin etudes. Maybe post some vids too. Who's in?

  Well am convinved that playing these Etudes by Chopin has very little to do with hands, arms ,fingers, bum,nose and legs, but everything to do with the individulas mental ability. It is a little like maths, some people can gain a degree in maths and others can'nt  add 1 +1 together. Basically we all have a limit, so provided that he she has learnt the basics of good piano technik, the rest is all down to talent.For me and many others it is a reall stuggle learning a single etude by Chopin, nothing to do with the physical process,it is the mental process :'( :'( :'( :'(. (brain not big enough)
" Nothing ends nicely, that's why it ends" - Tom Cruise -

Offline counterpoint

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2001
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #44 on: October 14, 2007, 04:33:59 PM »
  For me and many others it is a reall stuggle learning a single etude by Chopin, nothing to do with the physical process,it is the mental process :'( :'( :'( :'(. (brain not big enough)

Of course it's a matter of brain to a great part. But you don't need an extreme big brain  :D
A normal sized brain is big enough.

Why do people think, that Chopin Etudes are so extreme difficult? Because they think, an extreme tempo is needed to play them. But everyone would be able to play these Etudes in a very slow tempo. And then the tempo can be accelerated step by step. Just a matter of training.

If it doesn't work - try something different!

Offline outphase

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 1
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #45 on: October 21, 2007, 03:42:17 AM »
Btw, is there a book that just talks about the Chopin Etudes? It'd be such a best seller if someone could interview great pianists on each etude and put those together...

Not to my knowledge, but James Huneker's book "Chopin: the man and his music" has a lovely chapter devoted to the etudes.

Offline lau

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1080
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #46 on: October 21, 2007, 06:33:11 PM »


Why do people think, that Chopin Etudes are so extreme difficult? Because they think, an extreme tempo is needed to play them. But everyone would be able to play these Etudes in a very slow tempo. And then the tempo can be accelerated step by step. Just a matter of training.



I think that's the same thing as saying "why do people think peices are so difficult?"

because for any peice one can be able to play it at a very slow tempo, and accelerate step by step. it's just a matter of training.
i'm not asian

Offline counterpoint

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2001
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #47 on: October 21, 2007, 07:18:23 PM »
I think that's the same thing as saying "why do people think peices are so difficult?"

Yes, that's right. But it is a rare case that someone says: "why can't I play soft pieces" or "why can't I play slow pieces". Many people think, fast tempo is the most important thing in piano playing.
If it doesn't work - try something different!

Offline gyzzzmo

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2210
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #48 on: October 29, 2007, 10:46:58 AM »
You basicly study them all the same way: Very carefully and with ALOT of patience...
1+1=11

Offline jinfiesto

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 273
Re: How to practice the Chopin Etudes
«Reply #49 on: March 16, 2008, 08:03:27 AM »
There is a book on the etudes. It's by abby whiteside.