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Chopin Etude No. 4 -- Fingering Question (Read 4568 times)

Offline cubsfan334

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Chopin Etude No. 4 -- Fingering Question
« on: December 30, 2009, 04:43:34 AM »
Hi guys,

I'm currently learning the Etude No. 4 in C sharp, and in measures 27 - 28 there's a tricky part that involves playing 16th notes in fingers 2 3 4 and 5 of the right hand while holding quarter notes in the thumb.  I was wondering if it would be acceptable to play the thumb notes in the right hand with the left hand?  My hands are big enough to do it easily.

Sheet music is here: [link removed by moderator]

Thanks,
Tom

piano sheet music of Etude


Offline perfect_pitch

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Re: Chopin Etude No. 4 -- Fingering Question
«Reply #1 on: December 30, 2009, 03:39:02 PM »
As much as I hate to say it - I think the answer is no... from a examination point of view.

An examiner 'MAY' see this as cheating, and since in bars 25 and 26 you have to play the lower RH notes with the thumb anyway, you may as well continue on the pattern.

I do everything I can 'NOT' to cheat... only since I'm currently sitting a major piano exam and there will be 4 beady eyed examiners watching every note and every finger...

But in a performance where you are not being assessed, then it's OK, but it's not correct. You can cheat, but technically I think you'd be cheating yourself.

PLUS - You'd have to play the RH lower notes with the thumb in Bars 29 & 30 anyway, so why change your format for only 2 bars???

Offline pianisten1989

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Re: Chopin Etude No. 4 -- Fingering Question
«Reply #2 on: December 30, 2009, 07:35:55 PM »
Well, sure. But the then you wont learn anything, and then there's no point in calling it an etude.

Offline slobone

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Re: Chopin Etude No. 4 -- Fingering Question
«Reply #3 on: December 30, 2009, 09:44:43 PM »
It's an etude, so you should do it as written. The whole point is to learn how to handle that kind of fingering situation.

Offline john11inc

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Re: Chopin Etude No. 4 -- Fingering Question
«Reply #4 on: December 30, 2009, 11:28:51 PM »
Despite it being for an examination, they're not likely to notice.  And even if they do, they're not likely to care very much, if at all.

So, from that point of view I'd say yes, if you really think it's that much easier.  But when you consider the two position changes in fairly short order that would be required to perform that, I honestly don't think it's any easier.  And besides that, the passages aren't especially unpianistic.  I think the decreased difficulty would be extremely minimal, if not non-existent.  Like, what's the problem?  Is it just weakness in the R5?  What's the actual problem?
If this work is so threatening, it is not because it's simply strange, but competent, rigorously argued and carrying conviction.

-Jacques Derrida


http://www.youtube.com/user/john11inch

Offline cubsfan334

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Re: Chopin Etude No. 4 -- Fingering Question
«Reply #5 on: December 30, 2009, 11:48:54 PM »
Well first of all it's not for an examination right now, although it very well could be in the future because I want to continue taking piano in college.

Why would this be considered 'cheating?'  I've always thought then when playing the piano, the actual sound produced is what counts.  That's why different fingerings are acceptable.  So does the piece lose anything musically by doing this?  From what I can hear when playing it both ways, I don't think so.  But I'm obviously a student, so I'm asking you guys who have more experience than me :)

With regards to the position changes/having to play notes with the thumb in the next measures anyway, my problem lies in having to repeat the 2 3 4 5 pattern 8 times in a row.  Just 2 in a row is not bad.  So I really do think it's a lot easier to play the thumb note with the left hand and then do the chromatics with 1 2 3 and 4.

Offline jbmorel78

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Re: Chopin Etude No. 4 -- Fingering Question
«Reply #6 on: December 31, 2009, 05:28:37 AM »
Dear Cubsfan,

There is no question:  it is an ETUDE, and the section you speak of presents a special difficulty, and therefore it MUST BE STUDIED AS WRITTEN.

If you have not mastered it by performance time, redistribute into the hands as necessary.

Best wishes,
Jean-Baptiste Morel


Offline john11inc

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Re: Chopin Etude No. 4 -- Fingering Question
«Reply #7 on: December 31, 2009, 01:47:43 PM »
Seriously dude, don't listen to these people.

Do you think they'd defend some hyper-dry, MIDI-like performance because it's an etude, and it "MUST BE PERFORMED AS WRITTEN?"  Don't let their double-standard mess you up.
If this work is so threatening, it is not because it's simply strange, but competent, rigorously argued and carrying conviction.

-Jacques Derrida


http://www.youtube.com/user/john11inch

Offline jbmorel78

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Re: Chopin Etude No. 4 -- Fingering Question
«Reply #8 on: December 31, 2009, 03:46:05 PM »
Seriously dude, don't listen to these people.

Do you think they'd defend some hyper-dry, MIDI-like performance because it's an etude, and it "MUST BE PERFORMED AS WRITTEN?"  Don't let their double-standard mess you up.

Excuse me, but please mind your unscrupulous quoting...  You'll notice I used the word "studied," not "performed"; there is an enormous difference between the two.

Best wishes,
Jean-Baptiste Morel

Offline pianisten1989

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Re: Chopin Etude No. 4 -- Fingering Question
«Reply #9 on: December 31, 2009, 06:22:39 PM »
Seriously dude, don't listen to these people.

Do you think they'd defend some hyper-dry, MIDI-like performance because it's an etude, and it "MUST BE PERFORMED AS WRITTEN?"  Don't let their double-standard mess you up.
YEAH DON'T LISTEN TO THEM!!!!!!! No but seriously. It's like playing a scale, and don't play it even.
Some time in your life, if you keep playing, you will probably have to play 4th liken those. But if you only play it to make it sound cool and fast, then you shouldn't bother to play it even... and mybe skip some notes.

So: If you don't want to learn anything from the ETUDE, play it with your left hand.
But: If you want to develope as a pianist, you should play as written.

Offline john11inc

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Re: Chopin Etude No. 4 -- Fingering Question
«Reply #10 on: December 31, 2009, 06:24:58 PM »
Excuse me, but please mind your unscrupulous quoting...  You'll notice I used the word "studied," not "performed"; there is an enormous difference between the two.

So: If you don't want to learn anything from the ETUDE, play it with your left hand.
But: If you want to develop as a pianist, you should play as written.

These are correct.  For a performance, just do whatever you want.  But if you are approaching the piece as a "study", you have to do it as written.  If you're just learning it for the music itself, then like I said, just do whatever you want.
If this work is so threatening, it is not because it's simply strange, but competent, rigorously argued and carrying conviction.

-Jacques Derrida


http://www.youtube.com/user/john11inch

Offline quantum

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Re: Chopin Etude No. 4 -- Fingering Question
«Reply #11 on: January 02, 2010, 11:32:54 PM »
A score is descriptive, not prescriptive.  It's purpose is to give the performer information in order to interpret it, not tell the performer how to play. 

I would not consider it cheating if you could play it musically.  If you need to adapt a piece to suit your physique, then so be it.  When it comes to "etudes" too many people are so bent over the name "etude" and somehow think the pieces should be technically less forgiving.  If this piece was called "flowers on a purple lake" would you be taking such technicality so seriously?  Especially for Chopin, it is a piece of music first, a study second. Play the music not the technique. 

Changing hand distribution of notes is not a major insult to the piece if one can pull it off successfully. 
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 jbmorel78

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Re: Chopin Etude No. 4 -- Fingering Question
«Reply #12 on: January 02, 2010, 11:49:00 PM »
If this piece was called "flowers on a purple lake" would you be taking such technicality so seriously?

But the piece is not called "Flowers on a purple lake," it is called "Étude"...

How about a fingering change in 10/1 to avoid the leaps which create the need for rotation, such as "212 4212 4212 4212 4212 4212 4212 etc." for the first two measures (this can be done throughout the piece), or how about the opening of 25/6 in two hands, or the arpeggi of 10/12 in two hands...  Is the purpose of the étude still accomplished?

Yes, of course, Chopin's études are not humdrum like Czerny, and this is why they are a pleasure to study and to listen to; but the fact remains that they are pedagogical first, and so I would say that the score is "prescriptive" as much as "descriptive" in this genre.

Chopin wrote beautiful études because he could not write any other way.  He did not separate technique from music, but that is not to say that he did not have very clear intentions about technical means to the music when he notated his études.

I rest by my original statement, which is that they are to be studied as written, and performed as is possible at the time they are to be delivered, which may or may not include making redistributions between the hands.

Best wishes,
Jean-Baptiste Morel

Offline quantum

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Re: Chopin Etude No. 4 -- Fingering Question
«Reply #13 on: January 03, 2010, 12:21:05 AM »
The purpose of the piece is accomplished if the music is accomplished.  The purpose is to learn how to navigate such difficult techniques according one's own body.  The purpose is not to dictate that "this is the only way to accomplish this music"

I would like to know why you attach such particular pedagogical importance music labeled as etudes?  Does the title catapult the music into a different realm just because it is an etude?  How would you treat the Variations Op.2 or the Allegro de Concert Op.46?  They are not called etudes but contain etude like material that is as difficult or even more than can be found in Op 10 or 25. 
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 jbmorel78

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Re: Chopin Etude No. 4 -- Fingering Question
«Reply #14 on: January 03, 2010, 12:31:54 AM »
Does the title catapult the music into a different realm just because it is an etude? 

Here, yes.

JBM

Offline quantum

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Re: Chopin Etude No. 4 -- Fingering Question
«Reply #15 on: January 03, 2010, 12:35:42 AM »
But why?  What are the reasons behind your thinking?
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 jbmorel78

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Re: Chopin Etude No. 4 -- Fingering Question
«Reply #16 on: January 03, 2010, 12:44:53 AM »
But why?  What are the reasons behind your thinking?

Dear Quantum,

The Chopin études as a set address three basic sets of technical problems which he saw as fundamental in piano playing: conjunct notes, disjunct notes, and double notes.  For example, 10/2 would be an example of the first, 25/11 for the second, and 25/6 for the third.  These are the most complex examples of each of these problems.

Each Chopin étude is monotextural, with some notable exceptions such as 25/5 and 25/10, but in general they deal with one specific problem.  For this reason, it is not only the name that makes them études.

We can go through each of the 24 and know what exactly is being accomplished by each one, whereas this is not the case with the Allegro de Concert or Variations op. 2 because they are chiefly concert pieces.

There are many sections in the sonatas, ballades (especially codas), scherzi, and concerti that point to specific études, lending credence to the idea that they are not only ends in themselves, but also a means to a pianism required to render his larger conceptions.

I hope this helps you to better understand my convictions.

Best wishes,
Jean-Baptiste Morel

Offline quantum

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Re: Chopin Etude No. 4 -- Fingering Question
«Reply #17 on: January 03, 2010, 01:13:23 AM »
So you are claiming that due to the monotextural nature of the etudes, performers should execute technical elements with more exactitude to the text as opposed to a polytextural work.

Do you value a universal technical solution over an adaptive solution suited to the individual performer?
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 jbmorel78

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Re: Chopin Etude No. 4 -- Fingering Question
«Reply #18 on: January 03, 2010, 01:20:27 AM »
So you are claiming that due to the monotextural nature of the etudes, performers should execute technical elements with more exactitude to the text as opposed to a polytextural work.

No, the technical elements in all pieces should be executed at the highest standard, or we do not hear the piece; the fact that they are monotextural, among other things, is what makes it clear that he intended these to deal with specific problems.

Do you value a universal technical solution over an adaptive solution suited to the individual performer?

Both are necessary (of course technique is very personal, but there are basic problems that must be solved - it is a balance of facing the intended problem, while adjusting it to personal morphology), but it depends on what sort of adaptive solutions you mean... fingering, hand position, size of gesture, angle, redistribution... sitting position...


Offline gyzzzmo

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Re: Chopin Etude No. 4 -- Fingering Question
«Reply #19 on: January 03, 2010, 03:04:37 PM »
That part is not extremely difficult compared to the rest, and its part of the 'etude' itself. Therefor you should play it as noted. Remember that everything in an etude that you find very difficult means that its handling a technical weakness of yours and thus increases your technique more than the rest :)

Gyzzzmo
1+1=11

Offline pianisten1989

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Re: Chopin Etude No. 4 -- Fingering Question
«Reply #20 on: January 03, 2010, 03:29:50 PM »
If you wish to play the piano at a high level, you probably should think technique before music. Sorry to say that, but it will help you in the future.

Offline gyzzzmo

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Re: Chopin Etude No. 4 -- Fingering Question
«Reply #21 on: January 03, 2010, 04:15:25 PM »
If you wish to play the piano at a high level, you probably should think technique before music. Sorry to say that, but it will help you in the future.

An etude IS for increasing technique, also higher level etudes ;)
1+1=11

Offline pianisten1989

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Re: Chopin Etude No. 4 -- Fingering Question
«Reply #22 on: January 03, 2010, 05:16:46 PM »
An etude IS for increasing technique, also higher level etudes ;)
Yes ofc, but i meant: If you don't want to play on a high level, but only some pieces half good, one could make easier fingerings.

Offline nearenough

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Re: Chopin Etude No. 4 -- Fingering Question
«Reply #23 on: January 06, 2010, 08:26:05 PM »
Most music critics regards Chopin's Etudes as an extraordinary combination of exercises AND music. Pure music can be fingered any way you like; whatever is easier for you to bring out the sound the composer intended. On the other hand if you insist they are etudes, then the composer obviously structured them the way he intended them to be strictly fingered. So you have a philosophical choice here. My teacher taught me to play the bottom notes of the right hand at the bottom of page 2 with the left hand; much easier. I've seen player use the left hand to pick out a few notes on the very last measures of the right hand up and down filigree. Do both!