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On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4 (Read 6175 times)

Offline iratior

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On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
« on: April 28, 2011, 09:27:23 PM »
Some Chopin etudes seem difficult in particular measures (e.g., opus 10 no. 3), but not taxing to endurance on the whole.  Others tax endurance (e.g., Opus 10, no. 7), even though no particular measure seems difficult.  Then there's Opus 25 no. 4, which seems difficult in both respects.  I know I haven't yet checked all 87 pages of this forum to see if it's been discussed before, but would welcome people's thoughts on what is a good way to approach learning this etude.  Are people who aren't double-jointed at an advantage when it comes to playing this?  Should the lower notes of the left hand part always be played with the 5th finger, and if so, why?  Should the upper chords of the left hand part always be played with the thumb included?  Is there some special wrist or arm movement that is the solution?  It's rather a shame there aren't more postings in this forum, but the comments people have made may be getting more attention than they realize.

piano sheet music of Etude


Offline nearenough

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #1 on: April 30, 2011, 01:23:56 AM »
I feel for your plight with this etude. I am 73 and a somewhat good amateur (but not that "musical" in that I cannot sight read or memorize well). I first tried this piece in my teens and now and then played it with tiredness, some cramps and suffering pains in my left hand. As time went on it became not so much painful as I could get through it OK, but the problem of accuracy in hitting the notes was the real problem, not the stamina. IOW I could play it without fatigue or pain (still now!) but the precision is not all there. Also some R hand holding of the melody notes is essential (follow the score carefully).
In the Revolutionary, as commented before, there is no fatigue -- it's actually fun to play. But op 10#2 has always been a problem. Op 25 #6 causes no pain, but the downward runs at the top of page 2 are hard to get as well. I start with 2-4 and 2-4.

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #2 on: April 30, 2011, 04:16:12 PM »
Should the lower notes of the left hand part always be played with the 5th finger, and if so, why?  Should the upper chords of the left hand part always be played with the thumb included?  Is there some special wrist or arm movement that is the solution? 

Why wouldn't you use the thumb or fifth? It would need a very good reason to have to jump further and I can't immediately think of any benefit that would justify it. Also, the thumb is great for this type of thing. I recently learned a style of movement where the thumb straightens to play the note, whereas the finger pull backwards from the knuckle. Because they are going in opposite direction, this enables a particularly vigorous pull without any moment of fixation or any sudden stop. Tension and release never even begins to come into it- as it's just a single continuous action that bounces you away automatically. There's no point of jamming against anything (provided that the arm is in a free state and not stiffened behind). The worst thing to do in this study would be to depend excessively on arm momentum- which requires fixation to transfer the energy. Little flicks of the hand also give clearer articulation.

Offline pianisten1989

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #3 on: April 30, 2011, 05:19:19 PM »
Some people might probably want to play the lower note with 4th, and some want to play the 5th... That isn't the major thing.

I haven't played this myself, but what my technical sense tells me is to not be afraid to come from above. Most people would probably come from the side and "straight" to the chord, and "be on the chord" be fore playing it. That obviously wont work. The thing is, I think, is to play it from above like Rubinstein at 0:50
. (It's not more difficult to come from abovr. It's only a stupid thing, stupid teachers tell their students)
Obviosly not that much, but something like that. It's very difficult to explain over the internet, without being able to show it. Hoefully you get the idea.

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #4 on: April 30, 2011, 07:25:34 PM »
Some people might probably want to play the lower note with 4th, and some want to play the 5th... That isn't the major thing.

I haven't played this myself, but what my technical sense tells me is to not be afraid to come from above. Most people would probably come from the side and "straight" to the chord, and "be on the chord" be fore playing it. That obviously wont work. The thing is, I think, is to play it from above like Rubinstein at 0:50
. (It's not more difficult to come from abovr. It's only a stupid thing, stupid teachers tell their students)
Obviosly not that much, but something like that. It's very difficult to explain over the internet, without being able to show it. Hoefully you get the idea.

Are you being serious? At the speed this study is supposed to be played and with the lightness that is required? I struggle to believe such a style of movement is even possible for rapid skips (which Rubinstein is not playing), never mind desirable. What reason is there to expend so much energy in lifting- only to put yourself in a position where you'll have to prevent most of the arm's momentum from going into sounding the notes very loudly? Of course it's more difficult! The faster the tempo, the flatter the curve must be. That's why you never see anyone coming "down" into the fifth fingers in the skips of the Schumann Fantasy. There's isn't time for it to be possible. The only way to get a half decent speed is to go virtually straight across with the arm and use the finger to act upon the key.

Offline pianisten1989

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #5 on: April 30, 2011, 07:38:16 PM »
Well, I didn't say one should play it as big as rubinstein. I said that that's the movement. If your staying in the keys all the time, you most surely will get tensed, and you will miss a lot notes. Ofc, it wont be much of a movement once you've got it right. It will basically be a side to side movement in the end, but it is much easier to coordinate the two movements if you start doing bigger movements in the beginning. And I am very serious...

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #6 on: April 30, 2011, 08:07:34 PM »
Well, I didn't say one should play it as big as rubinstein. I said that that's the movement. If your staying in the keys all the time, you most surely will get tensed, and you will miss a lot notes. Ofc, it wont be much of a movement once you've got it right. It will basically be a side to side movement in the end, but it is much easier to coordinate the two movements if you start doing bigger movements in the beginning. And I am very serious...

I agree to an extent. However, nowhere in the final product is there a sense of coming down- if it's done at anything close to the required tempo. If using the up/down approach, it's vital to understand it as being a practise method that is substantially different to the final product. For it to become "basically side to side" the hand itself has account for the majority of the action. If you focus on the down movement an end in itself (instead of as one practise method) this key element may never develop. I think it's a big mistake to treat that as if part of the goal, rather than one small part of a means to an end. I used to think of the arm as doing everything, but at speed my movements were very sluggish and stiff. I spent far too much time on big and up and down movements and never really made any great progress from them, The hand has to get involved in actively moving the keys if there's any hope of going at anything even close to a proper tempo.

I've heard many people claim that in piano playing, the shortest distance between two points is a curve. This is, of course, bullshit. The shortest distance is a straight line- just like in the real world. While very small curves can be effective, high speeds are often done in virtually a perfect straight line. Up and down barely comes into it, because that means more time and effort to span the distance.

Offline franz_

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #7 on: April 30, 2011, 08:14:02 PM »
And why is it so less played?
Currently learing:
- Chopin: Ballade No.3
- Scriabin: Etude Op. 8 No. 2
- Rachmaninoff: Etude Op. 33 No. 6
- Bach: P&F No 21 WTC I

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #8 on: April 30, 2011, 08:18:03 PM »
Well, I didn't say one should play it as big as rubinstein. I said that that's the movement.

Considering that he's playing the same notes over and over in each hand  (not especially fast), isn't that a somewhat bizarre example with regard to the subject of covering large horizontal distances at lightning speed? Are there any videos of people playing actual skips that reflect what you mean?

Offline pianisten1989

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #9 on: April 30, 2011, 08:20:14 PM »
Well, I did say that the movement was more or less gone in the final procutcion. In the final, I think you bounce plus use some movement from the fingers (not with one finger only, as some members here think is the only way). BUT if you start doing those small movements, you will, once you get nervous, have major problem to make the hands work together...

Well, if there were a better video showing the movement I meant, I would post it. Wouldn't I? And I also meant it to be as a method to learn it. I know I would, some other people would maybe use something else...

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #10 on: April 30, 2011, 08:31:24 PM »
Well, I did say that the movement was more or less gone in the final procutcion. In the final, I think you bounce plus use some movement from the fingers (not with one finger only, as some members here think is the only way). BUT if you start doing those small movements, you will, once you get nervous, have major problem to make the hands work together...

Honestly, I can't agree at all. I think the final product is exactly as it appears to be. There's more than one way to get to it, but it's a lot quicker to understand what really goes on.

There are many things that can go wrong when starting with smaller movements- above all if you press with the arm and do not allow it to respond properly. However, I think it's far easier to start with the sensitive movements first- provided you know what is required to get them right. I wouldn't advise this to anyone who would attempt it with a stiff arm. However, I wouldn't advise anyone who's not ready to do the hand actions to touch this study at all. Big arm movements won't stop them seizing up. What I realised recently was that just about all of the up movement at high speed can comes from the arm being bounced away by the action of the hand. Anything else is wasted effort. If I do this, it's vastly quicker. Until I discovered this, I couldn't play repeated octaves at all. My arm was wasting too much energy trying to move up and down, when it should simply have been bouncing freely while the hand gets on with acting into the keys.

Offline pianisten1989

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #11 on: April 30, 2011, 08:47:53 PM »
Ok, whatever. You write a blog about "piano science" so you clearly knows best. I said, I would learn it this way, and that is the way I've played all sort of coordinated pieces - to first overdo the movemets do the hands knows what they're doing. Clearly, I'm wrong.

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #12 on: April 30, 2011, 09:30:19 PM »
Ok, whatever. You write a blog about "piano science" so you clearly knows best. I said, I would learn it this way, and that is the way I've played all sort of coordinated pieces - to first overdo the movemets do the hands knows what they're doing. Clearly, I'm wrong.

Have you actually tried this? I played through the first few bars with the down movements you suggest. I found it extremely uncomfortable to try to land on those positions. It forces you to feel as an entirely separate entity from the bass notes and makes it almost impossible to achieve either the pizzicato and piano that Chopin writes. Why would you want momentum from the whole arm to spiral down into a quiet chord? Why would you want to completely separate the motion from the context of arriving directly from the bass- considering how direct the motions have to be at high speeds? It's not an overdone movement. To land from above means using a different movement altogether, in almost every respect. One is based on a precise pluck from contact, whereas the other is based on the arm falling down.

Try feeling the bass note as a down and the chord as an up action that you flow into via a singular motion that extends from the action of sounding the bass. The fingers pluck the keys and the arm drifts up in response. Does that make you get tense? I have no problems at all starting from this movement- which is very similar to exactly what you will see pianists using. Why take a roundabout route when you can start with this simple and useful motion?

Offline pianisten1989

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #13 on: May 01, 2011, 07:07:29 AM »
What is it that you don't get? It's as a start (and tell me one chopin etude that feels comfortable right from the beginning). Once you get the coordination, you move it down, do maybe wrist movement, and finally, you're down do almost only hand movements. But as I said: You are a "professional teacher" AND you write a blog. I can't top that :/

I would still do those big movements, (NOT AS HUGUE AS RUBINSTEIN!!!!!!!!) then, I would only do it in the right hand, while the left makes a sligtly smaller one, and finaly the left goes side to side and the right goes up and down.

But we can agree that you are an adult, right?
If you, your whole life, has done something in a certain way, it really difficult to suddenly do something else.
I've been taught this way, to seperate my hands right away. Maybe that isn't the best way in the world, but it works for me.

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #14 on: May 01, 2011, 01:29:33 PM »
What is it that you don't get? It's as a start (and tell me one chopin etude that feels comfortable right from the beginning). Once you get the coordination, you move it down, do maybe wrist movement, and finally, you're down do almost only hand movements. But as I said: You are a "professional teacher" AND you write a blog. I can't top that :/

I would still do those big movements, (NOT AS HUGUE AS RUBINSTEIN!!!!!!!!) then, I would only do it in the right hand, while the left makes a sligtly smaller one, and finaly the left goes side to side and the right goes up and down.

But we can agree that you are an adult, right?
If you, your whole life, has done something in a certain way, it really difficult to suddenly do something else.
I've been taught this way, to seperate my hands right away. Maybe that isn't the best way in the world, but it works for me.

Different approaches are often useful as a sideline. I just cannot understand why you'd make such a drastically different quality of movement your starting point of reference. The only way to execute light virtuoso skips at speed is to compound each pair into a single and very direct and down then up movement (usually slightly down for the bass, slightly up for the chord). If every note has its own up AND down, it's twice as many things to for the arm to do per note and a totally different (not merely bigger) path between notes. If you're playing this study, it's the concise compound movement which needs to be acquired- whether you starting by lifting your hand up and down or not. As long as that's done is the important thing, but I don't exactly see how a totally indirect path of movement refines itself into the direct path.

Incidentally, I used the arm-dropping approach for virtually my whole life. Eventually, I realised that it's very slow and doesn't necessarily train all of the important aspects.

Offline pianisten1989

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #15 on: May 01, 2011, 02:28:59 PM »
Last time: IT'S A START!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Once you find the chords and bass-tones from above, it wont be any problems finding them from near the keys. So, once you're done with that, you make smaller movements.

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #16 on: May 01, 2011, 03:11:10 PM »
Last time: IT'S A START!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Once you find the chords and bass-tones from above, it wont be any problems finding them from near the keys. So, once you're done with that, you make smaller movements.

I heard you the first time. I'm questioning WHY you would make such a start? Why would you have to lift your arm up in the air and use a drastically different style of movement to do that? Sorry, I simply don't follow at all. Why not find the chords with the sideways movement that you need in the end? I don't see why any of this necessitates either a big lift or a big drop. Why would it be a problem to find them from near the keys in the first place? What's so hard about that? If anything I'd say it's easier- as you can use the senses of touch and sight to determine whether you're in the right place before you even start the action of playing the note. With a drop, your feedback only comes after already going wrong. I can scarcely overstate how much my accuracy for these figurations has improved since I started doing them from direct contact.

Offline richard black

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #17 on: May 01, 2011, 03:28:51 PM »
Personally, I don't use much up-and-down in that study. But whatever works for you. Actually pianisten1989's idea reminds me a little of Busoni - 'Play a piece first with the most difficult fingering you can devise'.
Instrumentalists are all wannabe singers. Discuss.

Offline pianisten1989

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #18 on: May 01, 2011, 03:53:54 PM »
It's like playing the chopin op 10/1 in C sharp, instead of C. Och playing a difficult passage staccato. Playing chords from above, before going close, works for me.

The hard thing about it, is that there are like a billion ways to miss if you go from the side. You can hit a black note (since they are a bit above the white), or simply hit g major instead of a minor, or just screw it up. If you come from above, you (read: I) feel the chord, and almost never miss it. It's like the ending of Waldstein sonata, the c major-thingy right before the last chords. Once I start going to the side, I miss some notes. If I bounce, I (if not hit all of them correctly) at least miss less notes.

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #19 on: May 01, 2011, 04:24:29 PM »
It's like playing the chopin op 10/1 in C sharp, instead of C. Och playing a difficult passage staccato. Playing chords from above, before going close, works for me.

The hard thing about it, is that there are like a billion ways to miss if you go from the side. You can hit a black note (since they are a bit above the white), or simply hit g major instead of a minor, or just screw it up. If you come from above, you (read: I) feel the chord, and almost never miss it.

I see your point. However, from the side is the only way to play it at speed! You MUST develop this action to be able to execute these passages! Things like this and the leaps in the Schumann Fantasy are too quick to go by any less direct route.

The trick is to combine the best of both aspects- ie. you practise moving over the chord very quickly but you don't play it. Then you monitor if your hand is in the right place. If it's anything less than 100% flawless, you have to go back and do it again. If it's there, you pluck it from contact and flick up. Only when this is mastered do you combine it into getting to and playing the chord in the same action. This provides even more accuracy than when coming down from a height. If you're touching the notes, you can be almost 100% sure before you strike it. If you're falling from a larger height, no matter how sure you feel it could still go wrong. You can never be as sure as when you're already touching the notes. If you have problems with sideways movements, I'd work on the stage where you prepare the hand on the keys, before combining it into a single movement. When this step is mastered first, it provides the most direct movement possible and it's extremely secure.

Offline pianisten1989

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #20 on: May 01, 2011, 07:03:29 PM »
"On the spot"-technique is probably the one thing that has ruined piano playing in sweden (If you don't know, I'm from sweden) most. So no, I wont even try. That makes you nothing but stiff, scared as hell, and gives you a sucky rhythm. So I really hope I misunderstood you.

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #21 on: May 01, 2011, 07:20:00 PM »
"On the spot"-technique is probably the one thing that has ruined piano playing in sweden (If you don't know, I'm from sweden) most. So no, I wont even try. That makes you nothing but stiff, scared as hell, and gives you a sucky rhythm. So I really hope I misunderstood you.

It's totally dependent on the movement used. If it involves stiffness then it's not being taught right. Personally, my technique failed to improve for years because I was caught up in big arm motions, instead of training my hands to do anything but stiffen enough to transfer arm energy.  Big arm motions have plenty of use as a remedial movement. However, when made an end in itself then can be a very wayward distraction from what is actually required. All I learned was how to alternate between being too stiff and too floppy. They have very little to do with the final product.

If you want to do big movements you can do a big up movement for the chord- which is AWAY from the piano. For that reason, it's actually far less conducive to stiffness than dropping. Why jam momentum against the keys by dropping, when you can simply drift the arm up? How could such a movement (which is that which anyone hoping to play the study needs to learn, if they are to have any chance of actually playing it) possibly cause tension? A student who can't do a simple finger staccato and let the arm bounce up without stiffness would be picking the wrong study to work on. Coming from a height teaches you how to pile momentum into the keybed- not the basic means of allowing the arm to bounce away in response to finger actions. Bigger drops would not go terribly far towards fixing such a problem. What is needed is a movement that never even gives the opportunity to jam against the bed.

Offline iratior

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #22 on: May 01, 2011, 08:12:44 PM »
I want to thank everybody who has contributed to this topic thus far.  It is giving me a lot to analyze!  I mentioned the idea of not using the thumb;  that idea may have seemed crazy, but I did get it to work for Scarlatti K. 299, which Ralph Kirkpatrick regarded as testing more or less the same type of technique as Chopin Opus 25 no. 4.  (Another example of a piece that tests the 25-4 type of technique is Fats Waller's arrangement of Honeysuckle Rose.) The theory I had was that I was wasting time changing the position of my hand to make my thumb point parallel to the key to be played, instead of on a diagonal with it.  As for not always using the fifth finger, that was to keep it from getting too tired!

Offline pianisten1989

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #23 on: May 02, 2011, 07:28:08 AM »
Iratior: As an exercise, you could hit the bass with the thumb. Somehow (well, it's not very strange when you think about it), if you know where the thumb is, you know where the rest of the hand is, so to say. So if you are practise to hit the bass with the thumb, it will be loads and loads easier to hit it later, since the hand knows where the key is.


N-something: Well, as I said, I don't do big arm motions when I play for real, just when I pratice Chopin etudes and pieces like that.
Maybe I get this wrong, but it seems that you assume that I can't play the piano a single bit, and that I probably have no technique at all? That "on the spot" really doesn't work. I have attended many masterclasses with quite famous pianists and pedagogues, and none of them has ever complained about my arm motions. In fact, they have said some very nice things about me (except for one french teacher, for whom I played Debussy.. Don't do that if you ever have the chance) being able to change tone and articulation very quickly. That is all thanks to the arm motions. Being on the key makes it much more difficult, for me and everyone I know, to change the tone (and even have a tone)...

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #24 on: May 02, 2011, 12:35:26 PM »
N-something: Well, as I said, I don't do big arm motions when I play for real, just when I pratice Chopin etudes and pieces like that.
Maybe I get this wrong, but it seems that you assume that I can't play the piano a single bit, and that I probably have no technique at all? That "on the spot" really doesn't work. I have attended many masterclasses with quite famous pianists and pedagogues, and none of them has ever complained about my arm motions. In fact, they have said some very nice things about me (except for one french teacher, for whom I played Debussy.. Don't do that if you ever have the chance) being able to change tone and articulation very quickly. That is all thanks to the arm motions. Being on the key makes it much more difficult, for me and everyone I know, to change the tone (and even have a tone)...

I'm not saying you can't play the piano. I'm saying the practise method you recommend is very indirect and contains a totally different movement to that required. In fact, the more accomplished you are, the more likely you are to succeed in switching to the flatter trajectory that is required despite starting with a different quality of movement. Personally, I failed very miserably when I worked on and attempted these kinds of passages exactly as you describe- because I had very little finger technique and I never learned to use it to replace the big arm movements with a more efficient action. That's because I was too busy lifting my arms in the air instead to actually practise the trajectory required. They are two different things.

If you have acquired the technique to do these things efficiently, all kinds of different practise methods can get you there. That doesn't mean that they are a good approach in general. Regarding staying close to the keys- are you saying that such pianists as Horowitz and Cziffra had difficulty in changing the tone? And I thought you said these movements disappear at speed? So why are you now talking about them as if they are directly involved in the tone? Are you now saying you actually do them entirely literally in the final product? Does every note have it's own up and down motion of the arm or not?

How is the arm responsible for anything much beyond moving side to side here?



Would you please try the up motion I described and respond to my question as to whether this causes tension? I cannot even begin to see why this effortless action (that the study demands) might be replaced by an action that sends the whole arm crashing into the keybed from a height, before requiring an instant change of direction.

Offline pianisten1989

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #25 on: May 02, 2011, 12:49:55 PM »
Why are you doing this? We haven't seen or heard your playing. I have at least posted some quite difficult works, and got very good critique from the people here.
What you are saying isn't only disrespectful to me, but also to the teachers I've had. Why do you think you know me better than my teachers? So something didn't work for you, then it doesn't work for anyone? I've played, succesfully: mephisto waltz no 1, Schumann symphonic etudes, Debussy Lisle joyeuse, Waldsteinsonata, several mozart and haydn sonatas, several Bach pieces... Seriously, who are you to comment on me and my playing? "You're maybe good, but if you do as I say, you'll be even better?" God, how sick I am of that sort of people! Now you will probably somehow turn this against me, cause that what most people like that do. Saying that you where only trying to help me.
Get bent!

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #26 on: May 02, 2011, 01:07:34 PM »
Why are you doing this? We haven't seen or heard your playing. I have at least posted some quite difficult works, and got very good critique from the people here.
What you are saying isn't only disrespectful to me, but also to the teachers I've had. Why do you think you know me better than my teachers? So something didn't work for you, then it doesn't work for anyone? I've played, succesfully: mephisto waltz no 1, Schumann symphonic etudes, Debussy Lisle joyeuse, Waldsteinsonata, several mozart and haydn sonatas, several Bach pieces... Seriously, who are you to comment on me and my playing? "You're maybe good, but if you do as I say, you'll be even better?" God, how sick I am of that sort of people! Now you will probably somehow turn this against me, cause that what most people like that do. Saying that you where only trying to help me.
Get bent!

I didn't comment on your playing. If you're intent on taking this personally, we have nothing more to discuss. As I said, and for the reasons I already explained, I disagree entirely with the METHOD you suggested for learning.

Offline pianisten1989

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #27 on: May 02, 2011, 01:20:26 PM »
and yet, you haven't even hear me playing! It's like...  i don't like the colour of your shirt.

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #28 on: May 02, 2011, 01:28:39 PM »
and yet, you haven't even hear me playing! It's like...  i don't like the colour of your shirt.

Obviously I must have forgotten to mention that I didn't comment on your playing, in both my previous posts...

If you want to discuss the subject then why not answer the questions I asked you? If not, is this really adding anything? Please reread (or perhaps read) this before throwing your next tantrum:


"I'm not saying you can't play the piano. I'm saying the practise method you recommend is very indirect and contains a totally different movement to that required. In fact, the more accomplished you are, the more likely you are to succeed in switching to the flatter trajectory that is required despite starting with a different quality of movement."

Offline pianisten1989

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #29 on: May 02, 2011, 02:41:21 PM »
And how can you say that my practising methods are bad, even when you haven't hear my playing?!?! That doesn't make any sense at all. Maybe your blog has gon to your head, but there isn't one optimal way of learning how to play. And as the "professional" teacher, as you claim you are, you should know that. If not, which I start to assume, you are not a very good teacher after all. (see what I did there? I just assumed something, even though I have no idea of who your students are, or how you play.. seems familiar?)

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #30 on: May 02, 2011, 02:55:08 PM »
And how can you say that my practising methods are bad, even when you haven't hear my playing?!?! That doesn't make any sense at all. Maybe your blog has gon to your head, but there isn't one optimal way of learning how to play.

Because it's an indirect movement and not that which is either required or used by anybody at speed (due to considerably more changes in direction than taking each pair in a very direct down-up action)? I've been through this already. You say yourself that this movement is not used at speed and I'm simply pointing out that the easiest way to achieve the ACTUAL final product, is to work on the very movement that is used.

Use whatever you like alongside that. Many different things can have a use. However, I do find it utterly bizarre that you are claiming that the only style of movement that actually works in the final product should not be used as a practise method. You even claimed that coming from the side obviously cannot work. That makes no sense to me at all- if you consider that this is exactly what everybody who plays this piece does.

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #31 on: May 02, 2011, 03:11:17 PM »
And as the "professional" teacher, as you claim you are, you should know that. If not, which I start to assume, you are not a very good teacher after all. (see what I did there? I just assumed something, even though I have no idea of who your students are, or how you play.. seems familiar?)

Stop taking it personally and read what I actually wrote. I haven not made any personal accusations towards you. Those above are very real and literal.

When I teach, I use a variety of different actions. However, everything originates from the foundation of what works in the final product. What I certainly do not do is dogmatically prescribe actions that are spectacularly different to it, as a routine starting point. If a student were to struggle with the direct approach, only then would I give them remedial exercises and get them to try alternatives. However, if they couldn't do a basic finger staccato from contact without tension, there's no way I'd be giving them this Etude. Quite how or why asking them to let the arm come down from a great height might help them develop this aspect of technique, I have no idea.

(Ironically, I did actually tend to do a lot of arm dropping with students in the past. If I'm perfectly honest with myself, a lot of the time it did very little good for the students- as the real problem lay in the hand. You can't drop on an undeveloped hand in any very useful way. When I depended upon this approach, my staccato scales involved virtually as much effort as playing octaves. It was deeply counterproductive to place so much focus on moving the arm.)

Offline pianisten1989

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #32 on: May 02, 2011, 03:15:48 PM »
GAH! ok, whatever. You just don't get it, and it's a complete waste of time trying to make you get it. Last time, then I'm out.

I start doing big movements, because it's a way FOR MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! to relax. And I use staccato on fast passages, because it easier FOR MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
Then, when it's done. The movement is BASICALLY!!!!! gone, but not entierly. The movement is still there, and it's helps MEEEEEEEEEEEEE relax.

I find it bizzare that you can say that I have a bad method. You don't know me, you don't know my teachers, you don't know the students of my teacher (One of them has taught basically all good pianists from sweden. the other one has 3 young students, a 4th  is on a good way, who kills every competition they're in), and they have taught me this techniques. Maybe you should tell them that they are doing it all wrong? Cause some random guy from the internet says so?

And who the hell says I can't do a finger staccato?!

And stop comparing us! YOU DON'T KNOW ME! STOP THINK YOU DO, AND STOP THINK YOU KNOW WHAT I AM CAPABLE OF!

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #33 on: May 02, 2011, 03:24:08 PM »
GAH! ok, whatever. You just don't get it, and it's a complete waste of time trying to make you get it. Last time, then I'm out.

I start doing big movements, because it's a way FOR MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! to relax. And I use staccato on fast passages, because it easier FOR MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
Then, when it's done. The movement is BASICALLY!!!!! gone, but not entierly. The movement is still there, and it's helps MEEEEEEEEEEEEE relax.

I find it bizzare that you can say that I have a bad method. You don't know me, you don't know my teachers, you don't know the students of my teacher (One of them has taught basically all good pianists from sweden. the other one has 3 young students, a 4th  is on a good way, who kills every competition they're in), and they have taught me this techniques. Maybe you should tell them that they are doing it all wrong? Cause some random guy from the internet says so?

And who the hell says I can't do a finger staccato?!

And stop comparing us! YOU DON'T KNOW ME! STOP THINK YOU DO, AND STOP THINK YOU KNOW WHAT I AM CAPABLE OF!

I could not give two shits as to what you are capable of. I am discussing the method you have explained and nothing more. If you are unable to enter into the spirit of open discussion without perceiving any points as a personal attack on your playing, I'd advise you to stay away from internet forums.

The problem with your explanation is that is contains nothing of what ACTUALLY happens when you strip away the arm movements. There's a big blank space in the explanation at that point. For those who have the instinct for what is not explained your method can work. Personally, I never acquired the part which is not explained, despite years of using the dropping approach. It only works for those who already learned the most important bit. Give it to the wrong person and results are disastrous. If it works for you then fine. I'm explaining why it doesn't work for all.

Offline pianisten1989

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #34 on: May 02, 2011, 03:29:15 PM »
I'm sure you do.

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #35 on: May 02, 2011, 03:34:33 PM »
I'm sure you do.

While I would hate to be seen as joining some the silly contest you seem intent on starting, I know a pianist who was a finalist in the Tchaikovsky competition. Do you think your having played a few Beethoven sonatas give you some special authority that means I should treat your every word as if it comes from God? Have some bloody perspective. If the ability to play the piano made someone a final authority, a few hundred thousand people would all be a final authority.

Now, can we please keep this to the subject alone from now on?

Offline musicluvr49

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #36 on: May 02, 2011, 03:36:31 PM »
nyiregyhazi,

Sorry to interrupt here, haha... but I was just wondering... Do you actually play the piano?? Like as in actually piano pieces, or do you just study techniques and stuff?
Currently:
Chopin Grand Valse Brilliante
Mozart Piano Sonata K 332
Scriabin Preludes Op 11 no.5,6,7
Bach Prelude and Fugue in G minor

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #37 on: May 02, 2011, 03:39:45 PM »
nyiregyhazi,

Sorry to interrupt here, haha... but I was just wondering... Do you actually play the piano?? Like as in actually piano pieces, or do you just study techniques and stuff?

Of course I play the piano!

&list=UL

I'm studying technique, because I'm not remotely happy with my own and am striving to fix the holes that were caused by excessive devotion to the impossible notion of trying to source all the energy from the arms, rather than developing a proper finger technique. Most of the time I've been playing, I've literally been attempting the impossible- which is why I'm largely writing about what is actually possible, rather than a dogmatic method.

Offline iratior

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #38 on: May 02, 2011, 03:49:27 PM »
Once again I would like to thank everyone for the comments they have made on this topic.  The computer has already "eaten" two of my comments, so if they are ever regurgitated, I hope this won't seem too redundant.  I will be studying what has been discussed about technique.  The idea of playing in such a way as to pull the fingers back from their knuckles is very interesting.  I doubt if I'm doing it exactly as it would be prescribed, but as I said in an earlier comment (that the computer ate up), it seemed to improve playing of the ocean etude.  But I doubt if there is a "one size fits all" when it comes to piano technique.  Hands are of different sizes and shapes, so what's very easy for one person can be very hard for another.

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #39 on: May 02, 2011, 04:02:19 PM »
But I doubt if there is a "one size fits all" when it comes to piano technique.  Hands are of different sizes and shapes, so what's very easy for one person can be very hard for another.

I think this study has a pretty small range of what can work though, compared to many other pieces. Anything involving a steep path and notable descents is inherently slower. It would be like trying to run a sprint in zig-zags. I don't think anyone could ever play this study without very highly developed finger actions and very flat movements- unless greatly compromising speed and lightness for the pizicatto. I think there's quite a small range of what is possible in the end product. It matters little what path takes you there- as long as you do get there.

Offline jinfiesto

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #40 on: May 03, 2011, 06:08:49 AM »
I'd hate to interrupt the flame war that seems to be raging, but the technique required for the base has a name. It's called "blind" octaves. The base is played as if in octaves, with the omission of the thumb. Practice it that way.

Offline iratior

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #41 on: May 03, 2011, 06:38:21 AM »
Your point of information is very much appreciated, and I look forward to trying out your practice suggestion.

Offline jinfiesto

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #42 on: May 05, 2011, 03:32:55 AM »
Let me know how it goes, that should fix your problem.

Offline iratior

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #43 on: May 12, 2011, 01:45:23 AM »
I tried doing opus 25 no. 4 as if the lower notes were octaves, and it was beneficial.  And my, how it promises to develop the wrist!  It made my wrist feel tired, but somehow, not in a bad way.

Offline ramseytheii

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #44 on: May 12, 2011, 03:18:44 AM »
I'd hate to interrupt the flame war that seems to be raging, but the technique required for the base has a name. It's called "blind" octaves. The base is played as if in octaves, with the omission of the thumb. Practice it that way.

Excellent advice.

Walter Ramsey



Offline floydcramerfan

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #45 on: May 12, 2011, 04:12:17 AM »
Just to clear this up, are you saying to play octaves in the bass with the 2 and 5 fingers?  I'm not sure whether my little paws could stretch that wide.  Is that what you mean?  Well, maybe I could, but it would feel really weird.  Of course I don't play this piece, but I play southern gospel, and you have to do a lot of octaves.
I don't practice.  I call it play because I enjoy it. --A quote by Floyd Cramer.

Offline iratior

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #46 on: May 12, 2011, 07:56:27 AM »
Oh, the octaves would be played with fingers 1 and 5!  While I can stretch an octave with 2 and 5, I wouldn't use it in Op. 25 no. 4!

Offline floydcramerfan

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Re: On the Chopin Etude Opus 25 no. 4
«Reply #47 on: May 12, 2011, 03:05:46 PM »
Thank you.  I'm trying to visualize playing octaves with 2 and 5 and just, no, for me anyway.  In southern gospel we play a lot of octaves really fast.  Not sure if it's the same as the etude or not because braille music is like cryptonite to Superman and I don't have the score so I can see what's going on.  If my braille PDA hadn't just crapped out, I might download it, but if you don't really play classical, that probably wouldn't be the best piece to jump into it with, correct?
I don't practice.  I call it play because I enjoy it. --A quote by Floyd Cramer.