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Author Topic: Chopin Etudes- Which one to start?  (Read 32878 times)
fangpiano
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« on: June 12, 2011, 06:55:13 PM »

Hi everyone!

I'm having trouble to decide which Chopin etude to start- I've never played any before. I know that I should probably start from the easier ones, but the ones that I really like Op. 10 No. 4, No. 12, Op. 25 No. 6 are all very difficult. I've played some difficult pieces like Beethoven Pathetique sonata Mvt 1, Chopin Nocturne Op 9 no 1, but they are easier than most etudes. I'm not sure if I should just jump to the harder etudes. Suggestions?
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polojarvi
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« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2011, 08:09:05 PM »

I would suggest starting with whatever you like the best and letting your hands tell you whether or not it's too much.

The hardness of the piece is not what matters, it's more a matter of how strong and supple your hands are. If the piece feels too hard in that it easily tires you, just start taking it easier. The problem with pieces beyond one's current skill set is the tendency to hurt oneself by over working and then learning the piece very sloppily as a result of frustration.

On the other hand if one is willing to practice a piece in a healthy way, no piece is really much harder than another. They're all just groupings of notes that need to be managed by a performer.

For example, for some reason I really love Liszt's 9th Hungarian Rhapsody, even though it's so completely over-the-top showy virtuosity, and it's really long, and I have a hard time memorizing things. But every time I listen to Pletnev play it, I smile a lot and want to play it, too. So I just take it real slow and delicate, knowing it will take a long time and that I may drop it along the way and come back at a later date.. What I'm really avoiding with it is playing at it (like scrambling up a mountain) rather than working on it at a tempo where I can make music with it, even though the music is slow, like Gould's Brahms concerto, plodding lightly.

Starting with one of the easier etudes, just because you "should" doesn't sound very enjoyable.

DJ
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fourthnation
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« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2011, 10:02:38 AM »

I agree - you're going to get much more from learning an etude which interests you than slogging through one that doensn't grab you just because it's easier. To be honest, they are all pretty hard and definitely at a different level to the pieces you've been playing. Don't let that stop you tho - playing pieces above your current level (as long as you don't hurt yourself - as per the previous post) is a great way to improve your technique. Op 10 no 1 and no 12, Op 25 No 1 and no 12 are all not too bad, depending on what you want improve, of course.

Good luck!
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yveqq
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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2011, 06:11:34 PM »

i started with no.12 and no.5. no.12 really improved my left hand fingers and no. 5 is just great fun, its unexpectedly easier than it sounds/ looks on the page, and is still one of my favourites!
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cheesypencil
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« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2011, 02:29:39 PM »

how about op.25 no.5? π
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emilye
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« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2011, 08:16:19 AM »

In my opinion the best (if you never played Chopin's etudes) will be: etude op. 10 no 12, etude op. 25 no. 5, etude op. 25 no 1, etude op. 10 no. 4, of course etude op. 10 no. 3, op. 10 no. 7. No, no, no !!! Smiley op. 25 no. 6 it's the most difficult etude and it will be good to play this piece when you done several different etudes. (sorry for my English)
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omar_roy
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« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2011, 10:04:58 PM »

Op 10 No 3 and 4 are good places to start.
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gerryjay
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« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2011, 10:10:17 PM »

Hi everyone!

I'm having trouble to decide which Chopin etude to start- I've never played any before. I know that I should probably start from the easier ones, but the ones that I really like Op. 10 No. 4, No. 12, Op. 25 No. 6 are all very difficult. I've played some difficult pieces like Beethoven Pathetique sonata Mvt 1, Chopin Nocturne Op 9 no 1, but they are easier than most etudes. I'm not sure if I should just jump to the harder etudes. Suggestions?
Dear Fang,
the etude opus 10 n. 12 is not that difficult. Indeed, it is probably the second in a scale from easy to difficult (the most easy being number 6). If you did play Chopin's opus 9 n. 1, you will probably don't have much trouble with both (6 and 12).

It's a start! Nevertheless, ask your teacher about that.

Best regards,
Jay.
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qpalqpal
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« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2011, 12:22:40 AM »

This etude is just so romantic, and not the hardest one, level 8 as opposed to 8+. If you want beauty this is it!
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ihavetoleave
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« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2011, 05:42:53 AM »

I think Op.25 No.2 is the easiest,but I am not sure what others feel about it.I didn't play all.
Op.10 No.3 is easier than most pieces I think.But you can choose the one you like to start:)
what about Op.10 No.12?
Oh god.No one is really easy in fact.
But you can practice again and again to make it perfect.Just try the one you like most.Hard work can help:)
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fleetfingers
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« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2011, 08:46:36 AM »

This etude is just so romantic, and not the hardest one, level 8 as opposed to 8+. If you want beauty this is it!

Wow, that was beautiful. Best interpretation I've heard of that piece. I love Rubenstein.
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iratior
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« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2011, 08:58:54 AM »

Posterity should thank us for having preserved this Rubinstein performance.  I noted that he didn't insist on keeping strictly to the tempo -- when the harmonies were enhanced by holding notes longer than their exact values, he did it.  He also paid attention to the dynamics of the notes within arpeggios, as well as to the arpeggio groups as a whole.  And to be so right about his choices for such dynamic subtlety must bespeak of genius.  One couldn't possibly go through all the infinitely many choices for dynamic shading of the notes within an arpeggio to find the most beautiful one;  he just seems to have done it as if by magic, time after time.
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scott13
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« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2011, 11:19:29 PM »

Op 10 no 1 and no 12, Op 25 No 1 and no 12 are all not too bad, depending on what you want improve, of course.

Good luck!

Are you serious? Op 10 #1 is easy ? So Horowitz was wrong when he was quoted numerous times as saying that Op 10 #1 was the most difficult of the chopin etudes ? And Horowitz had rather big hands as well and he found this etude to be the hardest. Legato arpeggios at 176 bpm is not an easy task for even the great pianists and then throw in some horrendously tricky stretches. Vladimir Ashkenazy also noted in an interview that a note perfect recording of this piece was exceedingly rare and that he typically had 3-5 wrong notes on a good day.

Recommending it to somebody who is at the level of Beethoven Op 13 is just stupid.
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aclaussen
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« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2011, 04:48:09 AM »

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dagarub
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« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2012, 03:13:58 AM »

He estado tocando estudios de Chopin desde hace tres años. Creo que para empezar esta bien el Op. 10 # 6, ayuda mucho a mejorar la independencia de los dedos al igual que el Op.25 # 2 o también el Op.25 # 1 muy efectivo para trabajar extensión y la ligereza. Los 3 son muy útiles y sirven como preparación para otros estudios románticos.
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rachmaninoff_forever
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« Reply #15 on: July 04, 2012, 03:39:06 AM »

Learn your favorite one.  Don't worry about how hard it is, just take the bull by the horns!
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49410enrique
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« Reply #16 on: July 04, 2012, 01:27:18 PM »

although not exactly on most people's 'favorites list' (in fact it is more often ignored than mentioned), this was my first Chopin Etude, I studied it three years into my piano program in undergrad, and though it was unbelievable difficult for me (which is why I chose it, it taught me so much!), it was super fulfulling to perform at a high level (jury/polished performance standard etc.).

i found it interesting that one of the most beautiful melodies Chopin ever put down lies hidden in the innver voice(left hand) of the middle section of this etude


i followed this up w the usually considered 'easier' Op 10 No 3, which I actually found more difficult due to the tone quality that must be maintained which using a different touch within the RH for the better 'texture' effect. i wouldn't recommend it for a 'first etude'. but im prolly in the minority on that opinion.
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j_menz
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« Reply #17 on: July 04, 2012, 10:59:26 PM »

You could also have a look at the Trois Nouvelles Etudes as good introductory works.
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amelialw
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« Reply #18 on: July 04, 2012, 11:39:43 PM »

choose one on your own?  Grin or another option would be to ask your teacher for a list of those which you possibly could start with Smiley

my mentor (mentor because she's not in the same country anymore) makes it a point to go through the various pieces with me everytime she picks something new with me...she always would go to her cabinet, open a book, take out recordings and start advicing me what would work and what was too advanced for me when I was less independent.

Basically to her the best starting one would be op.25 no.2...I had the rest except that one to choose from and she gave me the option of op.10 nos.4,5,6,8 op.25 nos.1,7&11. So i tested grounds for a few weeks with her guidiance and in the end op.10 no.8 was my first one. Have also learnt op.10 no.4 and op.25 no.7.
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chadbrochill17
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« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2012, 05:25:10 PM »

Dear Fang,
the etude opus 10 n. 12 is not that difficult. Indeed, it is probably the second in a scale from easy to difficult (the most easy being number 6). If you did play Chopin's opus 9 n. 1, you will probably don't have much trouble with both (6 and 12).

It's a start! Nevertheless, ask your teacher about that.

Best regards,
Jay.

Are you being serious about the whole not being too screwed if you can play op 9 on 1? Because if that's the case then I might try to tackle some other etudes.
Also, I know it might be the hardest one, but op 10 no 2 is extraordinary with regards to technique. I can't play it at tempo, or even the first page, but I've been dabbling in it for a little while and my technique has improved almost immediately.
Op 10 no 9 isn't that bad. It's almost like a nocturne in the sense of the left hand.
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invictious
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« Reply #20 on: July 25, 2012, 06:13:28 AM »

Traditionally, the popular etudes to begin with are Op.10 No.12 and Op. 10 No. 5, which are the ones I began with.

Out of curiosity, is there anyone who learned Op.10 No.4 as their first Chopin etude?
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danhuyle
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« Reply #21 on: July 25, 2012, 09:20:35 AM »

I started with Op10 No9 then after that it's op10 no12. Why don't you ask your teacher?
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johnmar78
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« Reply #22 on: July 25, 2012, 12:50:44 PM »

 Out of curiosity, is there anyone who learned Op.10 No.4 as their first Chopin etude..
 Oh yes, I am doing it, my post is in the student section over last 6 months, it still progressing..soon will update.  This etude is the best etude ever, taht required both speed and reflex/muscle relaxzation. Cheesy

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chadbrochill17
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« Reply #23 on: July 25, 2012, 04:17:55 PM »

Out of curiosity, is there anyone who learned Op.10 No.4 as their first Chopin etude..
 Oh yes, I am doing it, my post is in the student section over last 6 months, it still progressing..soon will update.  This etude is the best etude ever, taht required both speed and reflex/muscle relaxzation. Cheesy



How are you doing with it so far? I'm starting with the end since it seems the most challenging (especially with those left hand leaps). Also, have you seen Paul Barton's tutorials on the etudes? I LOVE them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSRjdJgMvwc
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johnmar78
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« Reply #24 on: July 27, 2012, 12:27:07 PM »

How are you doing with it so far? I'm starting with the end since it seems the most challenging (especially with those left hand leaps). Also, have you seen Paul Barton's tutorials on the etudes? I LOVE them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSRjdJgMvwc


Chad, I am at polishing stage, full tempo + and minus 5% for control purposes. I have seen Pauls demo and recordings from his upright. I think he may have digital sensor/digital sound board installed in his upright to give that Top grand piano sound quality which is similar to Yamha's slient piano. Cheers
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snixder
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« Reply #25 on: November 04, 2012, 08:52:21 AM »

I think most definitely you should play the etudes of which you are most fond, and therefore most likely to want to successfully complete. That said, there are just a couple of exceptions that I would not recommend you attempt until you have further developed your techniques through his other etudes  Tongue

Of those you mentioned, op 10, no. 12 is probably the most accessible, and in my experience required the least amount of practice to achieve the notes. Interpretation, naturally, is an entirely different thing  Wink. Once you get the notes down, it's really just controlling the dynamics in the left hand, and pedaling. And your own "revolutionary" style of course!

I would however NOT recommend op. 25 no 6 to start as it is one of the more technically demanding studies unless you already have some experience in double thirds. If you attempt this then you may full discouraged and give up. That said of course, you may well enjoy it enough to push through, and end up with some fabulous legato technique Smiley

I would also say the same for op. 25 no 8, 10 and 11; though the attractiveness of Winter Wind may well be sufficient for inspiration. From op. 10, I would recommend leaving no 2 and 7 until later. You will gain the strength and stamina required for these through playing the others.

Now, I'll also mention a couple of others which are fine to start and most beneficial to technique. Op. 10 no 1 is just superb for stretching in the right hand, although it will take time to achieve the initially seemingly impossible tempo. For many, op 25 no 9 is a lovely piece that is attractive enough yet not so technically difficult that you will be put off; I think op 10 no 3 is also well loved. Both are excellent starters.

Of course, the easiest of the etudes technically are undoubtedly the "slow" ones; I forget the exact no. now, but they might be a way to go if you want to take it slow rather than leap. However, judging by your mention of Pathetique and the nocturne, I think you'd rather a challenge?

Regardless of what you choose, know that you WILL get there in the end through plenty of slow practice. It also helps to watch Paul Barton's youtube tutorials; that man is gold for a straight forward introduction and exercise.
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asuhayda
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« Reply #26 on: November 06, 2012, 03:25:03 PM »

I started with Op. 10 No. 3 ... it was a tough one, but they all are. At least you don't have to worry about crazy fast runs.  Just big intervals.
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cmg
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« Reply #27 on: November 11, 2012, 12:17:33 AM »

This etude is just so romantic, and not the hardest one, level 8 as opposed to 8+. If you want beauty this is it!

Yep, begin with this one!
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alanteew
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« Reply #28 on: November 12, 2012, 01:12:29 AM »

I started with op 10 #12 (the "revolutionary"). It was a HUGE leap forward for me both artistically and technically. (It took me about a year to master with constant practice--but it was a leap forward.) Plus it's a lot of fun.
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cmg
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« Reply #29 on: November 12, 2012, 01:31:59 AM »

It's a great choice, and quite manageable.  But pedalling is a real issue.  Still and all, tackle the one you love:  for the rest of your artistic life, the Chopin Etudes will be "works in progress."  Worth the sweat, trust me.
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stevet
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« Reply #30 on: October 13, 2013, 07:19:39 PM »

I started with op 10 #12 (the "revolutionary"). It was a HUGE leap forward for me both artistically and technically. (It took me about a year to master with constant practice--but it was a leap forward.) Plus it's a lot of fun.

I have just started this and it's the same for me, a big leap, and my first Etude. Thanks for the motivation ;-)
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awesom_o
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« Reply #31 on: October 13, 2013, 08:39:34 PM »

Op. 10 no. 12 was my first Chopin Etude!

Although it is extremely challenging for professionals to pull off successfully, it is one of the more approachable ones for 'beginners'.

IMHO, more appropriate as a 1st Chopin Etude than the more 'usual' candidates: op. 10/3, op. 10/4, op. 10/5, op. 25/1 and op. 25/2.
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gyzzzmo
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« Reply #32 on: October 13, 2013, 08:50:56 PM »

Wich one is difficult depends on the person anyway. I found etudes like 10/1, 10/2, 10/6, 25/6 and 25/10 relatively easy to do while i know that some other people find them one of the harder ones. 10/3 should be easy, but i found this one quite hard to get on a level so i could perform it.
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awesom_o
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« Reply #33 on: October 13, 2013, 08:58:27 PM »

Which one is difficult depends on the person anyway. I found etudes like 10/1, 10/2, 10/6, 25/6 and 25/10 relatively easy to do while i know that some other people find them one of the harder ones.

Wow.... for me, all those ones were fairly tricky! You must be quite a virtuoso if you found it easy to play them in a way that was truly musical. Did you ever record them?
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gyzzzmo
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« Reply #34 on: October 14, 2013, 06:22:24 AM »

Wow.... for me, all those ones were fairly tricky! You must be quite a virtuoso if you found it easy to play them in a way that was truly musical. Did you ever record them?

I dont think its a 'virtuoso' or 'talent' thing, more something that has to do with the build of the hands, education and maybe things a person does next to playing the piano (in my case, i'm quite sportive). And as i said, i sometimes have issues with technicalities wich are easy for others.

And no, i never made a serious recording i'd dare to post here, only for myself for educational reasons. Occasionally i do a small concert, but never bothered to get something recorded there either.
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