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Topic: Choosing a Chopin Etude  (Read 2650 times)

Offline alextryan

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Choosing a Chopin Etude
on: October 10, 2004, 07:28:55 AM
So I've decided it's time for me to learn a Chopin Etude.  

Without a doubt, I want to learn Opus 10 Number 4, but I feel like I should fear it, bow to it, lower my head in reverence with my hands firmly behind my back.  Anyone played it and have insight?  

Got any other favorites, good for an eager-to-improve pianist?

Offline fnork

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Re: Choosing a Chopin Etude
Reply #1 on: October 10, 2004, 08:01:38 PM
I've tried four of the etudes op 10 - no 1, 4, f-minor (no 9 I think) and 12. A little bit on no 2 also. However, I can only be proud of my playing in no 1. I can tell you that playing that etude will be very helpful for you, and it's fun to play it too.
You should ask yourself what you want to improve in your playing. Are your 3,4 and 5th fingers too slow? If so, play op 10/2. Do you want to become better with your left hand? Play the revolutionary etude, or f-minor.

I would suggest you to take a look at the ones that appeal to you. Play the first page slowly, and see if it's something you should keep working on. If you want to play op 10/4, do so. It's fun to play, but it's really difficult! Play it slowly, very slowly. Don't ever play it faster than you can handle. Make sure that your left hand is as fast as your righthand. If your left hand slows down in the fast passages, practice at a slower tempo. It's pointless to practice at a fast tempo when you only get through the first four bars where the righthand plays fast, and then you're unable to maintain speed when your lefthand plays fast.

Watch out for the middle section! This the most difficult part, I think.
Make sure that you're relaxed when you play it. Try to memorize it as fast as possible, it makes you play better. And even if you'd probably want to, don't think that you'll learn this etude in a few weeks... There's no way to learn this that fast, unless you're a concert pianist already. Take your time... I've played the op 10/1 etude for over a year, kept practicing all of the time, but I wasn't able to play it fast until now. It takes time.

Hope this helps! Honestly, I don't think it matters much which etude you pick, but of course all of them aren't that fun to play. op 10/2 for instance, is really boring. But on the other hand, you learn a lot...
Another suggestion. If you're learning an etude which only trains one of your hand - like op 10 no 1, 2 or 12, practice only that hand at first. When you've learned it, add the other hand. Try that method, because I think you learn faster that way, and you'll face the difficulties of the etude faster.

Offline Dave_2004_G

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Re: Choosing a Chopin Etude
Reply #2 on: October 10, 2004, 11:41:10 PM
I've played 10/4 fairly recently, and I don't think you should fear it particularly - I think you can be encouraged by the fact that you can practice the piece by playing it very slowly again and again, so long as you stay relxed the speed will come eventually.  The middle bit is the hardest section, and you need pretty good coordination with 3-4 and 4-5

Just don't rush it or you'll end up making a mess!

Dave

Offline dlu

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Re: Choosing a Chopin Etude
Reply #3 on: October 11, 2004, 04:36:04 AM
I like No. 8......

Offline abe

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Re: Choosing a Chopin Etude
Reply #4 on: October 11, 2004, 06:34:30 AM
try the really short, but fun op. 25 # 9. Not too hard, its a good first etude to learn.
--Abe

Offline mh88

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Re: Choosing a Chopin Etude
Reply #5 on: October 11, 2004, 08:16:08 AM
i really enjoy playing the ocean etude....25 no. 12 that is

if you can find it....track down boris berezovsky's recording of it.....he plays most of the etudes rather boring and somewhat slower than mainstream pianists....but he owns 25/12

incidentally, in order of learning the etudes, 25/12 was the second etude of chopin that i learned, the first was 10/5, which is also a good piece to play....very playful, but also technique demanding

if you're really ambitious tryout 10/1....awesome, but very difficult.....or even 25/8, another one of my favorites

10/4 is a tricky little peice, just have to remember lose wrists and confidence with your movements and jumps...fearing a piece is the first downfall to learning a song....confidence is everything, play as slow as you have to learn the notes and teach your fingers and hands where to go...then gradually accelerate....even you never play 10/4 at full tempo like pollini, you will still earn greatly from this piece......it took me 2 months of work to play it at a good tempo, not quite pollini, but fast enough

good luck!!

Offline chromatickler

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Re: Choosing a Chopin Etude
Reply #6 on: October 11, 2004, 01:57:58 PM
Quote
it took me 2 months of work to play it at a good tempo, not quite pollini, but fast enough

good luck!!


Pollini: 1'55
Richter: 1'31

8)

Offline Nu-Steinway-Player

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Re: Choosing a Chopin Etude
Reply #7 on: January 22, 2005, 09:37:02 AM
Oh, come on now!!  Put all other repertoire aside; set aside at least 6 to 8 months and work on ALL OF THEM.  Start at the beginning; create some systematic method of approaching them all, gaining a level of understanding of each Etude's difficulties -- actually purchase the Cortot edition of the etudes and work through them paying particular attention to his notes.  This is an excellent way to learn the Etudes.  It's worth your time to work on all of them.  WARNING:  Some of them will just not come very easily; don't panic, but still work through the really hard ones and get them under your fingers, even at a slow tempo, and later in life, go back to them and then work on them again, and they will be easier.  GOOD LUCK!!!!!!

Offline SteinwayTony

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Re: Choosing a Chopin Etude
Reply #8 on: January 22, 2005, 06:19:40 PM
Oh, come on now!!  Put all other repertoire aside; set aside at least 6 to 8 months and work on ALL OF THEM.  Start at the beginning; create some systematic method of approaching them all, gaining a level of understanding of each Etude's difficulties -- actually purchase the Cortot edition of the etudes and work through them paying particular attention to his notes.  This is an excellent way to learn the Etudes.  It's worth your time to work on all of them.  WARNING:  Some of them will just not come very easily; don't panic, but still work through the really hard ones and get them under your fingers, even at a slow tempo, and later in life, go back to them and then work on them again, and they will be easier.  GOOD LUCK!!!!!!

Okay, first of all you're beating a dead horse because nobody's looked at that thread since October. 

And second of all your suggestion is extremely unrealistic and, in my view, unadvisable.  One needs to be perpetually immersed in all of the periods simultaneously.  If I were studying nothing but Chopin -- especially nothing but Chopin Etudes -- for six months, I would probably go crazy. 

Offline Awakening

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Re: Choosing a Chopin Etude
Reply #9 on: January 22, 2005, 06:54:41 PM
So I've decided it's time for me to learn a Chopin Etude.  

Without a doubt, I want to learn Opus 10 Number 4, but I feel like I should fear it, bow to it, lower my head in reverence with my hands firmly behind my back.  Anyone played it and have insight?  

Got any other favorites, good for an eager-to-improve pianist?

Any advice I give is based on common sense and having listened to (and looked at the sheet music for) the etudes extensively.  I have actually only ever attempted to play two of them, those being Opus 25/2 and 10/12.  I was trying to choose between the two for a first etude, and chose 10/12 because it has a reputation for not being too difficult, is a good left-hand study, and a favorite of mine.  10/4 is another favorite of mine, but I didn't consider it as a first etude, because that seemed a little overly ambitious to me.  I may attempt it a year or two down the road, but I at least want to learn to play 10/12 and maybe a couple others first.

One thing that seems to be difficult to me about 10/4 is that it's a two-hand etude, with the melody and harmony alternating between the two hands.  This is partly what gives the etude its strong range of texture and sound.  Both hands are kept extremely busy throughout the piece, and it never lets up.  I think that learning 10/12 as a first etude is working out well for me, because the patterns are fairly easy to grasp, and it pushes my left hand to do things that it hasn't been challenged to do up to this point.  Nevertheless, I don't mean to discourage you from 10/4--there are people on here who would tell you it isn't that hard, and having never tried it myself, I can't disagree with them.  Even if I did, it wouldn't matter, because every pianist is different.  Still, I can't help but think that it probably isn't the best "introduction" to Chopin's etudes, because of the technique required to play it well.  There's no doubt you have listened to some incredibly fast, impressive recordings of this etude, as it seems like every virtuoso pianist plays it as fast as they possibly can.  These are speeds you will probably never reach, and it might frustrate you that you can't make this piece sound like the recording.  10/12, on the other hand, I can already play almost up to speed with several recordings I have heard, because of its easier difficulty.

Anyway, just my opinion. 

Offline steinwayguy

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Re: Choosing a Chopin Etude
Reply #10 on: January 23, 2005, 03:27:28 AM
Op. 10 No. 4 was my first etude because it was my favorite etude. I've been playing it for months and dont' really know why I liked it so much. However, this was one fo the most helpful etudes, second, in fact, to Op. 10 No. 1. No. 4 presents so many different technical difficulties that I strongly recommend you learn it. As everyone has said "practice slowly". I disagree. You need to spend a lot of time mastering this etude, because it will make most others easy if you can truly play it flawlessly. You need to experiment with the different types of coordination, arm cornering, rotation etc.

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