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Topic: Chopin Nocturne, Op48. No.1 HELP NEEDED  (Read 2557 times)

Offline puma

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Chopin Nocturne, Op48. No.1 HELP NEEDED
on: January 26, 2005, 01:13:42 AM
  Hi all, I'm somewhat of a newbie to this board (been reading, recently joined up) not a newbie to the piano (15+ years experience) so I had reservations about asking for help on this piece.  However, considering the difficult time I'm having and the fact that my piano teacher DOES NOT KNOW how to play the piece, I figure what the hell.  I've seen some intelligent responses as well.
    First of all, let me begin by saying I've searched on this piece and only found two posts regarding this nocturne. Which is strange because I figured this piece to be extremely popular.  In any case, I've been working on this piece for damn near six months now, have mastered the first part - am doing well with the second part (mostly just a matter of speeding up my chord to octave progressions those who have played or heard the piece will know what I'm talking about), so I felt obliged to finish the piece - but man, am I having a difficult time with the third part!
   I've been working on the third part, the doppio movement, for about two months now.  I played it for my teacher and she tells me things like "bring out the top voice" so it won't be "muddled."  Now, I understand what she means, in a sense.  The effect Chopin is trying to create isn't dependent so much on legato left hand as it is on bringing out the melody.  But she doesn't know how to even play the piece!  I had a recording of this, but it was stolen (long story) in any case, I finally think I've mastered the technical problems of the doppio movement - but how do I make it sound like the recording that I've heard (from what I remember).  A lot of times I feel like I'm just pounding out garbage.  And I've gotten the notes down well enough that I feel I can make it into music - but my teacher says it's just not happening.  I tried making the accompaniment pianonissimo with a mezzoforte melody, but I still feel like I'm heading nowhere with it.  Which is a shame, because I've done so well with the other sections.  Any advice on how to master the last part of this piece?  Thank you in advance.

Offline dreamaurora

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Re: Chopin Nocturne, Op48. No.1 HELP NEEDED
Reply #1 on: January 26, 2005, 01:46:09 AM
First of all, please do not compare your playing to recordings of this piece.  If your recording reference is Argerich's, please don't try to imitate her. If you have to, Rubinstein played the doppio part of this nocturne in a much more tasteful way.

One thing to note in the doppio part is that there is no need to play that fast.  Play it in a calm andante speed with less affection. A lot of piano students have this misconception since this part is agitato, they have the license to bang the chords and play as fast as they can, don't. Although the marking is agitato, this part is more similar to light lamentation. Sing out the top melody with a hinge of sadness, but don't make it sound as if you're angry. Keep the accompaniments notes relatively soft to the melody, they should remain exclusively in the background. A helpful tip technically is to play with your right forearm rotated outward so you can have more weight on the 4th and 5th fingers.

Offline Cadenza_Ad_Libitum

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Re: Chopin Nocturne, Op48. No.1 HELP NEEDED
Reply #2 on: January 28, 2005, 04:05:02 PM
If you've mastered the second part I guess you can help me out. I'm currently sightreading this piece out while learning it, and I am very confused about the left hand chords in the second part which stretch like 12th!!! Should I just break it, play the bass note slightly before the full octave chord, or omit it completely?

And does Chopin actually have such a large hand to stretch 12th? I heard he could only do a 10th.

Offline mound

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Re: Chopin Nocturne, Op48. No.1 HELP NEEDED
Reply #3 on: January 28, 2005, 04:09:13 PM
Can't really help you specifically, but I did notice it seems you feel as if your teacher isn't qualified to help you or comment on a piece that she herself does not know. Do give your teacher more credit than this! I brought a piece to my teacher that I wanted to learn, he had never played it before, let alone heard it, but his comments and insight were incredibly helpful and valid, regardless that he never learned the piece.

-Paul

Offline jlh

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Re: Chopin Nocturne, Op48. No.1 HELP NEEDED
Reply #4 on: January 28, 2005, 06:38:17 PM
Is it that your teacher hasn't played the piece, or doesn't know HOW to play it?  There is a difference.

I've played pieces that my teachers hadn't played, yet they were still able to give valuable insight into the interpretation.

I think that most teachers who are qualified to teach someone who's been a student as long as you should be able to give some sound direction for this piece.   Listen to her advice, it sounds like she knows more than you think.
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Offline puma

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Re: Chopin Nocturne, Op48. No.1 HELP NEEDED
Reply #5 on: January 29, 2005, 05:05:33 AM
Two responses: first of all, in response to whether you should break up the chords, my teacher suggested breaking the chords up, playing a chord first, then adding the top note, at which time you strike also the notes in the treble.  This seems to work.  Chopin reputedly had large hands, could easily reach tenths, but twlefths I don't think so.  You could omit some notes too, I guess, but there's no problem with breaking those chords up.

Second of all, I didn't mean to say that she isn't qualified at all to teach the piece.  What I meant to say is that she has never played the piece herself.  She HAS given useful insight into the piece, so maybe I was being a little tough at first.  It's just that I usually like my teacher to know the piece I'm playing as well, which is partly why I fish for the older teachers (to me, a young teacher is someone who's 45; I try for 50 and over.  My very first teacher was in her 70s and I greatly admired her, so that may have figured into my bias).  Being a teacher myself, I stress that I am still a student and do not know everything - but I mostly teach beginners and they always ask for Fur Elise (or their parents want them to know the traditional repertoire - which is why having a well-known repertoire / learning the overplayed classics isn't so bad after all) so I usually don't run into a problem!

Offline chopiabin

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Re: Chopin Nocturne, Op48. No.1 HELP NEEDED
Reply #6 on: January 29, 2005, 08:09:37 PM
Most of the chords in the second part are meant to be rolled to the top note. DON'T omit notes from Chopin!! What edition are you using? I've seen editions where they don't sufficiently mark the rolling, so you might want to get a new one.

Offline mysKat

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Re: Chopin Nocturne, Op48. No.1 HELP NEEDED
Reply #7 on: January 31, 2005, 07:39:47 AM
Chopin had small hands. Even Liszt, could only take F# - C# - A#.
Break the chords.

It sounds like you might want to try to "drop your weight" (for lack of a better way to say it)  onto the 4th and 5th fingers. By imagining your hand as 2 hands (123 together, 45 "another" hand) it might help you imagine that the top melody is played by another hand. Sometimes, my teacher makes me play the RIGHT hand part with 2 hands, so I can hear the effect. It helps - because then you try to do it with one hand.

It is really a hard Nocturne. So, hang in there!
 

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