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Attempting Chopin etude op 10 no 1 - feedback request (Read 967 times)

Offline ranjit

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Attempting Chopin etude op 10 no 1 - feedback request
« on: June 25, 2021, 06:34:28 AM »
I've been working on the first few measures of the etude since a couple of days. How does my technique look?

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Chopin: Etude, opus 10 no 1
piano sheet music of Etude


Offline brogers70

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Re: Attempting Chopin etude op 10 no 1 - feedback request
«Reply #1 on: June 25, 2021, 08:04:44 PM »
I've only worked on that etude a little bit, too. My amateur's suggestion would be that perhaps you are keeping your hand in an extended position more than is necessary and that that could be causing some tension. One thing to try might be to play it very slowly and whenever your fifth finger plays a note, pause and touch all of your fingers together (while keeping the fifth on the note it played), then continue like that. Josh Wright suggest even doing that on every right hand note. Obviously, you can only do that at a ridiculously slow tempo, but it will get your hand used to coming together a bit, or at least relaxing the stretch a bit, between each note. That may make it a bit more comfortable.

Offline ranjit

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Re: Attempting Chopin etude op 10 no 1 - feedback request
«Reply #2 on: June 25, 2021, 09:53:19 PM »
Thanks for the idea, I will try that out!

Offline lelle

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Re: Attempting Chopin etude op 10 no 1 - feedback request
«Reply #3 on: June 25, 2021, 11:49:09 PM »
Hey man, I worked a lot on this Etude during my college years. Of course, I can't really teach it over text, but some general thoughts that may or may not be of benefit. You'd do best working on this with a teacher or waiting a bit.

* brogers70 offers a good point that you should not keep your hand in an extended position to play it. Even though the arpeggios look wide, you use your hand as if they weren't. Your hand should sort of be in a state of relaxing back to neutral at all times. It should not feel as if it is anticipating or reaching out for distant notes. Of course, sometimes it will need to open a bit, especially betwee fingers 1 and 2, but it should not feel strained or spread out, if the makes sense. It should sort of feel the same as playing scales or normally spaced arpeggios (assuming you do this is in a relaxed manner). The fingers that are not playing should be totally relaxed and limp to the touch (check with your other hand) and your wrist needs to always be very loose. Right now they look rather tense, especially the thumb.

* on the way up, notice how there is sort of a "bump" in the sound, or an audible jump between when you transition from the fifth finger to the thumb. There should be no jump here, it needs to all sound and feel totally legato. I think the jump is caused by tension. Can you play and hold an E with 5 and then let the thumb rest on G without playing it, and then move it up to C and play the C with the thumb, then release the C and move the thumb back to G again, all while continuously holding the E with 5 and being very relaxed and moving smoothly? This might help you a bit with realizing how the legato should feel.


Offline ranjit

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Re: Attempting Chopin etude op 10 no 1 - feedback request
«Reply #4 on: June 26, 2021, 03:42:08 AM »
This is the best attempt I could come up with today.

I tried to attempt lelle's advice, and tried to include some more wrist motion as well as that of the pinky.

Offline andrewuk

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Re: Attempting Chopin etude op 10 no 1 - feedback request
«Reply #5 on: June 26, 2021, 09:32:08 AM »
Paul Barton has a tutorial with some interesting preliminary exercises: 

Offline quantum

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Re: Attempting Chopin etude op 10 no 1 - feedback request
«Reply #6 on: June 26, 2021, 02:34:43 PM »
I think you need more flexibility in your palm and wrist.  Think of a rubber band that takes the shape of the thing you wrap it around - rather than have your hand in a fixed shape, it moulds and flexes to the shape of the chord.  You could still do with more rotation at the wrist at the current practice tempo.  Articulating your fingers in slow practice will help free up the palm and also get you to think more about using your whole arm in the arpeggio.

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 ranjit

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Re: Attempting Chopin etude op 10 no 1 - feedback request
«Reply #7 on: June 26, 2021, 05:20:26 PM »
I think you need more flexibility in your palm and wrist.  Think of a rubber band that takes the shape of the thing you wrap it around - rather than have your hand in a fixed shape, it moulds and flexes to the shape of the chord.
I'm finding it hard to figure out what this means from an execution standpoint. If the wrist goes lower, for example, it becomes harder to articulate the notes. Also, what do you mean by flexibility of the palm?

I'm questioning why I'm attempting this, but I feel like there are some basic movements hidden here which I just don't understand, and I feel the need to figure them out. Since I'm usually able to play easier pieces somehow, they don't seem to reveal a lot of things I lack when it comes to my technique.

Offline dogperson

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Re: Attempting Chopin etude op 10 no 1 - feedback request
«Reply #8 on: June 26, 2021, 06:34:05 PM »
Why donít you have your piano teacher help you with this technique?  Some things are just easier in person.

Offline quantum

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Re: Attempting Chopin etude op 10 no 1 - feedback request
«Reply #9 on: June 26, 2021, 06:44:51 PM »
I'm finding it hard to figure out what this means from an execution standpoint. If the wrist goes lower, for example, it becomes harder to articulate the notes.

More of a lateral rotation as this piece is dealing with wide spaced chords.  The direction of movement could be described by placing your hand flat on a table, and rotating your wrist as if you were motioning to wipe the table surface.  The technical terms would be Ulnar Deviation and Radial Deviation.  However, in the pianistic sense it is not pure Ulnar Deviation and Radial Deviation, but includes wrist rotation on all three axes. 

Also, what do you mean by flexibility of the palm?

The part of the hand between the wrist and knuckles needs to remain flexible, elastic and supple.  If the palm becomes too rigid it can restrict the fingers ability to articulate, cause unnecessary tension in the playing mechanism, and also create a disconnect between the transfer of energy from torso to the fingertips.  A rigid palm also tends to place undue focus on playing with just the fingers, as opposed to involving the whole arm. 

Have a look at pictures of hand anatomy, notice how the fingers extend into the palm.  We don't normally think of this because when we look at our palm we see a lot of fleshy bits.  A flexible palm sets our fingers up for maximal freedom of movement and ease of articulation. 


I also noticed during the ascending passages that your entire forearm, wrist and hand tends to shift upwards when you move toward the 5th finger then drop back down when you play with your thumb.  Try to use more wrist rotation to get your fingers in position as you move towards the 5th finger, rather than raising and dropping your entire arm. 


With regard to LH, here is a good opportunity to practice LH discipline.   A lot of long sustained notes.  Think slow practice tempo, with quick, snappy, and precise LH movements between notes.  The focus being what you do between notes.  Slowly moving between notes here may not seem like much of a concern, but can magnify into problems when bringing the piece up to tempo.  Don't drop your LH off the keyboard, it is not a good habit and can become ingrained if you are not careful.  The LH should always be preparing for the next note.  Again remember quick, snappy and precise.  The movement to the next note needs to be deliberate and focused.
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 lelle

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Re: Attempting Chopin etude op 10 no 1 - feedback request
«Reply #10 on: June 26, 2021, 08:39:04 PM »
Second video looks somewhat better than the first, but there is still a lot more relaxation needed in fingers, palms and wrists. It looks like your fingers are tensed/held ready to play when they need to be very relaxed. Your pinky is kind of pointing ahead to the next note, and your fourth is kind of held suspended in the air. Maybe your 3rd too. Can't really see what 1 and 2 are doing. It's easier to work on this Etude in person than trying to explain over text.

Offline ranjit

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Re: Attempting Chopin etude op 10 no 1 - feedback request
«Reply #11 on: June 27, 2021, 12:02:23 AM »
More of a lateral rotation as this piece is dealing with wide spaced chords.  The direction of movement could be described by placing your hand flat on a table, and rotating your wrist as if you were motioning to wipe the table surface.
Ah, I hadn't thought about using lateral rotation before. I can't think of any piece I encountered before that would have necessitated it, so it didn't immediately come to mind. Thanks for that!

The part of the hand between the wrist and knuckles needs to remain flexible, elastic and supple.  If the palm becomes too rigid it can restrict the fingers ability to articulate, cause unnecessary tension in the playing mechanism, and also create a disconnect between the transfer of energy from torso to the fingertips.  A rigid palm also tends to place undue focus on playing with just the fingers, as opposed to involving the whole arm. 
This gives me something to think about, which also seems to be generally applicable as a source of tension I had not considered in the past.

I also noticed during the ascending passages that your entire forearm, wrist and hand tends to shift upwards when you move toward the 5th finger then drop back down when you play with your thumb.  Try to use more wrist rotation to get your fingers in position as you move towards the 5th finger, rather than raising and dropping your entire arm. 
It makes sense now in the context of using lateral wrist rotation. Earlier, I would just use forearm rotation for everything.

With regard to LH, here is a good opportunity to practice LH discipline.   A lot of long sustained notes.  Think slow practice tempo, with quick, snappy, and precise LH movements between notes.  The focus being what you do between notes.
Yes, I am gradually learning to get better at recognizing these things as well. I used to be quite content with just being able to execute a passage, but I'm thinking more closely now about economy of motion and how to improve the reliability of passages.

It looks like your fingers are tensed/held ready to play when they need to be very relaxed. Your pinky is kind of pointing ahead to the next note, and your fourth is kind of held suspended in the air.
My fourth is usually suspended in that way, and I'm not really sure if it's a source of tension. Maybe I've been doing it wrong all along, but it does naturally seem to fall into that position. I also have a wide stretch between 4 and 5, which make octaves etc. look more uncomfortable on video than they actually are. I didn't quite feel like my fingers were tense (at least none of it was manifested in pain or discomfort after an hour of constant practice), but it's likely that I don't know true relaxation yet.

Offline ranjit

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Re: Attempting Chopin etude op 10 no 1 - feedback request
«Reply #12 on: July 13, 2021, 09:52:09 AM »


I've been working on this etude on and off. It feels a bit better now, and I would really appreciate it if you could let me know how it looks! I feel like I may be missing something, but it's hard to pin down.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Attempting Chopin etude op 10 no 1 - feedback request
«Reply #13 on: July 14, 2021, 10:34:53 PM »
You should scrutinize how to practice it with more rapid tempo but with controlled pauses spotted throughout as required, perhaps even apply rhythmic alterations. The max and min points of the Rh feels like you are still doing a bit of calculation which sometimes produces correcting movements which are disruptive and unhelpful. You can always fast foward your video and see if your slower movements look appropriate.

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Offline ranjit

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Re: Attempting Chopin etude op 10 no 1 - feedback request
«Reply #14 on: July 14, 2021, 11:02:43 PM »
You should scrutinize how to practice it with more rapid tempo but with controlled pauses spotted throughout as required, perhaps even apply rhythmic alterations. The max and min points of the Rh feels like you are still doing a bit of calculation which sometimes produces correcting movements which are disruptive and unhelpful. You can always fast foward your video and see if your slower movements look appropriate.
Thank you! I see what you mean by correcting movements, and I plan to use rhythmic alterations as well.

Offline ranjit

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Re: Attempting Chopin etude op 10 no 1 - feedback request
«Reply #15 on: July 23, 2021, 10:02:27 AM »


I feel like I've improved quite a bit in this video. I would really appreciate some feedback, thanks!

ETA. Thanks everyone for all of your feedback. It has been really helpful. While I don't expect to get this to performance standard anytime soon, it has been a great learning experience, and I think I've reached farther than I initially expected.

Offline anacrusis

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Re: Attempting Chopin etude op 10 no 1 - feedback request
«Reply #16 on: July 23, 2021, 10:27:03 PM »


I feel like I've improved quite a bit in this video. I would really appreciate some feedback, thanks!

ETA. Thanks everyone for all of your feedback. It has been really helpful. While I don't expect to get this to performance standard anytime soon, it has been a great learning experience, and I think I've reached farther than I initially expected.

I react to the fact that you mess up quite a lot. To make more progress, you need to practise at a tempo where you make no mistakes. Don't push the tempo until you can play the whole thing through cleanly at your current tempo. You can experiment with a faster tempo in one arpeggio to find the technique, but don't practise messing up. It'll make it more difficult to develop the technique.

Offline quantum

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Re: Attempting Chopin etude op 10 no 1 - feedback request
«Reply #17 on: July 26, 2021, 10:22:03 PM »


I feel like I've improved quite a bit in this video. I would really appreciate some feedback, thanks!

ETA. Thanks everyone for all of your feedback. It has been really helpful. While I don't expect to get this to performance standard anytime soon, it has been a great learning experience, and I think I've reached farther than I initially expected.

The articulation is much improved here.   There is better evenness of tone with more assured tone production.  Your RH wrist and palm can still use more flexibility. 

I think the note errors and hesitations are not from the difficulty of the RH part, but rather because you are unsure of what chord comes next.  You have a good idea of techniques the RH requires, now you need to work on the harmonic progression of the passages.  You need to know the next harmony, how to get there, what shape your hand needs to take, what distance the LH has to jump, all before you reach the point of needing to play the new harmony.  Know where you need to go. 

In these kind of pieces sometimes the workflow distribution is deceptive.  We may perceive that the RH part is difficult, so we divert lots of attention to it, sometimes too much attention that it distracts us from other aspects, such as knowing what comes next.  For these repetitive RH patterns, once the pattern is established, one can divert mental attention towards the next harmony.  It really is this large harmonic progression that drives the piece forward, so it is rather an important element. 

There are long periods of repetitive technical patterns, punctuated by short instances where many things change at the same instant.  We need allow our mind to prepare in advance for those instants of change.  Know what the next chord is, before you get to that point.

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 ranjit

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Re: Attempting Chopin etude op 10 no 1 - feedback request
«Reply #18 on: July 27, 2021, 06:28:02 AM »
I react to the fact that you mess up quite a lot. To make more progress, you need to practise at a tempo where you make no mistakes. Don't push the tempo until you can play the whole thing through cleanly at your current tempo. You can experiment with a faster tempo in one arpeggio to find the technique, but don't practise messing up. It'll make it more difficult to develop the technique.
Thanks for the advice! I'm trying to focus more on the technique than on the tempo or right/wrong notes.

Offline ranjit

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Re: Attempting Chopin etude op 10 no 1 - feedback request
«Reply #19 on: July 27, 2021, 06:35:09 AM »
The articulation is much improved here.   There is better evenness of tone with more assured tone production.  Your RH wrist and palm can still use more flexibility. 
Thanks! Yes, I had been working really hard on getting the articulation and tone production better.  I've been trying to focus on that, and it's proving extremely difficult to master.

I think the note errors and hesitations are not from the difficulty of the RH part, but rather because you are unsure of what chord comes next.  You have a good idea of techniques the RH requires, now you need to work on the harmonic progression of the passages.  You need to know the next harmony, how to get there, what shape your hand needs to take, what distance the LH has to jump, all before you reach the point of needing to play the new harmony.  Know where you need to go. 
Actually, I find the right hand technique to be difficult. I'm only able to play like I do in the video after some hundred tries, after which my fingers get more used to the feel of the passages. I'm not too worried about the harmonic progression, as I basically already have it memorized. The problem is with the technique. I know roughly which position my hands need to take, but I can't get it to work properly and end up with missed notes because there is something impeding the motion which is causing it to not come out as effortlessly as it should. It's a bit of a crazy piece to tackle at my level, I presume. I'm pretty sure something is off with the wrist motion or some other fine movement, which isn't resulting in the perfect "balance".