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Topic: Best age or time to complete learning Chopin Etude (both op. 10 and op. 25)  (Read 2423 times)

Offline julytwenty

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For intermediate/serious student. Thanks

Offline lelle

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Does it really matter? Like, what would you do if the best age was a younger age than yourself? Or older? I'd say the best age to learn them is whatever age you are when you have developed enough technically that you are ready for them.

Offline julytwenty

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Least learning curve for younger age who has less bad habits

Offline lelle

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Probably, yes. Assuming the prerequisite level of technique has been reached.

Offline fftransform

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Nobody 'has to' complete these unless their teacher makes them, it's not some prerequisite to being a great pianist.  Many top pianists didn't learn many of them.  You should have a few of the tough ones (selected from 10-1/2/4/7/8, 25-6/8/10/11) in your pocket for competitions if you wanna do that, including at least one double-notes one.  You might also be asked to perform one of the 'lyrical'/'easy' ones so pick your fav among those three as well.  But other than that, you're good, just learn them when you want as if they were any other piece of music.  Basically just part of your standard 'prelim rep': a Bach P&F, a Liszt Etude, a classical era sonata, a Debussy prelude etc.

IMO (and I'm defo not an expert, these are mostly beyond my capacity to make sound good) the 25-6 is probably the one worth studying early.  Some pianists get it down alright after a few weeks, but it's well-known for taking others a very long time to get sounding right.  It has quite a reputation for that.  I think 10-2 is similarly one that people get bogged down on for a long time, they just take time to work up for most.

Offline nightwindsonata

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Nobody 'has to' complete these unless their teacher makes them, it's not some prerequisite to being a great pianist.  Many top pianists didn't learn many of them.  You should have a few of the tough ones (selected from 10-1/2/4/7/8, 25-6/8/10/11) in your pocket for competitions if you wanna do that, including at least one double-notes one.  You might also be asked to perform one of the 'lyrical'/'easy' ones so pick your fav among those three as well.  But other than that, you're good, just learn them when you want as if they were any other piece of music.  Basically just part of your standard 'prelim rep': a Bach P&F, a Liszt Etude, a classical era sonata, a Debussy prelude etc.

IMO (and I'm defo not an expert, these are mostly beyond my capacity to make sound good) the 25-6 is probably the one worth studying early.  Some pianists get it down alright after a few weeks, but it's well-known for taking others a very long time to get sounding right.  It has quite a reputation for that.  I think 10-2 is similarly one that people get bogged down on for a long time, they just take time to work up for most.

I second that. I learned the Op. 25 No. 6 in high school, and while I never really performed it for anyone (and I never would even now), it improved my technique and conception of the piano by leaps and bounds that I never would have made otherwise. Because of that study, and I am comfortable with thirds (and double-notes in general) in most of my repertoire, while some other techniques challenge me a lot more.
1st-year Master's Program:
- Ravel Piano Concerto
- Liszt Ricordanza
- Liszt 3 Liebestraums
- Liszt 3 Sonnets

- Rhapsody in Blue
- Dante Sonata
- Schubert Sonata D.780
- Mozart Piano Quartet in Gm

Offline lelle

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Nobody 'has to' complete these unless their teacher makes them, it's not some prerequisite to being a great pianist.  Many top pianists didn't learn many of them.  You should have a few of the tough ones (selected from 10-1/2/4/7/8, 25-6/8/10/11) in your pocket for competitions if you wanna do that, including at least one double-notes one.  You might also be asked to perform one of the 'lyrical'/'easy' ones so pick your fav among those three as well.  But other than that, you're good, just learn them when you want as if they were any other piece of music.  Basically just part of your standard 'prelim rep': a Bach P&F, a Liszt Etude, a classical era sonata, a Debussy prelude etc.

IMO (and I'm defo not an expert, these are mostly beyond my capacity to make sound good) the 25-6 is probably the one worth studying early.  Some pianists get it down alright after a few weeks, but it's well-known for taking others a very long time to get sounding right.  It has quite a reputation for that.  I think 10-2 is similarly one that people get bogged down on for a long time, they just take time to work up for most.

I do think there is value in learning all of them. If you can play all of them comfortably you are safe to say you have solved a lot of the basic problems of technique. They're like a technique bible in a way. I cannot see how that wouldn't benefit your playing across the board.

Offline fftransform

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I mean sure I guess there is some value in learning them.  But there is, similarly, some value in learning basically any technical piece ever written.  Does learning Chopin 25-4 make it easier to learn Rach 33-8?  Nah.  Does learning Chopin 10-7 make learning Feux Follets easier?  Nah.  I don't think they actually translate so much.  No more reason to learn the Chopin Etudes than the Liszt, Rachmaninov, Scriabin, Alkan etc.

If there is some piece that is so similar to a Chopin Etude at some point, then either learn it in the etude or learn it in the piece you wanna play, but why do both?

Offline lelle

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I mean sure I guess there is some value in learning them.  But there is, similarly, some value in learning basically any technical piece ever written.  Does learning Chopin 25-4 make it easier to learn Rach 33-8?  Nah.  Does learning Chopin 10-7 make learning Feux Follets easier?  Nah.  I don't think they actually translate so much.  No more reason to learn the Chopin Etudes than the Liszt, Rachmaninov, Scriabin, Alkan etc.

If there is some piece that is so similar to a Chopin Etude at some point, then either learn it in the etude or learn it in the piece you wanna play, but why do both?

I don't think any specific Chopin Etude will help you play certain other pieces. But I do believe all the Etudes as a whole provide a very solid foundation for some of the basic problems in technique. If you can play Op 10 and 25 with comfort you'll have mastered these foundations.

Offline thirtytwo2020

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I mean sure I guess there is some value in learning them.  But there is, similarly, some value in learning basically any technical piece ever written. 

I'm a bit disturbed by the fact that this discussion treats the Etudes as if they only were some kind of collective homework or technical duty for aspiring pianists.

There is certainly value in learning these pieces – which can't be measured in how much it will benefit your technical prowess or how far it will take you in a piano competition. There is that side to it also for sure, but don't you think the artistic value of these works is what matters most? For me, so many of them are right up there with the best pieces ever written for the piano.

Offline fftransform

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I'm a bit disturbed by the fact that this discussion treats the Etudes as if they only were some kind of collective homework or technical duty for aspiring pianists.

There is certainly value in learning these pieces – which can't be measured in how much it will benefit your technical prowess or how far it will take you in a piano competition. There is that side to it also for sure, but don't you think the artistic value of these works is what matters most? For me, so many of them are right up there with the best pieces ever written for the piano.

Well that's what I said at the outset, to just treat them like any other piece.  So yes, the value as music is top to me . . . but I wouldn't go so far as to say they're truly incredible pieces, for the most part.  I think the Liszt and Rach sets are all substantially more musical - as are Chopin's own Preludes.

Offline nightwindsonata

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I'm a bit disturbed by the fact that this discussion treats the Etudes as if they only were some kind of collective homework or technical duty for aspiring pianists.

There is certainly value in learning these pieces – which can't be measured in how much it will benefit your technical prowess or how far it will take you in a piano competition. There is that side to it also for sure, but don't you think the artistic value of these works is what matters most? For me, so many of them are right up there with the best pieces ever written for the piano.

The problem is not that they aren't beautiful or worthy of performance, they are, it's just that they are so difficult to pull off in a concert setting that most pianists prefer to have their "one" that they do, and play the other ones for study. Of course, the artistry built into the pieces makes studying them substantially more enjoyable than, say, a Czerny etude, because they were still written by Chopin, but in my opinion the set as a whole is at its most effective when studied privately for oneself. I only personally know one pianist who has performed the whole set (Frederich Chiu), and while some others have done it as well (Valentina Lisitsa, Murray Perahia), it is generally not something that is done.
1st-year Master's Program:
- Ravel Piano Concerto
- Liszt Ricordanza
- Liszt 3 Liebestraums
- Liszt 3 Sonnets

- Rhapsody in Blue
- Dante Sonata
- Schubert Sonata D.780
- Mozart Piano Quartet in Gm

Offline lelle

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The problem is not that they aren't beautiful or worthy of performance, they are, it's just that they are so difficult to pull off in a concert setting that most pianists prefer to have their "one" that they do, and play the other ones for study. Of course, the artistry built into the pieces makes studying them substantially more enjoyable than, say, a Czerny etude, because they were still written by Chopin, but in my opinion the set as a whole is at its most effective when studied privately for oneself. I only personally know one pianist who has performed the whole set (Frederich Chiu), and while some others have done it as well (Valentina Lisitsa, Murray Perahia), it is generally not something that is done.

Cortot used to tour with a program consisting of the 24 Chopin Etudes Op. 10 and Op. 25 and the 24 Preludes Op. 28.

Offline arda152

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Cortot used to tour with a program consisting of the 24 Chopin Etudes Op. 10 and Op. 25 and the 24 Preludes Op. 28.

Impressive, but when you listen to the recordings, then maybe he should have chosen just one and practiced it enough  ;D ;D ;D

But I am being annoying. These are some of the most beautiful and colorful renditions of the etudes out there.

Offline lelle

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Impressive, but when you listen to the recordings, then maybe he should have chosen just one and practiced it enough  ;D ;D ;D

But I am being annoying. These are some of the most beautiful and colorful renditions of the etudes out there.

I'm endlessly fascinated by Cortot's wrong notes and have spent what probably is an embarrassingly large amount of time researching the question.  ;D Because behind the numerous little smudges there clearly is a highly capable technique at work, judging from the speed he is able to tear stuff off with apparent ease (except the occasional wrong note) without sacrificing musical elasticity and all with beautiful tone.

Some factors based on anecdotes I have read that might have contributed, probably in some sort of combination:
* Cortot's body was aging. When he first recorded the complete Etudes he was already 56, and the second time 65. He is known to have suffered from Parkinson's, arthritis, cataracts, poor eyesight and other physical ailments during the last decade or two of his life, so it's not too much of a stretch to imagine that some of these things may have started affecting his abilities to some degree at 56, and certainly at 65.
* Cortot was a busy man and didn't practise "enough" to polish every piece to technical perfection. Anecdotally, Cortot practised three to four hours in the morning, including purely technical work, while maintaining a large repertoire with hours of music. Once pieces were learned, he played them with the technical form he was in that particular day. There is an anecdote from one of his students who went to a summer course he taught and stalked outside Cortot's house every day to hear how he practiced . At the end of the course Cortot played some concerts with a bunch of repertoire - none of which he had practiced during the summer. ("Why would he? It was repertoire."). Likewise, he rarely requested to practice at the studio before making recordings.
* Cortot was high-strung and didn't perform at his best in front of a mic. Also, before concerts he could get very anxious, cold hands etc. Artur Schnabel apparently found recording nerve wracking and grueling, sometimes being reduced to tears. When you recorded at that time, you had to record in 4-5 minute segments and could not edit, and you only had a couple of takes per session. When the mic turned on you had to get going. Many of Cortot's records are from 1st or 2nd takes, occasionally a higher number. The Etudes, for example, are recorded with one to three Etudes per take, depending on their lengths, with basically no break between them.
* As a somewhat related point, Cortot had access to a virtuoso technique but was uneven and could perhaps not summon his full powers at will. There are anecdotes how he could effortlessly sail through very difficult music only to make a great blunder in an easy passage moments later.
* Cortot didn't care about wrong notes because he prioritized other things. To him, playing it safe, playing carefully to avoid a wrong note dampens the musical expression and is a greater error than to play a wrong note. Apparently the recording engineers found this satisfactory as well, since they chose to issue takes with many wrong notes in them.

Here's an Op 10 no 5 from when he was a bit younger:



And an Op 25 no 11 :

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