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Chopin etudes by difficulties (Read 2720 times)

Offline chopinisque

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Chopin etudes by difficulties
« on: February 10, 2005, 09:30:24 AM »
No one can seem to agree on the order of etude difficulties here and I've found it very confusing, especially when someone says this and that are easy and then the next poster claims they are really hard... etc.  So, I'll request instead for a list of etudes accompanied by their technical and musical difficulties.  If there is already such a list, please point me to it.  Thanks in advance.
Mad about Chopin.

Sheet music to download and print: Etudes by Chopin



Offline kilini

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Re: Chopin etudes by difficulties
«Reply #1 on: February 10, 2005, 09:32:21 AM »
I second Chopinisque.

Offline lenny

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Re: Chopin etudes by difficulties
«Reply #2 on: February 10, 2005, 10:24:12 AM »
yes, it is really a rather subjective question, and the difficulty often depends upon strengths and weaknesses of the individual's technique.

and whilst some are actually relatively easy to 'learn the notes' , such as 10/2, 25/6 and 25/12 - they are actually very difficult to perfect.

talking from experience - the 25/12 is relitavely easy to learn the arpeggio patterns - but where the real difficulty comes in is getting it up to speed, accurate, and especially dynamics and ENDURANCE above all.

i think this is the most physically exhausting chopin etude of all, especially if played like cziffra, his power is amazing.
love,peace,hope,fresh coconuts

Offline Hmoll

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Re: Chopin etudes by difficulties
«Reply #3 on: February 10, 2005, 05:29:48 PM »
No one can seem to agree on the order of etude difficulties here and I've found it very confusing, especially when someone says this and that are easy and then the next poster claims they are really hard... etc.  

That's because there's nothing to agree on. It's all subjective. Some people have great octave, or great thirds, or more supple wrist, or arpeggios, etc.

It's impossible to rank them aside from saying that certain of the etudes are generally accepted as easier than others: Op25#1, Op25#2, Op10#5, Op10#6... Even there some people might have more trouble with them than with some of the so-called most difficult ones - Op25#11, Op10#2,etc.

Look at the description in Hinson's book, or the Cortot edition of the etudes for more detail on the specific musical/technical problems of each.
"I am sitting in the smallest room of my house. I have your review before me. In a moment it will be behind me!" -- Max Reger

Offline steinwaymodeld

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Re: Chopin etudes by difficulties
«Reply #4 on: February 10, 2005, 09:12:15 PM »
Op.10 No.1 is very easy to learn the notes, but very hard to perform.
Should be one of the hardest etude to play.
I know some concert Pianists can't play it.
Perfection itself is imperfection - Vladimir Horowitz

Offline lenny

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Re: Chopin etudes by difficulties
«Reply #5 on: February 11, 2005, 12:10:45 AM »
yes - its another endurance etude - very hard to maintain break-neck tempo!

i think any concert pianist can play it - i think they may just have very high standards

like horowitz said it was impossible...ummmmm he was wrong, he just couldnt play it to his concieved high standard.
love,peace,hope,fresh coconuts

Offline chopinisque

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Re: Chopin etudes by difficulties
«Reply #6 on: February 11, 2005, 01:07:02 AM »


That's because there's nothing to agree on. It's all subjective. Some people have great octave, or great thirds, or more supple wrist, or arpeggios, etc.

It's impossible to rank them aside from saying that certain of the etudes are generally accepted as easier than others: Op25#1, Op25#2, Op10#5, Op10#6... Even there some people might have more trouble with them than with some of the so-called most difficult ones - Op25#11, Op10#2,etc.

That's why I asked for difficulties instead.  That way, the next person who comes along could rank the etude's difficulty level for themselves.
Mad about Chopin.

Offline lenny

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Re: Chopin etudes by difficulties
«Reply #7 on: February 11, 2005, 01:12:28 AM »
op10/1 stretches in arpeggios, wrist movement, finger 'expansion and contraction'

its also extremely physically stressful to play and demands great endurace
love,peace,hope,fresh coconuts

Offline Hamfast

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Re: Chopin etudes by difficulties
«Reply #8 on: February 11, 2005, 07:55:28 AM »
I think, the most hard to perfect perform is 25/6.
I do not know how Cziffra gets his tempo :o :o :o :o
The piano is an orchestra with 88...... things, you know.

Offline lenny

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Re: Chopin etudes by difficulties
«Reply #9 on: February 11, 2005, 07:59:36 AM »
http://e60m5.ath.cx/koji.wmv

i found this video, ask him how he gets his tempo ;)
love,peace,hope,fresh coconuts

Offline piano88

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Re: Chopin etudes by difficulties
«Reply #10 on: February 12, 2005, 02:12:18 AM »
They're all very difficult for different reasons. Chopin didn't write them so they'd be easy. Even something like op. 10 no. 3 is a challenge. But for different reasons than say, 25 no. 11 etc etc. Learn em all!!

Offline lenny

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Re: Chopin etudes by difficulties
«Reply #11 on: February 12, 2005, 03:12:42 AM »
yes,along with liszt's etudes , the chopin etudes are really the passport to mastering the majority of piano techniques
love,peace,hope,fresh coconuts

Offline steinwayguy

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Re: Chopin etudes by difficulties
«Reply #12 on: February 13, 2005, 06:38:27 AM »
*sigh*
I'm going to do it by opuses because I don't want to compare between the two, except for the "easiest" etude and the "hardest" etude, overall.

Opus 10 (easiest to most difficult)
6, voicing, tedious legato
9, left hand stretches
3, voicing, stretches in both hands with sixths
5, lightness and rotation of the right hand
10, rotation, phrasing
11, right hand stretches
12, evenness of the left hand
8, passing the thumb in the right hand
4, high-speed phrasing, weight distribution, tons of different techniques needed to play this etude, one of the most diversely difficult
1, fluent, horizontal arm motion, articulation, awkward in some places, and in all places if you have small hands
7, alternating action of the right hand, practice by pulsing and filling in
2, independence of the 3rd, 4th and 5th fingers, meaning there isn't much in the way of an arm motion to help you out with this etude

Opus 25 (easiest to most difficult)
3, trills are difficult, that's it
1, evenness of tone, long phrasing
7, the most interpretively difficult etude, great demands in voicing, tone and different phrasings in either hand
2, lightness, rotation, one must have a really good head to play this etude- hard rhythmically
9, maintaining a supple wrist throughout (which is only about a minute long)
5, 2-1 action in RH, lightness of attack
12, cleanliness and huge sonority, must be musically mature to understand the magnitude of this etude
8, just plain nasty
10, endurance, extremely hard to maintain legato octaves throughout (and yes, you're supposed to play them legato)
11, lots of rotation in this etude, most complain of endurance, also lightness
4, terrifying left hand jumps
6, lightness, very, very difficult to perfect the arm action in this etude and get up to speed

Most difficult to perform: Op. 25 No. 4, Op. 10 No. 1
Most difficult: Op. 10 No. 2, Op. 25 No. 6, Op. 10 No. 7, Op. 25 No. 4
Most necessary to master (no order): Op. 10 (No. 1, 2, 4, 8 ), Op. 25 (No. 2, 7, 10, 11)

If you are going to play only three Chopin etudes, play Op. 10 No. 4, 8 and Op. 25 No. 2


Offline chopinisque

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Re: Chopin etudes by difficulties
«Reply #13 on: February 13, 2005, 07:16:28 AM »
Thank you, SteinwayGuy.

I was starting to despair for this thread because it was getting really sidetracked. 
Mad about Chopin.

Offline lenny

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Re: Chopin etudes by difficulties
«Reply #14 on: February 13, 2005, 11:37:26 AM »
whats that 8) chopin etude? it looks really cool!

i think 25/8 is one of the hardest, it looks painful to play
love,peace,hope,fresh coconuts

Offline steinwayguy

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Re: Chopin etudes by difficulties
«Reply #15 on: February 14, 2005, 04:22:57 AM »
whats that 8) chopin etude? it looks really cool!

i think 25/8 is one of the hardest, it looks painful to play

the 8) was supposed to be "8" followed by ")", but it turned into a smiley face.


It (25/8) is painful.

Offline lenny

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Re: Chopin etudes by difficulties
«Reply #16 on: February 14, 2005, 11:47:06 PM »
and 10/7 looks very interesting on DVD, it looks like each right hand note is played with wrist motion.
love,peace,hope,fresh coconuts

Offline doug

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Re: Chopin etudes by difficulties
«Reply #17 on: February 16, 2005, 01:30:21 AM »
http://e60m5.ath.cx/koji.wmv

i found this video, ask him how he gets his tempo ;)


Does anyone know if the piece played in the opening of this link is from an actual published piece or just improv???  It's a "touch" out of my league, but i'm still curious.

Offline lenny

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Re: Chopin etudes by difficulties
«Reply #18 on: February 16, 2005, 01:32:18 AM »
which one?

they are all pieces, the short 2 fast show off bits were chopin's 25/6(with the middle finger up), and 10/1

the rest are scriabin preludes.
love,peace,hope,fresh coconuts

Offline doug

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Re: Chopin etudes by difficulties
«Reply #19 on: February 16, 2005, 01:45:04 AM »
which one?

they are all pieces, the short 2 fast show off bits were chopin's 25/6(with the middle finger up), and 10/1

the rest are scriabin preludes.

Question answered...  Thanks lenny.

Offline lenny

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Re: Chopin etudes by difficulties
«Reply #20 on: February 16, 2005, 02:24:06 AM »


Question answered...  Thanks lenny.

always glad to be appreciated  :)
love,peace,hope,fresh coconuts

Offline steinwayguy

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Re: Chopin etudes by difficulties
«Reply #21 on: February 16, 2005, 06:36:28 AM »
and 10/7 looks very interesting on DVD, it looks like each right hand note is played with wrist motion.


It's because they are. The most efficient technique for Opus 10 No. 7 is commonly referred to as "alternating action". The first chord should be played with a downward stroke and the second chord is played because of a rebound created by the downward motion. And so on, every other chord.