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Topic: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1  (Read 926 times)

Offline clairedunz

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Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
on: March 22, 2023, 08:15:23 PM
Hi,
Iím Claire and Iím 11. Iíve been playing piano for 7 years and Iím at a ABRSM grade 8 level (level 10 in rcm).Iíve been wanting to learn Chopinís etude op 10 no 1 for awhile but donít know if itís suitable for my level and would like to get some input from others before committing to learning this piece.
I have pretty big hands for my age if that helps.

Offline ranjit

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #1 on: March 22, 2023, 09:57:02 PM
It's not suitable for someone who's at grade 8 ABRSM -- it's probably close to one of the hardest pieces out there. It's not a good idea to commit to the piece at this point. However, you can probably start working towards developing technique towards that goal.

Offline anacrusis

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #2 on: March 22, 2023, 10:10:40 PM
It's a very challenging Etude unless you have the fundamental technique needed down. I would recommend you tackle it with a teacher, if you're gonna do it.

Offline lelle

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #3 on: March 23, 2023, 10:09:32 PM
Definitly consult your teacher on this IMO. It's a very difficult etude and many things can go wrong.

Offline symphonicdance

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #4 on: March 27, 2023, 09:31:13 AM
Nothing wrong to self-learn and play for fun (but don't hurt yourself!). Also, not suitable as your own-choice piece for Grade 8/ARSM/DipBRSM exam.

Offline cuberdrift

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #5 on: March 28, 2023, 01:09:26 AM
Only you can answer this question. If you want to play it, then why not learn it - but if you decide to learn it, you should aim to get it up to performance (or recording) standards.

A mistake I used to make was keep studying super difficult pieces, get lazy midway, then switch to other pieces. Much better if you simply aim to get it up to performance standard.

Claudio Arrau was able to play all liszt transcendental etudes at your age.

Offline stringoverstrung

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #6 on: April 01, 2023, 09:28:18 PM
Hi,
Iím Claire and Iím 11. Iíve been playing piano for 7 years and Iím at a ABRSM grade 8 level (level 10 in rcm).Iíve been wanting to learn Chopinís etude op 10 no 1 for awhile but donít know if itís suitable for my level and would like to get some input from others before committing to learning this piece.
I have pretty big hands for my age if that helps.

If you decide to go for it, check out the cortot Chopin etudes edition de travail (very old books), they have great prep exercises especially for this etude!

Enjoy it you will learn it sooner than later!

Kr,
Gert

Offline robertus

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #7 on: April 02, 2023, 11:51:30 AM
I must say- it's definitely not a piece for an 11-year old girl. Unless you can stretch an eleventh easily! In fact, I think even most adult male professional concert pianists are too small/weak/inflexible to play this piece properly.

You should learn Op. 10, No 3, and Op. 25, No 1 and No. 2. They are also more beautiful and effective pieces.

Offline ranjit

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #8 on: April 03, 2023, 03:45:49 AM
You don't need such a large stretch to play this piece. You need to move very quickly between positions however. There might be one or two weird stretches, but most of the piece is very manageable in that regard. I don't think Chopin himself could stretch an eleventh.

Online brogers70

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #9 on: April 03, 2023, 10:58:47 AM
You don't need such a large stretch to play this piece. You need to move very quickly between positions however. There might be one or two weird stretches, but most of the piece is very manageable in that regard. I don't think Chopin himself could stretch an eleventh.

I agree. In fact I think that if somebody is stretching an eleventh to play this etude then they have not learned what the etude is meant to teach.

Offline lelle

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #10 on: April 03, 2023, 11:07:24 AM
I agree. In fact I think that if somebody is stretching an eleventh to play this etude then they have not learned what the etude is meant to teach.

Agree. I reach an octave comfortably, a 9th is fairly comfortable but I feel that I have opened my hands, and a 10th feels stretchy, but I could play this Etude all right. But I did need a lot of practice to keep it in shape.

EDIT: oops my tired brain thought an 11th was a 9th, and a 12th was a 10th

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #11 on: April 03, 2023, 04:54:04 PM
 
...Iíve been wanting to learn Chopinís etude op 10 no 1 for awhile but donít know if itís suitable for my level and would like to get some input from others before committing to learning this piece.
Instead of asking strangers who know nothing about you, go try it yourself. 100 people telling you why you should and shouldn't do it is meaningless compared to you actually trying to learn it and determining for yourself if it's worth the time spent.
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Offline robertus

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #12 on: April 03, 2023, 10:56:30 PM
You don't need such a large stretch to play this piece. You need to move very quickly between positions however. There might be one or two weird stretches, but most of the piece is very manageable in that regard. I don't think Chopin himself could stretch an eleventh.

Ha, ha! Moving your hands around and rotating the wrist is cheating, and missing the point of the study. You need to be able to grasp at least most of the arpeggios as solid chords. Remember, Chopin was exploring technical possibilities- not necessarily saying he had perfectly mastered them himself. Someone like Henselt would probably play this piece better than Chopin, I believe.

Stretch is not the same as size of hands. It can be developed- as gymnasts do..

I acknowledge that this is not a popular opinion  ;)

Online brogers70

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #13 on: April 03, 2023, 11:36:53 PM
Ha, ha! Moving your hands around and rotating the wrist is cheating, and missing the point of the study. You need to be able to grasp at least most of the arpeggios as solid chords. Remember, Chopin was exploring technical possibilities- not necessarily saying he had perfectly mastered them himself. Someone like Henselt would probably play this piece better than Chopin, I believe.

Stretch is not the same as size of hands. It can be developed- as gymnasts do..

I acknowledge that this is not a popular opinion  ;)

I agree that that is not a popular opinion. Indeed, it seems that most performers of this etude reject that opinion and act as though the etude was meant to teach you how to open and close your hand as you move your arm smoothly, rather than to lock you hand into an extended 11th spanning chord position - at least that's how it looks if you slow down their videos.

Offline ranjit

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #14 on: April 04, 2023, 12:46:31 AM
Stretch is not the same as size of hands. It can be developed- as gymnasts do..
I disagree. Stretch can't be developed much from what I've seen. I could always stretch a tenth and an eleventh was a bit much. Now I can more comfortably stretch an eleventh, but a twelfth will always be impossible for me as my hand is already at about a 180 degree angle at that point. So you can develop stretch to a few millimeters, sure, but I don't think that makes a tremendous difference.

Offline robertus

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #15 on: April 04, 2023, 07:22:07 AM
I disagree. Stretch can't be developed much from what I've seen. I could always stretch a tenth and an eleventh was a bit much. Now I can more comfortably stretch an eleventh, but a twelfth will always be impossible for me as my hand is already at about a 180 degree angle at that point. So you can develop stretch to a few millimeters, sure, but I don't think that makes a tremendous difference.

Yes, it can! I am of relatively average size (6'3") but can easily stretch a twelfth, because of doing stretching exercises. Here are some things to bear in mind:
- A lot of people can reach a tenth or eleventh, but they can't actually play confidently and strongly in this extended position. This is purely an issue of muscular development, which can be trained.
- Extension is not only the total span of the hand, but also the stretch between individual fingers. Most people will find they can stretch the between 2&3 and 3&4 much further if they use the other hand to help, but without assistance cannot stretch so far. Again, this can be resolved through training, as it is largely an issue of muscles.
- If you consider how far the legs of a person who can do the splits extend, you will see it is much further than a person who cannot. The same principle applies to the fingers. If gymnasts can learn to do the splits with their legs, pianists can learn to do them with their fingers.

We know that many of the 19th century pianists really practiced hard and systematically on finger extension.

I recommend trying Isidor Philip's Exercises for Extending the Fingers/i], and also the exercises given by Godowsky as preparations for his arrangement of Chopin's Op. 10, No.1


Offline ranjit

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #16 on: April 04, 2023, 08:48:31 AM
I am of relatively average size (6'3") but can easily stretch a twelfth, because of doing stretching exercises.
6'3" is not relatively average, and it's not surprising someone who is 6'3" can reach a twelfth. I get a feeling that this is a troll post.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #17 on: April 04, 2023, 12:26:22 PM
Yes stretch in this piece and don't move while playing the arpeggios positons, a good way to cause injury to your dumb self lol. Even if you can comfortably stretch in this piece you still would utilise movement otherwise you'd have rather jerky movements and more challenges to control the sound.
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Offline rubens99

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #18 on: April 04, 2023, 03:24:46 PM
I used to think that the earlier I learn a piece the better it will be in the long run. Now I actually think the opposite. When you learn a piece too early in your development there will be things you learn wrong, and there are bad habits that you will have to unlearn in order to master the piece, which is very difficult to do. There are many pieces that I believe I learned too early in my development, and I truly believe that I would play those pieces better nowadays if I had waited to be more advanced before tackling them.

Offline danesi

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #19 on: April 04, 2023, 08:47:36 PM
There are many pieces that I believe I learned too early in my development, and I truly believe that I would play those pieces better nowadays if I had waited to be more advanced before tackling them.

Funnily enough, for me, the piece I learned too early was Chopinís op. 10 no 1. So if the OP wants to take our advice, she might, because itís not a piece that is even close to ABRSM 8. (Of course, if you really want to learn it, go for it! I learned Chopin Concerto that way) I recommend learning Chopinís op. 25 no. 12 Etude if you really want to prepare for Waterfall. Itís not exactly the same mechanic as 10.1, but 25.12 definitely gives you a feel for high speed arpeggios and how to phrase them correctly.

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Offline droprenstein

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #20 on: April 08, 2023, 07:00:14 AM
I agree. In fact I think that if somebody is stretching an eleventh to play this etude then they have not learned what the etude is meant to teach.
yep.

Actually addressing the question, I would wait a bit. Though I strongly disagree with Ranjit's assessment as one of the hardest piano pieces(our lives would be so much easier if it was), it's not an easy task. The technique required(my primarily self-taught brain calls it "flying hand") to play 10/1 well is a hard technique to pin down. I can't stop you if you want to try it, but to get a better feel for a similar technique, try 25/12. It's not the same, but it does help to develop a pretty similar technique.

Offline ranjit

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #21 on: April 08, 2023, 08:57:13 AM
Actually addressing the question, I would wait a bit. Though I strongly disagree with Ranjit's assessment as one of the hardest piano pieces(our lives would be so much easier if it was), it's not an easy task.
It is one of the hardest pieces out there. The difficulty of a piece is not only determined by the difficulty of playing the notes somewhat in time, but also the difficulty of playing them consistently and keeping it up to a performance ready standard. Many of the great masters struggled with Chopin op 10 no 1 or Chopin op 10 no 2 and refused to play them in concert. You can be sure they could approximately play the piece, but not well enough. They are notoriously difficult, along with pieces like Chopin's thirds etude, Feux Follets, and so on.

Relative to op 10 no 1, the Chopin Ocean Etude is a very easy piece, imo. If you think both are of comparable difficulty, you're probably seeing the fast arpeggios but missing a lot of the nuances which make it a monster.

In a way, you could argue that some Godowsky study or Alkan ending is harder, but I don't think there really is that much of a difference at that level. All of these are pieces which you could study for your entire lifetime and still struggle with at some level, which makes them comparable in my view. While people think Liszt is harder, I feel like I would (hypothetically) much rather play the Mephisto Waltz or something similar rather than the Chopin op 10 no 1 in concert.

Offline droprenstein

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #22 on: April 09, 2023, 12:05:42 AM
It is one of the hardest pieces out there. The difficulty of a piece is not only determined by the difficulty of playing the notes somewhat in time, but also the difficulty of playing them consistently and keeping it up to a performance ready standard. Many of the great masters struggled with Chopin op 10 no 1 or Chopin op 10 no 2 and refused to play them in concert. You can be sure they could approximately play the piece, but not well enough. They are notoriously difficult, along with pieces like Chopin's thirds etude, Feux Follets, and so on.

Relative to op 10 no 1, the Chopin Ocean Etude is a very easy piece, imo. If you think both are of comparable difficulty, you're probably seeing the fast arpeggios but missing a lot of the nuances which make it a monster.

In a way, you could argue that some Godowsky study or Alkan ending is harder, but I don't think there really is that much of a difference at that level. All of these are pieces which you could study for your entire lifetime and still struggle with at some level, which makes them comparable in my view. While people think Liszt is harder, I feel like I would (hypothetically) much rather play the Mephisto Waltz or something similar rather than the Chopin op 10 no 1 in concert.
Again, I disagree. (Including but not limited to) the following things make 10/1 comparatively easy to me:
1: Length. Like other Chopin Etudes, it's short, making it much harder to exhaust yourself.
2: It only focuses on one technique(unless you count left hand octaves as a technique). While Liszt often shoves multiple techniques into one Etude, Chopin here strictly adheres to one. If you're good at this one technique, you'll be fine.
3: It's very easy to read. The left hand can be pinned down with one glance, and the RH is purely arpeggiated chords.
I'd even say that there are some Bach fugues more difficult than 10/1. Not even limited to the Art of Fugue, the WTC 1 C# minor fugue took me four times as long to play well as 10/1. I'd go as far to say that the claim that 10/1 holds a candle to(off the top of my head) Balakirev's Islamey, Gaspard de la Nuit, the Hammerklavier sonata, Brahms's Paganini and Handel Variations, and Liszt's Reminiscences Don Juan, is objectively incorrect. When compared to other Etudes, I suppose you could make an argument, but not one that I agree with.
I never said that 25/12 was at the same level as 10/1, I said that it was a good prerequisite piece to start developing a similar technique.

Offline robertus

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #23 on: April 09, 2023, 06:05:48 AM
It's an unpopular opinion- but Op 10. No. 1 IS, in fact, a study in finger extension, precisely as Op 28, No. 19 and No 24 are studies in extension.

Remember, when Chopin was writing, the concept of 'economy of movement' of movement was the norm and ideal (epitomized in the Clementi 'coin on the back of the hand' thing, and the Kalkbrenner 'wrist bar' were still current).

In the 19th century, people were much tougher, and understood that musical technique was essentially a matter of physical conditioning. This was the time when the physicality of piano technique was properly appreciated, i.e. practicing hard for 8 hours a day on weighted keyboard, as in Henselt, Liszt, Dreyshock, etc.

IMO (take it or leave it) playing Op 10, No 1 with the ugly and inelegant 'twisting and turning' approach is cheating. 

Offline robertus

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #24 on: April 09, 2023, 06:13:15 AM
It's an unpopular opinion- but Op 10. No. 1 IS, in fact, a study in finger extension, precisely as Op 28, No. 19 and No 24 are studies in extension.

Remember, when Chopin was writing, the concept of 'economy of movement' of movement was the norm and ideal (epitomized in the Clementi 'coin on the back of the hand' thing, and the Kalkbrenner 'wrist bar').

In the 19th century, people were much tougher, and understood that musical technique was essentially a matter of physical conditioning. This was the time when the physicality of piano technique was deeply appreciated, i.e. practicing hard for 8 hours a day on weighted keyboard, as in Henselt, Liszt, Dreyshock, etc. Musicians then were like 'strongmen' and gymnasts. Although Chopin himself was physically small, he was very flexible. And he himself admitted that other people (like Liszt) could play his studies much better than himself.

IMO (take it or leave it) playing Op 10, No 1 with the ugly and inelegant 'twisting and turning' approach is simple cheating. It reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the exalted vision and purpose of the work, which is nothing less than the capacity of the 'self to conquer the self'. It is difficult- and it is supposed to be difficult, transcendentally so...For it is a work inviting the student to many years of deep self-transformation and self-overcoming, a kind of musical kenosis...

Offline droprenstein

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #25 on: April 09, 2023, 06:55:54 AM
First of all, please avoid posting the same thing twice. There may have just been an issue.
Secondly, sure, not moving unless you have to, all for it. But overextending yourself in order to stay static is just objectively bad. Stretching exercises will only help up to the point where your 1st and 5th finger are parallel, and then you're done. For most people, that's around a 10th. For me with slightly above average hands, that's an 11th. There is physically no way to increase that. Unless stretching exercises can magically make your fingers longer, there is no point in continuing to do them. Moving before crossing is absolutely necessary for this etude, or some 99% of pianists will injure themselves. For the remaining 1% with extremely large hands like yourself, you can do what you want with it, but Chopin would not create an Etude to develop a technique that most people couldn't physically achieve. So no, rotating while playing this Etude is not cheating, it's the only possible way to do it unless your hands are the size of dinner plates.

Offline robertus

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #26 on: April 09, 2023, 09:13:53 AM
First of all, please avoid posting the same thing twice. There may have just been an issue.
Secondly, sure, not moving unless you have to, all for it. But overextending yourself in order to stay static is just objectively bad. Stretching exercises will only help up to the point where your 1st and 5th finger are parallel, and then you're done. For most people, that's around a 10th. For me with slightly above average hands, that's an 11th. There is physically no way to increase that. Unless stretching exercises can magically make your fingers longer, there is no point in continuing to do them. Moving before crossing is absolutely necessary for this etude, or some 99% of pianists will injure themselves. For the remaining 1% with extremely large hands like yourself, you can do what you want with it, but Chopin would not create an Etude to develop a technique that most people couldn't physically achieve. So no, rotating while playing this Etude is not cheating, it's the only possible way to do it unless your hands are the size of dinner plates.

The post appeared twice- I could not delete it, for some reason. As I said about my opinion, it's not a popular opinion (as your response shows)- but it is firmly supported by a historical awareness of attitudes and practices in Chopin's time.

Online brogers70

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #27 on: April 09, 2023, 01:07:09 PM
The post appeared twice- I could not delete it, for some reason. As I said about my opinion, it's not a popular opinion (as your response shows)- but it is firmly supported by a historical awareness of attitudes and practices in Chopin's time.

Some of those attitudes and practices were indeed present in Chopin's time, and they lead Robert Schumann to destroy his own hands. I'm not sure, though, that when Chopin talked about the hand moving like a violin bow while playing Opus 10/1 that he meant that the tendons should be stretched tight like the horsehairs on the bow. But perhaps the people disagreeing with you here are not really understanding exactly what you have in mind. So if you'd post a video of yourself playing the Etude in the manner you think better matches 19th century technique, then we'd have something more clear and concrete to discuss.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #28 on: April 09, 2023, 05:38:00 PM
There is no logical reason to hold the max and min points of the arpeggio and maintain the outer fingers above those. There must be efficient contraction and expansion of the hand while playing the arpeggios, merely using words like "stretch" is not even a complete answer, of course you must stretch but you also contract and relax the hand. If you are perpetually stretching the hand you are just going to die.
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Offline themeandvariation

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #29 on: April 09, 2023, 07:31:31 PM
Robertus - if we are to take your statement literally, the hand forever extended - as the Ideal way to approach this piece, which you say is a far more elegant movement of the hand - and that one must train oneself - because of the economy of movement..  To my mind, if we take your statement absolutely literally, that 'elegant' movement would appear ridiculous, especially on the ascending patterns, as the performer must keep the hand completely open when making the jump on the 2nd 16th of beats 2,3 and 4 (when ascending) many times throughout the piece, and the space of a 16th note at high speed to make the jump. (As in your method, there is No Contraction of the hand).  The performer would be as elegant as Frankenstein's arm having serious spasms.. 
But by all means, give it a go, we'd all love to see. Tallyho!
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Offline robertus

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #30 on: April 10, 2023, 03:50:16 AM
Robertus - if we are to take your statement literally, the hand forever extended - as the Ideal way to approach this piece, which you say is a far more elegant movement of the hand - and that one must train oneself - because of the economy of movement..  To my mind, if we take your statement absolutely literally, that 'elegant' movement would appear ridiculous, especially on the ascending patterns, as the performer must keep the hand completely open when making the jump on the 2nd 16th of beats 2,3 and 4 (when ascending) many times throughout the piece, and the space of a 16th note at high speed to make the jump. (As in your method, there is No Contraction of the hand).  The performer would be as elegant as Frankenstein's arm having serious spasms.. 
But by all means, give it a go, we'd all love to see. Tallyho!

Sure- I've put a very small demonstration on the "Performance" board, as it is perhaps straying from the original topic too much.

Offline c720lp

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #31 on: July 24, 2023, 05:21:12 AM
Yeah I agree with @RobertUs in terms of trying other etudes first if you havenít. 10-1 is one of the more difficult of the chopin etudes. Depending on what youíve played from the etudes so far, Iíd say start with 10-3(or just skip it if youíre past that) then nail some of the easier ones like 10-12 and 25-1. What I like to do whenever Iím going to learn a piece from a set is to pick about 5 that Iím interested in, then Iíll play each of them for a couple hours and then determine which one seems about the proper difficulty.

Offline vronsdean

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Re: Should I learn Chopin Etude op.10 no.1
Reply #32 on: August 01, 2023, 09:50:52 AM
I must say- it's definitely not a piece for an 11-year old girl. Unless you can stretch an eleventh easily! In fact, I think even most adult male professional concert pianists are too small/weak/inflexible to play this piece properly.
 

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