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Author Topic: Chopin's Ballade in g minor  (Read 2906 times)
amyesler
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« on: March 05, 2005, 05:47:06 PM »

I'm working on Chopin's Ballade in g minor and am having difficulty with the last section. If you've worked on the piece, you'll know which one I mean - the last wild section with ascending and descending broken chords. Any tips on how to attain the highest level of speed and clarity in this section in particular? Any rubato suggested?
Thanks.
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piano sheet music of Ballade 1
SteinwayTony
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« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2005, 06:57:53 PM »

I've played this Ballade, and the coda is a devil.

However, I would suggest that there be no use of rubato in this section, so as not to dull the presto con fuoco.  You just need to hit those chords, and the more accurate you are, the faster it will sound. 

I suggest meticulous practice of the left hand, the primary troublemaker in the coda.  Practice flying off one chord and landing on the next.  When you start, don't worry about the actual notes of your destination (the second chord).  Just make sure your jumping technique is solid: stay close to the keys, and any lingering will cost you.
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dinosaurtales
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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2005, 07:09:43 PM »

I am also working on this ballade, and Steiway Tony is right - NO rubato - I am just digging into these two pages, and what I am focusing on is:

in the right hand, I am working on a smooth thumb under motion (sort of like the little section on the third page) so I can keep my hands low to the keyboard, and eventually will metronome it.

In the left hand, which really has the "melodic lines" to be brought out, I am working to keep my hands low, and bring out any lines.  The left hand needs to be big here. 

When I put them together so they are stable at least, I'll metronome it!

Good luck - this is a fun piece to work on, eh?
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So much music, so little time........
amyesler
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« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2005, 10:24:58 PM »

This is an incredible piece, no doubt, and lots of fun. I've been trying some solid chord work in this section in the RH just to speed up movement from one position to the next. A relaxed RH seems to be very important too, but thats a given.
Thanks for the advice.
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Alfonso Van Worden
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« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2005, 02:28:45 AM »

I´ve also played and it is difficult indeed! 

Carefull with the pedal in the coda!!

(have you heard Michelangeli´s and Gulda´s recording?)
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Music should not be "Ur-text" , it should be "Ur-spirit"            
                                         -Dinu Lipatti
jas
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« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2005, 06:25:47 PM »

My main problem with the presto con fuoco, apart from the obvious difficulty, was the fact that I couldn't watch both hands at the same time. I still sometimes hit the wrong note when my left hand has to jump down the keyboard and I'm watching my right.
Just practice, practice, practice. It'll come. When I tried it for the first time I really believed it was physically impossible -- it doesn't exactly fit under the hands well! -- but just do it slowly until you can manage both hands together, then gradually speed it up, not going so fast that you're hitting all the wrong notes. It'll get a million times easier if you keep at it steadily like that.

Jas
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chopin2256
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« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2005, 06:06:14 AM »

I offer a complete analysis of this piece on my website for those who are interested.  I am an expert with this piece.  Go to www.recordhall.com/forum and check out my analysis.

This is one of the most deceiving pieces because of this very hard last section.  You do not realize how hard it is until you play it.

Now to help you with the last part.  I am assuming the difficulty starts at measure 216. 

First thing to do is obviously get a good feel for the right hand.  The right hand is the problem, the left hand is cake.  However unfortunately, you will want to keep your eyes on your left hand, because it is doing more jumping, especially at presto pace.  Chopin was clever on the way he wrote this though.  The right hand is actually not to hard to play without looking, it falls comfortably on the keys, and they are simply just repeating.  The right hand contains all connecting notes, which is the reason why its not that hard to play without looking.  The left hand contains no connecting notes, which is the reason why you want to keep your eye on the left hand.

Coordinating the hands actually is relatively easy, and I am assuming thats not the issue.  If you have a hard time coordinating, make sure you know how this section sounds, it will become easier to coordinate if you know what to listen for. 

Though measures 216-237 you will only need to use the thumb, pointer, and pinky, for the most part. 

Difficulty probably will be playing the descending notes in the second half of each measure.  Going up is easy.  While descending, cross over your thumb, so you can do it without looking (meanwhile, you are looking at your left hand!)  Measure 220-221, 228-229 may be the hardest measures to play in this section.  For example, at measure 220, you may want to completely lift up your right hand after the ascending notes, and place your pinky on the F which is played with the C.  You may then want to play the entire chord (Eb, Ab, C, Eb) with the left hand, and this reduces alot of strain.  You can repeat this strategy for measures 221, 228 and 229 because these are similar.

One other thing that you need, is tons of "correct" practice on this section.  It took me probably 40 hours alone to almost master this part.  After you master this part though, your hands will be so agile, and your technique will greatly improve, especially for the G minor scale. 
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SteinwayTony
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« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2005, 04:19:35 PM »

I fail to see how your website does anything.

You can record MIDI with your "top of the line" studio?  Does the result sound better than if I were to do it on my "measly" desktop?  Am I missing something?
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chopin2256
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« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2005, 05:53:47 PM »

Quote
Does the result sound better than if I were to do it on my "measly" desktop?

correct
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SteinwayTony
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« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2005, 09:30:21 PM »

I'm sorry; it was meant to be a rhetorical question: MIDI is MIDI is MIDI.
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BoliverAllmon
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« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2005, 11:22:19 PM »

I'm sorry; it was meant to be a rhetorical question: MIDI is MIDI is MIDI.

agreed
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chopin2256
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« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2005, 11:43:10 PM »

I don't believe I asked for your opinion about my website services, so whats with the criticism?
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pianodude
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« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2005, 03:51:30 AM »

I also read your Ballade detail analysis. It does not explain or help on how to overcome technical difficulties of this piece.  Angry
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dinosaurtales
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« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2005, 06:21:18 AM »

OK.  I'll give my summary technical analysis:

Interpret the pedal markings as though it was actually a separate "cleff".  Some of the pedal markings are quite obvious, like on the first page.  Some of the later sections, however, it's tempting to pedal more frequently than is marked.  When just learning the piece, and going slow, it sounds too "mushy" so I tend to add pedal-ups, but they are NOT marked that way.  I trust it will sound appropriate when it's all up toi speed!

The LEFT HAND is VERRRRRRY important throughout this piece!

Fancy analysis, huh?
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So much music, so little time........
chopin2256
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« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2005, 01:07:57 AM »

Quote
I also read your Ballade detail analysis. It does not explain or help on how to overcome technical difficulties of this piece.

In this topic, I specifically wrote how to overcome technical difficulties for the last section, which is the hardest part of the piece.  I was just responding to the question posted by by amyesler.  I also posted my link to my own analysis of the Ballade in G minor just for fun since we were already on this topic.  Its just as a summary as to what the music is saying in my opinion. 
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