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Author Topic: Smooth melody in Chopin Etude Op. 25/No.1 "Aeolian Harp"  (Read 6962 times)
dk
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« on: May 19, 2005, 10:48:40 PM »

Hi,
among several other pieces, I'm currently learning Op. 25/No. 1 as an introduction to a twenty minutes long programme for the entry exam of our local conservatory. While the basical arm movement for the accompaniment notes works quite well, I still struggle with bringing the melody out as smooth as possible.

There are melody notes that are about an octave higher than the rest which require fast jumps back to the chord notes. I achieved the ability to hit them blindly at moderade speed by practising those measures with closed eyes. Though I hit them, they sound harsh and hammered as I can't stay at all on the upper (melody) key. It's a similar problem to Liszt's Liebestraum where the melody gets loud (E major was it, I think)...

does anybody have any advice on how to work on that matter? As this etude is widely considered as one of the easier ones, I have some hope of just having missed the right technique.. (currently, I'm doing a workaround and just play this note groups a bit rubato but it's still not satisfying..)
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piano sheet music of Etude
ted
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« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2005, 12:17:19 AM »

I do not find anything particularly "easy" about the piece. I just jump and fit the central accompaniment to the flow of the tune (and the bottom left hand notes too - they're important) rather than try to push the melody notes into the strict notation of the accompaniment. Once I woke up to that it turned out all right.
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"When I was young they said, 'Ah, wait until you are old, then you'll see.' Well, now I am old, and I have seen nothing." - Erik Satie
bernhard
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« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2005, 10:11:11 AM »

Yes, Ted is very right. However in order to accomplish what he suggested, you may find it useful to outline this piece before jumping in at the deep end.

What do I mean by outline? Simply get rid of all the arpeggio figurations and play only the melodic notes.

To illustrate it, here are the first few bars in outline (do the same for the whole piece):

.

This way the technical difficulty goes from very advanced to about grade 1 and you can concentrate solely on the technical means necessary to play the melody at its most expressive (but you must keep with the original fingering!).

Once this is accomplished, put the arpeggio figurations back on. You will find that you may have to modify your movements to account for the technique required to express the melody.


Best wishes,
Bernhard.
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The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)
quantum
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« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2005, 01:20:04 PM »

Ted is quite right in his description.  The notes don't have to be in strict time.  It is the melody outline what comes out and what you sould concentrate on.  When I play this piece I don't think of jumps, but rather 1 fluid motion from melody to accompaniment to melody, etc.  Think of an elipse rather than an rectangle when picturing the movment of your arm and wrist. 

Also when you are more comfortable with the piece, don't forget to shape the phrasing of the melody so it doesn't sound like a metronome ticking with every main beat. 

So there are different levels of activity going on:
The shape of the melody phrase,  and within that the shape of the accompaniment within a single melody note. 
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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
teresa_b
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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2005, 12:00:55 AM »

Hi all,

I played this and also wondered who thought it was so EASY!  Yikes.  I think everyone gave good advice.  I got some advice at the time that helped a bit--it was to move my arms such that the hands and elbows moved in and out from my body as I played (best I can describe it is in aeronautical terms, "yaw").  This helped with getting weight on the melodic line and the bass which are played with the pinkies.  As for the phrasing--difficult, but with practice...!

Good luck with this gorgeous piece!
Teresa

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