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#1382118 - 02/24/10 05:27 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Orange Soda King]
bkthugs10214 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/05/09
Posts: 9
Loc: Brooklyn
Speaking of, does anyone have Cortot's edition of ballades in english?
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#1382289 - 02/24/10 09:34 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Orange Soda King]
Brandon_W_T Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/10
Posts: 1940
Loc: Omaha, Nebraska
For me working on No. 1, I can only comment on it.

It is most of all, a fairly easy piece.

But it has its challenges in there! For playing piano for almost 10 years, this song still proves to be a big challenge in those hard parts! Especially and most of all, the Presto Con Fucco (coda as I believe some call it)

The rest of it is coming together fairly well. Still needs work of course. But the first 1-4 or 5 pages is going pretty good and will soon start to become more clear and sound better.

___
I am still trying to open up with my new teacher. It has been 9 years with my first teacher! I was held back soo much and couldn't really let out my potential. But it is starting to really come together!
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#1382298 - 02/24/10 09:49 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Brandon_W_T]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19777
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Brandon_W_T
For me working on No. 1, I can only comment on it.
It is most of all, a fairly easy piece.....

...........NOT. smile

Absolutely not.
If anything truly truly believes it's "easy," I can just about guarantee you that you're not doing a lot of what most people would feel the piece needs.

Because doing that is very, very hard.

If you mean just sort of playing the notes, especially if it's below the usual tempos, well okay, maybe. But I didn't think that's what we're talking about.

Just to give one example: Those scales at the end.
I can see that someone might say, it's just scales.

It's not.

To do any semblance of the musical and dramatic things that are needed with those scales is very, very hard. Even for the very most advanced pianists it's not "easy" -- it's still always a challenge.

Stuff like this makes my skin stand on end. ha
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1382301 - 02/24/10 09:56 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Mark_C]
Brandon_W_T Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/10
Posts: 1940
Loc: Omaha, Nebraska
Ok let me rephrase. ha

It has its easy sections. smile
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#1382303 - 02/24/10 09:57 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Brandon_W_T]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19777
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Brandon_W_T
Ok let me rephrase. ha
It has its easy sections. smile

Fair enough. smile
I'd still cringe a little at that, because IMO even the "easy" sections are extremely challenging, if we want to make something beautiful and interesting of them.

But at least it doesn't make my skin stand on end. ha
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1382320 - 02/24/10 10:16 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Mark_C]
Brandon_W_T Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/10
Posts: 1940
Loc: Omaha, Nebraska
Haha.

I have found it a challenge at first. But after really sitting down and working through it, I found it very, patternous (new word!) and -everything- fits together just so perfectly.
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Home -
1905 Story and Clark Art Case smile

--NEW!--- 1964ish Conn 640 vacuum tube theatre organ! (with leslie!) smile

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1998 Bedient (Built about 45 minutes from me!) 2m/pedal 24 rank Cavaille-Coll style pipe organ

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#1382325 - 02/24/10 10:24 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Brandon_W_T]
Butters109 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/12/09
Posts: 207
It's deceptively difficult. There are a few parts that I still can't get just right, even after a lot of work. Those last two scales are VERY difficult if you want to play them at speed, the last one especially... keeping both hands totally in sync, and keeping them a tenth apart is a real challenge. The octaves... not so much (at least to me). The presto con fuoco part of the coda is also extremely hard to play at tempo. The scherzo-ish section is also very difficult to play at speed while remaining light. There are a few other really tricky spots that take a lot more time than you'd expect... and they have to be surrounded by all of these extremely delicate passages that really push your musicality.

The point is, if you want to get out of the piece what was intended, its enormously difficult. It may not be so hard to pick it apart and play each part separately, but forming all of those parts into a cohesive idea with few technical mistakes is a large undertaking.

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#1382338 - 02/24/10 10:46 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Butters109]
Brandon_W_T Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/10
Posts: 1940
Loc: Omaha, Nebraska
Originally Posted By: Butters109
It's deceptively difficult. There are a few parts that I still can't get just right, even after a lot of work. Those last two scales are VERY difficult if you want to play them at speed, the last one especially... keeping both hands totally in sync, and keeping them a tenth apart is a real challenge. The octaves... not so much (at least to me). The presto con fuoco part of the coda is also extremely hard to play at tempo. The scherzo-ish section is also very difficult to play at speed while remaining light. There are a few other really tricky spots that take a lot more time than you'd expect... and they have to be surrounded by all of these extremely delicate passages that really push your musicality.

The point is, if you want to get out of the piece what was intended, its enormously difficult. It may not be so hard to pick it apart and play each part separately, but forming all of those parts into a cohesive idea with few technical mistakes is a large undertaking.



Thats what makes Chopin just that amazing to play, hear and feel. smile
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Home -
1905 Story and Clark Art Case smile

--NEW!--- 1964ish Conn 640 vacuum tube theatre organ! (with leslie!) smile

Grandmas- New Hyundai petite baby grand

Church (the organ I practice on)-
1998 Bedient (Built about 45 minutes from me!) 2m/pedal 24 rank Cavaille-Coll style pipe organ

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#1382396 - 02/25/10 01:10 AM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Brandon_W_T]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6343
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Reminder..... we need to stop using the "S" word when referring to a piano composition smirk


Edited by carey (02/25/10 01:19 AM)
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#1382398 - 02/25/10 01:17 AM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: carey]
Googlism Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/08/02
Posts: 1072
Loc: Toronto
I have yet to see a set of compositions that parallel the popularity of Chopin's ballades. Some could argue that the two sets of his etudes are good as well, but there are some in there that are less popular and less heralded. Same with the nocturnes.
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#1382399 - 02/25/10 01:27 AM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Googlism]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6343
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: Googlism
I have yet to see a set of compositions that parallel the popularity of Chopin's ballades. Some could argue that the two sets of his etudes are good as well, but there are some in there that are less popular and less heralded. Same with the nocturnes.


While that may be true, there are only four Ballades compared to the 24 Etudes and approximately 20 Nocturnes.

And yes - some could argue that the Etudes and Nocturnes are good as well. smirk
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#1382657 - 02/25/10 12:09 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: carey]
Chopin4life Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/09
Posts: 194
Loc: UK
So would most of you say that the Ballades, if you took away the coda from each, are about the same difficulty?
_________________________
"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." - Frédéric Chopin

"Hats off gentlemen, a genius!" - Schumann on Chopin

"Chopin is the greatest of them all, for through the piano alone he discovered everything" - Debussy on Chopin


Venables & Son 152

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#1382663 - 02/25/10 12:16 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Chopin4life]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19777
Loc: New York
I don't think that's exactly true, but anyway why would we talk about how it is "taking away the coda"? I really don't get it.....
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#1382664 - 02/25/10 12:16 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: njalli]
Hedgeman26 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 72
Loc: Houston, TX
Have to strongly agree with Mark C and Butters...to play No. 1 with authority and beauty is far from an easy task. To just roughly play through for family and friends without too much concern for accurate dynamics, speed, and preciseness is one thing (can still manage to be a decent performance to untrained and non-critical ears)...but to get to actual performance quality is a whole other ballgame and can be very daunting to play with a critical audience in the background. Requires just so much musicianship. Anyways, just feel like there are ALWAYS small parts of any piece that can be thought of as "easy", and just cringe when I hear a piece is easy "except" for this section or that section. It can sometimes be just one or two "small" sections that take a piece from modestly playable to brutally difficult, and therefore the piece as a whole would have to be preoperly described as "brutally difficult". Not "easy" except for the...you get my point. Actually, I take that back...I don't think there is anything easy about the Kapustin concert etudes I am slowly, and I am mean slowly, trying to learn (if I could perform them at 1/10 Hamelin's quality I would feel some sort of success). It's like staring up at Everest and letting out a long sigh...at least for a humble amateur like myself.
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Currently learning/playing select pieces from Chopin, Liszt, Beethoven, and Kapustin

What use is knowledge if there is no understanding? (Stobaeus)

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#1382669 - 02/25/10 12:24 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Hedgeman26]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19777
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Hedgeman26
......To just roughly play through for family and friends without too much concern for accurate dynamics, speed, and preciseness is one thing (can still manage to be a decent performance to untrained and non-critical ears).....

That's the impression I've had of what people often mean here when they talk about how hard a piece is -- and I can't relate to it.

Quote:
.....but to get to actual performance quality is a whole other ballgame.....

That's what I think it means. Otherwise we're not talking about how hard the piece is, we're talking about how easy it is to sort of play the piece.

Quote:
.....It can sometimes be just one or two "small" sections that take a piece from modestly playable to brutally difficult....

My favorite example of that is Chopin's D-flat major Nocturne. It's not that hard, except for "that measure." ha
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1382670 - 02/25/10 12:25 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Mark_C]
Chopin4life Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/09
Posts: 194
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
I don't think that's exactly true, but anyway why would we talk about how it is "taking away the coda"? I really don't get it.....

There's nothing really to get. I was just wondering if the difficulty of the coda sort of defines the piece's difficulty in technical terms. Looks like it doesn't smile
_________________________
"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." - Frédéric Chopin

"Hats off gentlemen, a genius!" - Schumann on Chopin

"Chopin is the greatest of them all, for through the piano alone he discovered everything" - Debussy on Chopin


Venables & Son 152

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#1382673 - 02/25/10 12:30 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Chopin4life]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19777
Loc: New York
Right -- I don't think it does, but I could imagine people would think the opposite, especially for the 1st and 4th. But I think there's much in those pieces besides the codas that is more difficult than the other ballades.
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#1382675 - 02/25/10 12:38 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Chopin4life]
Hedgeman26 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 72
Loc: Houston, TX
"That's what I think it means. Otherwise we're not talking about how hard the piece is, we're talking about how easy it is to sort of play the piece." - Mark C

Exactly, to just play through FI for instance took me about 2 weeks, but to bring to performance quality (have recital in couple of weeks) with proper resepct given to every little nuance in dynamics has taken me an additional 2 months and I finally feel I am not just "faking" it (which by the way is very easy to do with FI and most non-critical listeners would hardly notice).

Anyways, guess I am getting off topic a bit, so back to the original question...I would place #4 at the top of "most challenging" ballade list, imo.
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Currently learning/playing select pieces from Chopin, Liszt, Beethoven, and Kapustin

What use is knowledge if there is no understanding? (Stobaeus)

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#1382678 - 02/25/10 12:44 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Mark_C]
Chopin4life Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/09
Posts: 194
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Right -- I don't think it does, but I could imagine people would think the opposite, especially for the 1st and 4th. But I think there's much in those pieces besides the codas that is more difficult than the other ballades.

OK, thank you. One of the reasons I thought this was because someone said on this thread (can't remember who):

'#3 - Definately not easy, but without the killer codas of the other 3'

I guess they didn't mean it how I interpreted it.
_________________________
"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." - Frédéric Chopin

"Hats off gentlemen, a genius!" - Schumann on Chopin

"Chopin is the greatest of them all, for through the piano alone he discovered everything" - Debussy on Chopin


Venables & Son 152

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#1382692 - 02/25/10 12:59 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Hedgeman26]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19777
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Hedgeman26
.....to just play through FI for instance took me about 2 weeks, but to bring to performance quality (have recital in couple of weeks) with proper resepct given to every little nuance in dynamics has taken me an additional 2 months....

Pardon my ignorance but what's "FI"?
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1382695 - 02/25/10 01:01 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Mark_C]
Hedgeman26 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 72
Loc: Houston, TX
Sorry Mark...Fantasie Impromptu. Feeble attempt to save some typing time...
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Currently learning/playing select pieces from Chopin, Liszt, Beethoven, and Kapustin

What use is knowledge if there is no understanding? (Stobaeus)

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#1382702 - 02/25/10 01:05 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Hedgeman26]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19777
Loc: New York
Cool......and no problem, these days everything has an abbreviation, especially newly-invented medical conditions that have medications and TV ads. smile
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1382709 - 02/25/10 01:14 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Mark_C]
Hedgeman26 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 72
Loc: Houston, TX
LOL, exactly...yeah everything in this world seems to keep getting smaller, and smaller. Have first recital in 10 years coming up in a few weeks and trying to put together decent program. Gave up piano for tennis about 10 years ago out of high school...I don't live with regrets but man I wish I would have kept it up. Started up again with a brilliant teacher (ex-concert pianist) a few months back in Houston and just loving every minute of it. Never thought I could be this passionate about a hobby...truly a life long journey. Glad I found this forum as well, although I do spend most of my time just lurking.

Best,

David
_________________________
Currently learning/playing select pieces from Chopin, Liszt, Beethoven, and Kapustin

What use is knowledge if there is no understanding? (Stobaeus)

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#1382864 - 02/25/10 05:07 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Hedgeman26]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19777
Loc: New York
I think probably you're better off for having done the tennis too......but welcome back to piano. smile
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1382885 - 02/25/10 05:32 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Mark_C]
Googlism Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/08/02
Posts: 1072
Loc: Toronto
I think the reason why many people try and view pieces as easy and some sections and hard in others is to gauge the true difficulty of the piece.

If you were to compare the 1st Ballade to the Revolutionary Etude, which I know is unfair, but in the view of difficulty, the etude is difficult throughout the whole piece while the Ballade is technically passable for 1/2 or 3/4 of the piece.
_________________________
Old videos from prior piano competitions:
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____________________

"... It is a skill you go on learning all your life: the more you write, the more you learn."

Harry Freedman on the craft of composing

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#2249075 - 03/19/14 09:05 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: njalli]
Classical Music Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/18/14
Posts: 1
I am currently learning Chopin Ballade #2 and I have also attempted to play the other three Chopin Ballades and my order from easiest to hardest is: 2-3-1-4 or 2-1-3-4 (My opinion). Many people say that #2 is really hard. It does seem hard at first, but once I got used to it, #2 will seem easier than the other ballades. The slow part is extremely easy for me. I also feel like #3 and #1 can be switched because #3 seems kind of confusing to me throughout the whole piece, but without any really hard parts or the coda. #1 has some easy parts with many difficult parts, which overall, I find most annoying for my fingers to play. #4 is just difficult. My fingers get really tired and some notes just feels and looks impossible to play.


Edited by Classical Music (03/20/14 07:50 PM)

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#2249212 - 03/20/14 04:07 AM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: njalli]
compianist1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/13/13
Posts: 121
Loc: Banned
I utterly agree

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