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#1795083 - 11/23/11 11:44 PM Practicing Etudes
Opus 1 Music Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 81
Hello everyone,

Was thinking the other day about the Chopin etudes, or really any piece of virtuosity and great difficulty and how to effectively and efficiently practice. I know people who steer clear of these smaller pieces cuz you don't get enough "bang" for your buck. You put in a lot of time and energy into a 2 minute piece for a recital. That being said, any suggestions for effective and quick ways of going through them to get the "technical challenge" mastered (shortcuts if you will) without spending a ton of time.

Certain thinks like blocked chords, altering rhythms help, but just wanted to see how others go about this type of challenge.
_________________________
Justin NCTM

Working on:
Solo program
Grieg Sonata in e minor; Bartok Romanian Dances; Beethoven Sonata in A-flat, Op. 110; Mozart Concerto in d minor, K. 466

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#1795087 - 11/23/11 11:53 PM Re: Practicing Etudes [Re: Opus 1 Music]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19974
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Opus 1 Music
....any suggestions for effective and quick ways....

No. smile

I can think of effective.
I can think of quick.
But effective and quick, I do not think. grin
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1795090 - 11/24/11 12:02 AM Re: Practicing Etudes [Re: Opus 1 Music]
Opus 1 Music Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 81
lol, thanks Mark wink
_________________________
Justin NCTM

Working on:
Solo program
Grieg Sonata in e minor; Bartok Romanian Dances; Beethoven Sonata in A-flat, Op. 110; Mozart Concerto in d minor, K. 466

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#1795091 - 11/24/11 12:03 AM Re: Practicing Etudes [Re: Opus 1 Music]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19974
Loc: New York
Glad to be of any assistance.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1795120 - 11/24/11 12:59 AM Re: Practicing Etudes [Re: Opus 1 Music]
PaulaPiano34 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/16/10
Posts: 1217
I practice the no. 1 hardest, most awkward spot first to get them perfect and then move to the next hardest/most awkward spot, etc... until I reach the easiest section.

Or I learn the piece "backwards" starting from the last page moving to the first page. You wouldn't initially think it makes much of a difference, but to me especially, it takes at least a week off of the work process (and I have no clue why/how).

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#1795124 - 11/24/11 01:06 AM Re: Practicing Etudes [Re: PaulaPiano34]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19974
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: chobeethaninov
.....it takes at least a week off of the work process....

I agree!
It takes it from 5 years down to 4 years 51 weeks. ha


Your idea is excellent. I do that too, and recommend it.
But a main thing about his question is "quick" -- and that's the hard part.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1795159 - 11/24/11 04:09 AM Re: Practicing Etudes [Re: Opus 1 Music]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6648
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Get yourself a teacher.
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#1795165 - 11/24/11 04:22 AM Re: Practicing Etudes [Re: Opus 1 Music]
Rotom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 1670
They are hard, and are by no means easy nor quick to learn.

The best method (at least for me) is to take it slow, do the hardest bits first. I put boxes around the awkward bits, and practice them the most. I can learn, however, some of the easier ones in about 10 days, excluding the fine refinement. Some of the harder ones, I've been playing for about 11 months, and I still can't get it right. smile

They are great fun to learn though. Enjoy yourself! laugh

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#1795278 - 11/24/11 10:40 AM Re: Practicing Etudes [Re: Opus 1 Music]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4565
Loc: not somewhere over the rainbow
I really don't like etudes. The only ones I consider playing are the Rachmaninoffs and Liszt. I hate Chopin etudes.. I mean, they're great to work on, but I'd never perform them. (i've had to in the past, of course) The Rachmaninoff and Liszt etudes are such better pieces... they aren't just pure technical exercises.

Just start off slow, and gradually increase everything. And pay attention to what your hands are doing - etudes are the easiest tension causers. You don't have a teacher, I gather? You should really get one.. even if it's for twice a month!


Edited by Pogorelich. (11/24/11 10:42 AM)
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#1795343 - 11/24/11 12:46 PM Re: Practicing Etudes [Re: Pogorelich.]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19974
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
....I hate Chopin etudes....

If you mean that, I'll be compelled to say that I hate Op. 90, even though I wouldn't mean it. ha

BTW, if all you mean is that you wouldn't like to think of performing them (as I wouldn't either, with better reason than you) grin .....I don't think that means you hate them.

In which case you may consider yourself absolved.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1795357 - 11/24/11 01:16 PM Re: Practicing Etudes [Re: Opus 1 Music]
Cheeto717 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 717
Loc: Pennsylvania
The Bortkiewicz etudes are also a great substitute for the chopin etudes. The one's I'd never touch are the Debussy etudes..ugghhh.
_________________________
Working On:
Bach: Partita No. 6
Beethoven: Op. 26
Brahms: Op. 120
Chopin: Op. 10

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#1795358 - 11/24/11 01:17 PM Re: Practicing Etudes [Re: Pogorelich.]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18545
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
I really don't like etudes. [...] I hate Chopin etudes.. I mean, they're great to work on, but I'd never perform them. [...] The Rachmaninoff and Liszt etudes are such better pieces... they aren't just pure technical exercises.
[...]


Of course, any given composition/composer is often a choice based on personal preference. You've not infrequently commented on my preferences, so I don't hesitate to ask if you really feel that the Chopin Etudes are "just pure technical exercises." Much as I admire the Rachmaninoff Etudes - I can pass on the Liszt, for the moment - I certainly see great musical worth, depth and substance in the Chopin Etudes. I'm somewhat surprised at your opinion of them but, like all opinions, I suppose I have to respect it.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#1795362 - 11/24/11 01:24 PM Re: Practicing Etudes [Re: Opus 1 Music]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6127
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
I love Chopin's etudes, but I don't want to perform them in concert or hear them performed. I actually like Alkan's etudes a whole lot (surprise, surprise).

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#1795365 - 11/24/11 01:27 PM Re: Practicing Etudes [Re: BruceD]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4565
Loc: not somewhere over the rainbow
Originally Posted By: BruceD
Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
I really don't like etudes. [...] I hate Chopin etudes.. I mean, they're great to work on, but I'd never perform them. [...] The Rachmaninoff and Liszt etudes are such better pieces... they aren't just pure technical exercises.
[...]


Of course, any given composition/composer is often a choice based on personal preference. You've not infrequently commented on my preferences, so I don't hesitate to ask if you really feel that the Chopin Etudes are "just pure technical exercises." Much as I admire the Rachmaninoff Etudes - I can pass on the Liszt, for the moment - I certainly see great musical worth, depth and substance in the Chopin Etudes. I'm somewhat surprised at your opinion of them but, like all opinions, I suppose I have to respect it.

Regards,


They are extremely repetitive, and not his greatest pieces with relation to musical insight, IMO.. I feel the Rachmaninoff and Liszt have more musical substance. I mean, look at op. 39/2, or Harmonies du soir.. it speaks much more to me than something like 10/2 of Chopin..........
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"Doing things changes things. Not doing things leaves things exactly as they were."

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#1795367 - 11/24/11 01:28 PM Re: Practicing Etudes [Re: Mark_C]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4565
Loc: not somewhere over the rainbow
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
....I hate Chopin etudes....

If you mean that, I'll be compelled to say that I hate Op. 90, even though I wouldn't mean it. ha

BTW, if all you mean is that you wouldn't like to think of performing them (as I wouldn't either, with better reason than you) grin .....I don't think that means you hate them.

In which case you may consider yourself absolved.


Okay, okay - see this is a perfect example of me using a hyperbole and exaggerating. I don't "hate" them, I just don't like them.. I don't like playing them, or hearing them. I worked on a LOT of them through various points of my life, and they're certainly helpful.
_________________________

"Doing things changes things. Not doing things leaves things exactly as they were."

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#1795369 - 11/24/11 01:29 PM Re: Practicing Etudes [Re: Opus 1 Music]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4565
Loc: not somewhere over the rainbow
(Is anyone else noticing my English is actually getting worse? I guess a whole semester of not taking English lit classes is having an effect frown )
_________________________

"Doing things changes things. Not doing things leaves things exactly as they were."

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#1795379 - 11/24/11 01:52 PM Re: Practicing Etudes [Re: Pogorelich.]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19974
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
....hyperbole....

AHA! grin

BTW your English is more than fine (of course) ....it's how your emotion gets into it that sometimes throws people. smile

Quote:
....they're certainly helpful.

That's one thing that I think they're not, particularly. They're for displaying what you've got, much more than for developing it.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1795388 - 11/24/11 02:08 PM Re: Practicing Etudes [Re: Opus 1 Music]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6127
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Mark, they really do help/develop. I feel like you DO already need proficiency in the technique the etude works, BUT ARE helpful in improving technique.

Learning anything challenging is helpful.

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#1795389 - 11/24/11 02:11 PM Re: Practicing Etudes [Re: Mark_C]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4565
Loc: not somewhere over the rainbow
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
....hyperbole....

AHA! grin

BTW your English is more than fine (of course) ....it's how your emotion gets into it that sometimes throws people. smile


Ha, well, as long as my English is okay... grin

Quote:
That's one thing that I think they're not, particularly. They're for displaying what you've got, much more than for developing it.


They are, though. Especially for fast, little repetitive annoying passages in other Chopin works..
_________________________

"Doing things changes things. Not doing things leaves things exactly as they were."

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#1795413 - 11/24/11 02:43 PM Re: Practicing Etudes [Re: Orange Soda King]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19974
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Orange Soda King
Mark, they really do help/develop. I feel like you DO already need proficiency in the technique the etude works, BUT ARE helpful in improving technique.

Learning anything challenging is helpful.

I agree. What I don't agree with is that they're a good idea if that's what someone's main goal is with them, because they're a very inefficient way of doing it.

Like, re what Pogo said:

Quote:
....Especially for fast, little repetitive annoying passages in other Chopin works..

A much better way is just to practice those passages, possibly with some of the usual etude-like variations of them, like with 'rhythms.'
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1795414 - 11/24/11 02:46 PM Re: Practicing Etudes [Re: Opus 1 Music]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4565
Loc: not somewhere over the rainbow
That's true, but the Chopin etudes are helpful for other stuff too - much more helpful than say, Hanon or Czerny....
_________________________

"Doing things changes things. Not doing things leaves things exactly as they were."

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#1795417 - 11/24/11 02:50 PM Re: Practicing Etudes [Re: Opus 1 Music]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6127
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Oh, I can agree with that. If I am bad at octaves, I'm not going to learn Chopin'a 25/10. BUT, I am pretty good at octaves and I learned 25/10, and they got even better.

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#1795440 - 11/24/11 03:45 PM Re: Practicing Etudes [Re: Orange Soda King]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19974
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Orange Soda King
Oh, I can agree with that. If I am bad at octaves, I'm not going to learn Chopin'a 25/10. BUT, I am pretty good at octaves and I learned 25/10, and they got even better.

And I can agree with that! cool
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1795443 - 11/24/11 03:52 PM Re: Practicing Etudes [Re: Opus 1 Music]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19846
Loc: New York City
Working on a Chopin Etude that deals with a particular technical problem helps one with countless other pieces with the same or similar problem. That's why they start getting assigned to close to 100% of serious students once they reach a certain level whether or not the ultimate goal of the teacher or student is to play them at the speed played by the best pros.


Edited by pianoloverus (11/24/11 03:55 PM)

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#1795474 - 11/24/11 05:26 PM Re: Practicing Etudes [Re: Opus 1 Music]
Rotom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 1670
My teacher says:

"Chopin etudes are for piano players with good technique. You don't learn the octave study to learn octaves. You play it only if your octaves are good. You learn the Chopin study for that particular technique you are working on to get that technique transcendentally good."

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#1795488 - 11/24/11 06:24 PM Re: Practicing Etudes [Re: Pogorelich.]
dolce sfogato Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2675
Loc: Netherlands
anyone who 'hates' the Chopin études should stop playing the piano immediately and go sodajerking, or take a bow and say humbly that one tries to achieve the best one can in practice and concert, and hope to survive as an artist, not as a civilian....
_________________________
Longtemps, je me suis couch de bonne heure, but not anymore!

Mussorgski tableaux d'une exposition/Ravel miroirs

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#1795505 - 11/24/11 06:54 PM Re: Practicing Etudes [Re: Opus 1 Music]
Damon Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6329
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: Opus 1 Music
Hello everyone,

Was thinking the other day about the Chopin etudes, or really any piece of virtuosity and great difficulty and how to effectively and efficiently practice. I know people who steer clear of these smaller pieces cuz you don't get enough "bang" for your buck. You put in a lot of time and energy into a 2 minute piece for a recital.


I think they are handy for showing off. Most people I know, in real life, would fall asleep if I played classical for more than 5 minutes anyway. Even the ones that like classical music aren't particularly keen on piano music. Of course if you are pursuing a career in classical performance they could be a waste of time.

Originally Posted By: Opus 1 Music

That being said, any suggestions for effective and quick ways of going through them to get the "technical challenge" mastered (shortcuts if you will) without spending a ton of time.

Certain thinks like blocked chords, altering rhythms help, but just wanted to see how others go about this type of challenge.


Just the usual, identify the trickiest spots and devote your time accordingly, concentrating on efficient movement.
_________________________
It's been scientifically proven that Horowitz sucks.

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#1795550 - 11/24/11 09:20 PM Re: Practicing Etudes [Re: dolce sfogato]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4565
Loc: not somewhere over the rainbow
Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
anyone who 'hates' the Chopin études should stop playing the piano immediately and go sodajerking, or take a bow and say humbly that one tries to achieve the best one can in practice and concert, and hope to survive as an artist, not as a civilian....


I think I'm allowed to dislike certain repertoire, for one reason or another.. If you'd read my other posts, you'd realize I don't "hate" anything. I'm getting a little tired of your attitude towards me, frankly this isn't the first time you've taken a dig at me as an "artist"; you don't know anything about me. Don't you think I realize I'm in no place to criticize any of the great composers? I'm not that stupid or arrogant, thank you, and you're no one to tell me to "stop playing the piano immediately".
_________________________

"Doing things changes things. Not doing things leaves things exactly as they were."

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#1795940 - 11/25/11 06:18 PM Re: Practicing Etudes [Re: Pogorelich.]
dolce sfogato Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2675
Loc: Netherlands
get real and don't overdo things, such as 'hating' the core business, it's not only unlike any other pianomusiclover/pianist, it's just plain stupid, like saying you 'hate' Bach or Schubert, well, be a sodajerk in that case and have a nice life, stay off 'our' stuff, that is: CHOPIN ETUDES! I 'hate' your tone in these remarks, mine are out of LOVE of music, yours apparently not, or am I wrong?
_________________________
Longtemps, je me suis couch de bonne heure, but not anymore!

Mussorgski tableaux d'une exposition/Ravel miroirs

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#1795956 - 11/25/11 06:43 PM Re: Practicing Etudes [Re: Opus 1 Music]
Andromaque Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 3886
Loc: New York
Mais soyez un peu plus gentil, dolce!!!! even though your point is well taken.
Pogo writes what she feels not what she really thinks, I think..


As for the Chopin Etudes, they leave me in awe of Chopin's art and prouesse. I am nit up to playing them technically and they may not be my first choice for a Chopin masterpiece, but..they can be delicious if played extremely well. Having said that, they should be prohibited from performance by immature artists.

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