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#1925441 - 07/11/12 01:45 PM Chopin Major Works
Jorleyy Offline
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Registered: 07/11/12
Posts: 104
Which one of Chopin's Major Works are the most reasonable to start out with as your first one? The following are the ones I am talking about, how would you rank these from easiest to hardest?

Scherzo 1, 2, 3, 4
Ballade 1, 2, 3, 4
Fantasie Op 49
Polonaise Op 44, Op 53
Polonaise-Fantasie
Nocturne Op 48 1
Barcarolle

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#1925452 - 07/11/12 02:11 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
ScriabinAddict Offline
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Registered: 06/10/12
Posts: 335
For me (very subjective):

Least difficult to most difficult of each set listed:

Scherzi: 3, 2, 4, 1
Ballades: 3, 2, 1, 4 (4 and 1 are actually very comparable technically, provided you are proficient in double notes)
Polonaises: 44, 53, P-F
Other works listed: Op 48 no 1, Barcarolle, Fantasie

Again, it's very subjective. All of the Scherzi are of comparable difficulty, same goes for the Ballades. As for the polonaises, the P-F is on another planet in terms of technical difficulty.

Of all the works listed, P-F is certainly the hardest IMO.

I try to resist the tradition of learning numerous miscellaneous works of the same composer before tackling the harder ones. I would say go ahead and start with a scherzo, but I don't wish to dissuade you from tackling a harder work if you do have the technique for it.

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#1925463 - 07/11/12 02:53 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
Franz Beebert Offline
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Posts: 360
Easiest to hardest:
Nocturne op 48 1, Ballade 3, Scherzo 3, Scherzo 2, Scherzo 1, Polonaise Op 44, Barcarolle, Fantasie Op 49, Scherzo 4,
Polonaise Op 53,
Ballade 1, Fantasie Polonaise, Ballade 2, Ballade 4

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#1925472 - 07/11/12 03:24 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
JoelW Online   content
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The second question is kind of a ridiculous question BUT I will answer non-the-less. I am not going to rank all of these works together, but rather in groups. The difficulty will go from least difficult to most difficult. (all rankings are based off of my strengths, my weaknesses and my opinions)



SCHERZI:

1, 2, 4, 3

BALLADES:

3, 2, 1, 4

POLONAISES:

'heroic', op44, 'fantasy'

OTHER:

nocturne op48 no1, fantasy, barcarolle



Now that I've gotten that out of the way, I'd like to help you pick your first grand work! What is your skill of level? And what is your favorite work? Those are really the only two deciding factors. My first grand work was the 2nd scherzo, and now I'm working on the 1st ballade. So, again.. skill level? Favorite piece?






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#1925484 - 07/11/12 03:47 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: JoelW]
beet31425 Online   content
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Originally Posted By: ScriabinAddict
Least difficult to most difficult: Scherzi: 3, 2, 4, 1
Originally Posted By: scherzojoe
from least difficult to most difficult: SCHERZI: 1, 2, 4, 3
I think that says it all. smile


There are three reasons why this kind of ranking has little meaning:

1. Everyone's technique has different strengths and weaknesses.

2. It's hard to separate out the purely mechanical difficulties (just hitting the right notes) from the interpretive difficulties. This is music, not exercises. Sometimes the right interpretive idea makes a passage much easier.

3. People don't talk about this point very much, but I think that everything depends on what speed you choose to play. I'm not talking about silly tempi like op.10/1 as an adagio. I mean that there's a range of "acceptable" performance speeds, and your choice of speed affects the difficulty of the piece, a lot. (For instance, I'm working on the 1st Scherzo. MM=80 is an acceptable tempo (for an amateur), and the piece is not that hard at that speed. MM=96 is what I'm shooting for, and it's a big challenge for me. The tempo as marked (MM=120) is beyond my technique.)

-Jason
_________________________
Beethoven: op.109, 110, 111

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#1925513 - 07/11/12 05:16 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
Jorleyy Offline
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Registered: 07/11/12
Posts: 104
THank you guys! Well I can play quite advanced pieces. For example, I play Beethoven Op 13 and Op 26, Chopin Op 9 No 2, Op 10 No 3, Op 27 No 1, Op 28 No 1, 2, 3, 4, 14, 18, 23, Op 37 No 2, Schubert Impromptus Op 90(all four), and Bach Italian Concerto and Well tempered Klavier book 1 number 10 and 12.

I wonder, is the Op 48 No 1 the easiest of the pieces I listed, is it accessible considering what I play, or is the Op 44 Polonaise or any of the Scherzos easier than the Op 48 no 1 and more accessible?

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#1925520 - 07/11/12 05:32 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
JoelW Online   content
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They are just as accessible, but I would recommend a scherzo. If I were you I would mess around with various parts in each scherzo to see which one you would be most comfortable playing.

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#1925522 - 07/11/12 05:36 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
Jorleyy Offline
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Okay! I will do so, although, if Op 44 or Op 48 No 1 is easier I think I will choose one of them? Which one would you recommend out of the Scherzi and those two?

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#1925523 - 07/11/12 05:38 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
JoelW Online   content
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If you are going to pick a scherzo first, which I recommend, I would need to know your strong points and weak points of technique. What are your strengths?

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#1925524 - 07/11/12 05:39 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
BruceD Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Jorleyy
THank you guys! Well I can play quite advanced pieces. For example, I play Beethoven Op 13 and Op 26, Chopin Op 9 No 2, Op 10 No 3, Op 27 No 1, Op 28 No 1, 2, 3, 4, 14, 18, 23, Op 37 No 2, Schubert Impromptus Op 90(all four), and Bach Italian Concerto and Well tempered Klavier book 1 number 10 and 12.

I wonder, is the Op 48 No 1 the easiest of the pieces I listed, is it accessible considering what I play, or is the Op 44 Polonaise or any of the Scherzos easier than the Op 48 no 1 and more accessible?


With the repertoire you have listed, I think that the most reasonable answer is : try; find out for yourself which of pieces are best for your current level of skill and abilities. A listing of repertoire can also be limited in its significance, because it doesn't tell anyone
- at what level of skill, competence or "artistry" you play these pieces,
- how long it has taken you to get these works to where they are
- what technical and artistic challenges you manage well and which are greater challenges for you.

You and someone who knows your playing would be a better judge of what might be the best place for you to begin your next assault on the works of Chopin.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
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Estonia 190

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#1925528 - 07/11/12 05:51 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: JoelW]
Jorleyy Offline
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Registered: 07/11/12
Posts: 104
Originally Posted By: scherzojoe
If you are going to pick a scherzo first, which I recommend, I would need to know your strong points and weak points of technique. What are your strengths?
I think I am quite good at octave playing actually, and and I have a pretty good rotation technique, my weakness is probably double notes.. I am quite good at chord playing, but when it comes to playing broken chords(like in the coda of the first ballade) it becomes a weakness..

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#1925530 - 07/11/12 05:55 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
Franz Beebert Offline
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Registered: 12/14/11
Posts: 360
BruceD is right. We cannot answer really, because we don't now how you play, and also, many people will give you different answers, as they have different experiences of what is more difficult and so on.. But generally, I think most people would agree that the Op 48 No 1 is the easiest piece of the ones you listed, mainly because it's much shorter than the others. However that piece requires a maturity that few pieces does, and it's one of the harder Chopin pieces to interpret.. If you are weak at chord playing, this piece is a nightmare, as it's all about bringing out a top voice in thick chords...


Edited by Franz Beebert (07/11/12 05:55 PM)

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#1925536 - 07/11/12 06:24 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
JoelW Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Jorleyy
Originally Posted By: scherzojoe
If you are going to pick a scherzo first, which I recommend, I would need to know your strong points and weak points of technique. What are your strengths?
I think I am quite good at octave playing actually, and and I have a pretty good rotation technique, my weakness is probably double notes.. I am quite good at chord playing, but when it comes to playing broken chords(like in the coda of the first ballade) it becomes a weakness..


Instead of choosing not to answer your question, I'll just assume that you have an accurate assessment of your own technique. I would recommend experimenting with the 3rd scherzo. I LOVE this scherzo. Assuming you don't know this piece, it is the shortest of the four.. but by no means the easiest. It is octave-happy and the middle section is full of cascading parts. The coda starts off full of bliss then suddenly transforms into tragedy. Listen to the piece until you know it in your head backwards and front then take it to the piano. Bust out the score and experiment with all of the technical aspects. If you decide to learn this then I wish you luck - and get back to me!

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#1925596 - 07/11/12 10:20 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: JoelW]
BruceD Online   content
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Originally Posted By: scherzojoe
[...]I would recommend experimenting with the 3rd scherzo. [...]Listen to the piece until you know it in your head backwards and front then take it to the piano.[...]


If I were to recommend this scherzo or any other piece - which I patently refuse to do - I would say : Get the score, study it, start reading/playing through it until you begin to understand - for yourself - what it's about. Forget about listening to recordings so much that "you know it in your head backwards and front..." You won't know it until you start studying it.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#1925600 - 07/11/12 10:27 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
Kuanpiano Offline
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Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2147
Loc: Canada
The 3rd scherzo is pretty hellish to start with...the only benefit of starting with a Scherzo is that they're pretty repetitive, and so there's less work to do compared to another large work from Chopin.
_________________________
Working on:
Chopin - Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante
Rachmaninoff - Preludes op. 23 nos. 3,4,6, op. 32 no.12
Franck - Violin Sonata

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#1925613 - 07/11/12 11:14 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
ScriabinAddict Offline
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Registered: 06/10/12
Posts: 335
The 3rd isn't too bad, provided you can do the octaves. The cascading textures fit the hands quite well, but the coda is indeed hellish.

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#1925618 - 07/11/12 11:21 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Jorleyy
....how would you rank these from easiest to hardest?

I hate doing stuff like this because in most cases we're splitting hairs, and all the pieces are very hard.

But I was gonna do it anyway -- and couldn't. It pained me too much. smile

All I can do is put them in 2 categories: Those that someone can maybe take a try at without being extremely advanced (let's call it category 1), and ones that you really better not (2).

"Category 1"
Scherzo 1, 2, 3
Ballade 3
Nocturne Op 48 1
Polonaise Op. 53 (maybe)
Barcarolle

"Category 2"
Scherzo 4
Ballades 1, 2, 4
Fantaisie Op. 49
Polonaise Op 44
Polonaise-Fantasie

I consider Scherzo 4 the most untouchable. I think we could make an argument for picking any of the others to tackle first.... heck, someone could make an argument for Scherzo 4 too. ha
But IMO that's the only one for which we should say "absolutely not," even more so than the 4th Ballade, Polonaise-Fantaisie or any of the others.

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#1925620 - 07/11/12 11:22 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: ScriabinAddict]
Mark_C Online   content
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Interesting! But I think you hugely underestimate Scherzo 4.

edit: I think just about everyone is hugely underestimating the difficulty of the piece.

Although....maybe it's because of what Beet314 said -- how fast people are thinking of playing it. And I'd suggest also it's because maybe not everyone assumes we're talking about playing it real well. grin

If we're talking about playing at a credible tempo (and I don't even necessarily mean the same tempo as pros), and evenly, and with some semblance of the right feel, it's hard for me to see how this piece wouldn't be put at the highest level of difficulty, not just among these pieces but among anything.

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#1925630 - 07/11/12 11:49 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Mark_C]
ScriabinAddict Offline
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Registered: 06/10/12
Posts: 335
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Interesting! But I think you hugely underestimate Scherzo 4.


That could very well be the case. I will have to withhold judgement until I actually attempt it. Marvelous piece nonetheless.

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#1925635 - 07/11/12 11:54 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
beet31425 Online   content
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Registered: 06/12/09
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I'm interested and surprised, by the way, at how people are ranking the Polonaise-Fantaisie so highly. It's very hard to pull off successfully, no doubt. And it's technically not easy. But I don't think there's anything in there in the same league as the first Ballade's scherzo and coda, or the second and fourth Ballades's codas, or op.53's middle section octaves, or large stretches of the F minor Fantasie.

When I play it now, I feel at ease and untaxed. In contrast, the first Scherzo feels like running a marathon uphill. That one's a monster.

-J
_________________________
Beethoven: op.109, 110, 111

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#1925638 - 07/12/12 12:02 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: beet31425]
Damon Offline
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Registered: 09/22/06
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Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: beet31425
I'm interested and surprised, by the way, at how people are ranking the Polonaise-Fantaisie so highly. It's very hard to pull off successfully, no doubt. And it's technically not easy. But I don't think there's anything in there in the same league as the first Ballade's scherzo and coda, or the second and fourth Ballades's codas, or op.53's middle section octaves, or large stretches of the F minor Fantasie.


I agree. I hate to add this caveat because I get annoyed when others do it, but I think it's the hardest to hold together musically of all things listed.
_________________________
It's been scientifically proven that Horowitz sucks.

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#1925639 - 07/12/12 12:03 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: beet31425]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: beet31425
I'm interested and surprised, by the way, at how people are ranking the Polonaise-Fantaisie so highly. It's very hard to pull off successfully, no doubt. And it's technically not easy. But I don't think there's anything in there in the same league as the first Ballade's scherzo and coda, or the second and fourth Ballades's codas, or op.53's middle section octaves, or large stretches of the F minor Fantasie....

Maybe I think everybody's underestimating everything ha because I think you're way underestimating the Polonaise-Fantaisie. I could point out individual measures which IMO are as hard as anything in those other pieces, plus, not unlike late Scriabin (which it points toward!), it's off-the-charts in its conceptual difficulty, involving not just the structure but also just getting it in your head how some of the things are supposed to sound, and making them sound that way.

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#1925641 - 07/12/12 12:08 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Mark_C]
beet31425 Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
I could point out individual measures which IMO are as hard as anything in those other pieces, plus, not unlike late Scriabin (which it points toward!), it's off-the-charts in its conceptual difficulty...

I'll grant you the conceptual difficulty.

I'll challenge you on the other. Find individual measures or a passage or section of the P-F which is as hard, mechanically, as the coda of the 4th Ballade, at speed. The statement of the theme towards the end with the chords is hard, but not that hard.

-J
_________________________
Beethoven: op.109, 110, 111

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#1925650 - 07/12/12 12:25 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: beet31425]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: beet31425
I'll challenge you on the other. Find individual measures or a passage or section of the P-F which is as hard, mechanically, as the coda of the 4th Ballade, at speed.....

You're on! grin

I'm gonna start with something that might be a surprise, and which few people might think of in such a way but which I think is a gimme (and there's plenty more where this comes from!)....

The fast B major scale in that "statement of the theme toward the end."

IMO being able to play that at tempo (any semblance of a reasonable tempo) and with some proper sweep and being able to land reasonably fluently on the chord at the beginning of the next measure, requires that somebody be as excellent a pianist and musician as just about anything.

And, while we're looking right there, those two sets of octaves-sixths sextuplets that follow.

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#1925652 - 07/12/12 12:37 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
Kuanpiano Offline
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I can't say that the 1st Ballade's scherzo, nor the Heroic's octaves are all that difficult (to me at least), but I do agree that the 4th Scherzo is ridiculous. I worked on it for a while, learned it, performed it, then decided that I'd better put it away for now, because I wasn't doing it any justice.
_________________________
Working on:
Chopin - Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante
Rachmaninoff - Preludes op. 23 nos. 3,4,6, op. 32 no.12
Franck - Violin Sonata

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#1925653 - 07/12/12 12:38 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Mark_C]
beet31425 Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: beet31425
I'll challenge you on the other. Find individual measures or a passage or section of the P-F which is as hard, mechanically, as the coda of the 4th Ballade, at speed.....

You're on! grin

I'm gonna start with something that might be a surprise, and which few people might think of in such a way but which I think is a gimme (and there's plenty more where this comes from!)....

The fast B major scale in that "statement of the theme toward the end."

IMO being able to play that at tempo (any semblance of a reasonable tempo) and with some proper sweep and being able to land reasonably fluently on the chord at the beginning of the next measure, requires that somebody be as excellent a pianist and musician as just about anything.

And, while we're looking right there, those two sets of octaves-sixths sextuplets that follow.


Good example-- that is one of the harder parts!

One thing that helps with the scale is to take the first two notes before the chord, and then the rest works out perfectly as six scale notes per chord. I find myself slowing down a bit, but still bringing off the "proper sweep", I think.

The octaves/sixths that follow also give me trouble, especially the first set.

I can't imagine any of this is as hard as the 4th Ballade's coda, but... maybe we're each just afraid of the piece we don't play. smile

-J
_________________________
Beethoven: op.109, 110, 111

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#1925660 - 07/12/12 12:53 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Kuanpiano]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
....the 4th Scherzo is ridiculous. I worked on it for a while, learned it, performed it, then decided that I'd better put it away for now, because I wasn't doing it any justice.

+1 grin

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#1925664 - 07/12/12 01:03 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: BruceD]
JoelW Online   content
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There's nothing wrong listening to a piece before you learn it. In fact I think it's a disadvantage not to do so. When you get to know the piece by listening to great players play them, you are setting a general expectation for how well particular passages within the piece should be played, helping you understand whether or not you are ready for the piece. Not to mention, listening to a piece can be the sole reason for wanting to learn that particular piece. When I listen to piece and am struck with an original idea about it, that greatly influences me to learn it.. All this being said, I can't think of one negative aspect of listening to a piece before cracking open the score.

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#1925686 - 07/12/12 03:23 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
Jorleyy Offline
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Registered: 07/11/12
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I wonder, is the Op 48 No 1 harder than any of the other major works by Chopin that I listed, or is it the easiest?

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#1925699 - 07/12/12 04:19 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: JoelW]
stores Offline
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Originally Posted By: scherzojoe
When I listen to piece and am struck with an original idea about it, that greatly influences me to learn it.. All this being said, I can't think of one negative aspect of listening to a piece before cracking open the score.


Read the second sentence first and then go back and read the first sentence. Now think about that for a second, joey. The point is... YOU are being struck by someone ELSES "original" idea and as long as you continue filling up your head with the ideas that others have then you'll continue to wallow in mediocrity, because you'll not have any original ideas of your own, nor will you know how to express them, because your concept of whatever it is that you're working on has been so influenced by what someone else has already done. I challenge you to open your score and "learn it from scratch"... leave the recordings on the shelf... do not hit "play". Learn something new for YOURSELF. Discovering it on your own is the way to make it personal.
_________________________

"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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#1925824 - 07/12/12 12:30 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
Jorleyy Offline
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Registered: 07/11/12
Posts: 104
I wonder, isn't it best to start with Op 48 No 1 or is it as hard as any of the Scherzos?

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#1925916 - 07/12/12 04:37 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: stores]
JoelW Online   content
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Registered: 05/25/12
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Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: scherzojoe
When I listen to piece and am struck with an original idea about it, that greatly influences me to learn it.. All this being said, I can't think of one negative aspect of listening to a piece before cracking open the score.


The point is... YOU are being struck by someone ELSES "original" idea .


No, stores. I do have original ideas of which I have never heard anybody play before.

In fact, I still stand by my argument that it's a good thing to listen before you learn. Hearing many different interpretations of a particular piece gives context and helps you understand the piece better. I for one have never had any artistic struggles due to listening before learning. It hasn't stopped my creativity.

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#1925920 - 07/12/12 04:51 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
JoelW Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Jorleyy
I wonder, isn't it best to start with Op 48 No 1 or is it as hard as any of the Scherzos?


Just toy with the technical difficulties of all of these pieces and see which one suits you the best. Most of all, pick the one that you want to learn the most. This can really effect your learning. Think of it - are you going to make better progress learning a piece you love or a piece that's just okay? In other words, if you love math but hate history, which class do you think you will excel in?

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#1926013 - 07/12/12 08:20 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
Mark_C Online   content
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I think you're asking too many questions. smile

You're splitting hairs.

We don't know if any of these pieces are appropriate for you. I'd guess from your questions that at least a few of these definitely shouldn't be considered, and you can gather from the replies which ones those are. Among the more doable ones, there isn't any clear difference in difficulty. Any might be OK for you, or maybe none are. I think the best is to decide just based on which of those you like best, rather than which is a tiny bit easier than the others.

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#1926021 - 07/12/12 08:35 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Mark_C]
JoelW Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C

I think the best is to decide just based on which of those you like best, rather than which is a tiny bit easier than the others.

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#1926250 - 07/13/12 12:23 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
Jorleyy Offline
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Yes you are right Mark.. Although I can't help I actually find it amusing to compare difficulties of these kind of pieces and see how people find different pieces more difficult than others.

I mean for example, one can say for certain that Chopin's 2nd Scherzo is TECHNICALLY harder than Bach's Italian Concerto or Beethoven's 8th Piano Sonata... But let's say, that if one is at the technical level at playing these works by Bach and Beethoven, no more and no less, how many years away is he from getting to the technical level of playing Chopin's 2nd Scherzo at the same level as he is now able to play the Italian Concerto? For example, if we follow the ABRSM, this would be a technical ability difference of two years, because Italian Concerto is DipABRSM level and the Scherzo is LRSM, so could that be correct?

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#1926256 - 07/13/12 12:38 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Jorleyy
....one can say for certain that Chopin's 2nd Scherzo is TECHNICALLY harder than Bach's Italian Concerto....

Not necessarily. And maybe that example shows how un-simple these things are.

For me at least, I'd say in fact that the Bach is harder.

Quote:
....let's say, that if one is at the technical level at playing these works by Bach and Beethoven, no more and no less, how many years away is he from getting to the technical level of playing Chopin's 2nd Scherzo at the same level as he is now able to play the Italian Concerto?

As per the above, my answer would be a negative number.

BTW, I'm assuming we're talking about playing the pieces quite well, not even great, but quite well. But I can see that someone could make a beginner's effort at the Italian Concerto before making a beginner's effort at the Scherzo.

A lot about this depends on what we're talking about. smile

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#1926262 - 07/13/12 12:52 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
Jorleyy Offline
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Yes, it all depends on what we are talking about.. I for example believe that Vladimir Horowitz found ie easier to play the Scherzo than the Italian Concerto.. But when you say a negative number, do you mean that it would take one year or more? Or do you mean that if one is able to play the Italian Concerto he is probably able to play the Scherzo?

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#1926263 - 07/13/12 12:59 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
Mark_C Online   content
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Since I said the Bach is harder for me than the Scherzo, it meant that when I was able to play the Bach (if indeed I am) ha I had already been able some time ago to play the Chopin. (I thought that was clear from what I had just said before the "negative number" thing.)

Remember, it's not about what "one" would be able to do. I was giving myself as an example. As a few of us have said, it differs for different people.

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#1926265 - 07/13/12 01:01 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
Jorleyy Offline
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I see :P I misunderstood.. Generally though, I believe that people would consider the Scherzo harder, that's why I asked :P

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#1926269 - 07/13/12 01:07 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Jorleyy
....Generally though, I believe that people would consider the Scherzo harder....

You're right if we're talking about amateurs. I'm not sure it's right if we're talking about people at the higher levels.

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#1926273 - 07/13/12 01:17 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Mark_C]
Jorleyy Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Jorleyy
....Generally though, I believe that people would consider the Scherzo harder....

You're right if we're talking about amateurs. I'm not sure it's right if we're talking about people at the higher levels.
That's exactly the reason why I took up Horowitz as an example of one of probably thought(if he played) the Italian Concerto was harder than the Scherzo.. On the other hand, when he was a developing pianist in his youth, I find it hard to believe that he was technically able to play the notes of the Scherzo before the Italian Concerto..

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#1926277 - 07/13/12 01:31 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
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We could define A to be mechanically harder than B if the number of people (worldwide) who could play B's notes at speed but not play A's notes at speed is greater than the number of people who could play A's but not play B's.

There is still some ambiguity in this definition (what does "play the notes" mean? what is "at speed"?), but I like it. Note that we ignore anyone who can play both pieces.

I bet that using this definition, the 2nd Scherzo is mechanically harder than the Bach.

-J
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#1926279 - 07/13/12 01:39 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
Hakki Offline
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Originally Posted By: Jorleyy
THank you guys! Well I can play quite advanced pieces. For example, I play Beethoven Op 13 and Op 26, Chopin Op 9 No 2, Op 10 No 3, Op 27 No 1, Op 28 No 1, 2, 3, 4, 14, 18, 23, Op 37 No 2, Schubert Impromptus Op 90(all four), and Bach Italian Concerto and Well tempered Klavier book 1 number 10 and 12.

I wonder, is the Op 48 No 1 the easiest of the pieces I listed, is it accessible considering what I play, or is the Op 44 Polonaise or any of the Scherzos easier than the Op 48 no 1 and more accessible?


I don't understand. According to your current level, you should already be able to judge on which of those major Chopin works you have listed are harder for you.

How about your scales, arpeggios and octaves?

Just put your metronome to 100 and play hands together:
scales, 6 notes per tick
arpeggios, 5 notes per tick
octaves, 4 note per tick

If all are perfect then consider major Chopin works.
If not, then you have to practice more scales, arpeggios and octaves.


Edited by Hakki (07/13/12 01:50 PM)
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#1926294 - 07/13/12 02:24 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: beet31425]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: beet31425
I bet that using this definition, the 2nd Scherzo is mechanically harder than the Bach.

You need more in the definition.

Are we also talking about playing at a credible tempo, and also EVENLY?

The Chopin tolerates a certain unevenness more than the Bach does; in some ways 'a certain unevenness' could be said to be part of the "sweep" in the Chopin. The Bach doesn't tolerate unevenness at all. And don't forget, the left hand is involved too. ha

To me, the evenness issue is the main thing that makes the Bach harder -- that plus the greater transparency (which is related to the intolerance for unevenness).

There are so very many parts to "what do we mean" with such questions -- and that's even before getting to things like interpretation and depth, which make this comparison even hairier.

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#1926295 - 07/13/12 02:27 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
sandalholme Offline
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To put this in another context, Paul Lewis, a mean Beethoven performer, seriously said he finds the Appassionata less troublesome than the Pathetique, as it lies more easily under the hands. I doubt many pianists view these works in a similar manner.

This simply illustrates the obvious point: each person has different technical trouble spots and aspects which come more naturally. Re the works in the thread, anyone contemplating any of them should already be aware of his/her strengths and weaknesses, choosing new works (from a purely technical view) on the basis of relative ease of access or as a way of improving the weaknesses.

Me, I start on new works that I would really like to play and which I believe do not contain technical difficulties that are way beyond me. In that order. If I'm wrong about the technical bit, I abandon or look for exercises or pieces that will improve my technique. On this, it's amazing how playing Bach makes lots of other composers more accessible.

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#1926429 - 07/13/12 07:03 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: JoelW]
Old Man Offline
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Originally Posted By: scherzojoe
Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: scherzojoe
When I listen to piece and am struck with an original idea about it, that greatly influences me to learn it.. All this being said, I can't think of one negative aspect of listening to a piece before cracking open the score.


The point is... YOU are being struck by someone ELSES "original" idea .


No, stores. I do have original ideas of which I have never heard anybody play before.

In fact, I still stand by my argument that it's a good thing to listen before you learn. Hearing many different interpretations of a particular piece gives context and helps you understand the piece better. I for one have never had any artistic struggles due to listening before learning. It hasn't stopped my creativity.

I'm 100% with you, Joe. I don't understand the obsession with avoiding recordings by other pianists. I have to believe that the great pianists of today and yesteryear didn't simply amass a 6-foot stack of scores and begin sampling them. If they were like the rest of us, they probably heard someone else play a piece, and then felt inspired to add it to their repertoire.

Perhaps Stores is such an accomplished pianist that he is able to simply sight-read anything placed in front of him. If so, then he can gain a "sense" of a piece simply by playing it. But for someone who plays at a sub-amateur level (i.e. me), that luxury is not available. I need to actually hear someone play it well, so I can decide: 1). If the piece is within my capabilities (usually not); and 2.) If it is within my grasp, do I like it well enough to invest time in it.

I remember passing over Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words No. 40 (Elegy) because I couldn't sight-read it well enough to fully appreciate it. Then I heard it on a recording of Horowitz encores, and fell in love with it. It's truly a gem that was worth investing time in. But even then, I certainly don't remember having Horowitz's interpretation in my head. He simply revealed the true beauty of the piece that I was unable to do on my own. And although I could never duplicate his performance even if I had tried, I sure wouldn't have lost any sleep if I had. Nor would I have felt "unoriginal". grin

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#1926435 - 07/13/12 07:13 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
Franz Beebert Offline
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Originally Posted By: Jorleyy
I wonder, isn't it best to start with Op 48 No 1 or is it as hard as any of the Scherzos?
It is probably easier than all of the Scherzos from a pure mechanically technical point of view. And to clarify what this means: I think that everyone who can play the notes of any of the scherzi are can physically manage the Op 48 No 1. Everyone who can pay the notes of the Nocturne isn't necessary able to physically play the notes of the Scherzi.. Anyway, I think this is a good way to explain it.. I would say that the difficulty range from the Op 48 to the 2nd or 3rd Scherzo is about the same as the one from these two Scherzi to the first Ballade


Edited by Franz Beebert (07/13/12 07:18 PM)

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#1926437 - 07/13/12 07:17 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Hakki]
Franz Beebert Offline
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Originally Posted By: Hakki
Originally Posted By: Jorleyy
THank you guys! Well I can play quite advanced pieces. For example, I play Beethoven Op 13 and Op 26, Chopin Op 9 No 2, Op 10 No 3, Op 27 No 1, Op 28 No 1, 2, 3, 4, 14, 18, 23, Op 37 No 2, Schubert Impromptus Op 90(all four), and Bach Italian Concerto and Well tempered Klavier book 1 number 10 and 12.

I wonder, is the Op 48 No 1 the easiest of the pieces I listed, is it accessible considering what I play, or is the Op 44 Polonaise or any of the Scherzos easier than the Op 48 no 1 and more accessible?


I don't understand. According to your current level, you should already be able to judge on which of those major Chopin works you have listed are harder for you.

How about your scales, arpeggios and octaves?

Just put your metronome to 100 and play hands together:
scales, 6 notes per tick
arpeggios, 5 notes per tick
octaves, 4 note per tick

If all are perfect then consider major Chopin works.
If not, then you have to practice more scales, arpeggios and octaves.
The pieces that the OP has played are all easier than the "Major Works" he has listed, so I don't now what you base what you are saying on... Also, I have no idea where you get the "put your metronome to 100"-thing from... really? What about thirds? Sixths? Double notes? Tremolos? Trills? Arpeggios where you need to play 6 notes per tick at metronome value 100?

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#1926444 - 07/13/12 07:26 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Franz Beebert]
Hakki Offline
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Originally Posted By: Franz Beebert
Originally Posted By: Hakki
Originally Posted By: Jorleyy
THank you guys! Well I can play quite advanced pieces. For example, I play Beethoven Op 13 and Op 26, Chopin Op 9 No 2, Op 10 No 3, Op 27 No 1, Op 28 No 1, 2, 3, 4, 14, 18, 23, Op 37 No 2, Schubert Impromptus Op 90(all four), and Bach Italian Concerto and Well tempered Klavier book 1 number 10 and 12.

I wonder, is the Op 48 No 1 the easiest of the pieces I listed, is it accessible considering what I play, or is the Op 44 Polonaise or any of the Scherzos easier than the Op 48 no 1 and more accessible?


I don't understand. According to your current level, you should already be able to judge on which of those major Chopin works you have listed are harder for you.

How about your scales, arpeggios and octaves?

Just put your metronome to 100 and play hands together:
scales, 6 notes per tick
arpeggios, 5 notes per tick
octaves, 4 note per tick

If all are perfect then consider major Chopin works.
If not, then you have to practice more scales, arpeggios and octaves.
The pieces that the OP has played are all easier than the "Major Works" he has listed, so I don't now what you base what you are saying on... Also, I have no idea where you get the "put your metronome to 100"-thing from... really? What about thirds? Sixths? Double notes? Tremolos? Trills? Arpeggios where you need to play 6 notes per tick at metronome value 100?


The "100" thing is just a simple test that he can use to evaluate himself and see whether he is ready for Chopin's major works he has listed.
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#1926445 - 07/13/12 07:27 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Hakki]
Franz Beebert Offline
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And what makes just "100" a good number?

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#1926450 - 07/13/12 07:34 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Franz Beebert]
Hakki Offline
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Originally Posted By: Franz Beebert
And what makes just "100" a good number?


It is easy to remember.

BTW, double thirds and sixths, 3 notes per tick.
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#1926453 - 07/13/12 07:36 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Hakki]
Franz Beebert Offline
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Originally Posted By: Hakki
Originally Posted By: Franz Beebert
And what makes just "100" a good number?


It is easy to remember.

BTW, double thirds and sixths, 3 notes per tick.
Are you serious? You think that this exact numbers will tell him that if he can play them, he can play the pieces by Chopin?

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#1926456 - 07/13/12 07:42 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Franz Beebert]
Hakki Offline
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Why don't we just wait and hear from him?
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#1926458 - 07/13/12 07:43 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Old Man]
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Originally Posted By: Old Man
[...] I don't understand the obsession with avoiding recordings by other pianists.[...]


We often decide to study a work because we have heard a recording or a performance of it. That's a large part of musical life. But you may have missed the point that I objected to; it was joe's observation : "Listen to the piece until you know it in your head backwards and front then take it to the piano."

That intensive pre-study, before taking it to the piano would for me, kill any inspiration that an initial exposure to a work might have and deprive me of the excitement of any "discovery," musical or technical, that the work might hold.

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#1926471 - 07/13/12 08:42 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: BruceD]
JoelW Online   content
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Originally Posted By: BruceD
Originally Posted By: Old Man
[...] I don't understand the obsession with avoiding recordings by other pianists.[...]


We often decide to study a work because we have heard a recording or a performance of it. That's a large part of musical life. But you may have missed the point that I objected to; it was joe's observation : "Listen to the piece until you know it in your head backwards and front then take it to the piano."

That intensive pre-study, before taking it to the piano would for me, kill any inspiration that an initial exposure to a work might have and deprive me of the excitement of any "discovery," musical or technical, that the work might hold.

Regards,


I see your point. It makes sense that burning a specific interpretation into your brain might destroy your creativity on that particular piece, but what is your opinion about getting to know a piece through many different interpretations, instead of just one? I think doing this creates context for the listener. This is what I always do before tackling any piece, and it never stops my creativity. Do you think creativity is a thought-out process? Or do you think it come out of thin air? Or both? For me, creativity ideas usually pop into my mind without my control, but my musical personality also plays it's role.

Thoughts?

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#1926552 - 07/14/12 04:17 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Old Man]
stores Offline
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Originally Posted By: Old Man


I have to believe that the great pianists of today and yesteryear didn't simply amass a 6-foot stack of scores and begin sampling them. If they were like the rest of us, they probably heard someone else play a piece, and then felt inspired to add it to their repertoire.


Really? You do realise that the phonograph hasn't always been with us (not to mention electricity), yes?


Originally Posted By: Old Man

Perhaps Stores is such an accomplished pianist that he is able to simply sight-read anything placed in front of him. If so, then he can gain a "sense" of a piece simply by playing it. But for someone who plays at a sub-amateur level (i.e. me), that luxury is not available. I need to actually hear someone play it well, so I can decide: 1). If the piece is within my capabilities (usually not); and 2.) If it is within my grasp, do I like it well enough to invest time in it.


I am, yes, and so are many others here. It is not rocket science... it's simply learning to read a score and developing your technique sufficiently enough to work your way through anything. No one needs to listen to someone else play a work to decide if it's within their capabilities. If they do, then they should go to their teacher(s) and ask for every penny back, because they should be able, after a certain point, to open a score and decide in the music store itself whether this or that is going to sit on the music rack or the shelf whence they fetched it. I've never understood this thinking that says "do I like a piece well enough to invest my time in it." What? There is not a piece of great music which ISN'T worthwhile enough for one to "invest his time" in, if, as OldMan here states, one is still grounding himself in the early stages of learning (which, of course, we all are doing really). I just can't wrap my head around someone saying they don't like a work, if they can't play the damned thing. You've only heard someone ELSE play it... how do you know it's not the performer who you've heard that you don't like? Perhaps they've made a mess of things? I can't begin to tell you how many scores I've picked up over the years of works I'd not ever sat down with seriously and once I dove into it I fell completely in love... how can you not?

To rely on a recording to decide so much for you is to say that you're lazy. You need a crutch to lean on. Educate yourself and do some homework. Spend less time listening to Joe Blow's recording and posting replies on PW and practise, practise, practise. You didn't begin playing with the grand aim of achieving that "sub amateur level" did you (if so, then all I can say is "Wow")? Get yourself a good teacher and get busy.



Edited by stores (07/14/12 04:19 AM)
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#1926555 - 07/14/12 04:39 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
sandalholme Offline
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Re sight reading, assessing a piece from scratch. When I was still in single figures of age, or only just about 10 (I started lessons at 11), I was fooling around with piano reductions of orchestral pieces - Mendelssohn's Ruy Blas for instance. At 11 my teacher immediately put me in for Associated Board Grade 4.

I am not a concert/professional pianist but I was certainly "sub amateur" then. That sort of experience led me to become a reasonably accomplished sight reader, but more importantly helped me to be able to explore music, to get inside it from the word go, whether or not I had heard it before.

This is different from practicing a work of course, but the "getting acquainted" process (at something like a normal speed) can be a very useful precursor to slow painstaking study. You know much better that the effort will be worth it: the music has already spoken to you, you have already responded to it.

And...............it's fun.

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#1926560 - 07/14/12 05:04 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: stores]
JoelW Online   content
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Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: Old Man


I have to believe that the great pianists of today and yesteryear didn't simply amass a 6-foot stack of scores and begin sampling them. If they were like the rest of us, they probably heard someone else play a piece, and then felt inspired to add it to their repertoire.


Really? You do realise that the phonograph hasn't always been with us (not to mention electricity), yes?


Originally Posted By: Old Man

Perhaps Stores is such an accomplished pianist that he is able to simply sight-read anything placed in front of him. If so, then he can gain a "sense" of a piece simply by playing it. But for someone who plays at a sub-amateur level (i.e. me), that luxury is not available. I need to actually hear someone play it well, so I can decide: 1). If the piece is within my capabilities (usually not); and 2.) If it is within my grasp, do I like it well enough to invest time in it.


I am, yes, and so are many others here. It is not rocket science... it's simply learning to read a score and developing your technique sufficiently enough to work your way through anything. No one needs to listen to someone else play a work to decide if it's within their capabilities. If they do, then they should go to their teacher(s) and ask for every penny back, because they should be able, after a certain point, to open a score and decide in the music store itself whether this or that is going to sit on the music rack or the shelf whence they fetched it. I've never understood this thinking that says "do I like a piece well enough to invest my time in it." What? There is not a piece of great music which ISN'T worthwhile enough for one to "invest his time" in, if, as OldMan here states, one is still grounding himself in the early stages of learning (which, of course, we all are doing really). I just can't wrap my head around someone saying they don't like a work, if they can't play the damned thing. You've only heard someone ELSE play it... how do you know it's not the performer who you've heard that you don't like? Perhaps they've made a mess of things? I can't begin to tell you how many scores I've picked up over the years of works I'd not ever sat down with seriously and once I dove into it I fell completely in love... how can you not?

To rely on a recording to decide so much for you is to say that you're lazy. You need a crutch to lean on. Educate yourself and do some homework. Spend less time listening to Joe Blow's recording and posting replies on PW and practise, practise, practise. You didn't begin playing with the grand aim of achieving that "sub amateur level" did you (if so, then all I can say is "Wow")? Get yourself a good teacher and get busy.



You really love telling people how to live their lives, don't you? Music is NOT objective, neither is learning music. All people are different, do you not understand? In other words, there is no one way to do something. If someone learns better by listening before learning, let them! Your attitude is disgusting.

Also, you said:

"No one needs to listen to someone else play a work to decide if it's within their capabilities."

No one ever said you need to, stores. I'm almost shocked at the things said in this post. It's almost as if you don't even understand the very things you are arguing against. Do you even know my position on this subject? You don't appear to.

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#1926573 - 07/14/12 07:01 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: stores]
Hakki Offline
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Originally Posted By: stores


It is not rocket science... it's simply learning to read a score and developing your technique sufficiently enough to work your way through anything. No one needs to listen to someone else play a work to decide if it's within their capabilities. .....

To rely on a recording to decide so much for you is to say that you're lazy. You need a crutch to lean on. Educate yourself and do some homework. Spend less time listening to Joe Blow's recording and posting replies on PW and practise, practise, practise. You didn't begin playing with the grand aim of achieving that "sub amateur level" did you (if so, then all I can say is "Wow")? Get yourself a good teacher and get busy.



scherzojoe:

stores is saying what he thinks right in the face. And IMO, all of what he said is true.

You may not like his posting style or not agree with him, but he is on subject.

Why don't you just stay on subject too instead of criticizing his posting style?

Edit: Just in case you don't realize, my response is similar to yours, just to show how easy it is not to stay on subject. Only this time the example target is you.


Edited by Hakki (07/14/12 07:41 AM)
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#1926612 - 07/14/12 09:19 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Hakki]
JoelW Online   content
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1) I wasn't off topic.

2) You can agree with whoever you want, that doesn't bother me. And But the fact remains - music is subjective. Stores is right to a degree. No one should need to rely on a recording to understand a piece, but there is still nothing wrong with listening before learning. Anyone who says otherwise is full of their own ideals. Also, to say that listening before learning somehow stops creativity or makes your mediocre is absurd.

3) Stores' "posting style" is more than blunt - it's rude, disrespectful and disgusting, and I have every right to say so. Never did I tell stores to stop posting, I'm just speaking my mind - something people should do more often, and I'm glad you're doing it too. (even though you're trying to victimize me)

I'm stepping away from this thread now.

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#1926618 - 07/14/12 09:40 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: JoelW]
Franz Beebert Offline
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I am with you on this one Scherzojoe. Actually I don't see how anyone can't be. Sure, if stores doesn't think that one way is not the right way to do things on, then so be it, FOR HIM.. In other words, he doesn't have to agree. BUT, literally trying to master and being rude to a person who thinks in another way than he does, is not okay, and this is not the first time I see stores do this.

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#1926663 - 07/14/12 11:03 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: stores]
wower Offline
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Originally Posted By: stores
To rely on a recording to decide so much for you is to say that you're lazy. You need a crutch to lean on. Educate yourself and do some homework. Spend less time listening to Joe Blow's recording and posting replies on PW and practise, practise, practise. You didn't begin playing with the grand aim of achieving that "sub amateur level" did you (if so, then all I can say is "Wow")? Get yourself a good teacher and get busy.


Well said.
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#1926689 - 07/14/12 12:40 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
Kuanpiano Offline
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The funny thing is, if you take what stores posts, and then read it aloud as if it's spoken, then it sounds pretty normal like a teacher that pushes his/her students to excel. I guess it's hard to translate that to text though.

And it is pretty true that the existence of recordings tends to sway how we play certain pieces - think of the skewing of rhythm in the Heroic Polonaise that everybody plays (shortening of the dotted rhythm), the rhythmic distortion of the theme in Liszt's Sonetto 104, the textual alterations of Scriabin's op.8 no.12 etude, or how some amateurs try to sound like Gould, and you'll realize that too many people have been learning by ear, and not from the text.
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#1926710 - 07/14/12 01:10 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Kuanpiano]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
....think of the skewing of rhythm in the Heroic Polonaise that everybody plays (shortening of the dotted rhythm)....

That's not "skewing" (if we're talking about the same thing), it's what a polonaise is! That's the polonaise rhythm.
And in my experience "everybody" doesn't play it; not enough people play it!

And in Chopin's other polonaises, it seems hardly anybody does it at all.

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#1926735 - 07/14/12 02:45 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: stores]
Old Man Offline
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Originally Posted By: stores

Really? You do realise that the phonograph hasn't always been with us (not to mention electricity), yes?

Yes. But electricity and a phonograph are not requirements for listening to other pianists. Chopin and Liszt, Horowitz and Rachmaninoff managed to listen to each other's playing. I don't recall Scherzojoe limiting "listening" to recordings only.

Originally Posted By: Old Man

Perhaps Stores is such an accomplished pianist that he is able to simply sight-read anything placed in front of him.

Originally Posted By: stores

I am, yes, and so are many others here. It is not rocket science... it's simply learning to read a score and developing your technique sufficiently enough to work your way through anything.

Ah, now we've got to the crux of the matter. Because for those of us less gifted than you, it is indeed rocket science. And no amount of technique development will make it less so. What you and many others on this forum have is a gift so precious, that you barely take notice of it. You may believe your ability is due to your countless hours of practice, but it is not. You have a native talent for which you should thank any god that you may believe in, every day of your life. Practicing only burnishes what already exists. I agree that practice may improve my playing in very small increments, but practice will never make perfect if the basic talent is not there.

Originally Posted By: stores

No one needs to listen to someone else play a work to decide if it's within their capabilities. If they do, then they should go to their teacher(s) and ask for every penny back,

I agree, and did not mean to say otherwise. I would absolutely need to look at a score before deciding if it was within my capability. And I've never had a teacher, except for a few months in my teens, so there are no refunds to be harvested. grin

Originally Posted By: stores

I've never understood this thinking that says "do I like a piece well enough to invest my time in it." What? There is not a piece of great music which ISN'T worthwhile enough for one to "invest his time" in, if, as OldMan here states, one is still grounding himself in the early stages of learning (which, of course, we all are doing really).

So, you're saying that you like every piece of music written by Bach, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, etc., and you would be willing to invest any amount of time to perfect them? Since they're all great, you would simply begin with Opus 1, and move forward sequentially? Or are you saying that those of us in the "early stages of learning" should content ourselves with any crumbs that happen to fall our way? Sorry, I still have preferences, even among the great composers.

Originally Posted By: stores
I just can't wrap my head around someone saying they don't like a work, if they can't play the damned thing.

Who said that? In fact the opposite is true: most of the works I truly love (e.g. Chopin ballades) are the very pieces I cannot play, and never will. And while I know I should appreciate those few pieces that I can play, it is very limiting.

Originally Posted By: stores

To rely on a recording to decide so much for you is to say that you're lazy. You need a crutch to lean on. Educate yourself and do some homework. Spend less time listening to Joe Blow's recording and posting replies on PW and practise, practise, practise.

I have a day job (IT), which requires 24x7 on-call status, so "practise, practise, practise" is not an option for me. But I may take your advice about posting on Pianist Corner. I am out of my league (pianistically speaking), and do not wish to throw this or any other thread off course.

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#1926768 - 07/14/12 04:59 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
Franz Beebert Offline
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Posts: 360
I am starting not to like this thread, it's starting to change subject.. So here you go jorley:

Start with the Op 48 No 1, it's the shortest one and probably the easiest, it's also one of his better pieces IMO. Though I have to warn you, The Doppio Movimento is VERY hard, and you will have to work hard on it. It only lasts for about two pages which is good, because I can tell you this: The Doppio Movimento section is probably at LEAST as hard as everything in the 2nd and 3rd Scherzo for example. Therefore, this piece is a good piece to start with before the major works for the following reasons:

1. It's shorter than the major works.
2. If you can handle the last to pages, you should be able to handle the first three Scherzos.
3. It's an absolute masterpiece.

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#1926770 - 07/14/12 05:07 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
BDB Online   content
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Or start with the Tarentella. Perhaps not too major, but not too difficult, either, and a lot of fun.
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#1926772 - 07/14/12 05:22 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Old Man]
stores Offline
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Originally Posted By: Old Man
Originally Posted By: stores

Really? You do realise that the phonograph hasn't always been with us (not to mention electricity), yes?

Yes. But electricity and a phonograph are not requirements for listening to other pianists. Chopin and Liszt, Horowitz and Rachmaninoff managed to listen to each other's playing. I don't recall Scherzojoe limiting "listening" to recordings only.


But we're talking about RECORDINGS. Hello.



Originally Posted By: Old Man

Ah, now we've got to the crux of the matter. Because for those of us less gifted than you, it is indeed rocket science. And no amount of technique development will make it less so. What you and many others on this forum have is a gift so precious, that you barely take notice of it. You may believe your ability is due to your countless hours of practice, but it is not. You have a native talent for which you should thank any god that you may believe in, every day of your life. Practicing only burnishes what already exists. I agree that practice may improve my playing in very small increments, but practice will never make perfect if the basic talent is not there.


I'm sorry, but you're wrong. No amount of talent will suffice without those countless hours of practice. People seem to have this idea that accomplished musicians just sit down and "VOILA"... out comes this heaven-sent sound. What they don't realise is that a person works his a$$ off to become that accomplished player. Practising is not simply a burnishing, but think what you like.

Originally Posted By: stores

No one needs to listen to someone else play a work to decide if it's within their capabilities. If they do, then they should go to their teacher(s) and ask for every penny back,

Originally Posted By: Old Man

I agree, and did not mean to say otherwise. I would absolutely need to look at a score before deciding if it was within my capability. And I've never had a teacher, except for a few months in my teens, so there are no refunds to be harvested. grin


I'm glad you agree with the first part here. Maybe, however, you might want to invest in a good teacher. Working with someone can make a world of difference.

Originally Posted By: stores

To rely on a recording to decide so much for you is to say that you're lazy. You need a crutch to lean on. Educate yourself and do some homework. Spend less time listening to Joe Blow's recording and posting replies on PW and practise, practise, practise.

Originally Posted By: Old Man

I have a day job (IT), which requires 24x7 on-call status, so "practise, practise, practise" is not an option for me. But I may take your advice about posting on Pianist Corner. I am out of my league (pianistically speaking), and do not wish to throw this or any other thread off course.


I'm sure your job must be an important one to beckon you 24/7 and I'm well aware that many students work full time jobs. I have no problem with that whatsoever. All I am saying is that most of us don't do enough homework, or don't WANT to do the homework and so take whatever shortcut there is, which, in this case is the recording. I can't tell you how many times I've heard students (not my own mind you... they know better) say, "I wasn't sure how to play these ornaments, so I went on Youtube and listened to Glenn Gould" (example). Why?????? Because the student hasn't been educated well enough, or more often than not (and more than most are going to be willing to swallow) are too lazy to educate themselves when there is a TON of information available regarding just such a thing (the trill example).
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#1926802 - 07/14/12 07:02 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: stores]
Old Man Offline
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Originally Posted By: stores

But we're talking about RECORDINGS. Hello.

Ha, ha. Well I guess I didn't notice that part. But I do think it's a distinction without a difference. Whether you listen to a recording or a live performance, you may be influenced (or in your view, "tainted") by the interpretation.

Originally Posted By: stores

I'm sorry, but you're wrong. No amount of talent will suffice without those countless hours of practice. People seem to have this idea that accomplished musicians just sit down and "VOILA"... out comes this heaven-sent sound. What they don't realise is that a person works his a$$ off to become that accomplished player. Practising is not simply a burnishing, but think what you like.

You're wrong about what I said. I agree that every accomplished musician has indeed worked his or her a$$ off, and I would never devalue such dedication and commitment to music. And yes, practicing is absolutely indispensable to any performing artist. What I was trying to say is that without an innate musical ability, one could dedicate every waking moment to practicing, and it would come to naught. Possibly some improvement at the margins, but nothing that would prepare one for a performing career.

Originally Posted By: stores
I'm sure your job must be an important one to beckon you 24/7 and I'm well aware that many students work full time jobs.

Should have specified that I work in "healthcare IT". Hence, the need for an "always up" system.

But I think we are irritating some of our fellow posters, so maybe we should agree to disagree on a few things and let it go. The OP is looking for advice. I've enjoyed our conversation, and I enjoy your posts in general. You may not deliver your messages with a pretty bow on top, but they're usually refreshingly free of ambiguity. smile

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#1926807 - 07/14/12 07:17 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Old Man]
pianoloverus Offline
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Originally Posted By: Old Man
You may not deliver your messages with a pretty bow on top, but they're usually refreshingly free of ambiguity.
There's miles of room between delivering messages with a pretty bow on top and delivering them in an arrogant/nasty fashion. It doesn't have to be a choice of one or the other.

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#1926831 - 07/14/12 09:26 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: pianoloverus]
stores Offline
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Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Old Man
You may not deliver your messages with a pretty bow on top, but they're usually refreshingly free of ambiguity.
There's miles of room between delivering messages with a pretty bow on top and delivering them in an arrogant/nasty fashion. It doesn't have to be a choice of one or the other.


You, without a doubt, are one of THE rudest posters at times and as a result I always find it sort of comical when you "tut-tut" someone.
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#1926918 - 07/15/12 01:41 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: BDB]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: BDB
Or start with the Tarentella. Perhaps not too major, but not too difficult, either, and a lot of fun.

It's VERY hard.

Unless, as was said in some other posts, we're talking about not playing it half well. Then it's pretty easy. ha

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#1926932 - 07/15/12 01:58 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Mark_C]
argerichfan Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: BDB
Or start with the Tarentella. Perhaps not too major, but not too difficult, either, and a lot of fun.

It's VERY hard.

I've always rather enjoyed it, even if it's not exactly on the top of the pile. wink

I'll always remember a party wherein a friend of mine (never at a loss for an outspoken opinion) blurted out 'that's the one piece Chopin BOMBED OUT on!'
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#1926975 - 07/15/12 06:01 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
allegro_concerto Offline
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Its funny how the original question always turned into something else...

But anyway, I actually played Nocturne Op 48 no. 1 first out of the list.

With Scherzos, I did learn Scherzo no. 2 first, then no. 3. I am currently tossing between learning no. 1 or no. 4, but I do like no. 4 better.

I think a good way is to decide is just to sight read the music listed and see how you go. The other day I was trying to play andante spianato and grande polonaise brillante op. 22, while the andante spianato is doable, I had a heck out of a time with the grand polonaise, sounds more like grand noise the way I played it. So I shelved it for now to come back later. I sometimes adopt a strategy to play just a part of a difficult music one day at a time and then piece them altogether later down the track.

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#1926995 - 07/15/12 07:15 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: stores]
pianoloverus Offline
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Originally Posted By: stores
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Old Man
You may not deliver your messages with a pretty bow on top, but they're usually refreshingly free of ambiguity.
There's miles of room between delivering messages with a pretty bow on top and delivering them in an arrogant/nasty fashion. It doesn't have to be a choice of one or the other.


You, without a doubt, are one of THE rudest posters at times and as a result I always find it sort of comical when you "tut-tut" someone.
Glad you find it comical because I'll probably continue to criticize the nature of your posts if they remain the same. You criticize and talk down to most everyone. I criticize a handful of posters occasionally and you'll remain one of them as long as you deserve the criticism.

Knowledge is not an excuse nastiness or arrogance.


Edited by pianoloverus (07/15/12 07:29 AM)

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#1927109 - 07/15/12 01:51 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: stores]
wower Offline
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Originally Posted By: stores
Working with someone can make a world of difference.


Absolutely. Now if only a certain someone worked by webcam and was taking students. grin I've been following this thread in ernest and thought it only fair to elaborate my opinion for the record. (Just a heads up, some are on ignore so replies might not make much sense). It shouldn't come as a surprise I align to stores' philosophy of no short cuts but will express shock so many are in disagreement. Specific to listening to recordings in preparation for a piece only a question comes to mind. If stores could clarify his position slightly: I'm sure you're not suggesting previous accidental exposure to the piece in routine listening is damaging? I'm also curious as to what you think about situations where hearing a piece somewhere ignites interest to learn the piece later. Much obliged.


Edited by wower (07/15/12 01:56 PM)
Edit Reason: spelling!
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#1927166 - 07/15/12 04:43 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: wower]
Old Man Offline
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wower, great post! You've clarified the debate much better than anyone so far.

You used the phrase "in preparation for a piece", which is key to this discussion. I think stores and scherzojoe are far apart on this one, and frankly, I tend to agree with Joe: Listen if you want, or don't listen. But I can certainly see both sides, and stores' position at least makes sense in this context.

But I think that is entirely different than the casual exposure that most of us have experienced over decades. We are, after all, lovers of music. So how could we possibly know which pieces we may want to tackle some day, and thus avoid? That is how I was viewing this discussion, and that's why stores' position seemed, at first blush, patently ridiculous.

I've been listening to Chopin's Ballade No. 1 for close to 50 years, and mostly by Horowitz. I also have a version by Perahia. As much as I respect Perahia as a pianist, VL's is far superior. Now, if I've been listening to Horowitz play this piece for 5 decades, and know it inside and out, how could I possibly remove this memory from my brain, short of a lobotomy. Assuming I had the technical equipment to pursue it (which I don't), must I scratch it from my aspirational repertoire, simply because it could never be truly "my own"? I think not.

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#1927431 - 07/16/12 09:32 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
sandalholme Offline
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Adding to wower and Old Man, there is surely a difference between a) listening to works for pleasure, b)listening to works with the intention of understanding how different pianists interpret them, whether or not those works are being studied and c)listening to works with the specific intention of trying to learn how to perform them, in other words copying.

For me only c) is illegitimate. Neither a) nor b) deny the development of one's own interpretation, although they may make you be more rigorous in discerning your individual style. Eschewing a), b) and c) and relying only on written sources might produce in a musical genius a new and convincing approach to, say, Beethoven, but I would guess for most of us it would not. And do not teachers push you off the piano stool and demonstrate how a particular passage might be played? Mine did, literally. (A wise teacher of course would not insist on a replication of his/her interpretation, as indeed mine did not)

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#1927452 - 07/16/12 10:29 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: sandalholme]
carey Offline
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Originally Posted By: sandalholme
Adding to wower and Old Man, there is surely a difference between a) listening to works for pleasure, b)listening to works with the intention of understanding how different pianists interpret them, whether or not those works are being studied and c)listening to works with the specific intention of trying to learn how to perform them, in other words copying.

For me only c) is illegitimate. Neither a) nor b) deny the development of one's own interpretation, although they may make you be more rigorous in discerning your individual style. Eschewing a), b) and c) and relying only on written sources might produce in a musical genius a new and convincing approach to, say, Beethoven, but I would guess for most of us it would not. And do not teachers push you off the piano stool and demonstrate how a particular passage might be played? Mine did, literally. (A wise teacher of course would not insist on a replication of his/her interpretation, as indeed mine did not)


Another great post !!!!!! thumb
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#1927548 - 07/16/12 01:31 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: sandalholme]
pianoloverus Offline
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Originally Posted By: sandalholme
c)listening to works with the specific intention of trying to learn how to perform them, in other words copying...For me only c) is illegitimate.
But "learning how to perform them" is not the same as copying. Of course, it's possible that someone might listen to a performance with the idea of trying to copy it, but this certainly does not have to be the case.

When studying with a teacher, most of lesson is spent "learning how to perform" a piece. Listening to performances can help one learn how to perform a piece the same way a lesson can.

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#1927598 - 07/16/12 03:46 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
BruceD Online   content
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It's all a question of degree, isn't it?

Some hear a recording/performance of a piece and decide to work on it on the basis of that hearing.

Some hear a piece, work on it, then listen to recordings to get ideas of how others may play it and how those ideas may inform their own.

Others, perhaps more inherently lazy than anything else, say that they simply have to listen to a piece to "hear how it goes." They can't figure out "how it goes" - or don't want to - by working from the score.

It's these last individuals that I have a serious issue with.

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#1927613 - 07/16/12 04:28 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: BruceD]
pianoloverus Offline
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Originally Posted By: BruceD
It's all a question of degree, isn't it?

Some hear a recording/performance of a piece and decide to work on it on the basis of that hearing.

Some hear a piece, work on it, then listen to recordings to get ideas of how others may play it and how those ideas may inform their own.

Others, perhaps more inherently lazy than anything else, say that they simply have to listen to a piece to "hear how it goes." They can't figure out "how it goes" - or don't want to - by working from the score.

It's these last individuals that I have a serious issue with.

Regards,
I certainly agree it's a question of degree but the only thing I have an issue with would be those that listen to a score with the intention of copying much of what's in it and perhaps not even thinking about why they like something another pianist does.

I think it helps to have an idea "how it goes" and this can significantly increase the speed one can learn a piece. I think of listening to see how it goes is similar to using an edited score to help with fingering. I might be able to figure out the best fingering for me with lots of time but using fingered editions to get suggestions usually greatly decreases the time I spend on this aspect of learning a piece.

And I often think, despite my long experience, that I would never have come up with some ingenious fingering some editor suggests. If I didn't sometimes use fingered editions I would never have the opportunity to learn something about fingering that I might find useful in another piece. It's kind of like trying to learn calculus without a textbook.

Sometimes the pieces I learn do not come in any fingered edition, and it can take a long time for me to decide on and find a fingering that seems to be best. I think any speed in finding my own fingerings I might gain by always trying to find fingerings totally independently(actually hard to do since most editions have some fingerings) would be counterbalanced by never experiencing editor's excellent fingering to learn from.

Although I think knowing how it goes is helpful, I usually decide to learn piece because I've already heard it and liked it. So in this sense knowing how it goes is usually a given for me. But for those who are assigned pieces, I think listening to see how it goes is not so bad. In fact, there is a big Youtube project, the University of Iowa Piano Pedagogy Project, that posts video by piano professors of typical student pieces.
http://www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed



Edited by pianoloverus (07/16/12 04:50 PM)

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#1927648 - 07/16/12 05:19 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Old Man]
ProdigalPianist Offline
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Originally Posted By: Old Man

Perhaps Stores is such an accomplished pianist that he is able to simply sight-read anything placed in front of him.

Originally Posted By: stores

I am, yes, and so are many others here. It is not rocket science... it's simply learning to read a score and developing your technique sufficiently enough to work your way through anything.

Originally Posted By: Old Man

Ah, now we've got to the crux of the matter. Because for those of us less gifted than you, it is indeed rocket science. And no amount of technique development will make it less so. What you and many others on this forum have is a gift so precious, that you barely take notice of it. You may believe your ability is due to your countless hours of practice, but it is not. You have a native talent for which you should thank any god that you may believe in, every day of your life. Practicing only burnishes what already exists. I agree that practice may improve my playing in very small increments, but practice will never make perfect if the basic talent is not there.


I completely understand why you would feel this way, but I would like to say (in the nicest possible terms) that I'm very sure you're wrong smile

Since you've only had a teacher for a few months of your life, you naturally would not understand that a good (or even basically competent) teacher makes the difference between blindly and randomly hacking around in the endless dense thicket of musical skill improvement for only the smallest advances, and a relatively easy and well-marked super highway of advancement.

I know this, because even though I did start out (and stayed with) piano lessons from a teacher as a kid, my first two teachers weren't very good. I didn't even understand that there was a thing called 'technique' which was the *way* to do things on piano (like play fast passages, play evenly, play very softly) and that it could be taught! Prior to this blinding revelation (which happened in *college*, mind you), I thought that either you could do these things or you couldn't. And that was that.

Nope. These things can and should be taught. In fact, they are taught as a matter of course every single day to thousands of piano students who are fortunate to have competent or better teachers. In fact I know understand that what took me 6 years of less-than-competent teachers (and still I had massive gaps) is covered by a good teacher to that level in at most a couple of years.

In my lifetime I've had probably 20 years of piano lessons, on and off, and I'm still amazed at how quickly my teacher (I'm now studying with someone who has an MA in piano pedagogy and DMA in performance) can help me to improve.

Get yourself a good teacher. It will amaze you.


Edited by ProdigalPianist (07/16/12 05:20 PM)
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#1927684 - 07/16/12 06:33 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: ProdigalPianist]
Old Man Offline
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Originally Posted By: ProdigalPianist

I completely understand why you would feel this way, but I would like to say (in the nicest possible terms) that I'm very sure you're wrong smile

No need for "nicest possible terms". If Stores can't offend me, no one can! grin

But seriously, I would love to believe that I am wrong. But at my age (62), one learns to pick and choose those activities most likely to bear fruit, and taking piano lessons never seemed to fall in the "fruitful" category.

But ironically, my next door neighbor, who is an experienced piano teacher, recently offered to work with me. She has studied with a well-known pianist here in Michigan for many years, and seems very accomplished, so I assume she is competent. She said she would like someone to listen to pieces she is working on (test marketing?), and, in exchange offered me free lessons. Of course, I nixed the "free" part, but I did leave the door open to her generous offer. (And it would be nice to play one of her large grands instead of my Roland, for a change.) But I also want to be sure I'm not wasting her time.

So, thank you, PP, (and Stores), for your advice about getting a teacher. Who knows, I may just surprise myself and do it.

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#1927878 - 07/17/12 04:40 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Old Man]
stores Offline
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Originally Posted By: Old Man
...a well-known pianist here in Michigan...
So, thank you, PP, (and Stores), for your advice about getting a teacher. Who knows, I may just surprise myself and do it.


I think you might want to send me a message, Old Man.
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#1928237 - 07/17/12 07:08 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
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Another work that doesn't get mentioned in your list but perhaps you might want to look into is the berceuse in D flat. It's beautiful, challenging, but shorter than the rest of the list.
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#1929070 - 07/19/12 01:20 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
Jorleyy Offline
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Yes the Berceuse is lovely, but more of a piece to do on the side of one of the pieces I listed.. I have decided to start with either Fantasie Op 49 or Barcarolle Op 60... Which of these to pieces do you think would be the best one to start with, and why?

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#1929264 - 07/19/12 07:43 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
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If you don't know after all we've said, I don't think we can tell you any better. grin


The answer is either the Barcarolle or neither. smile

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#1929389 - 07/20/12 02:42 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
Franz Beebert Offline
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I suggest you start with the Fantasie Op 49 then. It's easier than the ballades(except perhaps the third) and if you think you can manage a major work by Chopin, this one is an okay one to start with.

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#1929392 - 07/20/12 02:47 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Franz Beebert]
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Originally Posted By: Franz Beebert
I suggest you start with the Fantasie Op 49 then. It's easier than the ballades(except perhaps the third)...

Completely disagree -- unless you're not counting the "hard parts," of which there are many.

Quote:
...and if you think you can manage a major work by Chopin, this one is an okay one to start with.

Completely disagree, except to the extent that we might feel like going easy and saying that anything is okay to start with.

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#1929396 - 07/20/12 02:55 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Mark_C]
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And why would you say the fantasie is "harder" than any of Ballades No 1, 2 and 4? It has not got any passage that is nearly as difficult as the coda of the 4th ballade. Nor does it have any passages that are harder than the first's and second's codas. If you say that it contains "many more technical challenges" than I say that so does the Barcarolle. As for interpretational difficulties, the barcarolle is no easier than the fantasie..


Edited by Franz Beebert (07/20/12 02:58 AM)

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#1929408 - 07/20/12 03:21 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Franz Beebert]
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Originally Posted By: Franz Beebert
And why would you say the fantasie is "harder" than any of Ballades No 1, 2 and 4? It has not got any passage that is nearly as difficult as the coda of the 4th ballade.

Very subjective of course, but I say, not only does it have passages that are as hard, but its hard passages are SCARIER.

IMO there's nothing in the 4th ballade that is any harder -- and nothing that is as 'scary' -- as those contrary motion octave passages in the Fantaisie.
Unless they're played timidly (which they often are).

Likewise those jagged triplet passages following what I call the "butterfly" lyrical phrases.

And for that matter, how often have you heard those 'butterfly lyrical' phrases really played lyrically, comfortably, and accurately?

I could name other passages too, but I'll leave it at that.

When I'm preparing for a recital where I'm playing a bunch of these pieces (as I did the other day), the Fantaisie is the one that I always feel I need to 'prep' the most (like with tryouts in front of people). The other pieces are hard, and of course the 4th Ballade is considered by most to be the hardest of all, but the Fantaisie has more tricky acrobatics than any of them.

Unless it's played timidly. smile

The idea of recommending the piece to a beginner or intermediate player as their first major Chopin piece seems way off the mark to me.

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#1929442 - 07/20/12 04:16 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
GeorgeB Offline
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And for something to be hard does it only have to be technically demanding?

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#1929473 - 07/20/12 05:08 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Mark_C]
Franz Beebert Offline
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If one is technically prepared(now we don't know if the OP is) to play a first major work by Chopin, one certainly cannot be called a "beginner or intermediate player". In my opinion, double note passages and bringing out the top voice in thick chords, which are the main technical problems in the Barcarolle, is just as difficult, if not more, than anything in the Fantasie. The coda in double notes in the 4th Ballade scare me 45x more than anything in the fantasie. I would say that out of all the works that the OP listed, Fantasie Op 49 is one of the more suitable, IF the OP is musically mature enough, because that is where the real difficulty lies when it comes to the Fantasie. The only pieces that might be more suitable than the Fantasie IMO are the first three Scherzos, Op 48 No 1 and PERHAPS the third Ballade.


Edited by Franz Beebert (07/20/12 05:12 AM)

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#1929499 - 07/20/12 07:07 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
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I would also strongly advise against playing the fantaisie as the first major work, and would definitely not recommend starting with any of the large-scale works (e.g. fantaisie, polonaise-fantaisie, and the sonatas). I think that from the ones listed, op. 48 no. 1 would be the most suitable. If it needs to be a scherzo or a ballade, I would recommend numbers 2 and 3, respectively.

How about the op. 26 polonaises? They are excellent music while being more accessible than most of the pieces in the original list.

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#1929507 - 07/20/12 07:41 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
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Lisztvsthalbergg, you mean Ballade 2 or 3, or Scherzo 2 or 3? Ballade number 2 is arguably the most difficult of all the works listed after the 4th ballade, and definately harder than the fantasie from a technical point of view. The others are fine. Op 48 No 1 is the easiest because of its length, but the last two pages are just as hard as anything in the 2nd and 3rd Scherzos and the 3rd Ballade. The Op 26 Polonaises are great pieces and I would also recommend playing them, although, they are easier than all the pieces listed.

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#1929553 - 07/20/12 09:18 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Franz Beebert]
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Originally Posted By: Franz Beebert
Lisztvsthalbergg, you mean Ballade 2 or 3, or Scherzo 2 or 3?
I meant scherzo no. 2 and ballade no. 3 (and definitely not the other way around).

I know that the op. 26 polonaises are easier, but think that they can be great stepping stones towards the more difficult works while sounding quite impressive when played well. In fact, Op. 26 no. 1 was the first "bigger" Chopin piece I played and I'm glad that I didn't jump straight into the more difficult ones.

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#1929581 - 07/20/12 10:12 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
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Don't you think that Op 48 could be considered a good "stepping stone" for him then? Op 48 No 1 is not actually a "major work" although it is just as great as most of his major works, and has the character of being one. I would argue for that anyone who is able to play the Op 48 No 1 well, is ready for his first major work by Chopin.

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#1929796 - 07/20/12 04:23 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
lisztvsthalberg Offline
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Yes, I think that op. 48/1 would be by far the best choice out of the suggested pieces (given sufficiently good octave technique), with op. 26 nos. 1/2 as possible aternatives.

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#1929800 - 07/20/12 04:30 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: lisztvsthalberg]
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Originally Posted By: lisztvsthalberg
....(given sufficiently good octave technique)....

....plus some other things.

I agree that if pressed to the wall grin we'd have to say that the nocturne is the most likely of the listed pieces to be appropriate. But IMO the most challenging aspect isn't even the octaves, but all the various stuff involved in that last appearance of the theme: the jumps in the L.H., bringing out the top voice, balancing all the rest (including keeping the overall dynamic to some semblance of what is indicated), and the occasional cross-rhythms.

That's very little 'easier' than the other pieces. In fact, we could say it isn't at all.

If we're not talking about having to do 'all that' ha ....then we're not talking about really playing the piece. And if we're not, then anybody can try playing anything, can't they? smile

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#1929819 - 07/20/12 04:56 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Mark_C]
Franz Beebert Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: lisztvsthalberg
....(given sufficiently good octave technique)....

....plus some other things.

I agree that if pressed to the wall grin we'd have to say that the nocturne is the most likely of the listed pieces to be appropriate. But IMO the most challenging aspect isn't even the octaves, but all the various stuff involved in that last appearance of the theme: the jumps in the L.H., bringing out the top voice, balancing all the rest (including keeping the overall dynamic to some semblance of what is indicated), and the occasional cross-rhythms.

That's very little 'easier' than the other pieces. In fact, we could say it isn't at all.

If we're not talking about having to do 'all that' ha ....then we're not talking about really playing the piece. And if we're not, then anybody can try playing anything, can't they? smile
Well, you have made some very good points here. I would say that actually, if one is able to play this piece well, one will be very able to pick between any of the first three Scherzi and the third ballade, and also PERHAPS the Op 44 Polonaise or the Fantasie Op 49(my opinion, I know you don't agree, hehe). As I have said also, the ONLY reason this piece is to be considered the most suitable, is because of its length. The last two pages is just as demanding as anything in the first three Scherzi. Pick this piece! IMO it's better than almost all of the other pieces listed(I will get picked on for this, wont I?)! wink

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#1929841 - 07/20/12 05:15 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Franz Beebert]
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Originally Posted By: Franz Beebert
....IMO it's better than almost all of the other pieces listed(I will get picked on for this, wont I?)! wink

Not if nobody notices. grin

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#1929850 - 07/20/12 05:29 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
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Very true! Anyway, we shouldn't say which one is better and which one isn't, all these piece are pure poetry and some of the greatest music ever composed for the Piano, but the Op 48 No 1 has a special place in my heart. It was THE piece that made me fall in love with Chopin smile

Anyway jorley, now I don't think anyone can help you more. You have gotten many suggestions one where to start. I suggest you start with Op 48. Some suggest you start with a Scherzo. Anyway stay away from the 2nd and 4th Ballade, the 4h Scherzo and the Polonaise-Fantasie.

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#1929883 - 07/20/12 06:04 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Mark_C]
lisztvsthalberg Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: lisztvsthalberg
....(given sufficiently good octave technique)....

....plus some other things.

I agree that if pressed to the wall grin we'd have to say that the nocturne is the most likely of the listed pieces to be appropriate. But IMO the most challenging aspect isn't even the octaves, but all the various stuff involved in that last appearance of the theme: the jumps in the L.H., bringing out the top voice, balancing all the rest (including keeping the overall dynamic to some semblance of what is indicated), and the occasional cross-rhythms.

That's very little 'easier' than the other pieces. In fact, we could say it isn't at all.

If we're not talking about having to do 'all that' ha ....then we're not talking about really playing the piece. And if we're not, then anybody can try playing anything, can't they? smile
I still don't think that those couple of pages make this as "bad" as the others, because 1) it really is just a couple of pages and 2) those couple of pages are not as difficult as the really difficult stuff in the other pieces. Sure they are challenging, but I think they can be played reasonably well with a lesser technique than what is required by the other ones, given enough practice. Finally, the tempo is less strict than e.g. in the scherzos or the codas of the ballades, giving the performer more flexibility in terms of using rubato.

Having said all that, I would only suggest the nocturne as a "lesser evil" here and would like to reiterate my recommendation for op. 26 smile

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#1929925 - 07/20/12 07:07 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
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I just have one last question.. How about the Polonaise in F# Minor Op 44? Is that one okay as a first major work, or is it alot harder than the Op 48 No 1 and the Scherzos?


Edited by Jorleyy (07/20/12 07:07 PM)

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#1929941 - 07/20/12 07:47 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
pianoloverus Offline
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Originally Posted By: Jorleyy
I just have one last question...
You're questions remind me of this TV detective:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biW9BbWJtQU

except his famous line was meant to be funny.

Unless you are really just putting everyone on, my guess is you are not ready for any of the pieces you've mentioned.


Edited by pianoloverus (07/20/12 07:48 PM)

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#1930009 - 07/20/12 10:42 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: pianoloverus]
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I agree.

Jorleyy, assuming you're not just jerking us around, I have to say that your questions give the impression that your level isn't yet up to any of the pieces you've been asking about and that you should spend more time first on simpler pieces.

And oh.....I think you've said "just one more question" a few times already. grin

BTW, Op. 44 was in your 1st post and we've already talked about it.

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#1930133 - 07/21/12 07:36 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
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I agree with pianoloverus and Mark_C. I mean, why don't you just try? We have trying to give you plenty of help. So, for one last time, here are the pieces that you could try(it does sound like you should wait a while though):

Op 48 1
Scherzo No 1, 2, 3
Ballade No 3
Polonaise Op 44
Fantasie Op 49(Although I have many doubts on this one)
Ballade 1 (Same as Op 49)

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#1931565 - 07/23/12 10:19 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
Ken Knapp Offline



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I find it interesting that Jorleyy asks questions and Franz Beebert answers them.. Considering they are both posting from the same place..


Edited by Ken Knapp (07/23/12 10:20 PM)
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#1931566 - 07/23/12 10:25 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Ken Knapp]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Ken Knapp
I find it interesting that Jorleyy asks questions and Franz Beebert answers them.. Considering they are both posting from the same place..

Hmmmmm..... ha

Could this mean anything other than what it seems?

And if that's what it means, doesn't it have any ramification for those members? (Or, I guess, 'that member.') grin

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#2012195 - 01/10/13 10:38 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
Timofey Offline
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Hi. That year I need a major composition by Romantic composer for my exams. I want to play a work by Chopin. Please help choose between his major works. Other pieces by Chopin that I've done: Etudes nos. 3, 8, 14, 24; Nocturnes nos. 1 (Bbm), 7 (C#m), 13 (Cm); Waltzes nos. 1 (Eb), 6 (Db), 7 (C#m) and Polonaise no. 2 (Ebm). So which piece amongst scherzi, ballades, sonatas and miscellaneous I should try?
Thanks.
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#2012239 - 01/10/13 12:38 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
BDB Online   content
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There are not that many major solo works by Chopin:

4 Ballades
4 Scherzi
4 Impromptus
3 Sonatas
Fantasie
Berceuse
Barcarolle
Tarantella

Only about 15 pieces that would probably qualify as major works. Just listen to them and find something that you like.
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#2012245 - 01/10/13 12:43 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: BDB]
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I love the Berceuse and Tarantelle but I wouldn't say they're "major works" and I don't think they're considered that way by most, and I don't think most would consider the Impromptus in there either, with #2 being sort of an exception. BTW not that this would be of interest to Aminov, but if we're making a list like that, we could throw at least 1 Rondo into the mix. smile

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#2012260 - 01/10/13 01:12 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
Timofey Offline
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Impromptus, Berceuse, Tarantelle and most Polonaises (except op. 44, 53 & 61) are not considered as major works in my college. My teacher told me that Scherzi is most accessible by its form, but not easiest technically and musically. Thanks for reminding me about Rondo, I'll give it a listen.


Edited by Aminov Timur (01/10/13 01:26 PM)
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#2012277 - 01/10/13 01:45 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
pianoloverus Offline
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One more suggestion for a major Chopin work although it's rarely played.

His Rondo a la Mazur Op.5. For me, it's his first really great work and one of his greatest "Mazurkas". I don't understand why it seems to be played so infrequently. Maybe some consider too lightweight or in his salon style but from the first time I heard it I thought it was sensational. And both Bozhanov and Trifonov played it in big competitons.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSEmtSyRhjY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuGonko-Wuk




Edited by pianoloverus (01/10/13 02:10 PM)

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#2012278 - 01/10/13 01:51 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
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Don't forget the concerti.

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#2012311 - 01/10/13 03:17 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Franz Beebert]
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Originally Posted By: Franz Beebert
If one is technically prepared(now we don't know if the OP is) [...]


I think questioning the OP's technical skills and abilities is somewhat moot since he hasn't been here since July, 2012 when he started this thread.
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#2012333 - 01/10/13 04:00 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: BruceD]
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....but Franzie isn't here either! (His posts were a while back. That one was 'contemporaneous.')

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#2012388 - 01/10/13 05:49 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
Vid Offline
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You could even say it was 'contemperroneous'?
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#2016404 - 01/17/13 10:57 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: beet31425]
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I believe that the most difficult part of his 4th Ballade, is getting the music out of the notes. This one is like many of Rachmaninoff's works-you can play all the nots, but not make any music

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#2016516 - 01/18/13 04:24 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: BDB]
Verbum mirabilis Offline
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Allegro de Concert, which is one of Chopin's hardest works hasn't been mentioned. It's definitely a major work. Also, there's the E flat major rondo, op. 18 if I remember right. Andante spianato e Grande polonaise brillante is almost a solo piano work, methinks.
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#2016561 - 01/18/13 08:08 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: jdott]
pianoloverus Offline
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Originally Posted By: jdott
I believe that the most difficult part of his 4th Ballade, is getting the music out of the notes. This one is like many of Rachmaninoff's works-you can play all the nots, but not make any music
I think your comment applies to any piece of music equally.

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#2017311 - 01/19/13 02:33 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
UberB Offline
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I honestly don't think you're ready for any of these pieces. As usual, if you have to ask which piece is harder than you probably aren't ready to play any of them. IMO the easiest out of the pieces you listed would be the 3rd ballade or op. 48 no. 1, but even these works are very technically challenging (I'm thinking of the ending section of the 3rd ballade and the octaves + coda of 48/1 for example). Quite frankly I think you are underestimating the difficulty of these pieces and vastly overestimating your own technique. You are not "quite an advanced player" just because you can play the Pathetique and a few easy Chopin pieces. I have played pieces like Beethoven op. 53, op. 57, op.81a and Chopin op. 25 no. 11 etc and I would not even consider myself an advanced player.

As usual the final decision is up to you and you seem set on tackling one of these major works. I can understand as they are great works of music and are very close to my heart. However I think if you do give it a try, you will find the quality of your playing to be ultimately less than satisfying. These pieces demand a great technical and musical maturity. You won't be doing the piece justice, technically or musically. This is why I stopped playing the B-flat minor sonata because it was clear after 20 minutes that I was neither technically nor musically ready for this colossal work. If you wanted suggestions of where to go next, I would personally suggest some more Beethoven sonatas like op.31/3 or some Chopin etudes like 10/5, 10/12, 25/1, 25/2 etc. Whether or not you can play these pieces well should be an good indicator if you're ready for one of Chopin's major works.

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#2017316 - 01/19/13 02:35 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: UberB]
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Originally Posted By: UberB
I honestly don't think you're ready for any of these pieces....

But we're not talking to him any more -- he's gone!

(One of the hazards of old threads being opened....) grin

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#2017320 - 01/19/13 02:40 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Mark_C]
UberB Offline
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Registered: 08/06/12
Posts: 28
Oops, didn't notice laugh

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#2017323 - 01/19/13 02:42 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: UberB]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: UberB
Oops, didn't notice laugh

No problem. It's just a little funny because there's a 'debate' going on about it. ha

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#2017428 - 01/19/13 05:42 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Jorleyy]
pianoloverus Offline
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I think whether the original poster is still here is usually of minor importance. If a topic is interesting, important, etc. than the answers are almost always interesting and important to many people.


Edited by pianoloverus (01/19/13 05:46 PM)

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#2017429 - 01/19/13 05:45 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: pianoloverus]
carey Offline
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Registered: 05/13/05
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Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I think whether the original poster is still here is of minor importance.


Perhaps - but if you make a comment and expect the OP to respond, you're going to be disappointed.


Edited by carey (01/19/13 05:46 PM)
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#2017476 - 01/19/13 07:05 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: carey]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: carey
Perhaps - but if you make a comment and expect the OP to respond, you're going to be disappointed.

We can then explain it to the n00b.
Preferably nicely. grin

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#2019389 - 01/22/13 11:44 PM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Mark_C]
jdott Offline
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Registered: 01/17/13
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Loc: Colorado, USA
This time, it wasn't me!

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#2019470 - 01/23/13 06:12 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: UberB]
-Frycek Offline
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Originally Posted By: UberB
I have played pieces like Beethoven op. 53, op. 57, op.81a and Chopin op. 25 no. 11 etc and I would not even consider myself an advanced player.



You can play Winter Wind (I presueme you mean you can play it well) and don't consider yourself an advanced player?? What exactly does it take?
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#2019596 - 01/23/13 11:16 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: -Frycek]
Mark_C Online   content
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Good observation, and I think we should presume that we shouldn't presume what you presumed! grin

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#2020050 - 01/24/13 01:29 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: -Frycek]
UberB Offline
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Registered: 08/06/12
Posts: 28
I spent the last few months learning 25/11 and I can give a relatively acceptable private rendition, i.e. the speed is pretty proper, accuracy is decent and there is sufficient musicality. I still wouldn't perform it live, but I also spent a lot of hours of effort on it and I wouldn't say it's completely trash. smile

Anyway my point was that in the classical music world, there is always space to improve. Unless I was at the very top, I wouldn't waste time considering how good I was. I don't have any illusions about my skill level. Amongst amateurs and regular people I am obviously very good. But compared with professionals and conservatory students I am definitely nothing special, which is fine for me since piano playing is just a hobby (although a dedicated one).

Another reason why I don't consider myself advanced is because there are still many pieces that I want to play but can't. Chopin's 2nd and 3rd piano sonatas, for instance, as well as his 1st and 4th Ballade, 3rd scherzo, the late Beethoven sonatas, the Liszt sonata, Bach's Goldbergs etc. Keep setting goals for yourself and you will always find space to improve. smile When I was in 4th grade I wanted to play Mozart's rondo alla turca and Beethoven's appassionata sonata. Today these goals have become reality but I have new goals to replace them laugh

Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Good observation, and I think we should presume that we shouldn't presume what you presumed! grin


Okay, what is your definition of playing 25/11 well? My idea of playing well would be on the level of Sokolov or Richter or Lhevinne or Orozco. In that case, I don't play 25/11 well at all. But again if your definition of playing well would be simply to give a pretty good rendition for an amateur pianist that still does the piece justice, then I suppose I can agree with -Frycek's presumption.


Edited by UberB (01/24/13 01:38 AM)

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#2020078 - 01/24/13 02:36 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: UberB]
Mark_C Online   content
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Here's the thing: If you can play that piece fairly well, you are an advanced player. Since you said you don't consider yourself one, there seems to be a contradiction. In fact, IMO there is a contradiction. grin

So, the only thing I would presume is that one thing or the other isn't so. Which, I don't know. smile

P.S. I can't get much from what you say "playing well" means, including because (pardon my saying so) grin the pianists you mentioned as examples of "playing well" are ridiculous. That's not playing 'well,' that's playing at an all-time-great Hall of Fame level. All I can say is, we all have our ideas of what it means to play a piece "well," and while all our ideas might be somewhat different, I'm comfortable talking about it without defining it, and feeling that it's pretty similar to what most people think -- and that saying the standard for playing "well" is Lhevinne, Sokolov etc. has no resemblance to what most people think. I'm not putting down your playing at all; in fact I'd guess you're better than how you made yourself sound with the modest statement.

BTW you named a pretty darn good Hall of Fame. smile

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#2020086 - 01/24/13 03:21 AM Re: Chopin Major Works [Re: Mark_C]
AldenH Offline
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Registered: 03/22/11
Posts: 412
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: Mark_C

BTW you named a pretty darn good Hall of Fame. smile


I'll say! and I thought I had issues with comparing myself to others XD

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