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#1926806 - 07/14/12 07:15 PM ballade in f minor, chopin
forrestgump Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 12
hey guys
please respond to this ONLY if you are currently learning or have learned ballade no. 4 by chopin.
First question: which section in this piece do think is the hardest? everyone seems to think the coda, but for some reason I find the polyrhytmic section(2/3 of the way through the piece), the double note descending part(about 5/12 of the way through the piece), and the fast arpeggios(right before the coda) the hardest technically.
Second question: How fast should this piece be played? I fear if I play it too fast, I will mess up some of the harder technical spots. Which tempo(or range of tempos) are generally accepted?

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#1926814 - 07/14/12 07:38 PM Re: ballade in f minor, chopin [Re: forrestgump]
lisztvsthalberg Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/27/10
Posts: 121
In my opinion the coda is the hardest part, partly because it requires the advanced use of a number of different techniques. The section in the middle with the sixths in the right hand and the trills in the left is also tricky. I think this piece can work in very contrasting interpretations and tempos, and I also haven't really heard a "definitive" version of it either.

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#1926925 - 07/15/12 01:52 AM Re: ballade in f minor, chopin [Re: forrestgump]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 20234
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: forrestgump
....ONLY if you are currently learning or have learned....

Yes, in fact I performed it tonite. I understand it wasn't too bad. grin

Originally Posted By: forrestgump
....which section in this piece do think is the hardest? everyone seems to think the coda, but for some reason I find the polyrhytmic section(2/3 of the way through the piece)....

Don't know which part that is.

Quote:
the double note descending part(about 5/12 of the way through the piece)....

Don't know which part that is either.

Quote:
and the fast arpeggios(right before the coda)....

That could be either of two things (real close to each other).
They're both tricky.

I do think the coda is the hardest part if we're talking pure fingers.

If we're talking musically, I think the hardest part is the whole first theme section (following the intro). I bet you never thought this part might be considered "hard." Musically, it's very hard. The intro is a real, real challenge too.

I saw it said (I think on this site) that a competition judge said that he pretty much rules out most contestants just from that section, before getting to any of the "hard parts." Many of us slave away for hours and hours and hours on all the "hard" things that come after that -- yet it all might be a waste of time if we can't make music of those first sections -- the intro and the simple appearance of the first theme.

Quote:
How fast should this piece be played? I fear if I play it too fast, I will mess up some of the harder technical spots. Which tempo(or range of tempos) are generally accepted?

The fear is well taken. Don't play it any faster than what you can handle. The piece can tolerate a wide range of tempi. Use your own musical judgment to tell you if whatever tempo you can handle is a reasonable one. If you can't judge that, pardon my saying so but you're not ready for a piece like this.

Be that as it may, I think your ear will indeed tell you. smile

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#1926926 - 07/15/12 01:52 AM Re: ballade in f minor, chopin [Re: forrestgump]
Kuanpiano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2181
Loc: Canada
The Coda is the hardest, the polyrhythms sort themselves out anyways (the left hand is pretty easy and the right hand just needs some practice). The arpeggios aren't that bad because they're pretty pianistic, but the coda is pretty much a nightmare.

I haven't learned it, but I have worked on everything and I know every bar of the work.
_________________________
Working on:
Chopin - Nocturne op. 48 no.1
Debussy - Images Book II


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#1927156 - 07/15/12 04:11 PM Re: ballade in f minor, chopin [Re: forrestgump]
dolce sfogato Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2704
the hardest part of the 4th Ballade is, well, the whole piece. Let me explain briefly: it's a difficult piece, it has it's technical moments, yes, the coda is one of them, as are many other moments, but now for the real problems: if one is beckoned back for technical reasons: keep off...and for musical reasons: keep off...This is one of the pinnacles of pianism, one should only bother when technical limits are of no importance, and when one is musically ripe enough to tackle lesser things, which are numerous...Never struggle in this piece with double notes, polyrhythms, or the question how to play it in the first place: this piece will come to you, if you deserve it. Otherwise, refrain and have hope.
_________________________
Longtemps, je me suis couch´┐Ż de bonne heure, but not anymore!

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#1927187 - 07/15/12 05:18 PM Re: ballade in f minor, chopin [Re: Mark_C]
Rania Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 80
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
I think the hardest part is the whole first theme section (following the intro)... The intro is a real, real challenge too.


I agree completely.
I was playing the ballade in a masterclass a couple of weeks ago, and when I got to the middle (end of the imitative contrapuntal section) the teacher stopped me and said, "up till here the piece is very difficult to interpret. From here on it is very difficult to play."

What a journey this piece is. So beautiful and so hard. And I feel like I will never feel satisfied with it, never feel it's "there". Or maybe, like dolce sfogato said, it will just come to me when I deserve it.

_________________________
"Can you live without music? If you can live without music, thank the Lord and goodbye! Because it's only if it is unavoidable that you must do music. Somebody who wants to do it will never be discouraged."
Nadia Boulanger


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#1927197 - 07/15/12 05:50 PM Re: ballade in f minor, chopin [Re: dolce sfogato]
JoelW Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 5098
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
the hardest part of the 4th Ballade is, well, the whole piece.

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#1927338 - 07/16/12 02:16 AM Re: ballade in f minor, chopin [Re: forrestgump]
Rania Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 80
Originally Posted By: forrestgump
Second question: How fast should this piece be played? I fear if I play it too fast, I will mess up some of the harder technical spots. Which tempo(or range of tempos) are generally accepted?


I think it's important that this piece feels in 2, so it probably shouldn't be played too slow. It's Andante con moto. It's tempting to take a safe tempo to get all the notes but I think the meanings of the gestures would be lost. The technical parts are not meant to sound technical (probably in all of chopin's music, even his etudes).
_________________________
"Can you live without music? If you can live without music, thank the Lord and goodbye! Because it's only if it is unavoidable that you must do music. Somebody who wants to do it will never be discouraged."
Nadia Boulanger


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