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#2082694 - 05/14/13 09:42 PM Chopin nocturnes
musicaldentist Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/25/11
Posts: 12
Hi!
I'm trying to decide which nocturne to take on next..... It's between op 9 no 1 and op 48 no 2.

Is one significantly more difficult than the next, or are they comparable?

(Or does asking this question mean I shouldn't tackle either?!!!)

Thanks for sharing your expertise!
-Pamela

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#2082698 - 05/14/13 09:45 PM Re: Chopin nocturnes [Re: musicaldentist]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21821
Loc: Oakland
Pieces have different degrees of difficulty for different people. You have to decide for yourself. If you cannot look at both of them and make up your own mind, you may not be ready for either of them.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2082801 - 05/14/13 11:29 PM Re: Chopin nocturnes [Re: musicaldentist]
Cinnamonbear Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3978
Loc: Rockford, IL
Did you read through them at the keyboard? If so, did you like one better than the other? I am surpised that you would not just go with the one that speaks to your heart/abilities, first. It's not a wrestling match, Pamela! If it doesn't cause an outright obsession in you, find something that does. Hint: I might not be Chopin. grin
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#2082813 - 05/14/13 11:45 PM Re: Chopin nocturnes [Re: musicaldentist]
Goomer Piles Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/14/13
Posts: 154
Hi Pamela. You said which 'to take on next'. Which nocturne(s) have you learnt already? Is your question about difficulty because you want a challenge or something relatively easy? How did you narrow down your choice to these two?

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#2082820 - 05/14/13 11:53 PM Re: Chopin nocturnes [Re: musicaldentist]
musicaldentist Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/25/11
Posts: 12
Thanks for everyone's feedback. I actually enjoy listening to both of these pieces, and want to do whichever justice. I have spent the last year working on fantasie impromptu by chopin (among other pieces), and feel I play it okay but am ready to develop different skills. Hopefully in a couple of years I can pick it up again and take it to the next level. I just want to grow and develop and a better musician, and I feel the right choice in piece might help... Am I over thinking this?!! :-)

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#2082826 - 05/15/13 12:09 AM Re: Chopin nocturnes [Re: musicaldentist]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19845
Loc: New York
Here's an easy method -- a way to do it without pulling teeth. grin

Have you looked much through the pieces? If you have, and if you're not intimidated by the multi-note complicated figures in the 2nd and 3rd measures of Opus 9 #1 (which I think most beginners and many intermediate people would be), then you're reasonably capable of playing either piece. If you are intimidated by them, then for sure forget that piece, and just try the other. If you haven't looked through them yet, then take a look at those first few measures of 9/1, and see. I don't necessarily mean 9/1 is 'harder' (although it probably is); it's just that this is a piece where you can see immediately from the gitgo where you stand with it.

How's about that? smile

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#2082833 - 05/15/13 12:26 AM Re: Chopin nocturnes [Re: Mark_C]
beet31425 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3832
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
...I don't necessarily mean 9/1 is 'harder' (although it probably is); it's just that...

For some reason, Mark, I find this part of the sentence to be just the quintessential Mark. "It may sound like I'm saying X... I'm not really saying X (although, actually, X is probably true...)"

Just perfect.

-J

(p.s. I agree with you.)
_________________________
Schubert: Bb Impromptu D.935/3; Mozart: D minor concerto; Chopin: first Ballade

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#2082834 - 05/15/13 12:29 AM Re: Chopin nocturnes [Re: beet31425]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19845
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: beet31425
Just perfect

Well I definitely agree with that part. ha

Yes, that thing you quoted was about clarification and fine distinction (things that some of our 'fans' sometimes don't have much patience for). grin
In this case, a distinction between levels of confidence on things. Most of the post was stuff that I believe firmly, but that part was a throwaway thought, and something that I'm not sure I'd have an answer on even if I thought about it more.

And maybe ironically, the post was basically about how she doesn't have to make the fine distinction she was asking for in order to have her answer!


BTW, great actual old quote from somebody or other, some politician (probably easily found on google): "I didn't say I didn't say it; I said I didn't say I said it."

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#2082850 - 05/15/13 01:29 AM Re: Chopin nocturnes [Re: musicaldentist]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13812
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I'd suggest basing the decision on your comfort level with the fioratura.

If fioratura scares you, do Op. 48, if you know how to handle it, do Op. 9.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#2082851 - 05/15/13 01:31 AM Re: Chopin nocturnes [Re: Kreisler]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19845
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
I'd suggest basing the decision on your comfort level with the fioratura.

If fioratura scares you, do Op. 48, if you know how to handle it, do Op. 9.

Uh........uh.............. grin

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#2082863 - 05/15/13 02:02 AM Re: Chopin nocturnes [Re: musicaldentist]
BruceD Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18230
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: musicaldentist
Hi!
I'm trying to decide which nocturne to take on next..... It's between op 9 no 1 and op 48 no 2.

Is one significantly more difficult than the next, or are they comparable?

(Or does asking this question mean I shouldn't tackle either?!!!)

Thanks for sharing your expertise!
-Pamela


Pamela :

The "difficulties" between the two Nocturnes are different to the point that it is difficult to say which is the more difficult of the two.

The Op 9, No 1 contains, as others have indicated, fioritura against a steady accompaniment that might send many to their calculators trying to figure out how to play 22 notes against 12, 11 notes against six, or 20 notes against nine. Caution! a calculator is not the solution!

On the other hand, Op 48, No 2 requires a solid control of a continuous two against three, and as such is both an excellent exercise for working on mastering two against three and an obvious trap for those who are unable to completely master it.

There is, as in almost all Chopin Nocturnes, a great deal of repetition in both these Nocturnes, although I have always found the repetitions in Op 9, No 1, measures 19 through 50 much more difficult to make interesting/convincing. That may be, in part, because the melody in octaves is, for me, one of Chopin's less-inspired melodies. The subito f's in this section can also be an interpretive dilemma: just how much f and how subito has always been the question.

So each has its challenges, and you have to choose
1) the one that will respond to the technical and musical challenges you feel you need to face at the moment or
2) the one that you will most enjoy working on or
3) the one that your teacher recommends (and explains why) - that is, if you have a teacher.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#2082865 - 05/15/13 02:12 AM Re: Chopin nocturnes [Re: BruceD]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19845
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: BruceD
....Caution! a calculator is not the solution!....

Well, at least slightly it is. smile

Why do you say it isn't? Although actually I have to say, indeed I don't use one, but that's only because I can do division in my head. grin

I go along with the gist of what I think is your basic message: following the 'calculation' won't give the music. But, I always "do the division" in the initial stage of learning such passages -- it does serve as a good guide -- although I do try ultimately to steer clear of having the passage sound like a mathematical fractionation. smile

(Don't let Beet31425 see this post, please.) ha

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#2082869 - 05/15/13 02:16 AM Re: Chopin nocturnes [Re: Mark_C]
Polyphonist Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7709
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
(Don't let Beet31425 see this post, please.) ha

Don't worry. I've locked his browser so he can't access the site, and the password to unlock it is to decipher a 67,908,131 against 809,101,477 polyrhythm. grin
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2082899 - 05/15/13 04:14 AM Re: Chopin nocturnes [Re: musicaldentist]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4263
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Chopin Nocturne choices ... 9-1 or 48-2

Only because the OP is relatively new
(only 9 times “at bat”)
the suggestion is made that Nocturne 9-1
being relatively ornate (florid)
that it might be wise to skid right past
and settle for the more popular Nocturne 9-2.

However, my reference book says of Nocturne 9-1 in C minor

“A masterpiece, nobly tragic, perfect in every line.
The impressive first theme is more declamatory in character than lyrical,
the frequent rests lending passion to its speech.
The interlude in C major, starting with quiet majesty,
ascends to so overwhelming climax
when the interrupting octaves reach a fortissimo.
Doppio movimento at the resumption of C minor
seems an ill-considered directive;
tempo primo ma agitato would better express the intention.”

My book doesn’t wax quite so lyrical about 48-2 ...
but I’ve played it and am always struck with the impassioned Theme.

How long is a piece of string?

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#2082908 - 05/15/13 04:47 AM Re: Chopin nocturnes [Re: musicaldentist]
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
Originally Posted By: musicaldentist
Am I over thinking this?!! :-)

Yes.

Which one do you like better? (Or better yet, which one are you nuts about?) That's the one you should do. Never leave passion out of the equation. If you can manage the Fantasy Impromptu (I presume you mean the whole thing and not a simplified version of the "chasing rainbows" part) you should be able to handle either. For what it's worth Eleanor Bailie rates the Fantasy Impromptu as grade 8+ and both the nocturnes in question as plain grade 8. I haven't studied 48/2 but I do play the Fantasy Impromptu and 9/1 and found 9/1 a bit easier than the Impromptu but in pretty much the same range.
_________________________
Slow down and do it right.

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#2082935 - 05/15/13 06:47 AM Re: Chopin nocturnes [Re: musicaldentist]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7980
Originally Posted By: musicaldentist
Thanks for everyone's feedback. I actually enjoy listening to both of these pieces, and want to do whichever justice. I have spent the last year working on fantasie impromptu by chopin (among other pieces), and feel I play it okay but am ready to develop different skills. Hopefully in a couple of years I can pick it up again and take it to the next level. I just want to grow and develop and a better musician, and I feel the right choice in piece might help... Am I over thinking this?!! :-)


Actually, I think you may be under-thinking it. If your aim is to develop different skills, and you want to grow and develop, wouldn't moving to a different composer entirely make the most sense?

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#2083092 - 05/15/13 01:11 PM Re: Chopin nocturnes [Re: btb]
BruceD Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18230
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: btb
Chopin Nocturne choices ... 9-1 or 48-2

Only because the OP is relatively new
(only 9 times “at bat”)
the suggestion is made that Nocturne 9-1
being relatively ornate (florid)
that it might be wise to skid right past
and settle for the more popular Nocturne 9-2.

However, my reference book says of Nocturne 9-1 in C minor

“A masterpiece, nobly tragic, perfect in every line.
The impressive first theme is more declamatory in character than lyrical,
the frequent rests lending passion to its speech.
The interlude in C major, starting with quiet majesty,
ascends to so overwhelming climax
when the interrupting octaves reach a fortissimo.
Doppio movimento at the resumption of C minor
seems an ill-considered directive;
tempo primo ma agitato would better express the intention.”

My book doesn’t wax quite so lyrical about 48-2 ...
but I’ve played it and am always struck with the impassioned Theme.

How long is a piece of string?



You had better re-read more closely your "reference book" for the Nocturne Op 9, No 1 or simply toss the reference; the Nocturne, Op 9, No 1 is in B-flat minor, not C minor. Moreover, all the references you quote refer, rather, to the Nocturne Op 48, No 1 which is in C minor with a C major section, but was not one of the choices in the original question.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#2083099 - 05/15/13 01:25 PM Re: Chopin nocturnes [Re: Cinnamonbear]
the nosy ape Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/10/08
Posts: 720
Loc: Westford, MA
Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear
Hint: I might not be Chopin.

And I might not be Beethoven.

Sorry, I could not resist.

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#2083106 - 05/15/13 01:43 PM Re: Chopin nocturnes [Re: Mark_C]
Old Man Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/12
Posts: 778
Loc: Michigan, USA
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
I'd suggest basing the decision on your comfort level with the fioratura.

If fioratura scares you, do Op. 48, if you know how to handle it, do Op. 9.

Uh........uh.............. grin

fioratura? It sounds so lovely. FI-or-a-tu-ra. fi-or-a-TU-ra. So beautiful. So musical.

And for all these years I've been incorrectly calling it a "bitch".

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#2083114 - 05/15/13 01:56 PM Re: Chopin nocturnes [Re: Old Man]
Vid Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/01
Posts: 872
Loc: Vancouver, B.C.
Originally Posted By: Old Man

And for all these years I've been incorrectly calling it a "bitch".


thumb
_________________________
Kawai VPC1, Pianoteq, Galaxy Vintage D

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#2083127 - 05/15/13 02:21 PM Re: Chopin nocturnes [Re: -Frycek]
carey Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6424
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: -Frycek
For what it's worth Eleanor Bailie rates the Fantasy Impromptu as grade 8+ and both the nocturnes in question as plain grade 8.


And unfortunately, the Fantasy Impromptu is too often attempted by students at the grade 6 level or lower. grin
_________________________
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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#2083130 - 05/15/13 02:31 PM Re: Chopin nocturnes [Re: the nosy ape]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4892
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: the nosy ape
Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear
Hint: I might not be Chopin.

And I might not be Beethoven.

Sorry, I could not resist.

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#2083164 - 05/15/13 03:21 PM Re: Chopin nocturnes [Re: carey]
BruceD Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18230
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: carey
Originally Posted By: -Frycek
For what it's worth Eleanor Bailie rates the Fantasy Impromptu as grade 8+ and both the nocturnes in question as plain grade 8.


And unfortunately, the Fantasy Impromptu is too often attempted by students at the grade 6 level or lower. grin


Too true, carey. I think that one of the curses of the Fantaisie-Impromptu is that too many relatively young, technically facile players attempt it while more mature players avoid it because it is overplayed and superficial (?) in content. Even though Chopin did not (apparently) wish this work to be published, it is, in the right hands, a lovely piece of fanciful writing, even if it lacks great depth. I don't think that every piece has to be profound to be beautiful or to be captivating. Even if the repetitions in the Moderato cantabile sections occur once too often, surely that section contains a lovely bel canto melody, rivaling - or at least equalling - anything Bellini wrote.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#2083171 - 05/15/13 03:30 PM Re: Chopin nocturnes [Re: BruceD]
carey Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6424
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: BruceD
Too true, carey. I think that one of the curses of the Fantaisie-Impromptu is that too many relatively young, technically facile players attempt it while more mature players avoid it because it is overplayed and superficial (?) in content. Even though Chopin did not (apparently) wish this work to be published, it is, in the right hands, a lovely piece of fanciful writing, even if it lacks great depth. I don't think that every piece has to be profound to be beautiful or to be captivating. Even if the repetitions in the Moderato cantabile sections occur once too often, surely that section contains a lovely bel canto melody, rivaling - or at least equalling - anything Bellini wrote.

Well said !! thumb
_________________________
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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#2083214 - 05/15/13 05:01 PM Re: Chopin nocturnes [Re: wr]
musicaldentist Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/25/11
Posts: 12
You have a very good point! Maybe you could guide me in the right direction.... As far as my background goes, I'm 33, have played since I was 5, and took 10 years off from age 20-30. I've played a range from Bach's French Suite selections, to Debussy's First Arabesque, Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu, and Rachmoninov's Prelude in E Minor (his easiest one!)

At work I spend 8 hours a day trying to recreate perfection in a tiny black hole (the life of a dentist), and managing 8 women. =) Playing piano is my therapy!!!! I would like to find a piece that is an expressive outlet. I tend to find Debussy and Chopin and Rachmoninov great for reliving tension, but I'm sure there are many other composers that accomplish the same emotion in their music.... Any ideas?

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#2083227 - 05/15/13 05:21 PM Re: Chopin nocturnes [Re: musicaldentist]
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
Originally Posted By: musicaldentist
At work I spend 8 hours a day trying to recreate perfection in a tiny black hole (the life of a dentist), and managing 8 women. =) Playing piano is my therapy!!!! I would like to find a piece that is an expressive outlet. I tend to find Debussy and Chopin and Rachmoninov great for reliving tension, but I'm sure there are many other composers that accomplish the same emotion in their music.... Any ideas?


I keep wondering if your drills are perfectly pitched - -
(Also how do you feel about Little Shop of Horrors?)

A good stress relieving nocturne might be C# Posthumous. It's meditative, not too long and only has a couple of killer passages. It also starts sounding half way decent early in the learning process which is a great incentive.
_________________________
Slow down and do it right.

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#2083240 - 05/15/13 05:41 PM Re: Chopin nocturnes [Re: Old Man]
Goomer Piles Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/14/13
Posts: 154
Originally Posted By: Old Man
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
I'd suggest basing the decision on your comfort level with the fioratura.

If fioratura scares you, do Op. 48, if you know how to handle it, do Op. 9.

Uh........uh.............. grin

fioratura? It sounds so lovely. FI-or-a-tu-ra. fi-or-a-TU-ra. So beautiful. So musical.

And for all these years I've been incorrectly calling it a "bitch".

It's spelt wrong. BruceD got it right: fioritura, not 'fioratura'.

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#2083265 - 05/15/13 06:32 PM Re: Chopin nocturnes [Re: musicaldentist]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6152
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
It's really up to you, but I personally prefer Op.9 No.1 (in spite of the fioritura). heart
_________________________



Music is my best friend.


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#2083300 - 05/15/13 08:14 PM Re: Chopin nocturnes [Re: Mark_C]
Piano Doug Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/24/13
Posts: 187
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: BruceD
....Caution! a calculator is not the solution!....

Well, at least slightly it is. smile

Why do you say it isn't? Although actually I have to say, indeed I don't use one, but that's only because I can do division in my head. grin

I go along with the gist of what I think is your basic message: following the 'calculation' won't give the music. But, I always "do the division" in the initial stage of learning such passages -- it does serve as a good guide -- although I do try ultimately to steer clear of having the passage sound like a mathematical fractionation. smile

(Don't let Beet31425 see this post, please.) ha


Mark_C thumb My process as well. I don't like approaches that divide the RH passage into various groups of 2, 3, etc, to coincide with the LH notes. That I find more "mechanical."

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#2083301 - 05/15/13 08:17 PM Re: Chopin nocturnes [Re: Polyphonist]
Piano Doug Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/24/13
Posts: 187
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
(Don't let Beet31425 see this post, please.) ha

Don't worry. I've locked his browser so he can't access the site, and the password to unlock it is to decipher a 67,908,131 against 809,101,477 polyrhythm. grin


That's easy. You just play 11.915 notes in one hand to each note in the other. Piece of cake! smile

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