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#2194584 - 12/08/13 04:08 PM Studying Chopinís Ballade 1
Valencia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/11
Posts: 244
Iíd like to study Chopinís Ballade 1 over 2014 (and yes, this piece will be a huge stretch!) . Does anyone who has previously played or studied it have suggestions for how to approach it? How did you divide the piece up for learning? Which sections did you start with? Did you cycle through the sections or try to learn each one well before moving to the next? Did you memorize each section as you were first learning it? What was helpful practice-wise as you were learning it?

For me the piece will have to be memorized to play, which will take time as Iím generally not a very good memorizer. Iíd thought to start off my studying by memorizing the coda and the scherzando. I've read they are extra difficult, and once memorized, I could practice those sections alongside the other sections Iím learning throughout the year. The middle section with all the octaves also seems extremely daunting to me. but taking on such a hard section right away might be discouraging as far as learning the rest of the ballade.

Iíd appreciate any insights from those who have studied this piece.

Also, anyone want to join me with taking up this piece this coming year? smile

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#2194660 - 12/08/13 06:36 PM Re: Studying Chopinís Ballade 1 [Re: Valencia]
chopinoholic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/02/13
Posts: 132
Loc: Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Hi Valencia, I see that you already have the method covered. I'd certainly start with the most difficult sections. Once performing the piece, you don't fear those bits, but you will attack them with all your heart.
Make sure when memorizing, you also check the music every now and then. An early learned mistake is difficult to unlearn...
Also I'd devide the piece in sections by theme. Make sure you know all variations and how to interpret them. The form of a piece like this is extremely important.
I'm currently busy with no.4. Not there yet, but the end is near. When I'm satisfied, I'll make a recording... ( no turning back now, yikes ).
And then I'll be happy to begin with this ballade in 2014!

Regards Paul
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Paul


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#2194671 - 12/08/13 06:48 PM Re: Studying Chopinís Ballade 1 [Re: Valencia]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2310
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
This was one of the last pieces my teacher gave me before I moved to the the other side of London with a job relocation. I had done up to around M125 back then, mid eighties, and have investigated other parts of it since then - but not all. I no longer work sequentially on big pieces like this.

I cannot start any of this before April, when the Tchaikovsky and Joplin recitals will be done, but may be able to pick it up again after that. I have little desire to work on any of the easier passages as I can learn those more quickly later on, nor do I want to start on the Presto until I've got an incentive to finish.

I might need to look at M45-66 again and then anything between M126 and M208. I've already detailed the sections with you elsewhere. They'll come up again, I'm sure.
_________________________
Richard

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#2194828 - 12/09/13 02:14 AM Re: Studying Chopinís Ballade 1 [Re: Valencia]
dire tonic Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1177
Loc: uk south
I'm definitely interested in this, Valencia. Possibly I'll start looking at it after the Mazurka recital. Can't be sure at this point if I'll have too much on my plate but Chopin always beckons...

It'd be good if someone with more experience - an advanced pianist - were to get involved in this...

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#2194857 - 12/09/13 04:15 AM Re: Studying Chopinís Ballade 1 [Re: Valencia]
chopinoholic Offline
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Registered: 05/02/13
Posts: 132
Loc: Eindhoven, The Netherlands
I don't want to sound negative, but I would like to stress the hard work this (or either) ballade will demand. It can get really frustrating if things doesn't seem to work, no matter how hard you practice. If you start studying it and it appears to difficult, leave it for the time being.
It's not a piece for everyone to master.
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Paul


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#2194864 - 12/09/13 05:08 AM Re: Studying Chopinís Ballade 1 [Re: Valencia]
Ganddalf Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 607
Loc: Norway
I could have been interested in studying this Ballade, but I'm almost 100% sure that it is too technically difficult for me. But I will follow your progress with interest.

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#2194878 - 12/09/13 06:12 AM Re: Studying Chopinís Ballade 1 [Re: Ganddalf]
dire tonic Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1177
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By: Ganddalf
I'm almost 100% sure that it is too technically difficult for me.


Me too but I'd like to have a crack at it. I doubt I'll see it through to the end.

Chopinoholic - any experienced Chopin players prepared to help shepherd us through this would be most welcome in the thread. As to 'mastery', I don't think any of the posters to ABF have such delusions. Getting through to the end of the piece, to the praise of family members - even if it leaves us bruised and bloodied - is all most of us are content to aim for.

It'll be interesting to see at what point the project expires.

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#2194951 - 12/09/13 10:57 AM Re: Studying Chopinís Ballade 1 [Re: dire tonic]
chopinoholic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/02/13
Posts: 132
Loc: Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Originally Posted By: dire tonic
Originally Posted By: Ganddalf
I'm almost 100% sure that it is too technically difficult for me.


Me too but I'd like to have a crack at it. I doubt I'll see it through to the end.

Chopinoholic - any experienced Chopin players prepared to help shepherd us through this would be most welcome in the thread. As to 'mastery', I don't think any of the posters to ABF have such delusions. Getting through to the end of the piece, to the praise of family members - even if it leaves us bruised and bloodied - is all most of us are content to aim for.

It'll be interesting to see at what point the project expires.


dire_tonic, ok I see what you mean. Well said. Maybe I was speaking to much from my point of view without considering others. When I start a piece, I want to be positive that I can play it convincingly in the end. But I'm not easily satisfied when it comes to my own playing. That can be very frustrating at times. crazy

I also think it would be a good idea to have an experienced player in this thread. I'm pretty experienced, but I'm feeling to insecure in giving pointers to other players...
_________________________
Paul


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#2194957 - 12/09/13 11:10 AM Re: Studying Chopinís Ballade 1 [Re: Valencia]
neuralfirings Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/29/13
Posts: 173
I am currently working on this piece and would love to lend any help I can.

First, I've been keeping notes on sections I find challenging, or tips I've found in practicing using a website I made: http://www.notablescores.com/pieces/1 -- you don't have to sign up to browse the comments, but you do have to sign up to respond to comments or add your own. You can sign up with this link: http://www.notablescores.com?key=ZubB8ix3P-hds3tKbql8iQ

Second, I've also been keeping some notes on my blog, http://musical.neuralfirings.com/ -- I started this blog precisely to keep track of my progress learning this piece. I talk about how I divide up the sections, and which sections I struggle with, etc. I also posted recordings of my practice sessions--from the first sight reading to fully memorized. The short of it is I started learning from the front of the piece onwards, while simultaneously tackling the coda and the waltz. I figured I'd progress a lot slower through the coda and the waltz, and the first half I'd progress faster.. so might as well do both in parallel so not to dampen my spirits when I reached a hard part.

Third, there are a ton of resources online! My favorite one is the editor of the Guardian's book, which documents his progress struggling with this piece for some 18 months. In addition, he writes about all the exciting stuff they covered over the course of the year (WikiLeaks, Arab Spring). There are excerpts and interviews with professional pianists on his website (http://alanrusbridger.com/playitagain) and the book is available on Amazon and Kindle.

Good luck!


Edited by neuralfirings (12/09/13 11:12 AM)

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#2194959 - 12/09/13 11:15 AM Re: Studying Chopinís Ballade 1 [Re: Valencia]
neuralfirings Offline
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Registered: 07/29/13
Posts: 173
As for difficulty, I've always figured even if I can't play the entire piece, I can probably slice the piece or simplify the harder parts for my own enjoyment. As an amateur, I don't see anything wrong with this.

My favorite part of this piece isn't even hard parts, it's this section:


If I couldn't tackle the more difficult piece, just making a small tune out of that section would make me happy on the piano.

I'm not saying Valencia should take this attitude, just offering a different perspective on how to enjoy the difficult pieces without them being discouraging.

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#2194962 - 12/09/13 11:27 AM Re: Studying Chopinís Ballade 1 [Re: Valencia]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11445
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
While I agree that to play this piece you need to memorize it, I recommend against memorizing as you go. As chopinoholic mentioned, you can memorize incorrectly which can cause all sorts of problems. Best to be sure you can play it well with the score, then work on memorizing in bits.

Can you play through the piece start to finish under tempo? If not, it may not be a good time to tackle this. If so, then head straight to the harder sections and work those out first, while periodically (every 3 or 4 days) playing through the whole thing to see how you are progressing.
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#2194968 - 12/09/13 11:47 AM Re: Studying Chopinís Ballade 1 [Re: Valencia]
neuralfirings Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/29/13
Posts: 173
Re: Valencia, what is your background and piano experience?

In the previous ABF recitals you say you're a restarter (like me!) after 25 years. Before you stopped playing, how many years have you played or what level did you play at?

If I have a better idea of your skill level, I can better tailor any future comments.

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#2195121 - 12/09/13 04:07 PM Re: Studying Chopinís Ballade 1 [Re: Morodiene]
Polyphonist Offline
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Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7516
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Can you play through the piece start to finish under tempo?

What is "under tempo?" Anybody can do it if it's enough under tempo.
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Polyphonist

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#2195255 - 12/09/13 07:27 PM Re: Studying Chopinís Ballade 1 [Re: Valencia]
Valencia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/11
Posts: 244
Chopinoholicólove your screen name! Thanks for your posts. Iíd love it if you could join in with the Ballade in the new year. I should warn you though that I am not a very advanced player so you will probably leave me in the dust!

In fact everyone who has posted on this thread so far is much more advanced than I am. I hear all the concerns about the difficulties and potential discouragement. Iím not looking to master the piece. That is partly why I keep talking about studying it. Mostly I just want to experience thoroughly engaging with this piece and then Iíd like to be able to play it at least somewhat. Sam Rose learned this piece and he was a beginner (I know he has exceptional skills). But it took him awhile to learn and it seems to me he enjoys playing it and others enjoy his playing of it (I do!). That is really all Iím hoping for, even if I canít play it as well as he does.

Morodiene-Until youíd posted Iíd never tried to play through the score. So, I tried it today. Well, I got through it , though it took me quite awhile (however I did not attempt page 6 (the one with all the octaves) because I did not want to strain my hand from the get-go). There is much of the score I havenít looked at much before so some of it felt like sight reading. I think if I spent a little time getting familiar with each of the sections, the playing it through would go much better. This is an approach I didnít really think ofÖto first aim to play through the whole piece relatively fluently, so that from then on I can do that every few days during practice, and then to start the focus on the individual sections in more detail.

Richard and dire tonic, would love to be able to study along with you in learning this. For anyone else who wants to join in, it would be great. Ganddalf, glad you will follow the thread. Maybe at some point you will join in! Though I understand not wanting to take time away from other pieces you are preparing. Itís hard for me to imagine that technically you could not handle this piece, given what Iíve heard of your playing so far. I think you have higher expectations of your playing than I have of mine. This is perhaps in part because you can play so much better than me. My playing is not that great, therefore I donít expect much from myself, which strangely gives me the freedom to try just about anything. Sometimes I wish I had higher expectations of my playing. However, in the past when Iíve tried having such higher expectations, I failed to realize them, therefore Iíve just stopped bothering with them.

neuralfirings
-I was hoping you would post! Thanks for the link to the notable scores! I briefly checked your blog and it is very interesting! I love it that you posted the recordings of how you progressed with the piece. Iíll definitely be referring back to your blog. Your approach of learning the waltz and the coda alongside the rest of the piece is sort of what I was thinking. As for my previous piano experience, the problem is I could barely remember a thing when I came back a couple of years ago. I donít know my scales, Iíve forgotten all the theory, my technique is quite terrible. This is all very depressing. And then I donít know things likeÖpicking out the themes in this Ballade. What constitutes a theme? For example, in Paulís post above, I am not sure what the themes and their variations are. I mean, I can take a guess at a couple of them, but I am not sure.

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#2195277 - 12/09/13 08:06 PM Re: Studying Chopinís Ballade 1 [Re: Valencia]
Valencia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/11
Posts: 244
hey neuralfirings, I just found the themes outlined on your blog....thanks! smile

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#2195397 - 12/10/13 02:35 AM Re: Studying Chopinís Ballade 1 [Re: Valencia]
Ganddalf Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 607
Loc: Norway
Originally Posted By: Valencia
Ganddalf, glad you will follow the thread. Maybe at some point you will join in! Though I understand not wanting to take time away from other pieces you are preparing. Itís hard for me to imagine that technically you could not handle this piece, given what Iíve heard of your playing so far. I think you have higher expectations of your playing than I have of mine. This is perhaps in part because you can play so much better than me. My playing is not that great, therefore I donít expect much from myself, which strangely gives me the freedom to try just about anything. Sometimes I wish I had higher expectations of my playing. However, in the past when Iíve tried having such higher expectations, I failed to realize them, therefore Iíve just stopped bothering with them.


Valencia, I just hope that I didn't discourage you with my comments. That was not my intention. I'm convinced that this project will help you develop your skills and give you lots of pleasure. There are two reasons why I can't jump into this project myself. Firstly, I have very little opportunity to practice. If I could have three hours a week I would be very happy. Usually I get less than that.
Secondly I think this Ballade suits my technique very badly. If I was to choose one of Chopin's Ballades for myself to study the first one would be my last choice. But I really enjoy listening to it.

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#2195430 - 12/10/13 05:38 AM Re: Studying Chopinís Ballade 1 [Re: Valencia]
chopinoholic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/02/13
Posts: 132
Loc: Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Originally Posted By: Valencia
Chopinoholicólove your screen name! Thanks for your posts. Iíd love it if you could join in with the Ballade in the new year. I should warn you though that I am not a very advanced player so you will probably leave me in the dust!


Thank you, I think it suits me. I really need to push myself playing other composers!
I will certainly enjoy this project and will do my best to do well.

A while ago I've found an interesting analysis on the Chopin ballades. It is a really thorough analysis and at least for me it's nice stuff to read.
Grundgestalt and diatonic/octatonic interaction in Chopin's ballades

Also the stuff neuralfirings posted is quite interesting. Good job by the way neuralfirings!


Edited by chopinoholic (12/11/13 01:44 AM)
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#2195672 - 12/10/13 05:25 PM Re: Studying Chopinís Ballade 1 [Re: Valencia]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2310
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
What is "under tempo?" Anybody can do it if it's enough under tempo.
Do try and keep up, Poly. We're trying to assess our ability to play the piece. If your playing from the score is so far below tempo that you can't make sense of the music or you have to stop too often you're probably not ready for this piece.

Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Best to be sure you can play it well with the score, then work on memorizing in bits.
I've no doubt this is the best approach when the reading skills are up there and the technique is ready for the piece.

My own reading skills are nowhere near ready for this material but I don't know how far away my playing skills are - I know it's a long way.

If I look at M163-166 of Beethoven's Moonlight sonata they look about the most frightening bars in the whole piece and I'd have to study each note as it occurs in order to know what to play but the playing itself is easy as pie and one of the easiest passages in the piece to get up to tempo.

Since Valencia passed over page 6 of this Ballade, M105-121 in my score, I looked at it specifically. The chords and octaves in the RH are easy enough save the trill in M119 (and M123 - both of which I'd be happy to ignore) and the LH is easy enough to play. Just reading the middle line of the page, M112-114, is a nightmare of sharps and naturals and full chords and four against three. There's no way I'd be able to play this page from the score in the foreseeable future but I isolated three and a half bars from the middle of M111 to the first chord of M115, and once I'd worked out the prevailing key signature in each bar individually and got the fingering sorted I got those measures memorised and fairly close to tempo in around ten to fifteen minutes.

I could probably memorise the RH (M105-124) in an evening because I know the piece well enough to almost play this passage by ear. This isn't such a difficult page once all the notes are memorised and the fingering sorted. It would probably be easier for me to read if the key sig. was changed to A major and the fingerings were more intuitive for me.

If I read this page too often I would ingrain the wrong fingering and probably misread accidentals and lengthen the learning process by months. I would probably learn this passage more efficiently by giving each measure its own two to five minute window before starting to join 'em up.

In fact I've just decided that's exactly how I'm going to go about it and I'll start right here in April. smile
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Richard

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#2195700 - 12/10/13 06:16 PM Re: Studying Chopinís Ballade 1 [Re: zrtf90]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7516
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
What is "under tempo?" Anybody can do it if it's enough under tempo.
Do try and keep up, Poly. We're trying to assess our ability to play the piece. If your playing from the score is so far below tempo that you can't make sense of the music or you have to stop too often you're probably not ready for this piece.

Obviously that was my point.
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Polyphonist

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#2195799 - 12/10/13 09:36 PM Re: Studying Chopinís Ballade 1 [Re: Valencia]
Valencia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/11
Posts: 244
chopinoholic-thanks for the link! Except that I couldn't get it to work. I see it is a book though...I'll have to look up some information on it. I suspect the material may be somewhat beyond my understanding as I don't understand the words in the title. smile

Richard-wow...you could memorize the RH of that section in an evening? It will likely take me weeks to learn that page. And even once it's memorized, my mind tends to fire slowly for a long time. Maybe I'll have to learn it a phrase at a time. Hopefully I'll be able to get a handle on it by April when you start this piece!

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#2195855 - 12/11/13 01:49 AM Re: Studying Chopinís Ballade 1 [Re: Valencia]
chopinoholic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/02/13
Posts: 132
Loc: Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Valencia, I fixed the link, there was fault in the url!
_________________________
Paul


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#2195986 - 12/11/13 10:09 AM Re: Studying Chopinís Ballade 1 [Re: Valencia]
neuralfirings Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/29/13
Posts: 173
There are some exceptions, but I actually find Chopin pieces easier to memorize. He writes for the piano, so the notes naturally falls into place. You just have to know how to look for them.

For example, this is a section seems daunting with all the naturals, sharps, and whatnot. But, if you look closely, it's just Chopin writing in A-major, but keeping the key signature of G minor (as zrtf mentioned already). If you think about it in A major key (F#, C#, G#) then you have far less accidentals to worry about:


---

Somebody said the following measures are tricky right? The first measure (M112) is A major with an added accidental of E# plus a little chromatic lead up (A#, B-nat, B#) to the second to last note C# (one accidental + chromatic lead up). The second measure (M113) is A major with an added accidental of D#, which is actually E major. So if you look at this measure as an E major measure, then there are no accidentals to worry about... on, there's an E#, sorry. One accidental here.


As for 4 vs. 3 rhythmic pattern, I tend to gloss over that. For me anyway (and it could be different for everybody), once my hands are comfortable with the fingering my mind concentrates on the downbeats and the hands just take care of the 4 vs. 3. I find thinking about them too much actually makes the rhythm worse. Also, this is romantic music, a little rubato here and there is fine too. smile

--

Then the scales at the end of this section. This gave me some trouble until I saw the pattern. Nearly all of the time, there is a pattern in Chopin's music. It's just a bit obscured by the accidentals.

I noted these things in Notable Scores (plug for my website!) but I'll paste them here:

The key to the following runs is to think of these as scales and subsequent minor (1-2 notes) modifications of the first scale. It's like Chopin is trying different modulation. Also, in each of these scales the first two notes I perceive as lead up. The first note E#, F##, and F## respectively are just a chromatic dip.

For example, I think this is the G# minor scale with an added D natural (one accidental + chromatic dip of E#)


G# minor scale, with an added a B# (only one accidental + chromatic dip of F##)


G# minor scale, but now we have E#, and F## (two accidentals + chromatic dip of F##)


---

If you think of it this way, this section is more manageable since there are less accidentals to worry about. In each of the sections above, there are at most 2 accidentals per measure if you transpose them into their relative keys.


Edited by neuralfirings (12/11/13 10:41 AM)

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#2196019 - 12/11/13 11:28 AM Re: Studying Chopinís Ballade 1 [Re: Valencia]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2310
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Originally Posted By: neuralfirings
Somebody said the following measures are tricky right?
Not quite. I said they looked tricky but weren't awkward to play. Once you "look carefully" and realise it's in A major there's really not much to it. I was saying that playing through it wouldn't be feasible for me because of my lesser reading skills compared to my playing skills.

I had already pointed out that it was in A major and easy enough to play and memorise - just not while playing from the score where I wouldn't have the luxury of time to "look carefully".

Valencia, there's really not much there to memorise in RH when you consider that I've had this piece swirling round my head for nearly thirty years. I wouldn't actually do it in an evening. I seldom do more than twenty or thirty minutes on one piece. I usually have five or six pieces to work on each day and seldom go as far as ninety minutes at the piano during the week.

And did you not memorise the Presto agitato, 11 pages, in a rather short time?
_________________________
Richard

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#2196029 - 12/11/13 11:46 AM Re: Studying Chopinís Ballade 1 [Re: neuralfirings]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7516
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: neuralfirings
The key to the following runs is to think of these as scales and subsequent minor (1-2 notes) modifications of the first scale. It's like Chopin is trying different modulation. Also, in each of these scales the first two notes I perceive as lead up. The first note E#, F##, and F## respectively are just a chromatic dip.

For example, I think this is the G# minor scale with an added D natural (one accidental + chromatic dip of E#)


G# minor scale, with an added a B# (only one accidental + chromatic dip of F##)


G# minor scale, but now we have E#, and F## (two accidentals + chromatic dip of F##)

Don't think about it this way. There are three scales: B major, C# melodic minor, and G# melodic minor, over harmonies of F#7, G#7, and C#/G# minor respectively.
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Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2198129 - 12/15/13 06:06 PM Re: Studying Chopinís Ballade 1 [Re: Valencia]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2310
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
I've spent a lot of time here this week and I'm very pleased with how well it's gone. My technique has certainly grown since I last looked seriously at this but my reading skills are unrecognisable from two years ago.

Most of the material up to M125 I've done before and I just need to spend some time on M48-55 before I start rememorising it. I'll probably start working M48-55 as a weekend technical exercise before April.

Come April I'll start working through the B section in order, M106-125, M125-137, M138-150 and M150-166. Since I'll be working on other pieces concurrently and I tend to change my pieces every week I'd expect to stay here for about three months memorising it and getting it fast enough to be presentable.

Starting July I plan to work backwards through the coda in five sections, M250-264, M238-250, M224-238, M216-224 and M208-216. The latter appears to be the hardest 4/8 bars but not impossible. M216-224 I got up to a reasonable lick in very short order, RH only, and M224-228 is just an extension of it. I'll allow myself another three months here because of the extra speed needed and the precision of those scale passages. They'll need to be worked up slowly from daily repetitions. There are a few such passages between M126 and M166.

I doubt I'll ever reach a presto here but less than a molto allegro defeats the purpose so I'll need to get this up to an allegro without getting sloppy before moving on.

That'll leave me the last quarter to work on the recap, M166-180, M180-193 and M194-208. I would hope to have recovered up to M105 on weekends throughout the year. I've played thus far from the score this week without much effort apart from M48-55.

Apart from isolated peaks the biggest difficulty I can see from here is the paucity of repetition and the sheer variety of technical requirements in so short a space. This means the process of joining the sections together should be delayed until the parts are well established in the fingers. Even if I manage to put these four major sections together in 2014 I doubt the whole piece will be playable in one go, apart from the occasional weekend, for a good way into 2015 without suffering some loss.
_________________________
Richard

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#2198173 - 12/15/13 07:14 PM Re: Studying Chopinís Ballade 1 [Re: Valencia]
Valencia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/11
Posts: 244
Thanks so much everyone for your contributions to this thread. I'm visiting family atm so less time to practice piano and respond here, but I promise I will properly get back to it soon.

No worries Ganddalf, you didn't discourage me! smile

neuralfirings, thanks so much for your post and i'll give this a try on that daunting page. i think I will start trying to memorize that one now. Your notable scores is very helpful for discussing the piece here! smile Today i reviewed a few bars of that page HS, LH and RH, and started trying to play those few bars HS without looking at the score.

Richard, it is true i memorized the beethoven movement relatively quickly for me! but that piece seemed different. Perhaps easier because of the repetitious patterns? In contrast, there was a song without words for the mendelssohn recital that took me months to memorize (85/1). For the ballade (and while I'm visiting family) I'm first trying to revive/finish my memory of the notes of the coda and the scherzando. (notes only, very slowly) Once I do this, I can at least practice them alongside the rest.

ok more later! smile

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#2205000 - 12/30/13 01:21 PM Re: Studying Chopinís Ballade 1 [Re: Valencia]
Valencia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/11
Posts: 244
Hi Everyone,

I havenít been able to do much focused practice on any of my pieces. My mother is in the hospital in a city away from here, and so everyday we travel there and back in order to see her. This leaves little time for piano.

For the Ballade, Iím still basically surveying the piece in preparation for studying it in 2014.

Several months ago Iíd started memorizing the coda (M208 on) and the scherzando (M126-165) but then I left them to practice other pieces. In the last couple of weeks Iíve been working on re-remembering these sections. I cannot play either of them smoothly even slowly yet and sometimes my memory works so hard to recall notes I swear my brain starts smoking.

This last week I worked a bit on M206-207 which is challenging.

Iíve tried playing through M166-193 (no memory and just notes which are no where near smooth)óso far this is one of my favorite parts to play. But I think memorizing the LH of this section will be difficult. (for meÖ..because I donít recognize the names of all the changes in the arpeggios).

This morning I looked at M36-43. This part is very difficult for me. How to memorize it? I will need to memorize it to be able to play it. Iíve also started memorizing M44-51.

My focus thus far is just getting familiar with the notes and sections. I havenít looked at dynamics or anything else. Everyone else working on this piece in this thread is more advanced than I am, and Iím trying to get myself to a place where I can work along here with others at least to some extent. Also, this kind of basic notes-focused practice is easier to do than focusing on the subtleties of some of my other pieces because my mum has not been well so the more detailed practicing of my other pieces has been hard to focus on. So when I have a chance to get to the piano, Iíve been working on the Ballade!

Hope everyone is well and look forward in the new year to studying this piece with all of you! smile

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#2205094 - 12/30/13 04:28 PM Re: Studying Chopinís Ballade 1 [Re: Valencia]
AZ_Astro Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 436
Loc: Tempe, Arizona
Originally Posted By: Valencia
Iíd like to study Chopinís Ballade 1 over 2014

Also, anyone want to join me with taking up this piece this coming year? smile


Oh my. What a delightful challenge! It is way beyond my level but perhaps someday!?

Good luck! I saw YouTube video of the Guardian Editor who made it through this Ballade. It was very impressive and instructive and inspirational.


Edited by AZ_Astro (12/30/13 04:34 PM)
_________________________
Kawai KG-5. Korg SP-250. Software pianos: Ivory II, Ravenscroft, Galaxy Vintage D, Alicia's Keys, et al.


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#2205205 - 12/30/13 06:58 PM Re: Studying Chopinís Ballade 1 [Re: AZ_Astro]
Calgary Mike Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/10
Posts: 61
Loc: Calgary, Alberta
Alan Rusbridger also wrote about the year he spent learning the piece.

"Play It Again - An Amateur Against The Impossible"

http://www.amazon.ca/Play-It-Again-Amate...d=IHJ4XQN8FYQH7

Good luck Valencia et al.
_________________________
Kawai K6 and Yamaha P85

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#2205527 - 12/31/13 04:22 AM Re: Studying Chopinís Ballade 1 [Re: Calgary Mike]
lolatu Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/01/13
Posts: 391
Loc: UK
Count me in! I printed out the score a while back after seeing a documentary called "Chopin saved my life", which featured this piece. I love it but haven't spent much time on it because it sounds bloody difficult!

I'm not a beginner in terms of time - I had lessons when I was a kid, but have never been that confident, and am more of a long term dabbler. If you guys are beginners then I think you are biting off too much with this piece. It's quite advanced - not quite a Liszt etude, but beyond grade 8 and pieces like the Fantaisie Impromptu.
_________________________
Kawai CA95 / Roland FP3 / Pianoteq Stage / Tannoy Reveal Active / Sony MDR-7506 / Steinberg UR22 / K&M 18810

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