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#413726 - 12/29/07 08:08 PM Cortot edition of Chopin's etudes.
hopinmad Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/07
Posts: 1001
Loc: Eryri/Manchester
I've just purchased the Cortot editions of Chopin's etudes and am greatly interested by it.

I am, however, concerned about how much time one should be giving the preparatory exercises for the studies, and how often to include them in a practise session etc.. Does anyone here work on the etudes using that edition and can maybe tell me their experience of using it???

Thanks a lot!


It's the op.10 I got.
Patience's the best teacher, and time the best critic. - F.F.Chopin

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#413727 - 12/30/07 11:28 AM Re: Cortot edition of Chopin's etudes.
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 19541
Loc: Victoria, BC
I have the Cortot edition of the Chopin Etudes and while I have looked at some of the preparatory exercises and found them interesting, I have never had the inclination nor the patience the work through them to the extent that Cortot suggests.

If, for example, one were to follow every one of Cortot's recommendations for Op 10 No 5, counting all the variants (varied fingerings, varied touches) one would end up doing more than 65 preparatory exercises for this Etude alone. I think that the better route to go would be to look at which of these exercises best help individual needs and work on those.

It would be interesting to hear if anyone has ever done all the preparatory exercises for any individual Etude and hear what that person felt the results were. Is the investment in time worth the outcome? I would think, though, that if one were to follow Cortot slavlishly - if one were to live long enough to be able to do so! - one would undoubtedly have any Etude studied absolutely rock solid from the standpoint of technique.

There are other things, though, that I would like to do with my practice time, as interesting and as challenging as some of these exercises might be.

- - - - -
Estonia 190

#413728 - 12/30/07 06:45 PM Re: Cortot edition of Chopin's etudes.
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3916
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
Some people have a real gift for generating technical exercises. I read of Godowsky sitting down at a keyboard and demonstrating 35 ways one could practice a Clementi study! Cortot was, obviously, another with that ability. Strangely, in contrast, as a teacher he seemed to have spent little time in such effort, concentrating on the emotional core of the music. Solomon studied with Cortot for a while and found this little to his liking, leaving, after a short period of time, to work with someone else (Rumschitzky, I believe).

I hope someday to have enough time to learn at least one piece from Cortot's set of exercises. He put together many "work editions" covering a wide range of romantic and classical literature, and also wrote the Rational Principles of Pianoforte Technique, which has been discussed here in at least one thread. Joyce Hatto claimed it was her use of the Cortot method that gave her the extensive mastery of the piano literature that her discography seemed to evince (and the less said about that, the better). ;\)
There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians

#413729 - 12/30/07 06:54 PM Re: Cortot edition of Chopin's etudes.
Allazart Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 389
Technical exercies for technical exercises seem a little excessive. See if you can glean anything from his discussion/preamble and apply it directly to the study of the etude you're interested in.

#413730 - 12/31/07 08:10 AM Re: Cortot edition of Chopin's etudes.
fnork Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 2032
Loc: Helsinki, Finland
some of what he says is more useful, other things he says are less useful....it's hard to go into detail. For anyone who plays op 10 no 2, he changed chopins fingerings quite a lot and I heard from a friend who plays it that Cortots are much more useful.

In general, take some help from the Cortot excercises that YOU find useful, and if necessary, make up your own excercises in addition to this. Everybody's different, and Cortot, when writing about the studies, doesn't know ANYTHING about your particular problems or talents.

#413731 - 01/01/08 07:27 AM Re: Cortot edition of Chopin's etudes.
Borje Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/27/07
Posts: 21
Loc: Sweden
I have tried some of the etudes in Cortots books,
but the only one that was useful for me, without
to much work, was op.25 no.1 where he had a different fingering in the right hand, that helped me to reach almost the right speed \:\(

#413732 - 01/01/08 09:42 AM Re: Cortot edition of Chopin's etudes.
fnork Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 2032
Loc: Helsinki, Finland
I use cortots fingering for that etude also (that is, RH from first bar: 5-2-4-1-2-3-5-etc), it helps the articulation.

#413733 - 01/03/08 07:53 AM Re: Cortot edition of Chopin's etudes.
hopinmad Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/07
Posts: 1001
Loc: Eryri/Manchester
I play the first two exercises, the first better than the second, but they're both well learnt and I have performed the first a couple of times.
However, I have changed my fingering's to both now to fit Cortot's, and where the second study is concerned, it's much better. I see not much difference in the first.
I do think that the preliminary exercises for the first are excellent, since working through them my hand is much better positioned over they keyboard and so it 'feels' much better. Not that I couldn't play the notes before, but they were certainly not as firm as they are now after playing Cortot's preliminary exercises.

I think the way to approach the exercises, as you've said, is to figure out which ones apply to you. In a way, Cortot gives these exercises assuming the student has none of the technical skill required to play the piece (not exactly, he knew maybe students would pick and choose from the exercises) and so if one learnt all of Cortot's exercises then the study would be well within one's grasp. Most pianists, though, have the ability to overcome a particular difficulty, - or indeed have already overcome it-, in an etude, so that laborious hours on some of the exercises isn't neccessary. It is a difficult task, however, without a teacher, to know which exercises are required for a student to progress efffectively.
Patience's the best teacher, and time the best critic. - F.F.Chopin


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