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#504029 - 06/22/05 08:07 AM Can anyone help me?
***musical princess*** Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/05
Posts: 537
Loc: Newcastle, England
Im trying to learn Chopin's 1st Ballade and although its probably a bit advanced for me i would really love to do it.

The problem i am facing, however, is that i cannot get my fingers to move fast enough for all of the semiquaver bits. Anybody got any advice?

x
_________________________
x Caroline x

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#504030 - 06/22/05 08:19 AM Re: Can anyone help me?
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5067
Loc: Philadelphia
Op 23, I presume?
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#504031 - 06/22/05 09:13 AM Re: Can anyone help me?
***musical princess*** Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/05
Posts: 537
Loc: Newcastle, England
yeah - its a bit of a bugger

x
_________________________
x Caroline x

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#504032 - 06/22/05 09:43 AM Re: Can anyone help me?
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5067
Loc: Philadelphia
No 4 (Op 52) woke me up this morning. ;\)

I've never played No 1. So, I can't be of terribly general help, but if you've got something a bit more specific, I can look it over, or ask my friend (who does play it..along with everything else Chopin wrote..bit of an obsession if you ask me :p ), and get back to you.

Thing is, he's got extremely long fingers...he can stretch a comfortable 11th. But looking over the first few pages, I didn't see too many "large vs small hands" issues.
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#504033 - 06/22/05 09:49 AM Re: Can anyone help me?
***musical princess*** Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/05
Posts: 537
Loc: Newcastle, England
Crikey! An 11th! I can only manage a comfortable 9th!!

It's bar 33 where it has some fast semiquavers up the keyboard.

Try as i might, i just can't get my fingers to go fast enough to do it

x
_________________________
x Caroline x

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#504034 - 06/22/05 10:05 AM Re: Can anyone help me?
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5067
Loc: Philadelphia
Yep...I've got a nearly-comfortable 10th (I can stretch 3-4-5 to it, with the 1). He's got just over a 3/4" span on me because his fingers are ridiculously long.

*laughs* That was the first bar that stuck out to me, too. Don't forget you have the ritenuto in there, so you are allowed (and supposed) to slow it down. Other than that, I suppose exercises in velocity would help to get your fingers moving faster. My natural instinct is to recommend a particular 3 or 4 of the Hanon exercises.
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#504035 - 06/22/05 10:13 AM Re: Can anyone help me?
***musical princess*** Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/05
Posts: 537
Loc: Newcastle, England
Is there a rit.? My copy hasn't got that marked on it.

Hanon? I shall have to investigate this fellow. I have only ever used Tankard for technique stuff.

x
_________________________
x Caroline x

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#504036 - 06/22/05 11:27 AM Re: Can anyone help me?
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
When trying to work up an advanced piece like
this, you shouldn't dwell on specific
difficulties like bar 33. Just keep on
working through it--there're plenty of other
technical problems to keep you busy in this piece.
Maybe bar 33 will be the last thing
that you will work up, because it involves
technique that you will need to develop
from scratch--but why should that
matter?

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#504037 - 06/22/05 11:37 AM Re: Can anyone help me?
***musical princess*** Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/05
Posts: 537
Loc: Newcastle, England
I guess it doesn't matter and i have done what you're saying. I get so angry with myself for not being able to play this bar though. Lately i have been just ignoring it and plunging through it quite horrifically and then continuing with the rest but i would like to sort th eproblem out. I have stuggled with technique in a couple of other places but i've managed pretty much to sort them out. Its just this one blooming bar that i cant get right and its driving me insane!

x
_________________________
x Caroline x

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#504038 - 06/22/05 12:24 PM Re: Can anyone help me?
acha114 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/30/05
Posts: 75
Loc: New Zealand
Have you managed to play the coda part?

I guess slow practice is the best advice I can offer. I also didn't really nail this part before. Some slow practice to familiarise yourself with the semiquaver run will help.

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#504039 - 06/22/05 12:30 PM Re: Can anyone help me?
***musical princess*** Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/05
Posts: 537
Loc: Newcastle, England
I gave it a quick glance - im not quite at the end yet though. Why? Is it scary?

An i can play it slowly fine. I can even play it moderatly fast fine. I just cannot for the life of me get it to the right tempo.

x
_________________________
x Caroline x

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#504040 - 06/22/05 03:38 PM Re: Can anyone help me?
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5067
Loc: Philadelphia
Well, the "right" tempo varies based on interpretation. Listen to Horowitz play the Mach3 3rd mvt in 1978 (coming in somewhere in the 14-15 minute range), and then listen to it from 1941 (where he came in at a blistering pace just under 10 minutes...the fastest recording ever played...that I know of). ;\)
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#504041 - 06/22/05 04:01 PM Re: Can anyone help me?
acha114 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/30/05
Posts: 75
Loc: New Zealand
Yes there is a fair amount of interpretation. There is a ritenuto in that passage so you don't have to play it full speed.

The coda part (I believe its the part where presto con fuoco is labelled, correct me if i am wrong) is the hardest bit of the song.

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#504042 - 06/22/05 04:48 PM Re: Can anyone help me?
Mikester Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/17/04
Posts: 1254
Loc: Minneesooota
Please do not take this comment with any ill-will. Maybe you are not ready to play this passage yet. Perhaps you could try working on other repertoire and then come back to this passage in a year. You may then possibly find it manageable to play at your target tempo!

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#504043 - 06/23/05 01:25 AM Re: Can anyone help me?
***musical princess*** Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/05
Posts: 537
Loc: Newcastle, England
Your right, and don't worry it wasn't taken with any 'ill-will'. I know its too hard for me, but i like a challenge... \:\)

x
_________________________
x Caroline x

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#504044 - 06/23/05 03:48 AM Re: Can anyone help me?
Frungy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/24/04
Posts: 283
Loc: Tokyo, Japan
The coda scares me. I can never get it faster than 60% speed.

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#504045 - 06/23/05 05:40 AM Re: Can anyone help me?
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5067
Loc: Philadelphia
See, I found the coda very inviting. But then, I'm not very normal. :p ;\)
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

Top
#504046 - 06/23/05 05:54 AM Re: Can anyone help me?
***musical princess*** Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/05
Posts: 537
Loc: Newcastle, England
All this talk of coda made me want to try it. Yikes! Mind you, it wasn't as bad as i thought it was gonna be - i can just about play it.

x
_________________________
x Caroline x

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#504047 - 07/05/05 12:53 PM Re: Can anyone help me?
acha114 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/30/05
Posts: 75
Loc: New Zealand
I'm bumping up this thread as I'm having some difficulty playing/intepreting this beautiful piece. I have some questions regarding one of the cadences (the A major mid-section with all the loud chords).

1. 5-6 bars in the cadence there is a right-hand chord (E-A-E) with the A written to be held for the whole bar while the right-hand continues to play more chords. I find this nearly impossible to play at speed, let alone practice slowly. It's hard to keep your index/middle finger down while you hammer out other chords. I'm wondering whether others hold down the A note for the duration of the bar, or not. The next bar along, there is a similar chord (D-G#-D) where the G# is also held for the bar.

2. Further along, there is a octave scale-like passage for the right hand. Are the mordents played before striking the chord (e.g. F#, G#, and the two F#'s together) or at the same time when the chord is played (e.g. two F#'s together, G#, F#).

Hope someone can answer my questions.

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#504048 - 07/05/05 01:17 PM Re: Can anyone help me?
NoteWorthy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/02/03
Posts: 90
Loc: TX
For the first problem, my teacher suggested that I hold down the A for three beats and then let the pedal catch it when I play the triplet(i.e. I would hold it until the second time I play the D octave). I would do the same for the D-G#-D. Holding it throughout the bar would be very difficult, and I don't recommend it.
_________________________
"His name is John Brown!" - the DH.

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#504049 - 07/05/05 08:58 PM Re: Can anyone help me?
Mr. Durden Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/24/04
Posts: 162
 Quote:
Originally posted by ***musical princess***:
I guess it doesn't matter and i have done what you're saying. I get so angry with myself for not being able to play this bar though. Lately i have been just ignoring it and plunging through it quite horrifically and then continuing with the rest but i would like to sort th eproblem out. I have stuggled with technique in a couple of other places but i've managed pretty much to sort them out. Its just this one blooming bar that i cant get right and its driving me insane!

x [/b]
This is generally a good sign that you are attempting a piece that exceeds your ability by too large a margin. There's been a lot of discussion on the forum lately about repertoire selection, and, while I agree with the idea that it is important to challenge oneself, I've actually become quite conservative and modest about what literature I consider myself qualified to attempt (i.e., I adore the Ballades, but I just don't think I'm enough of a Chopinist to do them justice yet)... I've arrived at this conclusion after the repeated experience of learning fractions of particular pieces but never being able to prepare them for performance because of the sort of dead-ends you described.

So, my personal advice would be to abandon the ballade for the time being in favor of pursuing some literature that will help you develop your technical command of the keyboard-- namely Hanon and the Etudes. I truly believe these two texts to be greatest pianistic pedagological devices in history; My technique has benefited immeasurably from dedicated work with them.

Good luck! \:D

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#504050 - 07/06/05 06:59 AM Re: Can anyone help me?
musdan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/05
Posts: 1151
Hi,

I'm a newbie.

I've been trying to learn Chopins "easy" waltz in a minor. Easy is in quotes because there's not much easy about it.

Should add that I started piano lessons about 4 years ago and it's I really enjoy learning to play something that I never in a million years thougt I would be doing.

The chords and leaps are the biggest challenge plus I have trouble reading the notes that go above or below the staff - especially those notes with little lines beneath them before you get to the notehead. Any suggestions?

Thanks

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#504051 - 07/06/05 07:54 AM Re: Can anyone help me?
ghelene Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/21/05
Posts: 43
Loc: Toronto
hi musiclady,

hanon is really good. i just picked him up myself. but if you're looking for great velocity exercises, try the czerny school of velocity. not only are they good for velocity practice, the pieces actually sound interesting. and i think czerny was a student of chopin?

you could also practice the section in rhythms; this usually helps master tough passages.

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#504052 - 07/06/05 08:09 AM Re: Can anyone help me?
jpw101 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/05
Posts: 631
Loc: UK
 Quote:
Originally posted by musdan:
I have trouble reading the notes that go above or below the staff - especially those notes with little lines beneath them before you get to the notehead. Any suggestions?

[/b]
To start with, work them out and write the note name above/below the note-head on the score (in pencil). Do that for a while and you'll get used to associating the line/space with the note name.

That's what I did, anyway.

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#504053 - 07/06/05 12:19 PM Re: Can anyone help me?
musdan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/05
Posts: 1151
I like idea JPW - I'll give it a try. Thanks

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