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#559264 - 10/26/07 10:06 PM If you can play all chopin etudes you can play anything...
Moshe Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/17/04
Posts: 113
Loc: Toronto
True or false: If you can play all 24 etudes of chopin at Chopin's indicated tempos, you can handle any piece?

Do you think technical demands have been surpassed since Chopin? Do certain Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Scriabin etc. passages contain difficulties that aren't covered in chopin's etudes?

DISCUSS!
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#559265 - 10/26/07 10:18 PM Re: If you can play all chopin etudes you can play anything...
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Yes and no. If you can handle all of Chopin's etudes, you can probably handle just about any one phrase of any piece (with a few odd exceptions - things like Xenakis, Boulez, Alkan, Godowsky, Ligeti, but nothing really in the "standard" repertory.)

The problem, however, is one of stamina. Just because you can play the hell out of the octave etude doesn't mean you'll have the endurance/stamina to do it at the end of the Liszt Rigoletto paraphrase.

Put another way, just because you can run a 6 minute mile doesn't mean you can finish a marathon.

And another example: I know plenty of pianists who can force/muscle their way through Chopin's Op. 10#1, yet they lack any sense of cohesion/phrasing/structure in something like the Tempest sonata (which, in terms of difficulty, isn't really at the level of that etude.)
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#559266 - 10/26/07 10:27 PM Re: If you can play all chopin etudes you can play anything...
vanityx3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/17/06
Posts: 269
I wouldn't think so. I mean I'm sure if the person can play all the etudes, then they're a fine pianist, but that doesn't mean they can play everything.

I don't think the etudes could prepare for sorabji or alkan [never played the pieces but have noticed the difficulty of scores from looking)

I will say this, if you can sightread all chopin's etudes than you can play pretty much anything you want. Liszt did this, thats why one set of them is dedicated to him
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#559267 - 10/27/07 12:54 AM Re: If you can play all chopin etudes you can play anything...
gabytu Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/05
Posts: 1521
Loc: Portland, Or.
I am sure that if one could learn to play well, the Chopin Etudes they would be well on the way to being able to play just about anything. Add to that the fact that my wonderful piano teacher says that If you learn to play all the Preludes and Fugues In the WTC, you should be able to play anything.

So, between Chopin and Bach, one should be on the way to becoming a really fine pianist---provided they understand the soul of the music they are playing. Gaby tu

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#559268 - 10/27/07 09:52 AM Re: If you can play all chopin etudes you can play anything...
Aviator1010110 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 134
Loc: United States
False. I have run across many pieces that have technical difficulties not encountered in the Chopin Études (not to mention other interpretative difficulties). That being said, once you are able to play all of them WELL you are a VERY competent pianist.
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Technical skills should never come before artistry. I think of technical ability as a necessary tool for extracting a truly moving performance from a sensitive interpretation. -Aviator1010110

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#559269 - 10/27/07 10:35 AM Re: If you can play all chopin etudes you can play anything...
PoStTeNeBrAsLuX Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 2618
Loc: Geneva, Switzerland
gabytu:
If you learn to play all the Preludes and Fugues In the WTC, you should be able to play anything.

I used WTC as the basis of my getting back into 'serious' piano-playing again a couple of years ago, and I still probably spend at least 7hrs/week playing it, each and every one. Over that time I have played through all 48 countless times, and though there are obviously some I play better than others, I would say that I am very familiar with all of them, and would need only a short time to get any of them to an acceptable 'performance standard' as it were. So I would not really agree with your teacher's statement as such, as it has not enabled me to 'play anything' but I have found it a great help in many ways, not least vastly improving one's sight-reading \:\) .

I think Kreisler's comments on the Chopin Etudes is spot on. I regularly play through most of them and have worked on most of them more closely with my teacher; currently 10/8 and 25/9 are back 'on the workbench' so to speak...

-Michael B.
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#559270 - 10/27/07 12:03 PM Re: If you can play all chopin etudes you can play anything...
Witold Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/03/07
Posts: 128
If we imagine a person who has studied the etudes and nothing else, this person would have severe problems with large scale forms, 4-voice counterpoint, advanced polyrhythms, 20th century chromatic textures and interpretation of anything that isn't in the romantic style. But with the technique acquired to master the etudes, the person has a good start towards the stage when he can handle any piece. Add to the etudes the WTC, all etudes by Debussy and Scriabin and all sonatas by Mozart, Beethoven, Szymanowski and Boulez, then the person would probably be able to handle most classical solo piano litterature.

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#559271 - 10/27/07 01:58 PM Re: If you can play all chopin etudes you can play anything...
Moshe Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/17/04
Posts: 113
Loc: Toronto
"Add to the etudes the WTC, all etudes by Debussy and Scriabin and all sonatas by Mozart, Beethoven, Szymanowski and Boulez"

That's a lot of music!
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#559272 - 10/27/07 02:00 PM Re: If you can play all chopin etudes you can play anything...
AndrewG Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2506
Loc: Denver, Colorado
Yes, one is then technically ready for any thing and every thing.

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#559273 - 10/27/07 05:24 PM Re: If you can play all chopin etudes you can play anything...
playadom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/21/06
Posts: 1366
Loc: New Jersey
 Quote:
Originally posted by Witold:
If we imagine a person who has studied the etudes and nothing else, this person would have severe problems with large scale forms, 4-voice counterpoint, advanced polyrhythms, 20th century chromatic textures and interpretation of anything that isn't in the romantic style. But with the technique acquired to master the etudes, the person has a good start towards the stage when he can handle any piece. Add to the etudes the WTC, all etudes by Debussy and Scriabin and all sonatas by Mozart, Beethoven, Szymanowski and Boulez, then the person would probably be able to handle most classical solo piano litterature. [/b]
Well put.
Chopin's Etudes, while hard, are not near the difficulty level of certain music such as Alkan's, or 21st century(although one might question if that's really music \:D )
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#559274 - 10/27/07 05:38 PM Re: If you can play all chopin etudes you can play anything...
Maxg Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 25
Loc: France
If you can play all 24 études, it means it is time for you to learn Liszt's 12 études d'exécution transcendante.

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#559275 - 10/27/07 05:55 PM Re: If you can play all chopin etudes you can play anything...
hopinmad Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/07
Posts: 1001
Loc: Eryri/Manchester
If one can learn the Chopin etudes, then one can learn anything in the piano repetoire.
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Patience's the best teacher, and time the best critic. - F.F.Chopin

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#559276 - 10/27/07 09:27 PM Re: If you can play all chopin etudes you can play anything...
B flat Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/06
Posts: 112
Isn't every piece going to have it's own technical challenges? I'd think that if you can play all the etudes, you are probably up to the challenge of playing just about anything.
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#559277 - 10/27/07 11:08 PM Re: If you can play all chopin etudes you can play anything...
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8696
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
hopinmad and B Flat have it spot on here.

If one has mastered all the Chopin Etudes, what difference does it make if subsequent repertoire contains technical problems not encountered in Chopin?

What is important is that the discipline is there to literally learn anything else. And that includes Alkan, Godowsky, Medtner and Ligeti for starters...
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#559278 - 10/28/07 12:04 AM Re: If you can play all chopin etudes you can play anything...
Tenuto Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 549
Loc: U.S.A.
If you can play a few Etudes from Opus 10 and a few Etudes from Opus 25 REALLY WELL then you are well on your way to becoming a virtuoso pianist.

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#559279 - 10/28/07 12:08 AM Re: If you can play all chopin etudes you can play anything...
Reaper978 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/08/05
Posts: 1325
I think it's debatable that working on so much material from one composer is good for the student. Nevertheless, if one learned all of them efficiently and could play them at concert standard they probably wouldn't have very much trouble with most other things in the repertoire, and it would give a solid base for work on the excruciatingly difficult and abstract world of 20th century music.

-Colin

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#559280 - 10/28/07 04:33 AM Re: If you can play all chopin etudes you can play anything...
Muzzzz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 80
Loc: Australia
Where are the long repeated note passages in the chopin etudes? Where are all the left hand trills and tremoloes? None of the chopin etudes are even contrapuntal!

I agree that there are a wide range of technical difficulties associated with the Chopin Etudes, but surely you can't expect the Chopin Etudes to prepare you for ANY piece of music...

I know that Lang Lang for example performed the whole set at age 13... but would he be able to play all the Liszt Etudes at the same age?

Having said that, anyone who can play them all at speed would have to have a pretty amazing technique!

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#559281 - 10/28/07 06:02 AM Re: If you can play all chopin etudes you can play anything...
drumour Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/05
Posts: 829
Loc: Scotland
 Quote:
Originally posted by Muzzzz:
Where are the long repeated note passages in the chopin etudes? Where are all the left hand trills and tremoloes? None of the chopin etudes are even contrapuntal!

[/b]
Op 10 3,4 6, 7, 8, 9, 12,

Op 25 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11,

Moscheles 2 + 3


are all, among other things, contrapuntal. You need to broaden your understanding of what is counterpoint - as composers after the baroque period did.


John
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#559282 - 10/28/07 07:17 AM Re: If you can play all chopin etudes you can play anything...
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Couldn’t agree with you more drumour ... however the debate might get a bit strained in the present company trying to put an acceptable handle on the definition of "counterpoint".

The "art of combining melodies" ... would have to include a definition of the word "melody". According to my Chambers ... "an air or tune; an agreeable succession of single musical sounds."

You’ve numbered the classic Chopin Etudes which shine with the
poetic format of horizontal moving chord blocks being contrasted with sharply diverging single-note scampers (providing counterpoint, dramatic forward pulse, sometimes repeating rhythms) ... but always forming a sublime balance with the architectural structure of the other hand.

But could it be that Muzzzz (sounds like a chappie dozing off) ... is right on the dearth of Etude trills ... but further, does not see the so-called "scamperings" (single-note outlines) as examples of valid counter-melody.

Essentially the chappie is questioning the threads "you can play anything" gambit ... IMHO let sleeping dogs ... stick to scratching fleas.

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#559283 - 10/28/07 11:48 AM Re: If you can play all chopin etudes you can play anything...
drumour Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/05
Posts: 829
Loc: Scotland
Post-baroque we get contrapuntal lines of varied and varying thickness and texture.


John
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Vasa inania multum strepunt.

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#559284 - 10/30/07 11:31 PM Re: If you can play all chopin etudes you can play anything...
Anonymous
Unregistered


If you tried to play Balakirev pieces the same way as Chopin, it would sound terrible, and it certainly wouldn't be anything close to what Balakirev intended, as he did not use the pedal very often. Many of Balakirev's odd and often tricky octave techniques and left hand usage is completely different than anything you would find in Chopin.

Mainly, even if you learn the technique required to play those etudes, you will be prepared for neither interpreting nor handling the endurance required for Balakirev's pieces.

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#559285 - 10/31/07 10:40 AM Re: If you can play all chopin etudes you can play anything...
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8696
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Balakirev:

Mainly, even if you learn the technique required to play those etudes, you will be prepared for neither interpreting nor handling the endurance required for Balakirev's pieces.
Confess to being a bit mystified and confused by this. You seem to be making a claim that the musicianship and facility required for the Chopin Etudes are somehow insufficient for Balakirev.

I've heard a number of pianists play Balakirev (both live and on CD) and I wonder what they would make of that.
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#559286 - 10/31/07 11:05 AM Re: If you can play all chopin etudes you can play anything...
Anonymous
Unregistered


 Quote:
You seem to be making a claim that the musicianship and facility required for the Chopin Etudes are somehow insufficient for Balakirev.
Yes, that is my claim. You certainly don't have to agree with it, but to me it seems that clearly Russian music, especially Balakirev's, requires a different form of musicianship. If you have looked at some Balakirev pieces, you surely have noticed the different, though not necessarily more difficult, ways Balakirev displays his melodies, and the different pedal and left hand usage required.

It would be the same problem if someone first built up the endurance to play Islamey, Reminiscences on Glinka's Life for the Tsar, and maybe Balakirev's final sonata, and then believed that they could play Chopin. The problem would be the difference in musicality.

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#559287 - 10/31/07 12:37 PM Re: If you can play all chopin etudes you can play anything...
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8696
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Balakirev:
to me it seems that clearly Russian music, especially Balakirev's, requires a different form of musicianship.
I understand and agree with your point. Certainly within Russian music, i.e. Prokofiev, Rachmaninov and Medtner, there are different requirements.

But any pianist with the maturity to make music out of the Chopin Etudes is going to instinctively recognise Balakirev's different sound world and act accordingly. Success will depend on the individual pianist.

Pianists I've heard play Islamey and the Reminiscences, have all given us beautiful Chopin. Conversely, pianists who have recorded the Etudes -Pollini, Browning, Ashkenazy for example- would most certainly give us masterful Balakirev.
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#559288 - 10/31/07 02:28 PM Re: If you can play all chopin etudes you can play anything...
pianovirus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 940
Loc: Basel, Switzerland
Certainly it's fantastic if you master all Chopin etudes, but people who have gone through this also have mastered a lot of other repertoire along the way. I think it's impossible to separate the benefit gained from working on the Chopin etudes from the benefit gained from the other repertoire.
I think it would not be good only to focus on the etudes without other pieces along. My teacher once said to me, 'Playing only Chopin etudes is like eating the same stuff every day: it's not healthy and you miss all the other good food that exists.' \:\)
I think the (musical) difficulties posed by many other composer's pieces are very different: you cannot voice Schubert like Chopin, how does your polyphonic playing develop from at best op.10/6 only, etc.?
Finally, regarding the frequent mentionings of Alkan in this thread: I would say that the technical difficulties posed by Alkan's etudes are actually very, very similar to those given by Chopin (of course there's still the sheer length of op. 39...). So as a master of Chopin's etudes you are more likely to become a master of Alkan than to become a master of Schubert or Bach. Since I feel I will never really master anything, I should add, 'I guess' \:\)
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#559289 - 10/31/07 03:12 PM Re: If you can play all chopin etudes you can play anything...
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8482
Loc: Ohio, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianovirus:
Certainly it's fantastic if you master all Chopin etudes, but people who have gone through this also have mastered a lot of other repertoire along the way. I think it's impossible to separate the benefit gained from working on the Chopin etudes from the benefit gained from the other repertoire. [/b]
true! my teacher plays them all, but he also said that he played a lot of Bach pieces to begin with, and didn't touch Chopin seriously after 9 or 10 year study.

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#559290 - 10/31/07 03:57 PM Re: If you can play all chopin etudes you can play anything...
gpiu Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/30/07
Posts: 80
Loc: sf bay area
This is an interesting discussion concerning the musicianship each composer brings and requires from his pieces. Going back to the original question, it is best answered empirically...

Is there anyone here in the forum who can play all opus 10 and 25 proficiently have encountered another piece/composer that they found beyond their ability to play?

I would guess the answer is no.

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#559291 - 01/09/08 01:11 AM Re: If you can play all chopin etudes you can play anything...
godowskian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/03/07
Posts: 50
The title should be changed to *If you can play all godowskys 51 etudes you can play anything* Then there would be no point for discussion. Cause would all agree \:\)

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#559292 - 01/09/08 02:04 AM Re: If you can play all chopin etudes you can play anything...
Jeff135 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/05
Posts: 912
Loc: Oregon
I would say no. There are pieces out there that blow the Chopin Etudes, Rach 3, Islamey and other well known technical monsters out of the water in terms of difficulty.

Ligeti Etudes, Alkan Concerto for Solo Piano, Busoni Piano Concerto (both difficulty and sheer stamina required), Messiaen Vingt Regards, Turangalila Symphony as well as others make the Chopin Etudes look like a walk in the park.

EDIT: Oh damn, its a resurrected thread. Sorry for replying to it.
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#559293 - 01/09/08 02:09 AM Re: If you can play all chopin etudes you can play anything...
pianist.ame Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 1164
Loc: Singapore
I would say no too.

rather baroque and classical music is the foundation

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