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#563031 - 12/15/08 11:49 AM Waltzes: where to start?
Garnavis Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/09/06
Posts: 3
Loc: Oswego, NY
I've been playing piano for about two to three years now. I really love listening to waltzes (especially my favorite, Chopin's Valse no. 1), but they're often too difficult for me to play, especially the left hand. Does anyone know some good waltzes to practice and move up from?
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#563032 - 12/15/08 12:02 PM Re: Waltzes: where to start?
Otis S Offline
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Registered: 03/25/08
Posts: 204
Check out the slower Chopin waltzes such as op. 34 no. 2 and op. 69 no. 2.

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#563033 - 12/15/08 12:33 PM Re: Waltzes: where to start?
Schubertian Offline
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Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 937
Loc: Dallas, TX, US
Schubert wrote a lot of walzes, and also other types of dances. Although they do not show him at his most profound, they are not hard, and they are upbeat and interesting. he wrote them to make money, and they are in the popular style that sold well at the time.

Try the collections D. 779 Walzes Sentimental and D. 969 Walzes Nobles. The first were written in 1823, and the latter in 1827 - the year of his death.

And, although they may be somewhat quaint today, I enjoy playing the Strauss walzes for fun - they are not particularly hard either.
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#563034 - 12/15/08 01:40 PM Re: Waltzes: where to start?
BruceD Offline
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Registered: 05/26/01
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My first thought was the recommend - as did Schubertian - the Waltzes, Ländler and German Dances of Franz Schubert. I agree with Schubertian, also, that they are not profound, but some are quite delightful minatures :
Op 9, Nos: 1, 2, 6, 14, 19, 26, 32, 33, 34
Op 18, Nos: 1, 2, 6
Op 33, Nos: 7
Op 67, Nos: 1
are mong my favourites of the more than 150 he wrote.

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#563035 - 12/15/08 01:41 PM Re: Waltzes: where to start?
playadom Offline
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Registered: 10/21/06
Posts: 1366
Loc: New Jersey
Op. 70 no.2 was the first Chopin waltz that I learned. It's not that difficult, and it's quite a nice piece.
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#563036 - 12/15/08 02:01 PM Re: Waltzes: where to start?
Piano*Dad Offline
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Registered: 04/12/05
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Loc: Williamsburg, VA
I'll third the Schubert Ländler and his German Dances. They are indeed delightful miniatures. That's a plus for a number of reasons. The first is that any technical difficulties are bite sized. The second is that you can sample a great variety in the same amount of time as you would have to devote to mastering a single full scale waltz. They also make great sight reading drills.
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#563037 - 12/15/08 03:27 PM Re: Waltzes: where to start?
whippen boy Offline
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Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 3886
Loc: San Francisco
As a kid I learned dozens of those Schubert waltzes and had fun with them, especially since they are so tuneful and are relatively easy to master. I went in sequence and made a goal out of completing each book. They helped me with memorization too.
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#563038 - 12/15/08 03:57 PM Re: Waltzes: where to start?
xxmynameisjohnxx Offline
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Registered: 10/27/08
Posts: 625
Loc: San Diego
Chopin 34 2 is a good starter waltz. The only difficult section is playing the septuplets on the first page, the rest should be pretty easy. It's also a beautiful piece. There are only a couple of your typical waltz left hand jumps, the rest can be reached by reaching rather than jumping.
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#563039 - 12/15/08 04:07 PM Re: Waltzes: where to start?
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
Some of the Brahms waltzes are not too difficult.

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#563040 - 12/15/08 05:02 PM Re: Waltzes: where to start?
pianoloverus Offline
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Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19096
Loc: New York City
 Quote:
Originally posted by Phlebas:
Some of the Brahms waltzes are not too difficult. [/b]
I must have listened to this video 100 times but I never get tired of it. I think it's very revealing to hear what a great pianist can do with a relatively easy piece that's played by many intermediate pianists. But I don't think playing it this beautifully is so easy!

Kissin plays Brahms Waltz in in A flat:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oy6uV-eMOEs

Nos. 2-4 in this group are also intermediate level:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrM3eWKAK5A

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#563041 - 12/16/08 12:42 AM Re: Waltzes: where to start?
dannylux Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/06
Posts: 1815
Loc: Connecticut
For fairly easy waltzes, I would recommend starting with Rebikov's Waltz from The Christmas Tree.

It doesn't sound very Christmas-y to me, but its awfully lovely.

Henselt's Little Waltz in F is another little beauty.

Kalinnikov's Waltz from his 7 Piano Pieces is utterly charming.

Another very pretty waltz, but a little more difficult than the above is Sibelius' Valse Lyrique, Op.96a. I would swear that it's actually by Tchaikovsky.

IMSLP has it listed as a Piano Transcription, but it is not a transcription. It's Sibelius' original version.


Mel
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#563042 - 12/16/08 09:57 AM Re: Waltzes: where to start?
Jan-Erik Offline
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Registered: 10/18/05
Posts: 1302
Loc: Finland
In Grieg's Lyric pieces and Tjaikosky Children's album you will find easy waltzes

Erkki Melartin: Valsette - very easy and short; Butterfly waltz.

Tjaikovsky also wrote other waltzes: December from The Seasons is written in waltz-tempo and waltz in f#-minor from Five pieces of intermediate difficulty.

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#563043 - 12/16/08 10:10 AM Re: Waltzes: where to start?
WillisWill Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/04/08
Posts: 125
Loc: Charlottesville, VA
Chopin's posthumous waltz in A minor (without opus # as far as I know) was the first "real" chopin piece I learned. Simple, but elegant RH melody. Much easier than his waltzes that have a catalog number, imo. I don't even see it on IMSLP, but it is printed in Palmer's Intro to Chopin
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#563044 - 12/16/08 10:34 AM Re: Waltzes: where to start?
Schubertian Offline
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Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 937
Loc: Dallas, TX, US
On second thought:

Those Schubert walzes have such a different texture from the CHopin walzes I cant imagine them helping that much.

You could do what Chopin had his own students do: study Bach's WTC and Mozart's sonatas. Those both seem more appropriate for the sort of light passagework and finger independence of the Chopin walzes.
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#563045 - 12/16/08 01:52 PM Re: Waltzes: where to start?
ChristinaW Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/05/04
Posts: 152
Loc: Washington DC
I agree about that posthumous Chopin, it is probably the easiest. There are lots of easy waltzes, though, as it is such a common musical form, and I agree the Schubert ones are a lot easier. The Chopin waltzes weren't really meant to dance to, I don't believe, they are really stylized waltzes for listening. As are the Brahms (some of which are not that dancey). There is one easy Brahms that reminds me of one of the easiest Chopin ones, also, but I can't recall the number (it's in the middle). However, I have the Schirmer edition of the Brahms complete piano collection, and the volume with the waltzes includes a second set of them in an "easy" version. Those sound decent, also, so I'd suggest you look at those, as they are a lot more interesting than some of the real simple ones (and the Schubert ones are not that interesting IMO).

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#563046 - 12/16/08 01:54 PM Re: Waltzes: where to start?
whippen boy Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 3886
Loc: San Francisco
 Quote:
Originally posted by Schubertian:
Those Schubert walzes have such a different texture from the CHopin walzes I cant imagine them helping that much.
I disagree about Schubert waltzes being unhelpful. Garnavis is specifically having difficulty with the left hand; the LH part in many Schubert waltzes is very similar to Chopin waltzes, yet the RH part is often much easier. This makes more of an equal focus on both hands. After the left hand gets accustomed to those 'oompah' patterns it would be logical to progress to something more challenging.
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#563047 - 12/16/08 01:57 PM Re: Waltzes: where to start?
BDB Offline
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Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20746
Loc: Oakland
You might look at Dvorak's Waltzes. Of course, there are arrangements of Strauss and Waldteufel waltzes at many different levels.
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#563048 - 12/16/08 03:15 PM Re: Waltzes: where to start?
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19096
Loc: New York City
 Quote:
Originally posted by whippen boy:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Schubertian:
Those Schubert walzes have such a different texture from the CHopin walzes I cant imagine them helping that much.
I disagree about Schubert waltzes being unhelpful. Garnavis is specifically having difficulty with the left hand; the LH part in many Schubert waltzes is very similar to Chopin waltzes, yet the RH part is often much easier. This makes more of an equal focus on both hands. After the left hand gets accustomed to those 'oompah' patterns it would be logical to progress to something more challenging. [/b]
I agree. And all the Schubert Waltzes are shorter and musically easier than the ones by Chopin.

Wouldn't Schubertian have to change his name if he recommended against playing Schubert for any reason?

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#563049 - 12/16/08 03:42 PM Re: Waltzes: where to start?
Schubertian Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 937
Loc: Dallas, TX, US
Garnavis - please keep us updated on the progress - I wish you luck with the walzes - I love them - I wore out an LP when I was a child listening to them (Brailowsky) - they make a great set of pieces (the 9 he published) - they are so varied in mood and style

piano-lover-us: that is a difficult meta-question I am going to have to wrestle with for a while - certainly nothing can make me change my screen name - to paraphrase the Terminator: "I am a Schubertian - dot's vot I do!"
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#563050 - 12/16/08 05:37 PM Re: Waltzes: where to start?
pianoloverus Offline
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Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19096
Loc: New York City
 Quote:
Originally posted by Schubertian:
piano-lover-us: that is a difficult meta-question I am going to have to wrestle with for a while - certainly nothing can make me change my screen name - to paraphrase the Terminator: "I am a Schubertian - dot's vot I do!" [/b]
So what are your favorite Schubert piano works?

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#563051 - 12/16/08 06:53 PM Re: Waltzes: where to start?
Garnavis Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/09/06
Posts: 3
Loc: Oswego, NY
I think I'll check out Schubert's waltzes from my university library. Luckily I already have Bach's WTC, so I'll certainly study that more too. Thanks for all your help, I'll let you know how it goes!
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#563052 - 12/16/08 07:59 PM Re: Waltzes: where to start?
Schubertian Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 937
Loc: Dallas, TX, US
Well. of course the impromptus and Mom. Mus and the late sonatas - but really Schubert's best piano music is in the lieder - Suleika 1 or Auf dem Wasser zu singer for example -
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#563053 - 12/18/08 02:12 AM Re: Waltzes: where to start?
BDB Offline
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Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20746
Loc: Oakland
A big waltz which is famous and not terribly difficult to play, as well as being great fun, is Weber's Invitation to the Dance. It helps to have a large hand.

Tchaikovsky wrote an Invitation to the Trepak in his Op. 72, and there is a quite delightful waltz in 5/8 time in that set.
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