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#602953 - 06/17/05 10:02 AM why do some people play so fast?
da 6th finger Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/14/02
Posts: 87
Loc: New Zealand
chopin etudes are MUSIC too you know!!!
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the nocturne in c sharp minor is the most beautiful thing on this earth

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#602954 - 06/17/05 10:14 AM Re: why do some people play so fast?
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
but some etudes have to be played fast (at tempo) to be effective. some piece just can not be played in too slow tempo, or it would become a totally different piece. a good example of it is Bach's prelude in c minor (WTC1). if you play it in adagio/andante tempo, it would sound totally strange and loose its harmonic meaning entirely.

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#602955 - 06/17/05 10:19 AM Re: why do some people play so fast?
Max W Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/02
Posts: 2846
Loc: RHUL
You try telling Gavrilov that.

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#602956 - 06/17/05 10:20 AM Re: why do some people play so fast?
Eusebius Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/03
Posts: 725
Loc: Maryland
 Quote:
a good example of it is Bach's prelude in c minor (WTC1). if you play it in adagio/andante tempo, it would sound totally strange and loose its harmonic meaning entirely.
I disagree. I think such an approach would sound musically viable. IMO almost all of Bach's music works at a very wide variety of tempos.
_________________________
"My atheism, like that of Spinoza, is true piety towards the universe and denies only gods fashioned by men in their own image, to be servants of their human interests." - Santayana

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#602957 - 06/17/05 10:28 AM Re: why do some people play so fast?
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
maybe you're right, but it would just sound like a different piece though. maybe it works for Bach (although i still doubt it), but not for Chopin or Beethoven. try to play 'moonlight' 1st movement super fast and see what happens, or play Hammerklavier 1st movement in adagio, and see how it would sound like. i always assume there's only a narrow range of tempo which would suit for a particular piece in general.

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#602958 - 06/17/05 10:29 AM Re: why do some people play so fast?
da 6th finger Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/14/02
Posts: 87
Loc: New Zealand
and about this topic, i just thought of it when i watched that video of that julliard guy, koji something. WHY did he play the thirds etude like that??? i cant hear ANYTHING anymore at that tempo. it was such a joke. not to mention his disgusting gesture toward the camera, URGH! is this what pianists have come to these days?!?! and that guy has a DOCTORATE, seriously!
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the nocturne in c sharp minor is the most beautiful thing on this earth

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#602959 - 06/17/05 10:38 AM Re: why do some people play so fast?
Max W Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/02
Posts: 2846
Loc: RHUL
Hilariously I should know who this is

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#602960 - 06/17/05 11:45 AM Re: why do some people play so fast?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
It's all about clarity. If you play something really fast and mushy, it'll sound horrible. But if you play it too slow, it will also sound horrible.

The truth is, a lot of music can be played at a range of tempi, and with a good amount of clarity and control, some music can be taken at extremely fast tempi and still sound like music.

Chopin's Etude 10/12, the 'Revolutionary', is marked in my score at q=180. That's very, very, very fast! But if you play it clearly and with a great amount of control, that could sound very powerful, and very musical.
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Sam

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#602961 - 06/17/05 12:20 PM Re: why do some people play so fast?
iamcanadian Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/02
Posts: 1893
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
Originally posted by da 6th finger:
and about this topic, i just thought of it when i watched that video of that julliard guy, koji something. WHY did he play the thirds etude like that??? i cant hear ANYTHING anymore at that tempo. it was such a joke. not to mention his disgusting gesture toward the camera, URGH! [/b]
Clearly he was just messing around. Don't be so sensitive.
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#602962 - 06/17/05 12:35 PM Re: why do some people play so fast?
Varcon Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/15/04
Posts: 1931
Loc: Mount Vernon, Georgia 30445
My teacher told me that Paderewski and Gabrilowitsch played more deliberately than other pianists. She deplored the 'mania for speed' which kills the musicality of the piece. I heard Ilana Vered play the Moszkowski Etude in F, Op. 72 at a speed that lost any kind of musical content. Pounding and speed seem to be the driving forces of pianists these days instead of musical content. Granted, some pieces call for speed but that call should be tempered with respect for the musical content. Also granted is that some bravura pieces demand every ounce of prestissimo one can muster but some semblance of musical content should be retained even then.

Koji seems to be one of those pounders and wrote in one of the threads that in his exuberance he broke a black key. One of Lowenthal's students who gave a recital in Beaufort, SC stood up and said he was pounding--and he sure was. At a recital at Fripp Island, after the program a lady, knowledgable, asked me if I thought the piano was worth resurrecting now. The days of glorious tone exemplified by artists of the past seems to have gone by the wayside.

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#602963 - 06/17/05 03:05 PM Re: why do some people play so fast?
virtuoso418 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/03
Posts: 645
Also, when the dynamic markings are, forte, fortissimo, or anything beyond that, people have a tendency to associate loud with fast.

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#602964 - 06/17/05 03:14 PM Re: why do some people play so fast?
Thracozaag Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/06/04
Posts: 1980
Loc: Salt Lake City
 Quote:
Originally posted by da 6th finger:
and about this topic, i just thought of it when i watched that video of that julliard guy, koji something. WHY did he play the thirds etude like that??? i cant hear ANYTHING anymore at that tempo. it was such a joke. not to mention his disgusting gesture toward the camera, URGH! is this what pianists have come to these days?!?! and that guy has a DOCTORATE, seriously! [/b]
Yeah, that koji something guy...what a jerkoff.

koji
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http://www.youtube.com/kojiattwood
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#602965 - 06/17/05 03:15 PM Re: why do some people play so fast?
yok Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/01
Posts: 464
Loc: New Zealand
Chopin's own metronome markings for the etudes are what I would call very fast. And some of Clara Schumann's recommendations are bordering on insane. And then there's Beethoven's symphony markings. Unless their metronomes were broken, I think if anything people played even faster in the 19th century. Not that this answers the question.

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#602966 - 06/17/05 03:25 PM Re: why do some people play so fast?
Hank Drake Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/01
Posts: 1664
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
There can certainly be such a thing as too fast, even in a virtuoso piece like Chopin's Etude Op. 10, No. 4. I've heard all too many performances of this piece where the notes run so fast that everything turns into a mishmash. Sometimes pianists will use excessive tempos to disguise insufficient technique--the above piece is a case in point.
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The composers want performers be imaginative, in the direction of their thinking--not just robots, who execute orders.
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#602967 - 06/17/05 03:44 PM Re: why do some people play so fast?
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5344
Loc: Philadelphia
If you can, and the piece still sounds good, and in some semblance of what the composer desired, then I don't see it as a problem. If, however, it chalks up to mediocrity, then I suppose this is where I find a conflict of interests. ;\)
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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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#602968 - 06/17/05 05:05 PM Re: why do some people play so fast?
TS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/04
Posts: 869
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
i just thought of it when i watched that video of that julliard guy, koji something. WHY did he play the thirds etude like that??? i cant hear ANYTHING anymore at that tempo. it was such a joke
Well I'm pretty sure that's what the whole point of it was: a joke.

I still remember that thread...heh...it was full of angry music students. Ohhhh, the memories. :p

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#602969 - 06/17/05 05:54 PM Re: why do some people play so fast?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
 Quote:
Originally posted by virtuoso418:
Also, when the dynamic markings are, forte, fortissimo, or anything beyond that, people have a tendency to associate loud with fast. [/b]
I'm not so sure it's a conscious association so much as it is subconscious. When you play loud, you slam your hands down quickly on the keyboard, whereas when you play softly you take your time and really delicately touch the keys. So, when you play loud you naturally play faster, unless you can control it.

Of course, then emotions get tied in as well. When you're playing loud music, you get very emotional and tend to rush and just bang through the whole piece.

Control is really a key issue to deal with when playing the piano. It's quite a difficult task to control something as loud and fast as a Chopin Etude, but without it, the whole piece sounds rushy and mushy, and overall not so pleasant.
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#602970 - 06/17/05 07:48 PM Re: why do some people play so fast?
anor Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/02
Posts: 1232
Loc: Santiago, Chile
Have you guys listen to Richter's recording of Chopin etude op.10 no.4?

1) Do you think it still musical at that speed?

2) but more important, it's a valid interpretation? (Interpretation of what Chopin would desire?)
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#602971 - 06/17/05 07:56 PM Re: why do some people play so fast?
iamcanadian Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/02
Posts: 1893
Loc: Canada
Yes and Yes
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#602972 - 06/17/05 07:56 PM Re: why do some people play so fast?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
 Quote:
Originally posted by anor:
(Interpretation of what Chopin would desire?) [/b]
Who cares what Chopin desired?

Well, that's perhaps a bit harsh.

As performers of Chopin's work, we must try and figure out what it is that he wanted to convey in this work, and how he interpreted it and would have liked it to be played.

As interpreters of Chopin's work, we must look at it and listen to it and feel it and figure out what it is that we want to convey in this work, and how we interpret it and like it to be played.

I'm not talking about changing notes (that's what we would call transcribing). I'm talking about interpretation - tempo, dynamics, rubato, pedaling, final say in what message is being conveyed.

Why should I play it Chopin's way if I think my way is better?
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Sam

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#602973 - 06/17/05 08:08 PM Re: why do some people play so fast?
anor Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/02
Posts: 1232
Loc: Santiago, Chile
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianojerome:
 Quote:
Originally posted by anor:
(Interpretation of what Chopin would desire?) [/b]
Who cares what Chopin desired?

Well, that's perhaps a bit harsh.

As performers of Chopin's work, we must try and figure out what it is that he wanted to convey in this work, and how he interpreted it and would have liked it to be played.

As interpreters of Chopin's work, we must look at it and listen to it and feel it and figure out what it is that we want to convey in this work, and how we interpret it and like it to be played.

I'm not talking about changing notes (that's what we would call transcribing). I'm talking about interpretation - tempo, dynamics, rubato, pedaling, final say in what message is being conveyed.

Why should I play it Chopin's way if I think my way is better? [/b]
OUCH!... harsh....

Huh... your way better? The work still from Chopin. I'm not saying to play the way he did (like using his piano, his tempi his tone his fingering etc...) It's about what he desired as music itself. You can play your way, but the composition, the music is not of your domain (well... maybe isn't from Chopin, IT IS only)


huh... but i asked about Richter anyway...
\:D
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ss ao lr ue dt on si .u dq ar no on ra qd u. is no td eu rl oa ss

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#602974 - 06/17/05 08:20 PM Re: why do some people play so fast?
Quidam Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/04
Posts: 866
Loc: USA
hmmm thread idea. TS, where is this thread with all of the angry music students? that sounds fun! lol \:D
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#602975 - 06/17/05 08:21 PM Re: why do some people play so fast?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
Sure, the work is Chopin's. Whose changing the notes? Certainly not Richter.

But if Richter wanted to play it faster than Chopin ever dreamed it to be, then why shouldn't he have played it faster than Chopin ever dreamed it to be?

Granted, Chopin wrote some pretty terrifying metronome marks...


An interpretation doesn't have to match the composer's intentions to be valid. It simply has to be convincing. Of course, no single interpretation will be convincing to every single listener. But if it is convincing to at least one listener, and if it touches even a single soul, then it is a valid interpretation.
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Sam

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#602976 - 06/17/05 08:29 PM Re: why do some people play so fast?
TheAsianPianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/17/05
Posts: 129
Loc: Michigan
Well, I get a rush and i enjoy playing fast-paced, powerful pieces. It relays my skill and passion to the audience. Considering fast piano pieces, got any ideas for me based on the speed of Rachmaninoff's Prelude in G Minor and Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata 3rd Movement? I have just finished those two and I'm looking for something by Chopin that is challenging but also possible to play :-P Thanks
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#602977 - 06/17/05 08:31 PM Re: why do some people play so fast?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
It's not by Chopin, but have you tried C.P.E. Bach's Solfeggietto? It is quite fast ("prestissimo"), though not extremely difficult. (The great pianist Byron Janis performed it on public radio after 6 months of lessons - but it certainly is no walk in the park, either, to get it up to speed)
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Sam

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#602978 - 06/17/05 08:46 PM Re: why do some people play so fast?
TheAsianPianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/17/05
Posts: 129
Loc: Michigan
Ive already looked at that one, but are most of Chopin's stuff way harder than that? Some of his stuff looks impossible, and I want to know how other people would rate the level of difficulty towards Rachmaninoff's Prelude in G Minor, Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata 3rd Movement, and C.P.E. Bach's Solfeggietto
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Asian Invasion

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#602979 - 06/17/05 08:54 PM Re: why do some people play so fast?
8ude Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 2050
I'd say the Solfeggietto is rather easy, nowhere even in the ballpark of Beethoven Sonatas or Rachmaninoff Preludes.

With Chopin, there's great stuff at all levels. If you're working on Moonlight now, then there are some waltzes, nocturnes, mazurkas, and preludes that would do nicely at that level. Impromptus 1 and 4 are also good and not killers, as is the Military Polonaise. At the level you're talking about, I'd steer clear of the Scherzi and Ballades and way clear of the Etudes until you've got a few of Chopin's smaller works under your belt.
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What you are is an accident of birth. What I am, I am through my own efforts. There have been a thousand princes and there will be a thousand more. There is one Beethoven.

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#602980 - 06/17/05 08:54 PM Re: why do some people play so fast?
anor Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/02
Posts: 1232
Loc: Santiago, Chile
My rate (from 1 to 15 hehe)

C.P.E. Bach's Solfeggietto - 1

Rachmaninoff's Prelude in G Minor - 5

Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata 3rd Movement - 5

Chopin sonata no.2 Second mvnt - 10
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#602981 - 06/17/05 09:06 PM Re: why do some people play so fast?
TheAsianPianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/17/05
Posts: 129
Loc: Michigan
"At the level you're talking about, I'd steer clear of the Scherzi and Ballades and way clear of the Etudes until you've got a few of Chopin's smaller works under your belt."

are you serious?!?! wow i am an amatuer. I thought that I was something special, like on other websites ive seen both Rachmaninoff's Preludes and Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata (The 3rd movement was really hard!) at level 8 of 9, but i guess i was misled. Got any suggestions for me on specific pieces that are fast and are anywhere near the higher levels?
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Asian Invasion

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#602982 - 06/17/05 09:16 PM Re: why do some people play so fast?
8ude Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 2050
Don't get me wrong, the Moonlight is a great piece and is certainly difficult, and if you can play that and play it well, then there's no reason you can't tackle plenty of Chopin pieces. However, in my experience, I think the Scherzi, Ballades, and Etudes get a lot of disrespect (for lack of a better word) because so many people don't appreciate how difficult they truly are. The Scherzi and Ballades are all quite difficult not only in technique, but also in interpretation and stamina. The Etudes were written by Chopin to be among the most difficult of works. That said, it saddens me when I see so many amateurs rushing out after 1 or 2 years of playing and trying out the etudes, thinking they have what it takes. I'm sure there are some people out there who can tackle them after a year or two of experience, but it just saddens me that so many people try them before they're ready, and that people try to minimize how difficult they truly are.

On the flip side, I find that many of Chopin's "lesser" works get some ill treatment, because people don't think they're "cool". What pianist would want to play a wimpy waltz when they can play a mighty scherzo?!?!? There's nothing wrong with the waltzes, noctures, etc... In fact, they're some of Chopin's most intimate and poetic works. It seems like so many beginners rush out and try to play the big bang works like the Heroic Polonaise when they're not ready for them - when they could learn so much more from playing some of the smaller works.

Obviously I have no idea how well you play and at what level - based on the posts I've read I only have a small inkling, but that's just been my experience with Chopin works in general. Whether or not it applies to you or not - you're the only judge of that.

As for recommending a specific piece that's fast, it's tough, there are so many good ones. Some you might find good are the Fantaise-Impromptu, Nocturne Op. 9 No. 3, Prelude in G, Waltz No 1 (forget the Op. # off the top of my head) in Bb, etc... Good luck finding a piece - keep us posted with what you try...
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