Chopin's Raindrop Prelude

Posted by: FLMikeATT

Chopin's Raindrop Prelude - 11/22/07 04:00 PM

What level would you say this piece is? I'm around level 4, and I absolutely love this piece and want to be able to play it, but when I look at the sheets I get intimidated. I have the score from sheetmusicarchive if that helps. I look at a lot of the notes and ornamentations and have no idea how to play them or what they mean. I feel like this should be within my skill level, but I'm hesitant to try and start it. Some of what I don't understand includes these weird snowflake type symbols next to the word "Leo" which are all over the place and the occasional word(s) in what appears to be Spanish or Italian such as "smorzando", "slentando", "poco piu animato", "una corda" and "tre corde".

For those of you who can play this piece, what level are you at and how long did it take you to learn this? Is this an unreasonable piece for my level? By the way, I'm self taught so I don't have a teacher to help me with these types of things that you would have learned if you take lessons.

Thanks.
Posted by: Euphonatrix

Re: Chopin's Raindrop Prelude - 11/22/07 04:28 PM

I suppose what seems to read "Leo" is the abbreviation "Ped" in rather old-fashioned typeface ... meaning that you depress the right pedal at this point and release it again when the "snowflake" appears.

The other words are Italian, indeed.
"smorzando" means "dying", getting softer, fading away
"slentando" means fading away, slowing down
"poco piu animato" is "a bit more vivid, lively"
"una corda" means that the left pedal is to be depressed (so that on a grand less strings are struck by the hammer)

Hope this helps.
Posted by: LaValse

Re: Chopin's Raindrop Prelude - 11/22/07 04:55 PM

Hi FLMikeATT,

I can't give you any advice because I do not play it yet but here is some info from the source I have.

Prelude 15 is grade 7 ABRSM but a "popular student piece" and while "not technically difficult" requires "close study in a musical sense"...

So like a lot of straight-forward-sounding pieces, hitting the notes is one thing and making music, quite another...

www.abrsm.org

There are lots of music glossaries online so you can just google for the annotations you don't know yet. Sandy pointed a link to a good one recently:-

http://www.music.vt.edu/musicdictionary/

\:\)
Posted by: FLMikeATT

Re: Chopin's Raindrop Prelude - 11/22/07 04:59 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Euphonatrix:
I suppose what seems to read "Leo" is the abbreviation "Ped" in rather old-fashioned typeface ... meaning that you depress the right pedal at this point and release it again when the "snowflake" appears.

The other words are Italian, indeed.
"smorzando" means "dying", getting softer, fading away
"slentando" means fading away, slowing down
"poco piu animato" is "a bit more vivid, lively"
"una corda" means that the left pedal is to be depressed (so that on a grand less strings are struck by the hammer)

Hope this helps. [/b]
Ah. Thanks a ton. I had no idea about the pedal signs, but now that I think about it, it makes sense.
Posted by: bruceee

Re: Chopin's Raindrop Prelude - 11/22/07 04:59 PM

If you love the piece, go for it. The Italian terms are common in a lot of music -- I would look them up in a music dictionary and pencil the meanings on the score. Or if you have a music teacher wife as I do, ask her -- and sometimes she has to look them up in the dictionary \:\)

I'm about a level 4, also self-taught, and would feel comfortable learning this piece. As far as the ornamentation is concerned, which seems to be mainly grace notes, just leave them out for now. If you listen to a recording, you will hear how they fit it, and you can add them later when you have the basic rhythm and timing sorted out.

Good luck, and we'll look forward to your recording in the ABF piano recital in about a year's time \:\)
Posted by: FLMikeATT

Re: Chopin's Raindrop Prelude - 11/22/07 05:06 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by LaValse:
Hi FLMikeATT,

I can't give you any advice because I do not play it yet but here is some info from the source I have.

Prelude 15 is grade 7 ABRSM and while "not technically difficult" requires "close study in a musical sense"...

www.abrsm.org

There are lots of music glossaries online so you can just google for the annotations you don't know yet. Sandy pointed a link to a good one recently:-

http://www.music.vt.edu/musicdictionary/

\:\) [/b]
Thanks a ton for the website. I'm sure that this will be a great resource for me in future endeavors. Grade 7 huh? That's depressing. And your comment, while "not technically difficult" requires "close study in a musical sense"... seems to be spot on. I'm sure that I could learn the notes pretty quickly, but I doubt I could play it even close to how it is supposed to be.

*sigh*

Perhaps I should put this piece off until I gain some more experience. It's just that this piece is so awesome and impressive when it's played with emotion, and I want to be able to play this very badly. When I first listened to this on my Chopin Preludes cd, it gave me the chills, and that almost never happens.
Posted by: LaValse

Re: Chopin's Raindrop Prelude - 11/22/07 05:10 PM

Since the notes are accessible-ish, one approach may be to acquire them and then delveop the musicality over time...

\:\)
Posted by: FLMikeATT

Re: Chopin's Raindrop Prelude - 11/22/07 05:14 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by bruceee:
If you love the piece, go for it. The Italian terms are common in a lot of music -- I would look them up in a music dictionary and pencil the meanings on the score. Or if you have a music teacher wife as I do, ask her -- and sometimes she has to look them up in the dictionary \:\)

I'm about a level 4, also self-taught, and would feel comfortable learning this piece. As far as the ornamentation is concerned, which seems to be mainly grace notes, just leave them out for now. If you listen to a recording, you will hear how they fit it, and you can add them later when you have the basic rhythm and timing sorted out.

Good luck, and we'll look forward to your recording in the ABF piano recital in about a year's time \:\) [/b]
I would pencil markings into the score, but it is uh...convoluted enough as it is. I would probably confuse myself even more \:\) . I think I will put this off for a few months while I study it and learn some more stuff that I should already know (if I took lessons) such as the pedal markings and the italian expressions.

I would love to take part in an ABF recital, but I have no way of recording myself. I don't have a video camera or any other electronic device which I could use to make a recording \:\( , or I would already have like 20 videos up on Youtube \:D .
Posted by: FLMikeATT

Re: Chopin's Raindrop Prelude - 11/22/07 05:22 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by LaValse:
Since the notes are accessible-ish, one approach may be to acquire them and then delveop the musicality over time...

\:\) [/b]
This is true, but I set very high standards for myself, or I should say I can't stop playing a song until I can play it perfectly and while my eyes are closed . It's a trait I have that would probably be considered obsessive/compulsive. I can't help it. I will play a song literally hundreds of times until I get it to the point where I am satisfied with it. With the amount of time it would take to learn this song and to be able to play it like it is played on my cd, I will have spent a huge amount of time and played it thousands of times. It just doesn't seem practical at this moment despite how much I wish to play it. I think I will wait a little bit so I don't die of frustration \:\) .
Posted by: NancyM333

Re: Chopin's Raindrop Prelude - 11/22/07 08:31 PM

This was my piece for the recent Prelude recital, and I think you can do it. I have been playing longer than you have, but I didn't think it was that hard. It's slow in most parts, so that's a plus. The most difficult parts are at about the 4th page, so you could do the slow sections first before you try the faster and more difficult ones. I'll look it over and see if there's something else I can add. If you really like it, then I think you should try it! I've learned lots of pieces that were beyond my ability; motivation is key.

Nancy
Posted by: jazzwee

Re: Chopin's Raindrop Prelude - 11/23/07 02:05 AM

I've never done classical at all. Ever. This past week, I started on Raindrop as my first classical piece (upon request from my Halo addicted kids) and looks like I'll be finished with learning it and memorizing it in about a week total. Musicality is getting there on the first part and I'm cleaning up the Storm section (key change). Also getting there. So this might be two weeks of work for me including refining it. Fortunately, I know what it is supposed to sound like from various records. I played it partially for people today at a thanksgiving party.

My main difficulty is not being a sight reader so it's a dog for me to read the notes. My 11 year old will take a long time to finish this. He started at the same time. He's lucky to learn the notes in two months and maybe a month or two to gain the musicality. That's my guess and that's with a teacher's and my help.

There were a few unusual fingering moves that I wasn't used to and some technical challenges in the storm section. Now I've already played piano for a few years but a beginner would have a hard time with some of this I think.
Posted by: Eternal

Re: Chopin's Raindrop Prelude - 11/23/07 02:26 AM

Here's the link to the actual piece, from the Halo commercial. I am learning it myself - but only the piece from the add itself (the actual Raindrop Prelude is much longer, but in my opinion the add captures its best part):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKG1nvV1Wnc
Posted by: Starting Over

Re: Chopin's Raindrop Prelude - 11/23/07 07:36 PM

FWIW, Raindrop appears in the Grade 9 (of 10) Royal Conservatory Canada repertoire. Basically, that means it is not easy and that's certainly how it appears to me.

FLMikeAtt, you say you are a level 4 player. What does that mean? How many levels are there in the system you are using?
Posted by: jazzwee

Re: Chopin's Raindrop Prelude - 11/24/07 03:37 AM

BTW Eternal, that recording used in the Halo commercial is apparently of Horowitz. So I bought the Horowitz track from ITunes.
Posted by: Starting Over

Re: Chopin's Raindrop Prelude - 11/24/07 08:39 AM

Jazzwee, good work on learning and memorizing this in just 2 weeks. I'm impressed, especially as you say that you arn't a great sight reader. You must be a very accomplished Jazz player. Do you play by ear or from fake sheets? Always interesting to hear of people changing styles in this way and their impressions.

Maybe this will make you want to learn more Chopin pieces. They are very addictive.

Now, I think I'll go try to learn Raindrop...
Posted by: jazzwee

Re: Chopin's Raindrop Prelude - 11/24/07 12:41 PM

Starting Over, don't be too impressed. I have my limitations too as I've only been playing for 3 years. But that whole time has been on jazz and mostly solo piano. All this time has been with good teachers. I can play both by ear and from fake sheets but in jazz you really have to rely on fake sheets. And most of the time in jazz is spent on theory and improvisation, not reading music.

I did receive classical technique instruction from a classical teacher but I did not learn everything, like fast octaves, since that is found primarily in classical.

I played Raindrop for a classical pianist neighbor and I think I played it well according to her. But I have to clean up transitions. I'm only on week 1 now and have just 16 measures left to learn. So I'm allocating the next week to cleaning it up.

Like I said, I can't sight read so that is memorizing it a measure at a time. Tedious. The good news is once it is memorized I can concentrate on musicality and I'm almost done with complete memorization.

But this is a piece that could use long term tweaking. There will always be something that can be improved.

I'm thinking that the Storm section is actually quite difficult since your time has to be very very good to keep that constant beat. But here the jazz work helps since having perfect time is essential to jazz. Another thing that the jazz seems to help in is moves like different voices in different fingers like in the middle of the storm section. Lots of finger independence issues but not dissimilar to some jazz playing with two handed chords and melody on the upper fingers. Pedalling is not a problem although that is obviously a major thing with this piece. I've instinctively had to do a lot of half pedal.

If anything, the unusual issues for me is some of the fingering and changing fingers on the same note. That is not typical of jazz playing. But not technically hard. Just required some getting used to.

Once I get this done, I think I'll go back to my classical teacher for review to see if there's anything to improve on and I will use that to move on to another classical piece. This has been a very good experience and I think it will improve my solo jazz piano skills.
Posted by: FLMikeATT

Re: Chopin's Raindrop Prelude - 11/24/07 06:45 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Starting Over:
FWIW, Raindrop appears in the Grade 9 (of 10) Royal Conservatory Canada repertoire. Basically, that means it is not easy and that's certainly how it appears to me.

FLMikeAtt, you say you are a level 4 player. What does that mean? How many levels are there in the system you are using? [/b]
Well...I'm level 3 in one of the method books I use (Michael Aaron), and in that method there are 5 levels. In Alfred, I'm level 5, and I think there is maybe ten levels (not sure though), so I'm not quite sure. I just say I'm level 4 because that is the average of 5 and 3 \:\) .
Posted by: loveschopintoomuch

Re: Chopin's Raindrop Prelude - 11/28/07 08:11 PM

I had two very spotty years of lessons about 53 years ago and have been an "on again, off again" player (mostly off) since then.

About 20 years ago, I decided that because I so loved this prelude, I WOULD LEARN to play it. And I did, but it took me almost a year. I was working full-time with family and house responsibilities. I practiced when I could, usually a couple of hours a day. No teacher, just my own determination and self-confidence.

I remember that day (quite vividly) when I sat at the keyboard and played it perfectly from beginning to end. (I don't think I've repeated that quality of performance since then.)

My point is this: If you love the music and are determined to learn it, you can. It may take you a long time and you may meet with a lot of frustration, but, again, it's really up to your mind set and your degree of dedication and self-discipline.

Those levels are so arbitrary and don't really mean much. If you were just starting to learn to play and wanted to learn something like a Rachmaninoff concerto, then, no...I would probably try to dissuade you. But in your case, I do think with the qualities I mentioned above, that it is quite possible for you.

Good luck and go for it!
Kathleen
Posted by: jazzwee

Re: Chopin's Raindrop Prelude - 11/28/07 11:11 PM

I'm happy to actually have completed the whole thing now so now it's refinement time. I don't have much time to play this since I'm practicing other things so I'm slowing down a little bit. But I can play the whole thing, though with pauses at theme changes.

But I've begun to isolate the areas that could be smoother, particularly bar 36-39, or the 32th notes. Also smoothing out transitions in thematic changes.

Kathleen, since you worked on this before, perhaps you and others could share what the difficult parts were and how you overcame them. I read your old thread on this and picked up a couple of hints on that too.
Posted by: loveschopintoomuch

Re: Chopin's Raindrop Prelude - 11/29/07 07:06 PM

We actually had a study group going on this prelude.
Here it is. Hope it helps.

Regards, Kathleen
Posted by: jazzwee

Re: Chopin's Raindrop Prelude - 11/30/07 02:41 AM

Kathleen, too bad I missed that party of a study group. It would have made it more enjoyable in real time to interact on the process. I appreciate the little notes on top of the thread for easy searching!

When it comes to classical I'm a true beginner so a support group is really neat ;\) Thanks!
Posted by: loveschopintoomuch

Re: Chopin's Raindrop Prelude - 11/30/07 10:14 AM

jazzwee: We had a lot of "fun?" in this study group. I think it was one of the first (if not the first) study group ever to get going on the forum (I could be wrong here, but I'm prettty sure).

Anyhow, we gave and got a lot of support and help from each other. And then came the day when some of us could actually record. Great motivation!!

If you have others interested in this prelude, why not start your own? Call it something like: New Raindrop Prelude Study Group. I bet you will get a few people who would join in.

My best and good luck,
Kathleen
Posted by: jazzwee

Re: Chopin's Raindrop Prelude - 11/30/07 11:01 AM

\:\) Great idea Kathleen, except I already finished learning the piece so the motivation is a little less for that now. If someone else wants to start it, I'd certainly be supportive.

And I can see why this would be helpful. I was reading through your "study group" thread and it was interesting how problems I encountered were mostly different from anything mentioned on the list. So it just shows that every person is different and thus a study group could be started without necessarily reinventing the wheel.

Those threads are really helpful to many people so thank you for dedicating so much effort to it.

I just got the score for Clair De Lune so on my next opportunity, I might hit that next and catch up to that other thread.