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#480798 - 06/08/03 04:23 AM Chopin Etude Op 10 No 4
paulie567 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/04/02
Posts: 160
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Hi All,

I'm practicing to perform this Etude at a recital (just for fun, thank God, not a competition!) I've made great progress with my teacher's help and can play it pretty well at a metronome speed of 60-65 per half note, but it's written at 88, which seems impossibly fast! I try to play with as light a touch as possible in order to play faster, but I can't seem to get above 70 or so per half-note; beyond that, my fingers start to seem lethargic in some passages and just won't move fast enough.

Does anyone have any suggestions for improving on my speed, besides to keep practicing? I'm going to ask my teacher for suggestions in more detail but wanted to see what other ideas were out there.

Another question on this Etude: in the coda, bar 80, the first 4 notes in the right hand are under an "8va", and the rolled left-hand chord ends on middle E. Does the 8va apply to the left hand also (i.e. should it start on middle C and end on high E)? My teacher says no, and I agree that's what it looks like, but I think it sounds better an octave up. Has anyone tried it both ways, and which do you prefer, and which is right?

I just love this piece, and even if I have to play it slower than I'd like, it will have been well worth the trouble to learn it.



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#480799 - 06/08/03 05:09 AM Re: Chopin Etude Op 10 No 4
EHpianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/27/03
Posts: 1703
Loc: NY-Madrid-Newfoundland (rhymes...
Ok, I just wrote you a nice long post which I proceeded to erase by accident.

Regarding your 8ve question, it is most definitely as written.

Practice this etude in rhythms. Break down each group of 4 sixteenths into one dotted sixteenth and three 32nd notes (or its equivalent, a dotted quarter and three eighth notes). Play the entire piece in this rhtyhm slowly *using a metronome*, using a finger attack on every single finger, especially the fourth and fifth fingers. When you can play through the whole thing in this rhythm without stopping or messing up the rhythm, switch the dotted 16th to the second note of each group of four and make the other three notes the fast ones. It will sound odd at first but you will get used to it. Play the whole thing like this. Do the same for the third and then the fourth notes of each group. Every single quarter noe of the piece you will be stopping on that specific 16th note. When you have gone through the whole cyle of sixteenth notes and can play the whole thing without stopping, bump up the metronome about 6 numbers and start again. Do this for a few weeks and you will have it up to tempo. Obviously there comes a point in speed where you cannot use excessive finger attack so you need to be aware of this point and start minimizing movement at high speeds, using your wrist more and more, but you *must* do the slow and tedious grindwork of the rhtyhms and and finger attacks before your hands will work at a faster tempo. Take it little by little every day and before you know it you will have it fast.

And your teacher is right, it is not octava alta.

Great etude. Once it clicks, it will click for the rest of your life.

Schnabel's advie to Horowitz: "When a piece gets difficult, make faces."

#480800 - 06/08/03 08:13 AM Re: Chopin Etude Op 10 No 4
Phlebas Offline

Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
Good luck on your performance. You'll be fine if you listen to your teacher. Oh yes, and as usual, EHPianist's post is good advice.

#480801 - 06/12/03 04:36 PM Re: Chopin Etude Op 10 No 4
paulie567 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/04/02
Posts: 160
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Elena, thanks for the long reply (and sorry you had to type it twice!) My teacher had me use a similar practice method on bars 28-29 of this Etude awhile ago, but I guess I forgot and never went back to it. But after trying this on the whole piece for a couple of days, WOW--I can already feel a big difference in the evenness of the notes at faster speeds, and I can feel a lot more strength and control in my fingers when I play this piece. So I guess this was just what I needed! Many thanks for your suggestions. Phlebas, thanks for your kind words as well. -Paul

#480802 - 06/12/03 06:11 PM Re: Chopin Etude Op 10 No 4
BruceD Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 19051
Loc: Victoria, BC
Isn't it nice when someone has the courtesy to return to the Corner to post thanks for the opinions and advice received?

So often many posters write lengthy and well-thought out replies to questions, yet it is rare to see thanks expressed. Of course, it's true, some of questioners do say "Thanks, in advance." I'm sure that counts for something.

I'm glad to see that courtesy is not totally dead!

Even though I didn't post on this thread: Thanks, Paul

- - - - -
Estonia 190

#480803 - 06/13/03 10:33 AM Re: Chopin Etude Op 10 No 4
Phlebas Offline

Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City

As one of the worst offenders, I second what you said.

#480804 - 06/13/03 12:56 PM Re: Chopin Etude Op 10 No 4
EHpianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/27/03
Posts: 1703
Loc: NY-Madrid-Newfoundland (rhymes...
Yes, thanks for letting me know, Paul. Glad to know that it wasn't some freak accident that that excercise worked for me! ;-p

(website down temporarily)
Schnabel's advie to Horowitz: "When a piece gets difficult, make faces."

#480805 - 06/13/03 02:04 PM Re: Chopin Etude Op 10 No 4
ryan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
I use rhythms extensively, and preach them from time to time here. But Elena's was the best explanation I have yet read.

When you start bringing this Etude up to speed, be sure to keep a steady tempo. There are certain parts that can be prone to rushing, and it's a killer.


#480806 - 07/03/03 03:56 AM Re: Chopin Etude Op 10 No 4
paulie567 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/04/02
Posts: 160
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Thanks again everyone for your input. I made it through this piece at my recital last weekend... I played it faster than I wanted to, just like my teacher said I would \:D but overall it came out "not too bad." The suggestions offered here definitely helped me build speed and play it more accurately. But I'll need to keep working on it for awhile before I'm really happy.

One of the hardest things now is playing it fast without playing too loudly -- I have to try to make my fingers sort of "dance" across the keys, but if I move too quickly or lightly then I miss notes.

I can play it reasonably well at a tempo of 70-75, but most recordings seem to have it at 88 or 90 -- how do they play it so fast? I know, practice, practice, practice... but also I'm wondering, if someone can play it that fast, can they do so on any piano or only on a piano with a light enough and fast enough action?



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