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#1319758 - 12/06/09 07:27 PM Beethoven vs. Chopin.  
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tsunami713 Offline
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I'm playing the "Waldstein Sonata" and the 4th Ballade by Chopin. My teacher first told me it was almost impossible to have the 4th ballade concert ready in 3 months. But after I memorized it in less than two weeks, he suggested the waldstein 3rd as harder.

1. Which is harder in your opinion. the 3rd mvmt of waldstein or Chopin's F Minor Ballade?

2. Is the F Minor Ballade really the hardest of the four ballades?

3. I've listened to the 4th scherzo by chopin. sounds hard, but does anybody know how difficult that is compared to either the waldstein or the ballade i'm playing.


Current Official Repertoire:
Bach-Sinfonia #2,#4,#6,#9,#15
Beethoven-Waldstein
Chopin-Ballade in F Minor, Nocturne in B Major (#3)
Scriabin-Etude Op.8 No.12
Rachmaninoff-Prelude in G# Minor (#12)
Prokofieff-Sonata #1


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#1319776 - 12/06/09 08:17 PM Re: Beethoven vs. Chopin. [Re: tsunami713]  
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1. IMO they are at extremely similar levels of difficulty. Some people will have more trouble with one, some will have more with the other.

I would guess that more people might say the Chopin is harder; I have more trouble with the Beethoven.

2. Most people would say that the F minor Ballade is indeed the hardest, but it's subjective and varies by the person, and to a large extent I'd say that all of the ballades are at the same basic level of difficulty, which is EXTREME. For me the 1st ballade is both harder and "scarier" than the 4th, and even the 2nd ballade is "scarier." Different things are harder for different people.

3. Funny you should be asking about the 4th Scherzo, because I've just gone through a year-long joy-and-struggle with it. Again, it depends on the person, and it depends on exactly what we mean by "playing" the piece, but I think it requires a level of pianistic skill that is well beyond any of those other pieces. I thought I could play it fine, till I tried performing it. ha

#1319779 - 12/06/09 08:22 PM Re: Beethoven vs. Chopin. [Re: tsunami713]  
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Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
It depends on your technical aptitudes. I have more trouble with Chopin Ballade 2 or Beethoven Sonata Op. 22 than Ravel's Toccata from Le Tombeau de Couperin. The F Minor Ballade and Sonata Op. 53 are both difficult pieces though. Technically speaking, the first and second movements aren't too bad, and the third (for me) progressively becomes more difficult.

Sorry if that wasn't a help. I think they're about the same, personally. And I think they're difficult to compare, AND I don't see as much point comparing pieces of different styles than pieces of the same style (say, Ballade 4 and Ballade 1 or Appassionata and Waldstein. But those are totally different discussions).

Having only played Ballade 2, my opinion on difficulties of the Ballades aren't the most credible. Click at your own risk! Hehe...
I've heard many say Ballade 4 is the hardest, but the majority of them that say that haven't played all or any of the Ballades. Many that have played all the Ballades say 1 is the hardest, although many that have played all say 4 is the hardest. I think 1 is easy (or easier, anyway) to musically understand, but is technically as challenging as 4.


EDIT: Whoa, I didn't think those would actually work! Haha!

Last edited by Orange Soda King; 12/06/09 08:25 PM.
#1319781 - 12/06/09 08:22 PM Re: Beethoven vs. Chopin. [Re: Mark_C]  
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Since you're playing both the "Waldstein" and the Chopin Ballade, what does the opinion of others of the comparative difficulty of these works matter? And, if you're playing both of those, you presumably have enough knowledge, background and skills to determine the comparative level of difficulty of the fourth Scherzo, too.

Regards,


BruceD
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#1319842 - 12/06/09 09:45 PM Re: Beethoven vs. Chopin. [Re: BruceD]  
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Haha Bruce, you beat me to it lol

I wonder "how" you have committed Chopin's 4th Ballade to memory in 2 weeks, Tsunami. Are you going to spend the next 2 years trying to "uncommit"?

The significant difference is the "glissando" octave section in the Waldstein final movement. Many professional performers have avoided this work because of the glissando. I play it to a fashion, but do not do it as well as others. My grand fear are the glissandos in Balakirev's Islamay Fantasy. Brahms Paganini Variations Book I are doable for me.


You play it & I'll hum it, but currently rehearsing:

Bach WTC book 2 no 15 G major, no 20 A minor, no 22 Bb Minor
Mozart A minor Sonata K310
Mendelssohn Op 35 preludes and fuges
Busoni Carmen Fantasy
Rachmaninov Bb prelude OP 23 no 2
Lyapunov Humoreske Op 34
and others
#1319845 - 12/06/09 09:51 PM Re: Beethoven vs. Chopin. [Re: PartyPianist]  
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Originally Posted by PartyPianist
....The significant difference is the "glissando" octave section in the Waldstein final movement. Many professional performers have avoided this work because of the glissando....

I don't think most pianists regard that as a singular stumbling block on the piece, first of all because much else is very difficult but also because in many quarters (if not most) it's considered acceptable to have the L.H. 'help out' on it (I've seen it performed that way a couple of times by professionals, albeit resulting in enragement on the parts of some) plus that you don't necessarily have to fly through those octaves anyway.

In Rubinstein's later years, I heard him play the sonata, and he played that section at a tempo where there was no pretense of those octaves being "glissandi." And it was all right. Of course we might say "well it's OK for Rubinstein but so what"; I'm saying that it was OK, period. But obviously I know that others would have a different view.

#1319932 - 12/06/09 11:55 PM Re: Beethoven vs. Chopin. [Re: BruceD]  
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Since you're playing both the "Waldstein" and the Chopin Ballade, what does the opinion of others of the comparative difficulty of these works matter? And, if you're playing both of those, you presumably have enough knowledge, background and skills to determine the comparative level of difficulty of the fourth Scherzo, too.

Regards,


I'm trying out for the Young Artist Guild (http://www.mtac.org/programs/yag/index.shtml), and I need to know quick if I can manage both pieces by Feb 26 which is the regional test. March 6 is the final test. Well I can tell whether the Minuet in G by bach is easier compared to the Inventions because they're both much below by level, but I cant compare stuff that's close, if you get what I mean.


Current Official Repertoire:
Bach-Sinfonia #2,#4,#6,#9,#15
Beethoven-Waldstein
Chopin-Ballade in F Minor, Nocturne in B Major (#3)
Scriabin-Etude Op.8 No.12
Rachmaninoff-Prelude in G# Minor (#12)
Prokofieff-Sonata #1


#1319935 - 12/07/09 12:01 AM Re: Beethoven vs. Chopin. [Re: PartyPianist]  
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Originally Posted by PartyPianist
Haha Bruce, you beat me to it lol

I wonder "how" you have committed Chopin's 4th Ballade to memory in 2 weeks, Tsunami. Are you going to spend the next 2 years trying to "uncommit"?

The significant difference is the "glissando" octave section in the Waldstein final movement. Many professional performers have avoided this work because of the glissando. I play it to a fashion, but do not do it as well as others. My grand fear are the glissandos in Balakirev's Islamay Fantasy. Brahms Paganini Variations Book I are doable for me.


I have a nice memory, and I thank God for that. Try practicing around 4-7 hrs a day, and if your memory is well enough, you'll be able to memorize stuff quick wink Anyway, I use the scale version of the glissando section. The scale version is pretty challenging, but not that hard compared to the left hand of 1st mvmt of waldstein's section starting from measure 23 and ending on measure 30. Maybe its just my hands are small, but that BF#AB part's reach makes evenness impossible.


Current Official Repertoire:
Bach-Sinfonia #2,#4,#6,#9,#15
Beethoven-Waldstein
Chopin-Ballade in F Minor, Nocturne in B Major (#3)
Scriabin-Etude Op.8 No.12
Rachmaninoff-Prelude in G# Minor (#12)
Prokofieff-Sonata #1


#1319939 - 12/07/09 12:09 AM Re: Beethoven vs. Chopin. [Re: BruceD]  
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Since you're playing both the "Waldstein" and the Chopin Ballade, what does the opinion of others of the comparative difficulty of these works matter? And, if you're playing both of those, you presumably have enough knowledge, background and skills to determine the comparative level of difficulty of the fourth Scherzo, too.

Regards,


I couldn't agree more. If you're working on the 4th Ballade, then, surely, you're familiar with the other three. No offense, but I have a hard time taking your post seriously.

#1319949 - 12/07/09 12:31 AM Re: Beethoven vs. Chopin. [Re: tsunami713]  
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Tsumani

Now 1.5 hours - no time. Before 3-4 and 7-8 hours at week ends. I rarely commit to memory. Those who commit to memory easily have "perfect pitch". The danger those with perfect pitch face is "learning a work wrong".

I still have not perfected Chopin's F minor ballade and I have been playing it for 10 years!!!!! Because, at a high level, we manipulate motor memory I suspect you will have problems with this work - long term.

One of the other contributors here said that Chopin is the hardest to play. She is right in a way, because you must grow with Chopin. The score will manage you and not the other way around. A work of the complexity of the ballade needs 2 years of contemplation at least, before anyone is ready to say they "know" it.

Regards the Waldstein, a scale version is not the original, so there no "fair" comparison. I don't like glissando 3rd's (cf Liszt's Rakoczy March - 15th Hungarian Rhapsody) or 8ves so I don't rush to works because of them.


You play it & I'll hum it, but currently rehearsing:

Bach WTC book 2 no 15 G major, no 20 A minor, no 22 Bb Minor
Mozart A minor Sonata K310
Mendelssohn Op 35 preludes and fuges
Busoni Carmen Fantasy
Rachmaninov Bb prelude OP 23 no 2
Lyapunov Humoreske Op 34
and others
#1319967 - 12/07/09 01:11 AM Re: Beethoven vs. Chopin. [Re: PartyPianist]  
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Originally Posted by PartyPianist
Those who commit to memory easily have "perfect pitch".
Any evidence for this statement?


Du holde Kunst...
#1319970 - 12/07/09 01:17 AM Re: Beethoven vs. Chopin. [Re: PartyPianist]  
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Originally Posted by PartyPianist
Tsumani

Now 1.5 hours - no time. Before 3-4 and 7-8 hours at week ends. I rarely commit to memory. Those who commit to memory easily have "perfect pitch". The danger those with perfect pitch face is "learning a work wrong".

I still have not perfected Chopin's F minor ballade and I have been playing it for 10 years!!!!! Because, at a high level, we manipulate motor memory I suspect you will have problems with this work - long term.

One of the other contributors here said that Chopin is the hardest to play. She is right in a way, because you must grow with Chopin. The score will manage you and not the other way around. A work of the complexity of the ballade needs 2 years of contemplation at least, before anyone is ready to say they "know" it.

Regards the Waldstein, a scale version is not the original, so there no "fair" comparison. I don't like glissando 3rd's (cf Liszt's Rakoczy March - 15th Hungarian Rhapsody) or 8ves so I don't rush to works because of them.


Interesting points here.
I don't have perfect pitch and memorize quite easily.
I don't at all agree any work needs "2 years" (or whatever length of time) of contemplation before one "knows" it. Of course, with time, you will come to "know" any work more thoroughly, but there is not some magical time limit on when you'll be ready to tackle a work. It differs from pianist to pianist according to ability.

#1319998 - 12/07/09 02:12 AM Re: Beethoven vs. Chopin. [Re: tsunami713]  
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Originally Posted by tsunami713
Originally Posted by BruceD
Since you're playing both the "Waldstein" and the Chopin Ballade, what does the opinion of others of the comparative difficulty of these works matter? And, if you're playing both of those, you presumably have enough knowledge, background and skills to determine the comparative level of difficulty of the fourth Scherzo, too.

Regards,


I'm trying out for the Young Artist Guild (http://www.mtac.org/programs/yag/index.shtml), and I need to know quick if I can manage both pieces by Feb 26 which is the regional test. March 6 is the final test. Well I can tell whether the Minuet in G by bach is easier compared to the Inventions because they're both much below by level, but I cant compare stuff that's close, if you get what I mean.


I don't see what your above statement changes and, no, quite frankly, I don't get what you mean, nor am I sure what you are now asking. You initially asked which of two pieces is the more difficult; it now seems that you are trying to determine whether you'll be ready for the YAG competition by 26 February.

You are still the only one who knows what you may be capable of. Since you say you are already playing the two pieces in question, it seems evident to me that you should know how far along you are in managing them. How would we know whether or not you'll be able to "manage" them - and to what standards - by 26 February?

If you must know which is more difficult for you - since each of us reacts differently to different technical and artistic challenges - and whether you'll be ready for the YAG, why don't you rely on the opinion of your teacher? It would seem to me that s/he would be best equipped to answer your question in the context of your own musical development, if you are unable to answer it for yourself.

Regards,


BruceD
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#1320006 - 12/07/09 02:21 AM Re: Beethoven vs. Chopin. [Re: kennywood]  
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Originally Posted by kennywood
.....If you're working on the 4th Ballade, then, surely, you're familiar with the other three. No offense, but I have a hard time taking your post seriously.

I wouldn't assume that. People may work on things in odd sequences.

The first major piece I ever worked on was Chopin's F# minor Polonaise. I wouldn't necessarily have known how the other polonaises (except the A-flat) compared to it.

I was gonna give other personal examples too but what for..... smile

I thought the questions were maybe the slightest tad naive but I didn't doubt their sincerity.

#1320007 - 12/07/09 02:23 AM Re: Beethoven vs. Chopin. [Re: currawong]  
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Originally Posted by currawong
Originally Posted by PartyPianist
Those who commit to memory easily have "perfect pitch".
Any evidence for this statement?

Not only is there no evidence for it..... I'm going to disprove it in the next 3 seconds.

I don't have perfect pitch, and I memorize very easily.

(Too bad I have trouble with the playing, though.) ha

#1320008 - 12/07/09 02:25 AM Re: Beethoven vs. Chopin. [Re: kennywood]  
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Originally Posted by kennywood
.....I don't have perfect pitch and memorize quite easily....

People are gonna think I just copied off of your post. smile

#1320037 - 12/07/09 03:37 AM Re: Beethoven vs. Chopin. [Re: tsunami713]  
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The short answer: if you are good enough to play the music, you are good enough to answer the question for yourself without asking about it at an online forum.

A slightly different short answer: the demands are stylistically and technically so different that there is really no point in comparing them.


#1320041 - 12/07/09 03:47 AM Re: Beethoven vs. Chopin. [Re: wr]  
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I don't understand the impatience that some members sometimes show about things like this, especially with newer members.
I've gotten my share of it myself. While I've been extremely impressed and gratified about the site overall, this one aspect has been mildly discomfiting.

The creator of this thread is new here. He wants to start getting involved. He posted some questions to begin a conversation and to get some views. Why do you want to tell him to just figure it out himself?

Both in normal conversation and online, people often will ask things that they could figure out themselves. They're making conversation. Plus, maybe he thinks that what you could tell him will add to what he could figure out himself.

I see no reason not to be nicer.

#1320044 - 12/07/09 03:58 AM Re: Beethoven vs. Chopin. [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by MarkCannon
I don't understand the impatience that some members sometimes show about things like this, especially with newer members.
I've gotten my share of it myself. While I've been extremely impressed and gratified about the site overall, this one aspect has been mildly discomfiting.

The creator of this thread is new here. He wants to start getting involved. He posted some questions to begin a conversation and to get some views. Why do you want to tell him to just figure it out himself?

Both in normal conversation and online, people often will ask things that they could figure out themselves. They're making conversation. Plus, maybe he thinks that what you could tell him will add to what he could figure out himself.

I see no reason not to be nicer.


Stick around, and you too may eventually figure it out.

Impatience with these "which is harder" questions is a long tradition here (and with good reason), and it is one I fully uphold.








#1320051 - 12/07/09 04:16 AM Re: Beethoven vs. Chopin. [Re: wr]  
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Originally Posted by wr
....Impatience with these "which is harder" questions is a long tradition here (and with good reason), and it is one I fully uphold.

Thanks for answering sort of tongue-in-cheek.
Or at least I think you did. smile

P.S. Look for me to remain impatient with the impatience. I have great sympathy for newcomers, even when I'm no longer one.

#1320056 - 12/07/09 04:22 AM Re: Beethoven vs. Chopin. [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by MarkCannon
I have great sympathy for newcomers, even when I'm no longer one.
When you've clocked up your 1000th post in a month maybe? won't be long now, will it - grin
I have sympathy for newcomers too, but I also think there's nothing wrong with encouraging people to do some thinking for themselves. And no harm in pointing out that for some of these questions there just aren't any answers that are worth the time to write.


Du holde Kunst...
#1320059 - 12/07/09 04:27 AM Re: Beethoven vs. Chopin. [Re: currawong]  
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Originally Posted by currawong
Originally Posted by MarkCannon
I have great sympathy for newcomers, even when I'm no longer one.
When you've clocked up your 1000th post in a month maybe? won't be long now, will it - grin

....and the amazing thing is I'm still looking for my first good post. smile
Quote
.....no harm in pointing out that for some of these questions there just aren't any answers that are worth the time to write.

But then why not just ignore those posts? Stay away from them and say nothing, if that's how you feel? And maybe there are others who will feel otherwise.

I mean, I did feel otherwise. I gave answers to all his questions, and I thought they were worth the time to write.
I enjoyed writing those answers.

And I think those answers were excellent, if I do say so myself ha

#1320066 - 12/07/09 04:36 AM Re: Beethoven vs. Chopin. [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by MarkCannon
But then why not just ignore those posts? Stay away from them and say nothing, if that's how you feel? And maybe there are others who will feel otherwise.
Of course. And I do. I ignore many, many posts, otherwise I'd have a much higher post count than I do for the time I've been here smile. However, as I said, I still think it's worth pointing out to a poster that some questions cannot be answered meaningfully (even by BruceD smile )


Du holde Kunst...
#1320073 - 12/07/09 05:07 AM Re: Beethoven vs. Chopin. [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by MarkCannon

But then why not just ignore those posts? Stay away from them and say nothing, if that's how you feel?



Why? I have no idea why you think my response should have been repressed. It wasn't gratuitous - I really do think that what I said is true, and I think there is no fault in letting the OP know that some people think that way.




#1320077 - 12/07/09 05:25 AM Re: Beethoven vs. Chopin. [Re: currawong]  
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Originally Posted by currawong
Originally Posted by PartyPianist
Those who commit to memory easily have "perfect pitch".
Any evidence for this statement?


My coach/teacher who is a Professor at the Wollongong Conservatorium, name Slobodan Zivkovic told me "the trouble with my pupils with perfect pitch is they learn the notes too easily. I have to be very careful with their preparation."


You play it & I'll hum it, but currently rehearsing:

Bach WTC book 2 no 15 G major, no 20 A minor, no 22 Bb Minor
Mozart A minor Sonata K310
Mendelssohn Op 35 preludes and fuges
Busoni Carmen Fantasy
Rachmaninov Bb prelude OP 23 no 2
Lyapunov Humoreske Op 34
and others
#1320372 - 12/07/09 02:11 PM Re: Beethoven vs. Chopin. [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by MarkCannon
I don't understand the impatience that some members sometimes show about things like this, especially with newer members.
I've gotten my share of it myself. While I've been extremely impressed and gratified about the site overall, this one aspect has been mildly discomfiting.

The creator of this thread is new here. He wants to start getting involved. He posted some questions to begin a conversation and to get some views. Why do you want to tell him to just figure it out himself?

[...]


It's not necessarily impatience; it's sometimes a case of mild disbelief or just bewilderment. It's hard to understand why a student who is playing such works as the Chopin Fourth Ballade and the Beethoven "Waldstein," and who already has an opinion from his teacher on the question, would ask an internet forum to opine for him which of two pieces is the more difficult. Someone playing at that level surely has enough musical experience and knowledge to judge a work's difficulty by reading through it. He already knows, one might presume, that various difficulties, both musical and technical, offer different challenges to different pianists.

Therefore, the question posed seems like a very peculiar one with which to "start a conversation." A more engaging way to "start a conversation" - particularly from someone whose claims suggest pretty advanced pianism - might be to raise some particular technical or interpretive challenges for discussion or opinion.

And since you are bringing some of us to task for the way we respond to forum posts, I would hope that you would realize that, as individuals, we all have our own ways - whether you approve of them or not - of responding on internet forums (fora?).

Regards,


BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190
#1320381 - 12/07/09 02:18 PM Re: Beethoven vs. Chopin. [Re: wr]  
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Originally Posted by wr
.....I have no idea why you think my response should have been repressed. It wasn't gratuitous - I really do think that what I said is true, and I think there is no fault in letting the OP know that some people think that way.

WHY?

This was a new member. Would you rather he/she hadn't joined, or hadn't begun posting? That kind of reply is sort of like scaring the person away. Why would you want to do that, on a post which at worst is a little insipid but might be (and was) of some interest to some other people?

Sorry, but I think it's tantamount to saying "You stink" to a beginning student.....

#1320387 - 12/07/09 02:26 PM Re: Beethoven vs. Chopin. [Re: BruceD]  
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Originally Posted by BruceD
.....It's not necessarily impatience; it's sometimes a case of mild disbelief or just bewilderment. It's hard to understand why a student who is playing such works as the Chopin Fourth Ballade and the Beethoven "Waldstein," and who already has an opinion from his teacher on the question, would ask an internet forum to opine for him which of two pieces is the more difficult.....

Good answer -- but I have a good answer to your good answer.

First of all, as I mentioned in a much earlier post, it's entirely plausible (although I agree not common) that someone who plays those pieces would legitimately have that question. I gave the example of myself, back in the day, when the first major piece I worked on was Chopin's F# minor Polonaise and I didn't have much idea how it compared to other pieces. (I didn't realize for decades that it's considered a very hard piece.)

But the main thing here is that I think you and others are being a bit too concrete about the reasons that people say or ask certain things. As I said in another above post, even if someone does know an answer or could figure it out himself, he might ask the question "to make conversation," to start making contact, to get a ball rolling between himself and others. You mean you yourself never do that? If you don't, you're unusual. It's a content of the social graces of our society. And I would think that on an internet site it's not uncommon for a new member. As long as they're not saying anything objectionable -- and this person certainly wasn't -- I think they should be welcomed, not slammed down. And this was a slam down.

Quote
....since you are bringing some of us to task for the way we respond to forum posts, I would hope that you would realize that, as individuals, we all have our own ways - whether you approve of them or not - of responding on internet forums (fora?).


Of course y'all have your ways of posting and replying, and I don't pretend to think it matters if I "approve" or not. But I hope that what I'm saying might have an effect on how people view these things. I'm not sure that some of the people here realized that they were sort telling this new member to take his ball and go home.

P.S. I don't know if it's forums or fora either. smile

#1320445 - 12/07/09 03:43 PM Re: Beethoven vs. Chopin. [Re: Mark_C]  
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xtraheat Offline
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WV
I don't understand why the same select group of people say the exact same thing in each one of these threads (if you can play these pieces, then you should know). First of all, many people are curious about what other people think. Second, it is hard to tell what is more difficult at speed when you can only play through both pieces very slowly. I am learning Prokofiev's 3rd Piano Concerto, which is obviously a hard work; however, when I was deciding which concerto to learn, I requested for people that had already played these pieces to give me their opinion, and this helped me in my decision. It is annoying and unhelpful to tell the people to decide on their own if they ask a question.


Currently working on
Prokofiev Piano Concerto 3
Beethoven Sonata Op.109
Chopin Op.10 No.1
Bach WTC II no. 15

--Sam--
#1320451 - 12/07/09 03:47 PM Re: Beethoven vs. Chopin. [Re: xtraheat]  
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Originally Posted by xtraheat
I don't understand why the same select group of people say the exact same thing in each one of these threads (if you can play these pieces, then you should know). First of all, many people are curious about what other people think.....I requested for people that had already played these pieces to give me their opinion, and this helped me in my decision. It is annoying and unhelpful to tell the people to decide on their own if they ask a question.

Thanks.
I was afraid I'd be a minority of one on here.

I knew that I couldn't be the sole believer in what I was saying, but who knew if anyone else would happen to join in.

And I think we can be pretty sure our new member Tsunami appreciates it too.

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