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#1450396 - 06/04/10 07:31 PM double thirds etude  
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So because I failed so miserably last summer with Chopin's etude Op. 10, no. 1, I've decided this summer to tackle the double thirds etude (Op. 25 no. 6) grin (Plus my left arm is STILL bothering me so the fact that these etudes really only work right hand technique makes me a little less depressed that I'm not practicing two hands. cry)

Anyways, I have a couple questions.
First, in ms. 11 the fingering I'm using in the first beat is (42)-(31)-(53)-(42). Does the thumb remain on the B while (53) move over the thumb, or do both the 3rd finger and thumb get released so that the hand shifts to the next position? I've tried it both ways, and am leaning towards keeping the thumb on the keys while making sure the hand only moves laterally across the thumb, without rotating. I found the rotation of the forearm makes the next thirds come out unevenly. Does this sound right?

My second question is just a general question on getting the etude up to speed. I currently have the first couple pages at ~80-85/bpm/quarter note. My general method for practicing a technically challenging piece is to isolate the spots that are not technically clean, and practice those many times in various rhythms and tempos. For this etude that often means practicing just two or three consecutive notes. At the same time I am watching my hands to make sure I am making the most efficient motion possible. Then, after many repetitions using varying speeds and rhythms, I try to put it together with the rest of the measure. Here I usually see how fast I can make it without being sloppy. If I find something is sloppy, then I go back to my isolated practice. I'm wondering if this is not a good method, since I am always trying to get the tempo faster. Sometimes I find I've gone too far and have to go back to practicing at slower tempos.

Should I stay at a certain tempo for a few days/weeks for things to "settle in"?

Thanks!

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#1450402 - 06/04/10 07:42 PM Re: double thirds etude [Re: Arghhh]  
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If op.10/1 posed troubles, welcome to op.25/6, it's even worse, haha, ok, the fingering you mentioned is the one I use, it will work in the end, about speed, ah, that is a different matter, to get to minim 69 as indicated, put it out of your head, think only of playing steadily and comfortabely, like a nice eveningstroll, don't rush things, take your time, it'll take at least half a year to get some serious speed, this is one of the most difficult études ever written, same league as Feux follets, practise slowly and with strong and well articulated righthandfingers, staccato,legato, maybe rhythmic variants, I don't like those too much though, and try to think that thirds are fun and easy....good luck!


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#1450513 - 06/04/10 10:28 PM Re: double thirds etude [Re: Arghhh]  
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Just to make sure you realize: you picked probably the hardest of all the Chopin etudes.


"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)
#1450530 - 06/04/10 11:32 PM Re: double thirds etude [Re: Mark_C]  
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You don't mention which edition you're using, and I'm curious if there's an editor whose fingerings you find especially reliable and congenial for Chopin. It's an important consideration, especially where (as in this etude) there are many possible variants for each of the types of figuration employed.

The Cortot edition is often mentioned with praise. I don't find his specific fingering preferences particularly sensible or comfortable for myself, but he does a very thorough job of surveying exhaustively the plausible alternatives. In his preface to this etude, for instance, he suggests four options for the descending scale in bar 11. Friedheim's edition (my personal favorite) suggests three choices there, only one of which places 5-3 on the dyad you refer to.

My advice is to take fingering decisions very seriously. You probably don't want to obsess over comparing amongst every edition you can get your hands on, but neither should you accept the fingering specified in any one edition as the default unless you're confident it works best for you.


"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must remain silent." —Wittgenstein
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#1450608 - 06/05/10 03:00 AM Re: double thirds etude [Re: Chopinist]  
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#1450709 - 06/05/10 10:00 AM Re: double thirds etude [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Just to make sure you realize: you picked probably the hardest of all the Chopin etudes.


Yes, I do realize this. I don't think I'll be getting it up to tempo (listed as half = 69 in my Padrewski edition), but initially I'm finding this etude much easier than 10/1. 10/1 for me had many awkward things to work out and I had a hard time getting the correct notes at any faster tempo.

#1450715 - 06/05/10 10:10 AM Re: double thirds etude [Re: Arghhh]  
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Chopinist- I have the Padrewski edition, which includes Chopin's fingerings plus some of Padrewski's own. For now I think these are fairly good for me, although there are a couple places where I've inadvertently inserted my own variation. But still, what is the correct technique for crossing over fingers while playing double thirds?

BDB - I might try this Moszkowski double thirds etude also. Why would I do this one before the Chopin, since the Chopin also allows me to practice double thirds?

#1450781 - 06/05/10 12:36 PM Re: double thirds etude [Re: Arghhh]  
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The Moszkowski is an introduction to the techniques that are used in the Chopin. You should learn it first for the same reason you read your first grade reader before you read War and Peace.


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#1450790 - 06/05/10 01:00 PM Re: double thirds etude [Re: Arghhh]  
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Originally Posted by Arghhh
(Plus my left arm is STILL bothering me so the fact that these etudes really only work right hand technique makes me a little less depressed that I'm not practicing two hands. cry)


Here you go:
Op. 25 No. 6 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxIlpis6dFA
Op. 10 No. 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KK3Mf7aUH3g

#1450791 - 06/05/10 01:01 PM Re: double thirds etude [Re: Arghhh]  
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BTW........vocabulary question. smile

Is this etude really "double" 3rds?

Isn't it just 3rds?

Just saying. smile


"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)
#1450820 - 06/05/10 01:39 PM Re: double thirds etude [Re: Mark_C]  
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#1450823 - 06/05/10 01:44 PM Re: double thirds etude [Re: Orange Soda King]  
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King


I heard Hamelin play about six of these Etudes quite a while ago at Mannes. I can report that the second one you posted must be very easy. He didn't even look like he was trying.

#1450859 - 06/05/10 02:45 PM Re: double thirds etude [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
BTW........vocabulary question. smile

Is this etude really "double" 3rds?

Isn't it just 3rds?

Just saying. smile

I thought that double made plain that the thirds are played by the same hand. (That's the meaning of "double notes" as used by Moszkowski (mentioned earlier) and Philipp, for example, and the working title for Schumann's Toccata was apparently "Exercise in Double Notes.")

There may not be much potential for confusion between thirds and double thirds (especially when one already knows the content or purpose of a piece), but it's a valuable distinction to make when one is speaking of scales. A scale in thirds could be presumed to be played with the two hands a third apart and each playing one note at a time; a scale in double thirds, on the other hand, clarifies that two notes a third apart are played by one hand.

Following that convention, I think that Op. 25 No. 6 could rightly be called a study in double thirds—and that might be a more revealing description for someone unaware of its substance. (Do such people exist? grin )

Originally Posted by Arghhh
Anyways, I have a couple questions.
First, in ms. 11 the fingering I'm using in the first beat is (42)-(31)-(53)-(42). Does the thumb remain on the B while (53) move over the thumb, or do both the 3rd finger and thumb get released so that the hand shifts to the next position? I've tried it both ways, and am leaning towards keeping the thumb on the keys while making sure the hand only moves laterally across the thumb, without rotating. I found the rotation of the forearm makes the next thirds come out unevenly. Does this sound right?

Though it hadn't occurred to me before, this seems to be an issue comparable to thumb-under vs. so-called thumb-over for scales and arpeggios. I think the technique might depend in part on the degree of legato that's desired, but I haven't been able to bring this etude anywhere near the tempo of professional performances. I hope those who've managed to do so can explain what they found to work best.


"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must remain silent." —Wittgenstein
#1450890 - 06/05/10 03:32 PM Re: double thirds etude [Re: Chopinist]  
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While it's not an issue worth debating to any great degree, I'm inclined to think as MarkC does.

Thirds are, by definition two notes - or, if you like, "double-note" chords. While I agree that a scale in thirds could be played either with one hand or with two hands, the notes being separated by a third, I am quite convinced that "double thirds" really means thirds played in each hand, otherwise, the passage (scale) would simply be a scale in thirds.

The RCM (Toronto) syllabus gives examples of scales in "double thirds" showing each hand playing in thirds. Otherwise, their requirements call for scales being played "separated by a third."

Cook (Mastering the Scales and Arpeggios) also calls scales in double thirds scales in which both hands are playing thirds at the same time.

Bailie (The Pianist's Repertoire; Chopin} refers to the Op 25 No 6 Etude as an "etude in thirds." I've not seen it referred to "double thirds" except for the four measures (31-34) where both hands are playing in thirds.

Not an earth-shattering issue, of course, but fun to discuss.

Regards,


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#1450896 - 06/05/10 03:40 PM Re: double thirds etude [Re: Chopinist]  
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Chopinist, there are a few measures in the middle of the piece that truly are "double thirds."

Arghhh,

I've studied this piece in considerable depth. It is a monster, a sultry, dreary little piece that ends with a warm sunbreak and can be a delight to play.

First, you must get over any conventional notions you may have about finger transfer and be willing to break rules. You'll be sliding the same finger down from a black to a white key, you'll be hopping your thumb. And you know what? It is possible to become good at it. I'm not a particularly great pianist and have no delusions that I have mastered this piece, or have even played it at full tempo, but some of these seemingly awkward and impossible transitions do become facile motions with practice.

Now with that back drop., on M. 11 beat 1:

Quote
First, in ms. 11 the fingering I'm using in the first beat is (42)-(31)-(53)-(42). Does the thumb remain on the B while (53) move over the thumb, or do both the 3rd finger and thumb get released so that the hand shifts to the next position? I've tried it both ways, and am leaning towards keeping the thumb on the keys while making sure the hand only moves laterally across the thumb, without rotating. I found the rotation of the forearm makes the next thirds come out unevenly. Does this sound right?


At the tempo you're going to be playing, little things like holding the thumb on the B are not going to be noticeable. The 3-1; 5-3 transfer involves a very quick and nimble little hop because you cannot afford, at final tempo, to hold the thumb. You have much bigger fish to fry with the constant finger motion and the phrasing, and that demonic tempo. Smoothness will come in time, and being overly conscious of details like this will only trip you up and slow you down.

Edit: I just went and played this and realize I use the fingering 4-2; 3-1; 4-2; 3-1 on that first beat. Going 3-1; 5-3 requires that hand to move that much more.

Quote
My second question is just a general question on getting the etude up to speed. I currently have the first couple pages at ~80-85/bpm/quarter note. My general method for practicing a technically challenging piece is to isolate the spots that are not technically clean, and practice those many times in various rhythms and tempos.


That's perfect. Are you getting tripped on the unisons of the thirds at fast tempo? One of the secrets when practicing this: Don't just practice playing the thirds. Practice individual fingers. Taking the opening passage, try 4-1, 2, 4-1, 2, over and over. Get it smooth and even. Don't go too fast at first - speed will come with confidence, and confidence will come with time. Then do 4-1, 5, 4-1, 5, then 1, 5-2, 1, 5-2, then 4, 5-2, 4, 5-2. Dismantle every thirds trill in the piece and do this with every combination of fingering you can imagine. I cannot emphasize enough, counterintuitive though it seems, do not try to go fast at first!

Another trick I found for technique acquisition for this piece, when I started, was to practice playing the thirds RH in the bass registers because of the heaver keyweight.

Let me know if this helps. If you wish, PM me on this, as mutual study partners provide mutual motivation. I would love to work with you on this piece, and would genuinely appreciate an incentive to get back into it. thumb

Last edited by gerg; 06/05/10 03:55 PM.

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#1450898 - 06/05/10 03:42 PM Re: double thirds etude [Re: BruceD]  
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Whether right, wrong or redundant, a Google search on chopin etude "double thirds" returns nearly 2,600 results!


"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must remain silent." —Wittgenstein
#1450926 - 06/05/10 04:26 PM Re: double thirds etude [Re: Chopinist]  
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Originally Posted by Chopinist
Whether right, wrong or redundant, a Google search on chopin etude "double thirds" returns nearly 2,600 results!
And a search on chopin etude "thirds" returns over 20,000!! I have never heard this etude referred to as being in double thirds.

What could one call it when both hands plays thirds?

Last edited by pianoloverus; 06/05/10 04:28 PM.
#1450945 - 06/05/10 05:09 PM Re: double thirds etude [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
What could one call it when both hands plays thirds?

According to this post from 2009, that would be "double thirds with both hands":

Fingering scales in double thirds

Even if the "double thirds" usage is dead wrong, it seems unusual that one would never have heard this etude referred to as such. It must be as rare as never having heard words like dissect, agoraphobia or nuclear mispronounced. smile


"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must remain silent." —Wittgenstein
#1451087 - 06/05/10 10:36 PM Re: double thirds etude [Re: Chopinist]  
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Originally Posted by Chopinist
Whether right, wrong or redundant, a Google search on chopin etude "double thirds" returns nearly 2,600 results!


A google search on "chopin's butt" returns 2 results!
A google search on "my armpit" returns 159,000 results!

#1451106 - 06/05/10 11:06 PM Re: double thirds etude [Re: Damon]  
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As to the question about the proper usage of "double thirds", prior to making my original post I searched piano world archives for +double +thirds +etude and came up with many people talking about the Chopin double thirds etude. In fact, I even found this quotation:

Quote
One of my favorite books is "The Art of Practicing" by Madeline Bruser. Here's a quote on slow practice:
"I read an interesting account by the pianist and composer Abram Chasins of how Rachmaninoff practiced. Chasins was approaching the house where Rachmaninoff was practicing and heard the legendary pianist playing so slowly that he couldn't tell what the piece was. He stood outside the front door for quite a while and finally realized it was the Chopin etude in double thirds, which is supposed to go like the wind. He timed the music on his watch and found that Rachmaninoff was playing one bar every twenty seconds-- a little more than one note per second. We don't know why Rachmaninoff was practicing so slowly. But it's interesting that such a great virtuoso took so much time with each note".


#1451122 - 06/05/10 11:30 PM Re: double thirds etude [Re: Chopinist]  
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Originally Posted by Chopinist
I thought that double made plain that the thirds are played by the same hand.....

I thought that might have been where it comes from -- and yes, it does serve a purpose.


"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)
#1451124 - 06/05/10 11:32 PM Re: double thirds etude [Re: BruceD]  
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Originally Posted by BruceD
While it's not an issue worth debating to any great degree, I'm inclined to think as MarkC does....

I agree on both counts. ha

I often think that linguistic things are worth debating, because misuses may reflect and foster sloppy thinking (or worse). But this isn't one of them.


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#1451128 - 06/05/10 11:35 PM Re: double thirds etude [Re: Arghhh]  
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Well, then, what would you call a piece where there are thirds played, simultaneously, in each hand? That, to me, would be "double" thirds.

Regards,


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#1451132 - 06/05/10 11:37 PM Re: double thirds etude [Re: Chopinist]  
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Originally Posted by Chopinist
Whether right, wrong or redundant, a Google search on chopin etude "double thirds" returns nearly 2,600 results!

chopin etude "double thirds" -- 3 times as many ha

(I didn't think it necessarily would be more, including because I've seen things where the clear misuse shows more results.)

P.S. I see that Pianoloverus beat me to this one.....

Last edited by Mark_C; 06/05/10 11:41 PM.

"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)
#1451136 - 06/05/10 11:43 PM Re: double thirds etude [Re: Damon]  
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Originally Posted by Damon
A google search on "chopin's butt" returns 2 results!
A google search on "my armpit" returns 159,000 results!

Damon -- This made me laugh so hard that my wife was almost gonna call 911. ha

I was completely doubled over......my laptop fell on the floor.....as I fell over, my foot kicked up the edge of the rug and threw it all out of whack.....the sofa was tipping. It took about a full minute for me to recover.


"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)
#1451141 - 06/05/10 11:54 PM Re: double thirds etude [Re: BruceD]  
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Well, then, what would you call a piece where there are thirds played, simultaneously, in each hand? That, to me, would be "double" thirds.

Yes. If they want to say 'double 3rds' for the other thing, it robs this meaning.
And I would prefer not to. smile

But there are lots of examples like that. How about the usage, "disinterested," when the person really means "uninterested"? In fact, I think the 'wrong' word (disinterested) is usually used for that. Which means that when you really want to convey 'disinterested' (meaning neutral or unbiased), you can't.

And then of course there's the thing about people saying crescendo and decrescendo when they're really talking about 'hairpins,' but I guess we don't need to get back into that. ha


"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)
#1451148 - 06/06/10 12:02 AM Re: double thirds etude [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Damon
A google search on "chopin's butt" returns 2 results!
A google search on "my armpit" returns 159,000 results!

Damon -- This made me laugh so hard that my wife was almost gonna call 911. ha

I was completely doubled over......my laptop fell on the floor.....as I fell over, my foot kicked up the edge of the rug and threw it all out of whack.....the sofa was tipping. It took about a full minute for me to recover.

I found it so funny that I forgot to laugh, though I did wonder if he was referring to a prosaic web search or an image search.


"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must remain silent." —Wittgenstein
#1451157 - 06/06/10 12:24 AM Re: double thirds etude [Re: Damon]  
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Originally Posted by Damon
Originally Posted by Chopinist
Whether right, wrong or redundant, a Google search on chopin etude "double thirds" returns nearly 2,600 results!


A google search on "chopin's butt" returns 2 results!


3 now!

#1451179 - 06/06/10 01:30 AM Re: double thirds etude [Re: Damon]  
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Originally Posted by Damon
A google search on "chopin's butt" returns 2 results!
A google search on "my armpit" returns 159,000 results!

I am going to quote that one! [Linked Image][Linked Image]
In a different forum, I once saw a poster who justified his position based on how many results Google yielded.


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#1451231 - 06/06/10 05:12 AM Re: double thirds etude [Re: BruceD]  
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Well, then, what would you call a piece where there are thirds played, simultaneously, in each hand? That, to me, would be "double" thirds.



To me, that would be double thirds in both hands.

The "double thirds" usage may seem weird unless you think first of double notes as meaning a pair of notes in one hand. Then the interval is given. For example, you might be practicing scales in double notes with various intervals between the two notes; it is just a small logic jump to replace the "notes" in "double notes" with a specific interval - seconds, thirds, sixths, ninths, whatever.

But using the word "double" to mean two notes in one hand in the first place may be the source of the problem. I suspect it came from terminology used by string players, and it doesn't quite fit keyboard thinking.

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