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Re: Etude op. 10 no. 4
Mark_C #1879896 04/15/12 05:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C

It constrains the ability of the hand to do the rest of what's going on. There is no way (none) that the hand is as free to do the rest of it when you're holding down that key as when you aren't.

And that's even aside from the obvious thing of it being impossible anyway to hold them down for "their full value" (as you put it) because of the jump to the next chord that would be required.

Plus there's no advantage.





of what measures do you speak Mark?

trigalg693 said: "If it's more difficult to hold the notes down, but not impossible, then holding them down longer trains dexterity better. I think it's useful to build "quasi legato" technique in a place like this; If you can stay in control of the rest of the fingers while your pinky is moving quickly and precisely, that's a great thing."

i agree. Many have told me that I am wrong, that Chopin never said this, but in the late 70s i remember checking out a book from the library stating that Chopin wrote the etudes to teach different techniques. I took that at face value and dutifully learned the etudes, skipping about 1/2 of them for the time, a book which i bpurchased at a garage sale where i also bought WTC II.

I always admired how very simple and brilliant Chopin's techniques were.. providing skills that took advantage of the shortest distance between two points. My handspan was never more than a comfortable 9th but I playing opus 10 # 1 taught me a lot. (i still think it is about the most gorgeous piece ever written). I wonder who chose to publish the etudes in the order that they are? Are they in a particular order for a reason?


Perhaps the difficulty in these passages with quarter notes lie in the conflict between the 'constrained' fingering they call for and Chopin's arms a flutter and fluid 'technique' that usually makes Chopin easy to play... that Chopin's etudes teach. It's interesting that etude #6 kind of teaches this 'way of playing' but in a spread out way.

Dang - I wish I hadn't gotten into this discussion. I am a farmer this month and really have little time for playing around on the piano. I really want to learn the one in 3rds and the one in 6ths.. really learn them.


accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
Re: Etude op. 10 no. 4
Mark_C #1879958 04/15/12 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by JerryS88
....the assumption that not holding them makes the passage easier to play is a completely arbitrary one. One could argue just the opposite.

No, you couldn't.

Maybe tell us how? smile

It's clearly more difficult to do stuff when a finger is busy still holding down a note than when it isn't.

If not, please tell us how. I will have learned something that I thought defied the laws of physics and anatomy.


I admit I made an overstatement. However, I was considering two possible advantages to holding the quarter notes (Once AGAIN, only as reasonably long as possible, and yes, of course, you have to lift before the very end of the quarter note value because you have to be able to play the next quarter note). First, as with all holding exercises, it "forces" a quiet hand for each group of four 16ths, which in turn "forces" the fingers to articulate alone, without burden of waisted hand and arm movement. Second, is for psychological reasons. Chopin's tempo marking is half-note = 88. That means 16th notes are going by at 704 beats per minute! Quarter notes, on the other hand, are going by at 176 bbm. It could be argued that emphasizing the quarter notes "slows" down the rhythmic speed of the passage for the brain, i.e. instead of thinking of playing sixteen 16th notes at blindingly fast speed, you're more concentrated on playing more-manageable 4 quarter notes at a quarter the speed - the 16ths becoming something like ornaments. Things like that can make a difference. Bottom line, is it easier to not to hold the quarter notes? Maybe, but I don't think by a lot. There are tradeoffs. The passage is difficult either way.

We agree that the most important issue is sound. I still hold firm that there is a marked difference between holding them and not, and listening to various performances on Youtube confirms this for me (and confirms that it is possible to do).

I have discovered one more thing that I find makes the passage more playable (pretty standard technique). In the left hand, I find it helpful to start moving the hand forward gradually starting during the very first beat so that by the time your thumb needs to play on the black note (F#), your hand is far forward enough that the thumb is already over the black note - in other words, don't remain in the white key area and have to jut forward to play the F# at the last second. This same problem exists in the right hand and is more problematic - moving forward would mean playing white notes between black notes. One possible solution is to play as close to the fronts of the black keys as possible - the thumb will still have to jut forward momentarily for the F#, but the distance will be minimized. This problem exists whether you hold the quarter note or not.

Re: Etude op. 10 no. 4
JerryS88 #1880044 04/15/12 01:33 PM
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Good job acknowledging that, Jerry.


I think we've gotten very far afield, including with those several elaborate exercises that you posted, not to mention the criticism that my posts have received.

My first reply to the original post was an attempt to address his described difficulties in a simple and direct way -- much simpler, I think, than he imagined possible, and he seemed to find the input relevant.

I think many of the replies have lost sight of that. People started picking apart the thing of how long to hold those quarter notes, even though nobody (or hardly anybody) smile has really disagreed with the main point which was that you don't have to think of holding those notes for the full marked value. I thought (and think) that all he needed on that first problem is the basic message that you don't have to do that. I would also offer that whenever possible, simple solutions are best -- and that things that clutter up the simple solution, well, clutter it up. smile They make it harder, by making it seem like the solution requires more than it might.

How about seeing if the simple, direct hints help him. I think they will. I look forward to hearing back from him about it.

Re: Etude op. 10 no. 4
apple* #1880061 04/15/12 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by apple*
[...]I wonder who chose to publish the etudes in the order that they are? Are they in a particular order for a reason?
[...]


Even though the Etudes of Op 10 were composed between 1829 and 1832 and published in 1833, and the Op 25 between 1832 and 1836 and published in 1837, is not the order in which they are traditionally published the order in which Chopin chose to publish them; each as a set?

I've seen many editions of the Etudes and I've never seen them published in any other order other than the one we know. I have always assumed that each was published as a set in the order in which we know them.

I'm sure I can find that information somewhere; I just don't have the time to research it at the moment; until someone corrects me, I'll assume that the traditionally published order of the Etudes is that chosen by Chopin.

Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
Re: Etude op. 10 no. 4
BruceD #1880066 04/15/12 02:09 PM
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I didn't understand what the thing about the order of the etudes has to do with this discussion, but....as per what you said, I've assumed (in fact, I think I know) smile that the published order is how Chopin put them -- and further, that he did it on the basis of considerations of tonality, and musical continuity and 'drama.' (Certainly it's not any kind of "progressive" thing in terms of technique, like we find in many other sets of studies.)

For example,, the first one is in C major, sort of along the lines of the first prelude of Op. 28 and of Bach's first prelude from the WTC, followed by an etude in the relative minor. The first set ends with an etude in C minor, preceded by one it its relative major. Op. 25 ends with an etude in C minor, preceded by one in the relative minor of C major. (And there are other similar things we could mention.) Not any kind of formulaic pattern, to be sure, but seemingly guided at least in large part by tonality. Regarding the thing of 'musical continuity and drama,' I think we'd all agree that the ordering produces a sequence that is very effective in performance, when they are performed as sets. I'm sure other orderings would work too, but the existing ordering does seem guided by such musical considerations; it's way more appropriate and effective than it would be with random orderings.

Re: Etude op. 10 no. 4
Mark_C #1880096 04/15/12 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
I didn't understand what the thing about the order of the etudes has to do with this discussion, but....as per what you said, I've assumed (in fact, I think I know) smile that the published order is how Chopin put them -- and further, that he did it on the basis of considerations of tonality, and musical continuity and 'drama.' (Certainly it's not any kind of "progressive" thing in terms of technique, like we find in many other sets of studies.)

For example,, the first one is in C major, sort of along the lines of the first prelude of Op. 28 and of Bach's first prelude from the WTC, followed by an etude in the relative minor. The first set ends with an etude in C minor, preceded by one it its relative major. Op. 25 ends with an etude in C minor, preceded by one in the relative minor of C major. (And there are other similar things we could mention.) Not any kind of formulaic pattern, to be sure, but seemingly guided at least in large part by tonality. Regarding the thing of 'musical continuity and drama,' I think we'd all agree that the ordering produces a sequence that is very effective in performance, when they are performed as sets. I'm sure other orderings would work too, but the existing ordering does seem guided by such musical considerations; it's way more appropriate and effective than it would be with random orderings.


Charles Rosen has something interesting to say in this regard (as he does about pretty much everything). He noticed that Op. 25, Nos. 5-7 have quasi-enharmonic transitions between them, and thinks that this should be emphasized and perhaps played attacca. No. 5 ends with a long trill on G-sharp followed with an arpeggiated E major chord with a G-sharp at the top, and No. 6 begins with the upper two tones of a G-sharp minor triad, and that etude ends with a G-sharp in the bass that is in fact the same tone that starts No. 7! Pretty remarkable, if you ask me.

Re: Etude op. 10 no. 4
Mark_C #1880098 04/15/12 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
For example,, the first one is in C major, sort of along the lines of the first prelude of Op. 28 and of Bach's first prelude from the WTC, followed by an etude in the relative minor.

The pattern is a little stronger than that. The first six etudes of op.10 are in major / relative minor pairs (C major / A minor, E major / C# minor, Gb major / Eb minor). The same thing happens at the end of op.10 (as you point out), and at the beginning of op.25. (Although not quite at the end of op.25; I think you garbled that a little in your post smile ). These are in addition to the note-wise connections in op.25 pointed out by AldenH, and, even more importantly than any of this, the way that the sequence of pieces just feels right and balanced. Surely Chopin payed as much attention to the order within an opus as any inspired rock band does to the tracks on their upcoming album.

-J

Re: Etude op. 10 no. 4
UrLicht #1880138 04/15/12 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
I think we've gotten very far afield, including with those several elaborate exercises that you posted.


I disagree entirely that the exercises I posted are "far afield." They are each designed to address a specific challenge in the passage. I suggest they would be useful regardless of whether one decides to hold or not hold the quarter notes (make adjustments accordingly). I have applied similar approaches to other challenging pieces and passages with excellent results. But, as you say, the proof is in the pudding. If all it takes for the OP to conquer this passage is to not hold those quarter notes, hats off to both of you (although not my preference in terms of sound).

Here is another exercise - specifically to address the OP's "confused fingers." Its purpose is to turn a series of run-on 16th notes into manageable groups for the brain:

[Linked Image]

Re: Etude op. 10 no. 4
beet31425 #1880194 04/15/12 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by beet31425
.... and at the beginning of op.25. (Although not quite at the end of op.25; I think you garbled that a little in your post smile )....

Maybe I did. Let's see:

Quote
Op. 25 ends with an etude in C minor, preceded by one in the relative minor of C major.

No, I didn't. grin

But I think I can see why you thought I did -- I see that the syntax might be confusing.

Re: Etude op. 10 no. 4
Mark_C #1880202 04/15/12 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by beet31425
.... and at the beginning of op.25. (Although not quite at the end of op.25; I think you garbled that a little in your post smile )....

Maybe I did. Let's see:

Quote
Op. 25 ends with an etude in C minor, preceded by one in the relative minor of C major.

No, I didn't. grin
(Did I??)

But I think I can see why you thought I did -- I see that the syntax might be confusing.


Oh, I see. I mis-parsed what you wrote as: "ends with an etude in C minor, preceded by one in the relative minor of that key, i.e. C major". My error.

In which case, I change my complaint (of course I have to have one smile ) to: what happens at the end of op.25 is a real stretch to fit into the "major key -> relative minor" pattern.

-J

Re: Etude op. 10 no. 4
beet31425 #1880204 04/15/12 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by beet31425
....I change my complaint (of course I have to have one smile ) to: what happens at the end of op.25 is a real stretch to fit into the "major key -> relative minor" pattern.

I never said it fits that pattern; in fact, I said it's not any formulaic pattern but just various kinds of relations -- the way I put it was "considerations of tonality." It was on purpose that I put it so generally, and the wording involved some devoted thought. I was trying to avoid any impression that I meant anything single or specific, but even when we try, sometimes we fail.

Like I said to trigalg, sometimes a lot of our posts are just dealing with mistakes or misunderstandings about what we had said. Life is hard. ha

Re: Etude op. 10 no. 4
Mark_C #1891977 05/05/12 09:35 PM
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Thanks everyone for the kind suggestions, and Jerry thank you for the time and effort you put into writing out those exercises for me.

After spending more time on the passage in question and trying to incorporate the various tips I've found a couple of things:

1. Mark's argument about not holding the quarter notes longer than about two sixteenths was helpful in making the passage more playable and definitely more comfortable.

2. In order to get the passage sounding like I want (emphasis on the quarter notes as a connected, descending line) I have to use the sustain pedal, which I wasn't doing before, and it makes the sixteenths sound a little mushy. I'll try lightening up on the pedal to fix this.

3. I'm also a fan of rhythmic displacement for gaining evenness. Thanks for suggesting that here, Jerry. It has helped a lot, especially with the inconsistent fingering that's necessary in the left hand because of the F#.

My new problem with the passage is keeping both the RH and LH sixteenths synchronized, but I'll save that for another thread if I can't work it out wink

Thanks again everyone.

-Zach


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