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#1996351 - 12/08/12 11:36 AM Re: A single piece that can be used to judge a pianist's ability [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Two or Three contrasting chopin etudes

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#1996358 - 12/08/12 11:52 AM Re: A single piece that can be used to judge a pianist's ability [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Pretty much anything would work, and it doesn't even have to be something like Beethoven. Just like how musicians often specialize in a the works of a few composers or schools, I don't think that being unable to play Bach of Mozart is really indicative of a bad pianist.


Working on:
Chopin - Nocturne op. 48 no.1
Debussy - Images Book II

#1996401 - 12/08/12 02:00 PM Re: A single piece that can be used to judge a pianist's ability [Re: Kuanpiano]  
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Originally Posted by Kuanpiano
Pretty much anything would work, and it doesn't even have to be something like Beethoven. Just like how musicians often specialize in a the works of a few composers or schools, I don't think that being unable to play Bach of Mozart is really indicative of a bad pianist.

I support this statement 100%. I think a lot of diversified playing is more indicative of musicianship, but having a specialty does not necessarily mean you cannot be a very talented pianist.

Kuan- I'm interested in your thoughts here. Would you say the ability to play many different styles/periods lends itself to better musicianship? And does that possibly indicate a higher level of pianism? (I actually separated the two until I started writing my response, but now I'm not as sure..)


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
#1996410 - 12/08/12 02:18 PM Re: A single piece that can be used to judge a pianist's ability [Re: Kuanpiano]  
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Originally Posted by Kuanpiano
I don't think that being unable to play Bach of Mozart is really indicative of a bad pianist.


True, it's indicative of a jazz pianist !

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#1996437 - 12/08/12 03:33 PM Re: A single piece that can be used to judge a pianist's ability [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Chopin Scherzo No. 1


Sorry for my English, I know it sucks, but I'm trying to improve.

#1996475 - 12/08/12 05:09 PM Re: A single piece that can be used to judge a pianist's ability [Re: pianoloverus]  
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my late, great teacher once said that all the technique a pianist needed was contained in the chopin etudes and bach preludes & fugues. pick one...

#1996485 - 12/08/12 05:29 PM Re: A single piece that can be used to judge a pianist's ability [Re: Entheo]  
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Originally Posted by Entheo
my late, great teacher once said that all the technique a pianist needed was contained in the chopin etudes and bach preludes & fugues. pick one...


Does it mean that by learning Chopin and Bach you also learn how to play Ligeti, Murail and Stockhausen ?

Last edited by Praeludium; 12/08/12 07:43 PM.
#1996544 - 12/08/12 07:35 PM Re: A single piece that can be used to judge a pianist's ability [Re: Praeludium]  
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Originally Posted by Praeludium
Originally Posted by Entheo
my late, great teacher once said that all the technique a pianist needed was contained in the chopin etudes and bach preludes & fugues. pick one...


Does it mean that by learning Chopin and Bach this you also learn how to play Ligeti, Murail and Stockhausen ?


I would say, personally, that if you can master all the Chopin Etudes & at least a number of the P&F's, particularly the more difficult fugues, you should have the acquired technique and knowledge of how to learn difficult works in order to play most anything. Notice the italics. I'm not saying this is a sure, but if you truly can master those pieces, you should have the ability to learn anything [I'm not saying this will make the likes of Ligeti & others easy for you, they're incredibly difficult, but by that point you should have the knowledge of how to break apart a piece and learn technical difficulties.]

Of course, I'm not anywhere near that point, so I could be very wrong.


Piano/Composition major.

Proud owner of a beautiful Yamaha C7.

Polish:
Liszt Petrarch Sonnet 104
Bach WTC book 1 no. 6.
Dello Joio Sonata no. 3

New:
Chopin op. 23
Bach WTC book 2 no. 20
#1996547 - 12/08/12 07:37 PM Re: A single piece that can be used to judge a pianist's ability [Re: Derulux]  
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Originally Posted by Derulux
Originally Posted by Kuanpiano
Pretty much anything would work, and it doesn't even have to be something like Beethoven. Just like how musicians often specialize in a the works of a few composers or schools, I don't think that being unable to play Bach of Mozart is really indicative of a bad pianist.

I support this statement 100%. I think a lot of diversified playing is more indicative of musicianship, but having a specialty does not necessarily mean you cannot be a very talented pianist.

Kuan- I'm interested in your thoughts here. Would you say the ability to play many different styles/periods lends itself to better musicianship? And does that possibly indicate a higher level of pianism? (I actually separated the two until I started writing my response, but now I'm not as sure..)

I think it certainly is good because it shows a really broad understanding of different musical styles. But it's not a bad thing to be a specialist!

I think it's a good indicator of musicianship, not so much about pianism. Playing Medtner or the Shostakovich Preludes and Fugues requires an understanding of counterpoint and the interplay between voices in the same way that Bach does, but the pianistic technique is really quite different. Certainly, IMO, a specialist in the romantics and the modern schools would have a higher level of pianism than a specialist in the Baroque and Classical periods due to the leaps in technique development.

But at the end of the day, a specialist in the Romantics (like Horowitz) who's more weak at the classics and baroque styles can still be considered a very competent musician and pianist.


Working on:
Chopin - Nocturne op. 48 no.1
Debussy - Images Book II

#1996623 - 12/08/12 11:19 PM Re: A single piece that can be used to judge a pianist's ability [Re: pianoloverus]  
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To try and answer my own thread I'd say that any piece with following characteristics would do:

1. composed by a great composer, preferably from Classical period through mid 20th century(Bach or contemporary perhaps requiring somewhat more specialized skills that may not transfer so clearly to more commonly played literature)
2. requires virtuoso technique(otherwise how could one evaluate the pianist's technique?)
3. generally considered to be a masterpiece(mostly guarantees the piece can be used to judge the pianist's musicianship and offer the greatest musical challenges)
4. of considerable length(longer works having organizational difficulties that often don't appear in shorter ones and a greater opportunity to have a variety of difficulties)

So based on the above there are certainly a very long list of possible pieces. A few examples:

For Beethoven:any of the most difficult half of his Sonatas, any of the major variation sets

For Schumann: any of his major works e.g. Davidsbundler, any of the Sonatas, Carnaval, Symphonic Etudes, Fantasy in C, Kreisleriana, Fantasy Pieces, etc.

Of course, any piece can offer some insight into a pianist's ability, but I was interested in pieces that can be used to make the best judgement.

Does anyone know some other examples besides the ones I mentioned in my OP that have been used as required pieces in competitions(not talking about some required contemporary piece here) or as required pieces for auditions?

Last edited by pianoloverus; 12/08/12 11:28 PM.
#1996626 - 12/08/12 11:32 PM Re: A single piece that can be used to judge a pianist's ability [Re: Verbum mirabilis]  
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Originally Posted by Verbum mirabilis
B minor sonata, by you-know-who.
Haydn or Scarlatti?

#1996690 - 12/09/12 02:15 AM Re: A single piece that can be used to judge a pianist's ability [Re: Kuanpiano]  
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Originally Posted by Kuanpiano
Originally Posted by Derulux
Originally Posted by Kuanpiano
Pretty much anything would work, and it doesn't even have to be something like Beethoven. Just like how musicians often specialize in a the works of a few composers or schools, I don't think that being unable to play Bach of Mozart is really indicative of a bad pianist.

I support this statement 100%. I think a lot of diversified playing is more indicative of musicianship, but having a specialty does not necessarily mean you cannot be a very talented pianist.

Kuan- I'm interested in your thoughts here. Would you say the ability to play many different styles/periods lends itself to better musicianship? And does that possibly indicate a higher level of pianism? (I actually separated the two until I started writing my response, but now I'm not as sure..)

I think it certainly is good because it shows a really broad understanding of different musical styles. But it's not a bad thing to be a specialist!

I think it's a good indicator of musicianship, not so much about pianism. Playing Medtner or the Shostakovich Preludes and Fugues requires an understanding of counterpoint and the interplay between voices in the same way that Bach does, but the pianistic technique is really quite different. Certainly, IMO, a specialist in the romantics and the modern schools would have a higher level of pianism than a specialist in the Baroque and Classical periods due to the leaps in technique development.

But at the end of the day, a specialist in the Romantics (like Horowitz) who's more weak at the classics and baroque styles can still be considered a very competent musician and pianist.

I think bringing up Horowitz is a great example. I don't think it's possible to doubt his ability as a pianist, and I think most people would be hard-pressed to doubt his ability as a musician. But there are certain pieces that just do not seem to work for him as well as others. Some Mozart I like. some, I do not. Some Beethoven I like. Some, I do not. So, I think this brings up a great case for an argument like: "The best piece to judge a pianist/musician by is the piece which the pianist favors and considers their best."

You know, an interesting anecdote: I happened to watch Penn & Teller's "Fool Me". It's a British show, I think. But in one of the episodes, a man took the stage to perform a cup-and-balls routine. It was amazing. Penn said it was not only the best cup-and-balls routine he'd ever seen, but that the man was perfect at it. He also said, "It is not so much the song, but the singer..." and I think that is a very acute observation that merited at least an aside in the discussion.


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
#1996808 - 12/09/12 09:46 AM Re: A single piece that can be used to judge a pianist's ability [Re: TrueMusic]  
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Originally Posted by TrueMusic
Originally Posted by Praeludium
Originally Posted by Entheo
my late, great teacher once said that all the technique a pianist needed was contained in the chopin etudes and bach preludes & fugues. pick one...


Does it mean that by learning Chopin and Bach this you also learn how to play Ligeti, Murail and Stockhausen ?


I would say, personally, that if you can master all the Chopin Etudes & at least a number of the P&F's, particularly the more difficult fugues, you should have the acquired technique and knowledge of how to learn difficult works in order to play most anything. Notice the italics. I'm not saying this is a sure, but if you truly can master those pieces, you should have the ability to learn anything [I'm not saying this will make the likes of Ligeti & others easy for you, they're incredibly difficult, but by that point you should have the knowledge of how to break apart a piece and learn technical difficulties.]

Of course, I'm not anywhere near that point, so I could be very wrong.


what TrueMusic said.

in relation to the OP's original question, i believe you could judge a pianist's ability by how they play any chopin etude and/or bach P&F.

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