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Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
#2760332 08/22/18 02:34 PM
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It's been a while since I've seen a study group on the forum. I'm wondering if anyone would like to join me in learning this piece. Jouishy and I have spoken (alright typed) about tackling this one at the end of the summer, and that time is rapidly approaching.

I'd like to learn this piece, but really learn it well. By that, I mean enter into a technical analysis of the piece, study the chord changes and progressions, the timing, and dynamics, and any other aspects that arise. Learn it inside out. I believe this piece would make for a good opportunity to engage in such a practice, given it's stature among the classic repertoire and that it is (somewhat) accessible to an intermediate student. That's not to say it won't be a challenge, but I believe it will be a challenge that can be reasonably accepted. Upon completion, I hope to add it to my repertoire, and hope to become a better pianist for it.

This project can move along at any pace, I'm in no rush....if it takes months, so be it. Anyone interested, join in. Anyone who knows it well and would like to contribute, please do so! So please, if you will, join us in learning and analyzing this piece!


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2760343 08/22/18 03:49 PM
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I found the video linked below quite useful. Interesting, this Nocturne was composed by Chopin to teach his sister how to play his second concerto. The video contains the two references that are cross-overs between the two pieces

Pianocareer Academy Chopin Nocturne

Last edited by dogperson; 08/22/18 03:54 PM.
Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2760346 08/22/18 04:36 PM
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Just a warning, it is a challenging piece. I would not say it was particularly accessible for an intermediate player. I found it much harder than it looks. Learning the notes I found relatively easy, perhaps I have more experience, but for some reason I found it very hard to get further from there. I could not make it sound good. I came back to it a couple of times but still not too happy with the result although it is nearly there. Would be interested to polish it and learning a bit about the music and sharing some tips. A study group would be an excellent idea.

Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2760348 08/22/18 04:41 PM
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Great, Dogperson, thanks for the link, I'll check it out when I get a minute.

Moo, thanks for the input....did you find it harder than the Liszt piece (Consolation in Db for those that may not know we both worked on that one). It seems similar, although the L hand line does look tougher and I'm in truth worried about that wicked fast run towards the end (M59). Either way should be educational at the very least! And we can grow into it over time.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2760355 08/22/18 05:01 PM
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I did find it harder than. Consolation 3. That piece only really had one main challenge, playing semiquavers with triplets. Once you can do this it becomes assessable as there is a repeating pattern and it is quite easy to get into this.

I did not find them particularly similar pieces to be honest. Chopin nocturens in one sense I think may be easier to play the notes compared to consolidation 3 since not everyone is able to play the 4 against 3 pattern successfully but to get it to sound good certainly the Chopin nocturne is a lot harder. There is a lot of challenges. A good performance and a bad performance (of which youtube has more bad than good!) is very noticeable in this piece. The end I think is nothing to be particularly scared about. It is just E major scale and you can split it up, again notes is not the main problem in my opinion.

See you got me interested already smile

Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2760422 08/22/18 10:27 PM
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I played this piece for my spring recital just over a year ago. I’ll second Moo’s comments - it’s a bit more difficult than it seems. I had not quite been playing for two years when I started to learn it, though, so some of the difficulty for me might have just been inexperience. It could be a lot easier for you. I remember having trouble with the A major section and definitely with the left hand triplets. I just didn’t have the coordination in my LH when I started to pull it off, though I got it pretty close for performance. Those were the rockiest pieces. The runs at the end aren’t to be feared. It’s just the c-sharp minor scale (or e major if you prefer) and it doesn’t have to be Arrau-level fast to sound good.

One thing for me about this nocturne - I fell out of love with it while I was learning it. I was a little surprised by that. I still noodle on it occasionally and it is lovely to hear but it doesn’t affect me to play it like some other nocturnes do. I couldn’t live without playing op 9 no 1 and 2 occasionally but the e-minor and this one just sort of.... I don’t know. Their hold on me lessened once I had learned and performed them. In a way, I sense why Chopin did not care for these as much. They lack something (for me) that his more polished and published nocturnes do not. And I have not played all of the published ones either so some of those might not work for me.

Anyway, don’t let that dissuade you. It’s a great composition for learning and I’m certainly better in my left hand for going through it. I’ll offer any advice that I can for your journey but I’m most likely not a great resource. Happy learning!

Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2760483 08/23/18 09:02 AM
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Moo, you're right, I tried the scales at the end, and they are playable. It'll take some work to get them right, and I'll put down my thoughts on this in a few moments. I'm glad you're interest is re-peaked!

Jandz, I agree it may be more difficult than it looks, but beginning this with less than 2 years experience is quite a challenge. I'm glad it improved your left hand skills - that's the great thing - I find that every piece adds something to my toolbox. Sorry to hear you came away less enthralled with it than before you started it.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2760485 08/23/18 09:13 AM
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Regarding the scales at the end, there are 4 runs, in C-sharp minor, or as jandz pointed out, the relative minor to the E major scale. I plan on drilling this using the E major scale fingering. I noted that it starts on Db in M58, so I'm using finger 4 as I would in a E major scale on the Db. The next few runs start on A, so I'm using finger 1 (thumb) on the A. Then you just need to figure out where the run ends - the first on D#, then on D# an octave higher, then on F#, then on G#. I'm planning on learning the runs well before adding in the left hand line. I'll work on the skills mentioned in another timely thread(see dogperson's list halfway down the first page), those of slow practice and of practice variation (eg legato vs staccato, slow speed, etc) to drill them in well.

My next step will be to analyze the opening chord progression.

I'll plan on keeping a running tab of bullet points that I'll create as I go. Thoughts / suggestions welcome!


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2760519 08/23/18 11:26 AM
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I thought I'd add a few more details in light of cmb13's reply.

Slightly OT: I did start on this one pretty early but that's how my teacher likes to do things. She's not pushing me faster than I can move - we make all of these decisions together - but she's a strong proponent of learning through music instead of exercises. Especially for adult students. So I started the e-minor nocturne at like 7 or 8 months in and this one about a year later (with several other pieces in-between). That isn't to say I brought them up to a high performance standard at all but I got the lessons she wanted out of it. 3 against 4, romantic rhythms, left hand accuracy, that kind of stuff.

I don't talk about it that much because these forums are strongly opposed to this kind of teaching it seems and I can't really comment one way or another on its efficacy for other adult learners. I think it needs a strong teacher and student combo so in that sense I'm pretty lucky to be where I am. It works for me and I'm playing music I could never have imagined playing otherwise. /EndOT

Back to the music. I can offer a couple of points for you to look at and think about as you read the score and practice the scales at the end.

* Note the staccato notes in the scales. The whole passage is in pedal but play those notes staccato anyway. Chopin does this a lot and it definitely makes for a different color in the music itself.
* Some performers speed up the ascent of the scale and slow the descent, others don't. On the final two, I believe I started slower and sped up for example.

Another fun fact: There are two versions of this nocturne. See here: Nocturne C-Sharp Minor, Henle Edition. The description details both of them and their origins. If you click the "Look Inside" link you can see the music for both. Within these two versions there seem to be quite a few differences in interpretation. The second one in the Henle book here has different time signatures for the right and left in one section, for example. The version I played is closer to the first one, though I used a different book and not the Henle one when I was studying it.

As for losing some of the love I had for it, that only really relates to playing it. I still love listening to it. I don't know how else to describe it. My impression of this one and the e-minor nocturne were similar in that regard. I certainly wouldn't change anything about my experiences in learning it, though, and will probably pick it up again one day. I'm on a different musical mission right now so it'll have to wait for a while. Anyway, I hope you come out on the other side of this greatly improved for the experience of learning it. Enjoy!

Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2760558 08/23/18 02:28 PM
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I have not played this piece for over 6 months but I have recorded it today to see what you think.


Last edited by Moo :); 08/23/18 02:30 PM.
Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2760562 08/23/18 02:50 PM
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Moo, that's pretty good - you did that after not touching it for 6 months? Sounds like you've got all the notes, now just need to smooth them. My teacher, when I did the Liszt piece, tried to have me keep the keys almost partially depressed on the L hand, so as to just let them play softly with an almost ethereal sound. I wonder if that would work well on this piece also, to soften the L and make the melody pop out even more. I'd say you're really close here, it'll take me some serious practice to get to this point!


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2760563 08/23/18 02:53 PM
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jandz, thanks for the insights. I heard there were a few versions out there, mine is from Schirmer's (not sure which this corresponds to). I think we'll have to take liberties with the scales at the end to make them more dynamic, but first will try to learn them evenly. It sounds like you have a good teacher; nice to learn via repertiore.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2760564 08/23/18 02:57 PM
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I learnt it quite a long time ago, I think probably over a year to 18 months. I dont really play Chopin to be honest. I played another Chopin nocturne recently which again I did not polish but I think it helped. Similar problems with knowing the notes but not being able to get it sound smooth and polished. I am also learning Rachmaninoff Elergie which is I think helps because it has a similar feel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Fy4kSo7Xx8

Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2760585 08/23/18 04:05 PM
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Love that one. I've watched Lankova's version a few times.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2760586 08/23/18 04:11 PM
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How fun.. I always loved this piece, and my new Henle Nocturne book came in a week ago. Not a big fan of the triplets or the constantly changing key signatures.. but doesn't hurt to try right?


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2760589 08/23/18 04:51 PM
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Yep, schinl, let's do it!

Okay - opening bars - intro - looks to me like:
C#min - C#min7 - F#min - C#min - A7 - G#
i - i7 - iv - i - VI - V

Why does it resolve to the dominant, not to the root?


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2760619 08/23/18 08:57 PM
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I am also currently learning this piece. I feel to play measure 56 and 57 all the right hand running notes to be very difficult. At a slower tempo I am ok, but I cannot get it fast. Also I feel like to memorize this piece is somewhat difficult too. I am trying to memorize it section by section as my teacher suggested.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2760641 08/23/18 11:58 PM
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I learned this piece for my grade 7 ABRSM exam last year. It was actually the second time I learned it. It is such a beautiful piece, that I think a lot of people underestimate its challenges. The first time I learned it, I really did not do it justice. The second time was better, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. I want to revisit the piece to refresh it. I will be following this thread with interest.

Here is my version just before the exam last year:


Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2760647 08/24/18 01:22 AM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
My teacher, when I did the Liszt piece, tried to have me keep the keys almost partially depressed on the L hand, so as to just let them play softly with an almost ethereal sound.

Maybe I'm missunderstanding what your teacher meant but that doesn't seem like sound advice. The loudness comes from how fast the key goes down not how hard you hold it down. I just read a book by Joseph Lhevinne where he admonishes against partial key presses and advocates going down all the way to the keybed even in the most delicate passages.

Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2760657 08/24/18 03:47 AM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
Yep, schinl, let's do it!

Okay - opening bars - intro - looks to me like:
C#min - C#min7 - F#min - C#min - A7 - G#
i - i7 - iv - i - VI - V

Why does it resolve to the dominant, not to the root?


You might want to look up German Augmented 6th Chord.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
Qazsedcft #2760676 08/24/18 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Originally Posted by cmb13
My teacher, when I did the Liszt piece, tried to have me keep the keys almost partially depressed on the L hand, so as to just let them play softly with an almost ethereal sound.

Maybe I'm missunderstanding what your teacher meant but that doesn't seem like sound advice...
I'm guessing that 'almost partially depressed' translates as lifting the keys without the fingers leaving them. Liszt used to practise playing as if his fingers were glued to the keys (and is how I practise my scales - my teacher showed me this and my playing speed increased noticeably).
__________________________________

I tend to start with a structural analysis before I consider a harmonic one and here I see the first three chords of the intro being amplified in M5-8 and the second three in M9-12. The second time through, M13-20, we change the harmony, starting at M15, as we close in tonic instead of the dominant.

That's as far as I'm going for now. I don't know the piece well enough yet to start properly so I'll be spending a week or two listening and reading the score until I know it well enough to hum it through from memory but I'd like to join in the learning of this piece. I expect to be able to catch up quite quickly.


Richard
Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
SwissMS #2760677 08/24/18 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by SwissMS
I learned this piece for my grade 7 ABRSM exam last year. It was actually the second time I learned it. It is such a beautiful piece, that I think a lot of people underestimate its challenges. The first time I learned it, I really did not do it justice. The second time was better, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. I want to revisit the piece to refresh it. I will be following this thread with interest.

Here is my version just before the exam last year:



I really enjoyed your playing!



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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2760683 08/24/18 08:12 AM
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I see this is RCM 9? I'll wait a couple of years smile


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
zrtf90 #2760686 08/24/18 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
My teacher, when I did the Liszt piece, tried to have me keep the keys almost partially depressed on the L hand, so as to just let them play softly with an almost ethereal sound.


Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Maybe I'm missunderstanding what your teacher meant but that doesn't seem like sound advice. The loudness comes from how fast the key goes down not how hard you hold it down. I just read a book by Joseph Lhevinne where he admonishes against partial key presses and advocates going down all the way to the keybed even in the most delicate passages.


Originally Posted by zrtf90
I'm guessing that 'almost partially depressed' translates as lifting the keys without the fingers leaving them. Liszt used to practise playing as if his fingers were glued to the keys (and is how I practise my scales - my teacher showed me this and my playing speed increased noticeably).



Yes, Qazsedcft, I probably did not do justice to the concept my teacher was trying to teach. I think zrtf90 stated it better, it was not to imply that the keys are not fully depressed, but possibly not fully lifted, or at least not lifted off the keybed, enabling a softer, more delicate sound, in turn enabling the melody to sing beautifully above the harmony of the left hand.

I'm not great at this yet, even with the Liszt piece on which I employed this technique, but hopefully will remember to retry and think it might be applicable here. One difference, however, is the Liszt Consolation allows the L hand to stay in one position (after the initial bass note, most frequently a Db), then play the same notes repeatedly later in the measure. This piece has a little less of that, but it's in there too.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
zrtf90 #2760687 08/24/18 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by zrtf90

I tend to start with a structural analysis before I consider a harmonic one and here I see the first three chords of the intro being amplified in M5-8 and the second three in M9-12. The second time through, M13-20, we change the harmony, starting at M15, as we close in tonic instead of the dominant.

That's as far as I'm going for now. I don't know the piece well enough yet to start properly so I'll be spending a week or two listening and reading the score until I know it well enough to hum it through from memory but I'd like to join in the learning of this piece. I expect to be able to catch up quite quickly.


Richard, I'm glad you found this thread, and in fact was planning on pm'ing you, as I was hoping you would help out here and find the topic of interest. Thanks for joining in!

Is it common to close on the dominant? I guess I don't have a lot of experience with technical analysis, but as I noted earlier, I found it surprising that the intro did so.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
AZNpiano #2760688 08/24/18 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by cmb13
Yep, schinl, let's do it!

Okay - opening bars - intro - looks to me like:
C#min - C#min7 - F#min - C#min - A7 - G#
i - i7 - iv - i - VI - V

Why does it resolve to the dominant, not to the root?


You might want to look up German Augmented 6th Chord.



Just did, thanks!

Few sites.

One of them, here, states they resolve outwards, raising the top note 1/2 step and lowering the bottom note 1/2 step, as is the case in this piece. I'll have to spend more time studying the differences between the Augmented Sixths (French, Italian and German) when I have some time, but thanks for pointing this out.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
pianofan1017 #2760692 08/24/18 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by pianofan1017
I am also currently learning this piece. I feel to play measure 56 and 57 all the right hand running notes to be very difficult. At a slower tempo I am ok, but I cannot get it fast. Also I feel like to memorize this piece is somewhat difficult too. I am trying to memorize it section by section as my teacher suggested.


Do you mean M58-59? Maybe I have a different version....I'm sure you mean the Emaj scales that we were discussing though, correct. I haven't yet tackled them to speed and I'm sure it will take a while, but it seems most play this run with a little rubato....not sure if this is allowed / intended or if it's just out of necessity.

Paul Barton seems to slow on these measures:
https://youtu.be/kZpLMLfYCzo?t=1027
I think others do also.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
SwissMS #2760693 08/24/18 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by SwissMS
I learned this piece for my grade 7 ABRSM exam last year. It was actually the second time I learned it. It is such a beautiful piece, that I think a lot of people underestimate its challenges. The first time I learned it, I really did not do it justice. The second time was better, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. I want to revisit the piece to refresh it. I will be following this thread with interest.

Here is my version just before the exam last year:



Doris, if I can get it to this level, I'll be very, very happy!


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
bSharp(C)yclist #2760694 08/24/18 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
I see this is RCM 9? I'll wait a couple of years smile


Is it? Doris just said she played for her grade 7 exam. ABSRM - I guess the scales are different. It's a reach piece for me as well to be sure, but I'm excited about all there is to learn here. I think playing the Liszt Consolation and the Debussy Prelude were both also reaches for me, but I'm emerging from the other side better for having played them. Of course, I realize you're on the exam track, and may not have time for this distraction, but please follow along if you'd like.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Introductions typically focus on the dominant so that it builds anticipation of the tonic.

If you want a really, really good example, listen to the start of Beethoven's Seventh.

It feels as if it's going to end the intro and reach the tonic at around 0:30, then around 0:50, then around 1:20, and so on. When it finally breaks around 3:55 the anticipation so great and the tonic melody is so beautiful and joyous that by 4:20 I'm having to dry my eyes.

Link to: Beethoven's Seventh


Richard
Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Originally Posted by cmb13
Originally Posted by pianofan1017
...I feel to play measure 56 and 57...

Do you mean M58-59?
In some editions M1-4 are printed as M1-2 in repeat bars, reducing the number of bars by two. Pianofan appears to be using such a version. We might need to consider noting which version we're referring to when using bar numbers.


Richard
Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2760700 08/24/18 09:33 AM
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Yes, so how shall we refer to them? I'm using Schirmer's, which has a total of 65 measures, and does not have right hand notes in M35-44. I believe this is the "original version", as opposed to the version published by Chopin's sister, Ludwika Jedrzejewicz, which includes some melodic notes in those measures. I believe the versions to be otherwise similar but haven't yet compared them. Maybe I'll check the IMSLP for the variations.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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I'll certainly follow along for education. Perhaps I'll try it, but right now I'm focusing on the pieces assigned to me by my teacher.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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I'm using the Polish version at the piano (Instytut Fryderyka Chopina, Ed. Paderewski, 65 measures) that I'd use for referencing bar numbers and Cortot's at my desk, which has 64 measures (it joins M32 (2/4) and M33 (3/4) into one bar of 5/4).

Do you have to pay extra for the additional RH notes? smile


Richard
Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2760755 08/24/18 02:18 PM
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I think Schirmer was trying to keep the ink costs down lol.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2760760 08/24/18 02:37 PM
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Should this be in the Adult Beginner forum? Maybe more relevant over in Pianist Corner.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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It is more suited to this forum than to Pianist Corner. This thread is intended as a learning opportunity. Most of the pianists in PC could wrap up this piece with ease and in a very short time. It probably wouldn't be worth a thread for them. The last time I stepped into the Pianist Corner most of them had achieved the 'pianist' status but were still not ready for the 'adult' tag. wink

This forum is not exclusively for beginners but caters to a wide range of levels below professional. While it may be beyond the reach of the beginning pianist it is not beyond the reach of the adult beginner.

It's not a difficult piece to read, there are no great mechanical difficulties and the interpretive problems might make interesting topics alongside how to go about learning and practising the thing. The left hand isn't overly demanding and might make an excellent LH study with a more interesting RH than Czerny might provide.

It may take five to seven years of experience to be able to do justice to this piece but it can still be a learning experience much earlier than that without taking it to performance level. Following the thread might even be profitable without spending more than twenty minutes a week on it.

Just getting an idea of the problems involved and strategies for dealing with them may set up a keen student for a later attempt. The general approach to the piece may also give others a strategy for approaching pieces at their current level or prompt them to start a study group for something more accessible.


Richard
Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Originally Posted by cmb13
[One of them, here, states they resolve outwards, raising the top note 1/2 step and lowering the bottom note 1/2 step, as is the case in this piece. I'll have to spend more time studying the differences between the Augmented Sixths (French, Italian and German) when I have some time, but thanks for pointing this out.


I never heard of augmented 6th but this video goes through them in only 3 minutes quite nicely.


Last edited by Moo :); 08/24/18 03:53 PM.
Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Originally Posted by cmb13
Yep, schinl, let's do it!

Okay - opening bars - intro - looks to me like:
C#min - C#min7 - F#min - C#min - A7 - G#
i - i7 - iv - i - VI - V

Why does it resolve to the dominant, not to the root?



I think the dominant chord (V) in C sharp minor it says below that it is G sharp minor - G sharp, B, D sharp.

https://www.basicmusictheory.com/c-sharp-minor-triad-chords

Chopin actually ends on G sharp major chord - G sharp, B sharp, D sharp.

I'm not sure how the short hand is written.

So we have 5 minor chords and then we sort of end on a surprise major 5th chord twice, probably why it is quite a catchy start.

Last edited by Moo :); 08/24/18 04:12 PM.
Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2760779 08/24/18 04:25 PM
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I agree, I think the ABF is more appropriate for this study, and hopefully it'll help more people here whereas it may be wasted on the more advanced players over there.

A couple of resources:

Jane's tutorial for fingering

Piano Career Academy tutorial by Ilinca Vartic

Paul Barton's tutorial

Melanie Spanswick essay on the piece


Finally, I'm jumping wayyy ahead, but didn't want to forget this - this piece ends with a Picardy Third, a major chord of the I chord, in this case C#maj rather than C#min. The use of a major chord to end a piece in a minor key was has been in use since the Baroque era. It is meant to make a sad song end on a, well, happier note. The most recent time I've encountered it is the ending of the BWV 974, Adagio, by Bach that bSharp(C)yclist performed so nicely for us in the latest recital, #51. Look around, Picardy Thirds are everywhere!


Moo....I cross posted with you, I wonder whether the Major V at the end of the opening can be considered a Picardy Third also? Don't think so but I don't really know for sure.

Last edited by cmb13; 08/24/18 04:30 PM.

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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Originally Posted by cmb13
I wonder whether the Major V at the end of the opening can be considered a Picardy Third also?

In Minor keys the dominant is frequently changed to a major. That's why we have a Harmonic Minor scale with a sharped seventh - to make the dominant a major chord. Minor chords don't dominate the key quite the same way.

I think it would be better to discuss fingering where there's an issue rather than rely on 'Jane'. That way different players can choose alternatives to suit their own playing but still understand the reasons for those differences and the thoughts that might go into making a choice.


Richard
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cmb13 #2760807 08/24/18 07:25 PM
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I really love this Nocturne, and am grateful it is posted here. Many years away for me, but I love learning from all of your thoughts.



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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2760920 08/25/18 01:10 PM
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Okay, one quick fingering issue I found funny. It was an a-ha moment.

I'm in the skipping around, exploring stage, and decided to try the very last arpeggio (M64), which starts with G#, then C#, then goes to E#, G#, C#, E#, G#. After the initial G#, I began with the 1 on the C#. This is the Picardy Third, the C# major rather than minor, on which the piece ends. It was a little awkward.

I began to ponder whether I've played this arpeggio before, as I've studied my major and minor arpeggios already, then finally realized, duh, it's the same as a Db arpeggio (Db-F-Ab is equivalent to C#-E#-G#), which I've practiced hundreds of times. I then changed my fingering to begin with the 2 on the G#, 4 on the C#, 1 on the E#, and I no longer have to learn it!



Structure -

Intro
First section seems to go from M5 to M20.
Second section goes from M21 to M46.
Third section from M46 to M57.
Final, closing section , from M58 to M65.

Would you say that's a fair assessment?



I'm going to collect and accumulate bullet points as we learn:

- Different versions have slightly different measure numbers, depending on whether the intro is counted as 2 measures or 4 (my version has a 2 measure intro that repeats, for a total of 4 measures). My manuscript, Schirmer's, has a total of 65 measures.

- There are two well utilized version, according to Henle - the original manuscript that lacks a R hand section in M35-44, and a second version that Chopin's sister, Ludwika Jedrzejewicz, published that includes some notes in these measures.

- Intro - C#min, C#min7, F#min, C#min, A, G#. (i-i7-iv-i-VI-V).
- The VI is an Augmented 6th, which often resolves to the V. In this case, it's a German Augmented 6th.
- The final chord, G#, is Dominant.

- Picardy Third - the final chord is in C# Maj arpeggio (can be fingered as if it were Db).

- Learning resources:
- Jane's tutorial for fingering
- Piano Career Academy tutorial by Ilinca Vartic
- Paul Barton's tutorial
- Melanie Spanswick essay on the piece


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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I agree with your breakdown, Craig, but list mine as:

M1 - 4: Intro
M5 - 12: A
M13 - 20: A'
M21 - 46: B
M46 - 58: A'' with 4 bar extension
M58 - 65: Coda

I played gently through the score and have broken it down into study units.

I was going to start by treating the runs in the coda as individual units but after a brief look I found there was no need. They're all G# Phrygian runs ending on tonic so it's just a question of sorting out where the top note goes then feeling my way down which turned out to be quite easy so I'll leave the coda until later, either before or after the B section.

I think I'll start with the three runs needing timing work, M14b - 16a, M48b - 50a and M52b - 54a, adding an extra bar to each as the runs smooth out (I'm dividing the bars into half bars, a and b, for sectional work so I have good overlap between sections). The first two runs are an A harmonic minor descent. I found the start awkward because I want to play another E at the top. I hope a night's sleep and virtual practise (away from the piano) will fix that. I'm not sure whether to follow the timing as written or just aim at the closing A and go by feel like the coda runs. The ascending run is more chromatic but still easy to remember.

I'm planning on looking at the three A sections before looking at the B section. I don't yet know whether I want to take the first four bars of each one as a unit and the second four as another but the intro and M5-8 were both memorised very quickly so M1 - 12 looks like a single unit with M13-20 and M47-58 done later or I could look at M5-8, M13-16 and M47-50 as one unit and M8-12 and M50-54 as another with M17-20 left over. This may change after a week of reading through it and memorising the sound of it.

The B section looks like two units, M21-28 and M29-46.


Richard
Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2761134 08/26/18 11:59 AM
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Richard, I like you're breakdown of the sections, it's a little more detailed than mine, and the use of the three separate A sections makes sense. Quick disclaimer, as I don't have nearly as much experience as you, Richard, I'm afraid it will probably take me longer to learn the piece, but I think we're off to a great start.

I agree that the runs are a little less daunting after trying them out. In fact the run in M15 may prove trickier. Regardless, I've started on the final runs, because they're fun (gotta have fun), and because I figure starting from the end has been another strategy recommended by some. One thing I did was spend a few minutes mapping out where I was going to drop the L hand notes in relation to the runs. Next I'm going to practice each run with the L hand notes sprinkled in there slowly and gradually build up some speed.

Specifically, the L hand notes C#, F#, D#, C# will fall on approximately:
M58 - D#, B, A, D#
M59 - A, B, D#, B
M60 - A, D#, F#, D#
M61 - A, D#, G#, D#

I suspect as I get it down, and develop a little rubato, crecendo, decrescendo in there this may change a little, but it will at least get me started on these runs.

By the way, what in the world is that chord? C# F# D#? Can we add the initial A, to make it a D#min7b5? F#m6?






Some more links for you're viewing pleasure....the last one's the real gem!
- Jan Lisiecki
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- Wladyslaw Szpilman

Last edited by cmb13; 08/26/18 12:22 PM. Reason: Changed M58

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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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As you suggested in your first post, time is not an issue here as much as the study itself and, perhaps, the practical application of some unfamiliar learning strategies.

I wouldn't be in a hurry to drop the LH notes in at set places. Practise the runs without accents and alternate between playing the runs alone, in situ, and with LH alone. Eventually the runs will develop an accent at the top note and you may be able to feel when to put the hands together and just get them right. This isn't a regular polyrhythmic problem so making divisions by design may result in a mechanical sound later or may create artifical accents in the runs.

As you get used to listening to Chopin's fioriture you'll feel more comfortable with the idea of just letting them develop.

The C#, F# and D# clearly don't make a normal triad. I wouldn't be keen on naming it either. The D# sounds like a suspension or an appoggiatura and as we're in common time here may be two separate pairs of notes. The G# and E of the C# Major both fall by a tone in the second group making the fall to C# a melodic device rather than a harmonic one.


Richard
Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2761330 08/27/18 12:03 PM
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I just read an interesting, in depth analysis of the piece here.. I wonder if this was the work of a graduate student. I don't want to rely on it completely for my own studies but there are some interesting thoughts, including that the Forward actually restates (or really prestates) the theme of the entire piece. Another thought is that measures 32-46 represent a Transitional Section, so I thought to update that breakdown here.

The other thing that I noticed is that questionable chord / or random notes in M57 (C#, D#, F#) are actually the similar to the second half of M5, and may represent a D#min7, or the supertonic, which resolves repeatedly to the tonic throughout the piece.

In M5, The D#, C#, A are in the L, with the F# in the R, whereas later, the D#, C#, F# are in the L, with the A in the R (the beginning and ending of all 4 runs except the first, which begins on D# and ends in A).



M1 - 4: Intro
M5 - 12: A
M13 - 20: A'
M21 - 31: B
M32 - 46: Transitional Section
M46 - 58: A'' with 4 bar extension
M58 - 65: Coda


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Last night I worked on the Intro, the Coda and A1 sections with some success. I actually think I'll be able to handle this piece. Of course I haven't attacked the tougher sections, but it's only been a few days. I think I'll consolidate these sections before moving forward too quickly. That's M1-12, and M58-65. I need to make firm decisions on fingering now before going too much further. For instance, on the C#min, I'm using 5-3-1-2, but later I'm moving my hand, for instance on the C#Maj7 of M7, I'm lifting and using 5-5-1-3, as the E# is a less reliable reach otherwise.

We haven't yet really analyzed the chords of each measure but I've written them in for much of the piece.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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This is interesting just to read as I cannot follow along with you right now. I definitely did not go this deep into the dissection and study of the piece itself before playing through it. I love the detail, though. And the Phrygian scale is new to me, so that's another thing I learned reading this forum. Thanks to both of you (and everyone else contributing) for the detailed posts.

Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Glad your you’re following along! I actually haven’t studied the modes yet either and somewhat glanced over Richards comment on the Phrygian scale but will have to come back to it when I have a minute also.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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I wouldn't normally do a harmonic analysis of a ternary form piece until I get down to phrase level at the piano. In a sonata the key changes define the drama and the contrasts, they're part of the structure, but not in ternary form.

There's a key change for the B section - and back again for the reprise - but there are no key changes in the A section so the harmony of the cadences is where most of the interest lies for me. I know I'm in C# Minor and I expect most of the harmony to reinforce that without having to name all the chords but since you've already done yours I've looked briefly at the harmony.

The second chord, unusually in M5, drops the F# from the ii chord, D#m7b5, where most other instances - including M13 - it's the A that's dropped. It's not unlike Chopin to make changes that don't make sense - harmonically - in his pieces and I wouldn't fuss at all if anyone played an F# for the A in M5. Leaving out the third, albeit still present in the melody, doesn't leave us in suspense as to the minor quality (because of the b5) but leaving out the fifth does give an emptiness, beautifully filled in the coda with the change to major for the last breath.

When reading through this I felt that the notes made sense for the key so I looked no further. I don't think naming all the chords is going to help me memorise this piece. I think the hardest part to remember will be the end of the B section, the transition, as you have it, especially without the RH notes as a guide for when to drop to A# instead of C#.

I'm finding much more interest in seeing where the similar passages differ and this will help me most of all to memorise the piece in its entirety.

I've played through this piece about half a dozen times. I don't really see much difficulty outside the coordination issues. I've followed the score listening to Arrau (beautiful rubato), Pires, et al but I'm finding my own way now reading through it on its own at my desk here at work.

I'm still on the descending passages, M15 and M49, at the piano and expect to start on M53 before the week's out and maybe M11. I'm expecting to start the learning proper next week.


Richard
Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2761627 08/28/18 11:57 PM
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I have tried learning this piece, years ago and sort of gave up when I got to the more difficult sections..but this thread seems like a challenge I cant pass up!


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Originally Posted by cmb13
...on the C#min, I'm using 5-3-1-2, but later I'm moving my hand, for instance on the C#Maj7 of M7, I'm lifting and using 5-5-1-3, as the E# is a less reliable reach otherwise.
In the Alfred Cortot edition of this Lento, the end of M11 includes a G# quarter underneath the last two eighths, B# and A#. I tried a lot fingering combinations that included bringing the pinky to the D# but eventually settled on Cortot's own solution of using the thumb on both the last two eighths and bringing out the third voice. One of the deciding factors was maintaining the lateral movement of the LH which is fundamental, I think, to mastery of this piece (and several of his other Nocturnes) and may prove a good study for this very skill.

Before you settle on the hand move I'd go back to your teacher to discuss the benefits of this lateral freedom and why - and how - you might practise it.


Richard
Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2761682 08/29/18 07:40 AM
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Btw, I found that I had two versions of the score...the one I was using was not the Schirmers, but I've now switched. I'm not sure where the other was from. The Schirmers combines those two measures (the 2/4 and 3/4) into one measure (5/4). There are a few other subtle differences, including the inclusion of those melody / R hand notes in the transition section. I think I'll use this one. Total will be 64 measures. [One less measure to learn ;)]

I had a lesson just yesterday, but unfortunately didn't bring this point up. Will have to wait. frown.

On Measure 11, Schirmer's has the G# quarter also (my prior version did not). I just tried it last night, and played the G# B# with 3-1 and then the A# with 2. It seems to flow nicely for me.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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I think it is better to get the fingering suggestions from a teacher.
Originally Posted by cmb13
Last night I worked on the Intro, the Coda and A1 sections with some success. I actually think I'll be able to handle this piece. Of course I haven't attacked the tougher sections, but it's only been a few days. I think I'll consolidate these sections before moving forward too quickly. That's M1-12, and M58-65. I need to make firm decisions on fingering now before going too much further. For instance, on the C#min, I'm using 5-3-1-2, but later I'm moving my hand, for instance on the C#Maj7 of M7, I'm lifting and using 5-5-1-3, as the E# is a less reliable reach otherwise.

We haven't yet really analyzed the chords of each measure but I've written them in for much of the piece.


Why dont you just ask your teacher for fingering suggestions ? The first week I took this Chopin to my teacher and we spend most of the first lesson doing work on the fingerings. If you learn yourself odd patterns you may create more work as you have to undo and unlearn. In any case, I would strongly advise you not to use Jane as a source. I'm not precisely sure what the use of her video is. The other video from Paul Barton was very interesting, thanks for this. It was particularly interesting in his video that part of this piece was another Chopin piece, thanks for sharing this !

Last edited by Moo :); 08/29/18 02:28 PM.
Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2763654 09/05/18 09:39 PM
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Quick update - I've learned the intro, A and A', and the coda. Not up to speed yet but getting better. I'm a little afraid of the tempo of the transitional section. Not ready to try it though. I haven't decided whether to tackle the A'' or B section next, but I think for the rest of the week, I'll keep working on the sections I've learned to improve their fluidity before moving on.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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I haven't analyzed the piece yet, so I don't know A to A' refer to what, but you didn't have any problem with the particular rhythms?

I've spent literally 30 minutes yesterday on bar 7 (this is the second half of it - I've recorded it for myself so I can listen back to it and better see what I did wrong). And then, there is bar 15...

This piece is so beautiful. All the work will pay it the end. But for now... laugh


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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OK, didn't spot this thread until today, I love the idea of a study group. This is a bit over my ability level (this is a Henle level 5, I'm playing about level 3) but perhaps I'll start one for a piece closer to my level. Searching forum history, there are a lot of study groups but most are over 10 years in the past! Kudos for resurrecting the idea, I've not seen one on the forum since I've been active and it seems like a perfect application for this group!


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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I have come across a great study group for Autumn Leaves, but it was quite old. I like the idea also, it’s great to help each other out.

Jouishy, that’s a tough measure for sure! I spent a while on it, first working out the fingering, then playing it fluidly, then incorporating it with the the eighth notes in the L hand. I haven’t watched your whole video... did you get it? If not I can look and tell you precisely where I am placing each of the notes in relation to the two hands.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Jouishy, my background wouldn't permit me to change the counting in mid bar. You spent fifteen minutes on this without getting it right at the start. Count the crotchets/quarters, 1, 2, 3, 4 or count the eighths, 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +. Don't change from counting four to counting six.

Your metronome is going way too fast. Turn it off until you have the triplet in both hands. Once you get the rhythm it should sit better with you after a night's sleep so don't try to fix the whole bar in one fifteen minute session. Sort out the final triplet first as that's where you're main difficulty is.
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RH only from the B: di Dum di di Dum (ce n'etais pas chaud). Change finger (from 2 to 3) for the last two As so that M6 gets a stronger beat.

Add the two last LH Notes (E#, C#) with the triplet and LH: di DUM di-di di Dum (ce n'eta-is pas chaud).
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If you don't get it in two tries, go slower. When you get it a couple of times move on to something else and come back to it every ten minutes or so during your practise session. Repeat it every day until you don't need to repeat it every day.

When it's easy do the second half of M5 with the first half of M6 before adding the first half of M5.

Let me know how that goes.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Originally Posted by cmb13
Quick update - I've learned the intro, A and A', and the coda.
Yes, I have M1-20 memorised as one unit for this week but I'm leaving the coda for later.


Richard
Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2763697 09/06/18 06:17 AM
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Oh I just looked at the score - I thought you were referring to M15. For M7, just get the triplet down and you’ll have it. It’s 3:2 timing. I would think of the beat as divided into 6 parts, with the eight notes played on 1 and 4, and the triplet on 1, 3 and 5. Once you get that, then incorporate it into the prior beat, then it will fall into place. The good news is once you do this once, it will become easy for other pieces of music as well.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
bSharp(C)yclist #2763698 09/06/18 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
I see this is RCM 9? I'll wait a couple of years smile


I have heard some of your other pieces and I think you can play this piece!

Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Hello,
I recently started working on this piece so I will join the study group. I have the Henle Nocturne book and it has two versions so I need to conclude on the version I want to follow.

Here is what Henle says about the two versions...

"Our edition presents the work in two versions. One derives from the handwritten copy which was owned by Chopin‘s sister Ludwika. The other is a noticeably different original version found in Chopin’s original draft, now preserved in the Chopin Museum in Valldemosa (Mallorca)."

The rhythms in 2nd version are a little more straight forward. I think that is maybe why they call it a "draft." The 2nd version also shows the opening chords in 4 measures while the 1st version has 2 measures with a repeat. I am not certain but I feel like the first version is played more by professionals.

Looking forward to following along!

Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
Patrick Cox #2763736 09/06/18 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Patrick Cox
Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
I see this is RCM 9? I'll wait a couple of years smile


I have heard some of your other pieces and I think you can play this piece!


Thanks for the vote of confidence! But I'll just follow along and listen to you guys for now smile


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2763741 09/06/18 09:52 AM
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Patrick, the main difference I have found is the presence or absence of a slight melody phrase in the transition measures. The second version, published by Chopin's sister, Ludwika Jedrzejewicz, has these notes.

This is the version I have decided to study.

I'll update the summary shortly.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2763744 09/06/18 10:05 AM
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Running Summary

Structure
- Intro section: M1 - 4
- A section: M5 - 12
- A' section: M13 - 20
- B section: M21 - 31
- Transition section: M32 - 46
- A'' section: M46 - 58 (with 4 bar extension)
- Coda: M58 - 65

Versions:


Versions
There are two well utilized version, according to Henle
- The original manuscript that lacks a R hand section in M35-44
- Second version published by Chopin's sister, Ludwika Jedrzejewicz, that includes some melody notes in the transition section
- Additionally, different versions have slightly different measure numbers, depending on whether the intro is counted as 2 measures or 4 (my version has a 2 measure intro that repeats, for a total of 4 measures). Schirmer's, has a total of 65 measures.

Intro
C#min, C#min7, F#min, C#min, A, G#. (i-i7-iv-i-VI-V).
- The VI is an Augmented 6th, which often resolves to the V. In this case, it's a German Augmented 6th.
- The final chord, G#, is Dominant.

Coda
For reference and early learning, the L hand notes C#, F#, D#, C# will fall on approximately the following list. Note this will change as you learn and become comfortable with the rhythm, rubato and add your own phrasing, but I felt this helpful to getting it started:
- M58 - D#, B, A, D#
- M59 - A, B, D#, B
- M60 - A, D#, F#, D#
- M61 - A, D#, G#, D#

Picardy Third
Final Chord is a Picardy Third - it is a C# Maj arpeggio (can be fingered as if it were Db).

Learning resources
- Jane's tutorial for fingering
- Piano Career Academy tutorial by Ilinca Vartic
- Paul Barton's tutorial
- Melanie Spanswick essay on the piece

Professionals
- Jan Lisiecki
- Paul Barton
- Tiffany Poon
- Wladyslaw Szpilman

To be updated as we progress.....


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2763856 09/06/18 08:52 PM
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Btw - measures 17-20 are really a lot of fun to play! Lot of tension build up then release of the tension with that last C#.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2763869 09/06/18 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
Oh I just looked at the score - I thought you were referring to M15. For M7, just get the triplet down and you’ll have it. It’s 3:2 timing. I would think of the beat as divided into 6 parts, with the eight notes played on 1 and 4, and the triplet on 1, 3 and 5. Once you get that, then incorporate it into the prior beat, then it will fall into place. The good news is once you do this once, it will become easy for other pieces of music as well.

Well, I think the good news is that I'm able to tap it on my legs. So there is no reason I can't play it on the piano at some point. It will just take a little bit more practice.

Thanks for the tips. I'll check that with my teacher too.


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- Mozart, K545, 1st mov
- Chopin, nocturne op. posth. in C# minor
- Debussy, Golliwog's cakewalk
- Pozzoli, E.R. 427, etude no. 6
Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2767749 09/26/18 11:00 AM
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Jouishy, how are you doing on the piece?

I have just about completed the A, A' and B sections, up to the transition section. I also have completed the ending. Only the transition section and A'' remain. I'm practicing very slowly, and working on getting the fingering down without looking much. Trying to really get this one into the fingers permanently if possible!


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2767814 09/26/18 04:31 PM
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Hi cmb13!

It is going very slowly, since I'm starting to work on 4 of my 5 pieces for my next exam at the same time. wink
I've gone through the first page mostly (bars 1-20). Placing the fingerings, the rhythm (as much as possible...). I've started looking at bars 21-32 literally yesterday. My teacher was out of the country the past 2 weeks, so we haven't check that piece together yet.

I always like to have time-stamp of my progress, so I will probably do a very first recording within the next week to have the first picture of my pieces for my exam, and see how I will progress in the following months, up until May. smile


My piano journey from day 1
Started piano on February 2016.
Pieces I'm working on :
- Rameau, Les Sauvages
- Mozart, K545, 1st mov
- Chopin, nocturne op. posth. in C# minor
- Debussy, Golliwog's cakewalk
- Pozzoli, E.R. 427, etude no. 6
Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2767839 09/26/18 06:28 PM
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That's okay, it's only been a few weeks. This piece is tough, going slowly probably preferable. I'm trying to add dynamics and musicality as I learn each section.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2767869 09/26/18 10:13 PM
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Thanks cmb 13 and other participants. You have inspiried me to work on this nocturne. It’s really beautiful but it will take me several weeks to understand it.



Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2768585 09/30/18 12:53 PM
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Great Pianogrl!

Today I tackled the transition section. I was a little afraid of the fast chords here, but I learned them slowly and with a metronome, and it went well. Slowing them down allowed me to see how rich and delicious these chords are, especially the D#6 (at least that’s what I think it is - D#, G or F##, A#, B#).


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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I am using Henle the 1st version for my score. Some of the dynamic markings are different than the second version and I notice listening on YT that interpretations vary widely. Some scores have that dissonant d# in the LH - measure 4 after the introduction - which I have always thought didn’t sound quite right.

I have the notes down except for that very very long run of 35 notes in the RH - still working on that. I need to play the entire piece a lot more to get my own interpretation. Getting those runs to sound free and rhythmically on target is the hardest part of the piece for me.

You and zrft are so conscientious about analyzing the harmonics. My teacher addresses the harmonic changes on pieces I work on and why they are important. I have to admit I don’t analyze pieces I’m working on at the level of detail you two do. I think in the transition section, the first 3 chords - M1, M2 , M3 - are a dominant 7th flat five chord in A, followed by a G# major chord, followed by a C minor 7th chord. I think it was this 3rd chord that you referred to a D#6.

The first chord is A, C#, D# (Eb) and G.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominant_seventh_flat_five_chord

The second chord is a G# major triad - G#, B#, D#. This is V chord for the piece.

The third chord is a C minor 7th - B# (C), D# (Eb), F## (G) A# (Bb)



Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2768649 09/30/18 06:27 PM
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You may be right about that chord. I just wonder why it would be written with a B sharp, rather than a C. I suppose it could be a B# minor seventh rather than a C min 7 technically. I guess it would also depend on whether or not this section represents a modulation of key. Of course, there is a relationship between 6th chords and minor 7th chords.

Regarding that 35 note run, I found it easiest just to think of it as an E major scale, starting and ending on the A, and I use the same fingering as I would with an E major scale. Getting it up to speed is a little tricky, but as I am practicing more, it is working better. I also found that initially I tried to space those runs with the 4 eight notes evenly, but now I have begun to decelerate toward the end of the run to make it sound a little bit more musical.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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I think those notes appear because G# is the dominant of C# and the G# scale has seven sharps - g#, a#, b#, c#, d#, e#, f##, g#. The G# scale is the enharmonic equivalent of rhe Ab scale. Maybe someone who knows more about music theory can weigh in.

Thanks for the tip on the runs!



Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Originally Posted by pianogrlNW
...it will take me several weeks to understand it.
In what way do you mean 'understand it'?

I've been unable to get much time at the piano recently but I memorised the first 20 measures a little while ago and I'm looking at M21 - 33 now. The next section, the transition back to the A section, looked trickier to memorise than to play until the pattern became clear. It's easier now but I'll still leave it until I've polished up to M33.

I seldom find naming the chords as helpful as paying attention to the bass notes and their order but as you appear to be getting confused...

The B section begins on M21, four bars then another four, the first two down a third, the second two down a third an octave lower. The last phrase begins in M29 and, for me, ends at the start of M34. There are so many editions of this piece so I'm taking the measure of 5/4 as M32 _and_ M33 (the Cortot version uses one measure of 2/4 and one of 3/4). So the Adagio begins on M45 and the reprise begins on the last beat of M46.

The two-bar transition pattern, for me, begins with the D# chord, M34, beat two. The A on the downbeat has nothing to do with the chord for the rest of the bar. Likewise the A natural in M38. Beat two is D# major without the fifth and the C# on beat three is the seventh. The next four beats are G# major.

The A# in M36 is the missing fifth and is underneath the RH C# (in the editions that have it). So this passage is standard V-I fare in G# but starting on beat two.

The A natural in the bass at M34 and M38 I regard as colour and its placement was the source of my memorising difficulties but I'm over that now.

Does that make sense?


Richard
Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
zrtf90 #2769267 10/03/18 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by zrtf90
Originally Posted by pianogrlNW
...it will take me several weeks to understand it.
In what way do you mean 'understand it’?

Richard, I meant trying to understand it on more gut level. What’s the character and mood of the piece and how should I interpret it? I wasn’t referring to how to analyze the harmonic structure measure by measure.

Originally Posted by zrtf90
I seldom find naming the chords as helpful as paying attention to the bass notes and their order but as you appear to be getting confused...

I was naming the chords in response to cmb’s post. I agree with you that it is more meaningful to pay attention to the bass notes.



Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2769288 10/03/18 10:42 AM
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Thanks, Ellen. I knew you weren't analysing it but I wasn't sure what you meant.

The rest of my post was really for Craig but I copied and pasted to the front of the post instead of the end.


Richard
Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Today I feel like I’m starting to connect with this piece and understand it. Not sure how fluid and fast my 35 notes will ever be so I came up with a ritardando in measures 53 and 54, 2 measures before the rapid passage. I’m hoping that will make my slower run less noticeable.

Are you all planning to post a recording once you feel good about your performance?



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Sounds great - glad it’s coming along. I have most of it but I am away so no practice this week frown. I will record it but it will be another month or two before I’m really comfortable or up to speed. Possibly for the next recital? I still love the piece btw - possibly even more as I learn it more intimately.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Well, I nearing the finish line. It’s just about two months. I still have a little bit of polishing to do, and have to make sure that I can smooth out certain sections, but tonight, for the first time, I played it from start to finish without interruption! Very excited smile.

Anyone else making progress on this piece?


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Cmb13, Are you thinking of submitting it for the quarterly recital? It would be interesting if a few people submitted their recordings to hear the differences in intepretation. I think I am almost to the point of recording the piece.



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Not sure....I didn't think it would be recital-ready but we'll see how it goes over then next two weeks. I'm looking forward to when I can lean a piece like this in a week and have it ready in another week! Still a little way off I think. I did manage to stumble through 72.1 last night just for fun on one attempt though, so getting a little better.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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I hadn't been planning on submitting this but since both of you, Ellen and Craig, have mentioned it I've been working to that end. I'll be able to confirm before submissions open whether I've got it as good as I think I need it but it's looking positive so far.

Originally Posted by Fidel
...how do you play the 35 note fioritura at the end of the c# nocturne? I can't get it fast enough to stay in tempo over the LH.
I saw this on another thread but just in case Fidel is still around...

My feeling is that the listener will accept whatever tempo is used here provided the accents are weighted appropriately for bringing out the metre. So for me the phrasing (and grouping) is more important than the tempo.

This is the case with all four of these fioriture and I practise each of them i) once through playing only in my head, ii) once with RH only on the piano, iii) once using LH only on piano with RH in my head, and iv) once playing both hands together but concentrating on putting the accents the right places (on the right notes, not necessarily at the right time): on the D# at the top in M58, again in M59, the F# in M60 and the G# in M61.

Graham Fitch has a general practise method of alternating LH and RH alone, zig-zag practise he calls it, that I find very appropriate for this kind of issue so the above is my personal variation on his idea that I've adapted to taste.


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Recorded this afternoon. Not sure I will be submitting it for the quarterly recital. I'm feeling OK about the tempo and pacing but hearing it - still need to work on more dynamic contrast and bringing out the top notes in the opening section.

Chopin Nocturn in C# Minor



Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Nice playing, Ellen! The runs at the end were really smooth. I also thought the trills were good. I have trouble with the E-F# trill in M51 (I think - not looking at the score right now). I’ve been using 1-3 but it’s an odd trill imo.

Is that a photo of your piano room? Such a beautiful setting!


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Here's an interesting essay on this nocturne. It was written by Melanie Spanswick, who I had not heard of before, but offers some nice insights into the piece. It was good to read it after I've learned but before completing my practice on the piece, as it may enable me to get more out of it at this stage and hopefully improve my rendition.

A few thoughts on Chopin’s Nocturne No. 20 in C Sharp Minor Op. Posth.

Updated version of the first article here; more comprehensive


Excellent Claudio Arrau version:

Last edited by cmb13; 10/26/18 11:54 AM.

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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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CMB
PianoCareer Academy offers more in depth analysis of this nocturne
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SSo4oX0SUtI

Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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cmb13, I don’t know if you noticed but there is an update of this blog post that is linked to at the bottom of her original post you linked above.


It’s never too late to be what you might have been. -George Eliot
Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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OK CMB and dogperson. Thanks for the references. Both interesting, though I could only listen to 'piano career girl' for 20 minutes before tuning out. All very good info -EXCEPT- one important item.

They both speak of and demonstrate rubato, but, as far as I could tell, neither mentioned that Chopin writes the rubato into the score as notation. Claudio Arrau plays using the rubato marked in the score, perhaps a bit too much for our modern, MIDI sewing machine ears, but at least he recognizes that which the vast majority of piano teachers do not know and do not teach.

Look at the first two measures. Listen to Claudio or 'piano career girl'. Get a pulse going in your fingers in 1/8th notes. Notice that both pianists slow down slightly and then hold the first beat 1/4 note of the second measure. Why do they both do that? Because Chopin told them to with the hairpins. The opening hairpin means to broaden out the time and the closing hairpin, in this case, means to pause, almost imperceptibly, on the first note, then return to the original tempo by the end of the closing hairpin.

This occurs with every hairpin in the piece. They don't mean crescendo and decrescendo, though that will naturally happen as a result of an ascending line or descending line. Remember, in Chopin's era, one always got louder as the pitch increased and got softer as the pitch decreased, unless the composer indicated otherwise.

Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Originally Posted by John305
cmb13, I don’t know if you noticed but there is an update of this blog post that is linked to at the bottom of her original post you linked above.


Didn't notice but I updated the above post....thanks!


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Originally Posted by dogperson
CMB
PianoCareer Academy offers more in depth analysis of this nocturne
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SSo4oX0SUtI


Thanks! I've also seen this one. Nice video. She does take a while though. smile


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Originally Posted by prout
OK CMB and dogperson. Thanks for the references. Both interesting, though I could only listen to 'piano career girl' for 20 minutes before tuning out. All very good info -EXCEPT- one important item.

They both speak of and demonstrate rubato, but, as far as I could tell, neither mentioned that Chopin writes the rubato into the score as notation. Claudio Arrau plays using the rubato marked in the score, perhaps a bit too much for our modern, MIDI sewing machine ears, but at least he recognizes that which the vast majority of piano teachers do not know and do not teach.

Look at the first two measures. Listen to Claudio or 'piano career girl'. Get a pulse going in your fingers in 1/8th notes. Notice that both pianists slow down slightly and then hold the first beat 1/4 note of the second measure. Why do they both do that? Because Chopin told them to with the hairpins. The opening hairpin means to broaden out the time and the closing hairpin, in this case, means to pause, almost imperceptibly, on the first note, then return to the original tempo by the end of the closing hairpin.

This occurs with every hairpin in the piece. They don't mean crescendo and decrescendo, though that will naturally happen as a result of an ascending line or descending line. Remember, in Chopin's era, one always got louder as the pitch increased and got softer as the pitch decreased, unless the composer indicated otherwise.





Good points. Arrau's version is sublime, I must admit. I just ordered some Henle books so I'll see if these Urtext versions differ with regards to the hairpins, rubato markings, etc.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Originally Posted by dogperson
CMB
PianoCareer Academy offers more in depth analysis of this nocturne
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SSo4oX0SUtI


I thought this was excellent-although out of my league still crazy



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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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cmb13 gives an excellent summary earlier in this thread regarding the various versions available. Both manuscripts are available on line and really help to recognize the lengths to which publishers have gone to differentiate their editions from other publishers. As a result, many teachers in the videos are presenting ideas and techniques to play stuff that is not in the manuscripts.

If you really want to dig into this music, and it really is worth doing, I suggest you look at the manuscripts and then make your own descisions as to what to play and how to interpret the piece.

There are two pieces of advice I can offer.

One, when you play the melody, think of a how and where a singer would breathe.

Two, the scales at the end. Take your time rising to the peak, and then accelerate back down to the bottom in each case. This is marked by hairpins. Remember, rising lines usually get louder and descending lines get softer. This naturally occurs in the human voice and blown instruments, and keyboard teachers have been teaching this since long before pianos existed.

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Here’s a manuscript.

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Great find, prout - all on one page! Is that an original manuscript? I wonder if it is; it would be cool to have a high quality printout and frame it! I had not heard of hairpins used for acceleration and deceleration before, but your above post does make sense.

I played through the piece last night without stopping; I was very happy. Dynamics and all. However, there are a few spots that still I have to think about, such as in the 2nd eighth note, whether to hit a D# or F#, or a couple of other areas that use one or another note. So basically it's memorized but not yet secure.

Thanks for everyone to contributing to this thread and I hope others now or in the future can find this one useful!


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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As I reflect on what I've gotten from this piece, it's been just over 2 months; I figure it will be secure by the 3 month mark. An entire season, but I don't mind. If i can continue to learn a piece of this caliber at a rate of 4 / year, I'd be very happy. Meanwhile I've tackled some other lingering projects at the same time.

I think I continued to improve on dynamics with this piece, learned to relax to play some fast runs a little more freely and efficiently, worked on memorization, hopefully my trills are improving; there are a fair amount in this piece. I won't claim to play this to a concert level by any stretch, or even as well as some of the more seasoned ppl in this thread, but every piece like this adds more tools to the toolbox!


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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cmb13,

As far as I know, there are only two ‘original’ manuscripts - one by Chopin, which is the one above, and one by his sister, which adds a few notes here and there. The Chopin manuscript has the first and fifth bass notes as D#, whereas most editions have ‘corrected’ this to F#. While I think F# sounds better, the D# also works.

I’ve been playing professionally for 63 years, and have yet to ‘finish’ a piece, so enjoy the journey, put the piece aside for a while, come back to it after some months, and it will already be better, much like aging wine. I don’t know why it works for music, but it really does.

Nowadays, for me, it takes about six months to get a piece to performance level, then I start working on it to actually get it to the point where I would allow people to hear it. That usually takes a few years.

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Thanks, prout, the trick part on my version (Schirmer's) is that there are D#s in some measures, F#s in others. I've been looking for patterns to clue me and help remember but they vary. I've also tried to name most of the chords, but some are unidentifiable. There are some diminished chords I suppose.

I still have to complete a chord analysis..that'll help. Working on it.

Anyway, whereas I know about the 2 original manuscript versions, I thought it would be really neat to get a high quality reproduction of the one you posted and frame it in the piano room. I wonder if that's available. I briefly searched the internet for a very high quality image but couldn't find one.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Here is one: The second picture of two shows a manuscipt of the nocturne Chopin likely copied out for a pupil.

Chopin Manuscript

Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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I see you've already submitted your Nocturne, Ellen. I'm days away. I think the trills are so vital in this piece that I have to get them all lined up. I've some good takes but none where all the trills are successful.

All the professional recordings I've found use a doppio movimento for the triplet time section in the transition from B to A (M33 in the Henle autograph version) and I can't see any indication why in any of the editions I've seen so I tried to resist the temptation and stick faithfully to the score but in the end my ears told me why everyone plays it like 3/8 time rather than 3/4. It just seems to drag at the very moment it wants to propel us back to the reprise.

Originally Posted by cmb13
...such as in the 2nd eighth note, whether to hit a D# or F#...
Originally Posted by prout
The Chopin manuscript has the first and fifth bass notes as D#, whereas most editions have ‘corrected’ this to F#.
2nd eighth? 1st and 5th bass notes? <puzzled> Not in any of my editions.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Originally Posted by zrtf90
I see you've already submitted your Nocturne, Ellen. I'm days away. I think the trills are so vital in this piece that I have to get them all lined up. I've some good takes but none where all the trills are successful.

All the professional recordings I've found use a doppio movimento for the triplet time section in the transition from B to A (M33 in the Henle autograph version) and I can't see any indication why in any of the editions I've seen so I tried to resist the temptation and stick faithfully to the score but in the end my ears told me why everyone plays it like 3/8 time rather than 3/4. It just seems to drag at the very moment it wants to propel us back to the reprise.

Originally Posted by cmb13
...such as in the 2nd eighth note, whether to hit a D# or F#...
Originally Posted by prout
The Chopin manuscript has the first and fifth bass notes as D#, whereas most editions have ‘corrected’ this to F#.
2nd eighth? 1st and 5th bass notes? <puzzled> Not in any of my editions.

Compare measure 8 in each of the two manuscripts I posted above. In the first you will see a D# on the 1st and 5th notes in the bass line. In the second you will see an F# on the 1st and 5th notes in the bass line. Both of these are in Chopin’s hand.

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Oh, measure 8! Thanks, prout, very much appreciated - as are most of your contributions.


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That's great that you're going to record it, Richard! I'm not sure yet if I will; I've finished it but it's not yet "finished", and I know I can't do it the justice that you or Ellen can. We'll see if it's close enough next week.

Btw as an aside, as we had discussed months ago, I've also worked more on the Consolation in Db; I wonder if anyone would care for a detailed thread on that one? I think I have finished that one to the best of my ability.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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If you're finished with the Consolation for now it won't help you as much as starting one for your next project. I suggest you leave it until you're ready to revisit the Consolation with renewed vigour and a start from scratch attitude. Discussion after the bulk of the work is done can help understanding and suggest what and how to practise from then on but the immediacy of the benefit is gone.

When a piece has been in your active practice for a while it generally makes most of its progress from there on in small, barely noticeable increments and most of that is down to (slow, conscious) repetition. Muscle memory has such a tenacious grip it's difficult to relearn a piece afresh without considerable inattention given to it in the interim. It becomes like bone and really needs a long time in a slow cooker to get the goodness out.

Real, fast progress comes from time away from the instrument, playing it in your head - with or without the score - and consideration of the bigger picture (all the sections and climaxes in relation to each other, etc) before starting serious work on it, more like hanging a piece of muscle meat a few weeks before pan frying it.

Whatever thread you start, though, I will, of course, contribute where I can.


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Thanks - I left the Consolation for a few months then went back to it w my teacher. His best contribution was to make sure I knew what chord I was on in the transition points as I sometimes got a little lost but now that helped w memorization. It would really be for others at this point.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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I think the pieces people play best are ones that are like old friends who live in another town. If you keep revisitng them over time you gain more insight and ease that isn’t there with new pieces. I would like to be able to revisit more of my older pieces but find I don’t have the time to do that and work on new pieces. Craig, maybe the Consolation will be one of those pieces that you keep coming back to.



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Yes I think it’s a keeper.

I think I’m having trouble getting the 35 beat run fast AND smooth. It’s either or. Especially the turn at the top - I seem to be slightly off in the turn and it’s bothering me. Time for the trusty metronome.

Edit - i think it’s the lift off rather than the press down that is causing my glitch. Trying to work it out. That’s my biggest hangip now. The trills are getting better with a lighter touch.

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Get the run smooth, Craig. The speed will come from finding _your_ way of playing it and repeating it slowly.

My feeling is that this needs accents in the right hand to show the beats of the bar more than it needs dividing the bar into equally timed beats. For me, the metronome wouldn't help with that. Listen to the flexible timing in Arrau's left hand during the coda. It's about the beats more than the tempo.

When you get the accents right and on the beat, the listener will hear that and accommodate a more flexible tempo. The metronome will only be useful if you a) set it to the slowest beat and b) slower than you would normally play anyway.

I've broken the bar down as:
beat one as eight notes (4 + 4), from A to A,
beat two as a group of nine (4 + 5), from B to C# (a common device with Beethoven),
beat three as a slight hold on the apex, D#, before a rapid run of ten or two groups of 5 (starting with the D#, though in practise I start on C# at 'two' because I'm holding the D#) down to the B (it's easier to go faster in RH descending),
beat four is a ritard from A to the final G# in the next measure and taking as long as I think feels right.

When I practise this run I pause before each beat for a second or so and get the flow of the RH in my head but the LH is easy to place at specific notes this way and it's just a question of reducing the pauses.

I hope that's clear enough and that it helps. You can also rearrange the groups to suit your own feel for the run.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2778047 11/04/18 11:52 AM
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Richard - what do you think of the “thumb over” technique described in the very old thread I referenced - reopened on this page?


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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This is how I practiced the runs. For the 3 shorter runs I used the metronome and counted out loud RH only so I could feel the tempo of each run and how the notes fit into the 2 beats. Then I added the LH, turned off the metronome and counted out loud. After doing this a bunch of times you get the feel of how the 3 runs feel and how they are different from each other.

Long 35 note run. Practice playing the run as quickly as possible by building it slowly. Add a 3 or 4 note group (fingers 123, 1234 ascending or 4321, 321 descending) gradually until you can play the entire run without any ghost notes or accents. Always stop on the first note of the next group. Once you can play it evenly and as fast as possbile, use visual guideposts for where the LH notes fit in. I used B, the top D# and the same B descending. The LH notes should come in somewhere in that area so it sounds free. I didn’t use the metronome for this passage.

Last thing to do is to work on the crescendos and descrescendos. Don’t forget the delicato, delicastissimo and stacatto notes.

I would not accent any notes in the runs. If you feel satisfied with the evenness and tempo you can hesitate slightly on the first 2 notes, like a runner at the starting gate.

Think of the long 35 note run as skipping stones over water. Your hand should hit those keys lightly, skimming over the surface. That will help with speed.

Good luck!!



Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
Last thing to do is to work on the crescendos and descrescendos. Don’t forget the delicato, delicastissimo and stacatto notes.


I must respectfully disagree with the idea that there are, in fact crescendos and decrescendos in the runs.

First of all, pianists in the 19th century were taught to increase the dynamic level as the pitch increased, so an ascending scale got louder toward the top and get softer toward the bottom. Singers, trumpeters and the like do this naturally. We have to be reminded, and can choose to be very gentle with the changes.

Second, Chopin used words - cresc. , dim. to indicate when a whole area (all parts) in the piece were to change dynamic level.

Thirdly, Chopin used hairpins, open and close together, and open and close separately, to indicate agogic inflection, not necessarily dynamic chnages, though, in many cases, that occurs naturally as well when one uses agogic emphasis on a note or phrase.

This means that Chopin intended these runs to slightly slow rising to peak, and then accelerating back down.

If this were not the case, why do see numerous examples in this piece of an opening hairpin followed by a cresc. marking?

There is no need to show off your virtuosity by playing the 35 note run in perfect tempo. Chopin would have been appalled. And why get louder on the 11 and 13 note runs? It sounds much more musical if you play them delicately.

Last edited by prout; 11/04/18 01:31 PM.
Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Originally Posted by prout
Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
Last thing to do is to work on the crescendos and descrescendos. Don’t forget the delicato, delicastissimo and stacatto notes.

I must respectfully disagree with the idea that there are, in fact crescendos and decrescendos in the runs.

I was not advocating that the 35 note run be played in perfect tempo so no reason to say Chopin would be appalled, Thanks for bringing up the point about the hairpins. I noticed this came up over on the Pianist Corner, but it appears what you are saying may be open for debate. I will ask my teacher her opinion about this.


Last edited by PianogrlNW; 11/04/18 03:50 PM.


Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Originally Posted by cmb13
Richard - what do you think of the “thumb over” technique...
I first came across the term 'thumb over' in Chang's book, Fundamentals of Piano Practise. The term is poor for what I do but I've never come across a good description of it. Standard fast scale practise is what I do - assuming how I play fast scales is standard!

It's not turning the thumb under the hand as we do for slow scales but shifting the hand across much the same as for arpeggios. Chang describes rotating the hand, as I recall, until the thumb is over the target key but that' not what I do.

You might get a better idea from Josh Wright's Crossing versus Shifting video but I think it's best to learn it from a good teacher.



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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
Originally Posted by prout
Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
Last thing to do is to work on the crescendos and descrescendos. Don’t forget the delicato, delicastissimo and stacatto notes.

I must respectfully disagree with the idea that there are, in fact crescendos and decrescendos in the runs.

I was not advocating that the 35 note run be played in perfect tempo so no reason to say Chopin would be appalled, Thanks for bringing up the point about the hairpins. I noticed this came up over on the Pianist Corner, but it appears what you are saying may be open for debate. I will ask my teacher her opinion about this.

It is open for debate, as are all aspects of interpreting music of composers who are presently decomposing.

However, references in the 19th C to hairpins as agogic emphasis are available to the researcher. I have a reference from a pianist who attended a rehearsal when Brahms was playing his quintet. She confirmed in her letter that Brahms played all his hairpins as agogics, not dynamics. This is very late 19th C.

Here is a sample from Chopin. Ask your teacher how you can play both a crescendo (marked cresc. - - - - ) and a decrescendo (supposedly marked with a closing hairpin) at the same time?

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In reply to Prout (don’t want to keep copying the expanding thread). My Henle Urtext of the Chopin Nocturne that is the subject of this thread does not have any markings like the example you show above. IOW, no crescendo in words with a decrescendo hairpin following it. I don’t know what the source is of this score. So it seems like the thread is veering slightly off topic. But I wiil still ask my teacher about playing the runs in Nocturne that is being discussed.



Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Originally Posted by zrtf90
Originally Posted by cmb13
Richard - what do you think of the “thumb over” technique...
I first came across the term 'thumb over' in Chang's book, Fundamentals of Piano Practise. The term is poor for what I do but I've never come across a good description of it. Standard fast scale practise is what I do - assuming how I play fast scales is standard!

It's not turning the thumb under the hand as we do for slow scales but shifting the hand across much the same as for arpeggios. Chang describes rotating the hand, as I recall, until the thumb is over the target key but that' not what I do.

You might get a better idea from Josh Wright's Crossing versus Shifting video but I think it's best to learn it from a good teacher.





Funny - I discovered the Josh Wright video today also!!! I agree the term is really poor. Shifting hand position is a much better description. As I mentioned, I toyed with this technique earlier when learning this piece, then back to traditional thumb under scale technique, but now I'm going back to the shifting hand technique. Thanks!


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
In reply to Prout (don’t want to keep copying the expanding thread). My Henle Urtext of the Chopin Nocturne that is the subject of this thread does not have any markings like the example you show above. IOW, no crescendo in words with a decrescendo hairpin following it. I don’t know what the source is of this score. So it seems like the thread is veering slightly off topic. But I wiil still ask my teacher about playing the runs in Nocturne that is being discussed.
Sorry. The example I show above is not a Nocturne. It was just a random sample of Chopin from one my urtexts (3rd Ballade) that I posted in the piano forum a while back.

Last edited by prout; 11/04/18 06:15 PM.
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PianogrlNW, Prout is suggesting mainly that the hairpins are there to note that the sections should be played with increasing or decreasing tempo....I had not heard this before but from his earlier posts in the thread it makes sense to me. Then again, what do I know? LOL Regardless, it fits in the discussion well enough, as we're directing the piece to pieces, as intended!


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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The agogic emphasis is so slight tht you might not even be aware it occurred, but, if you listen to a pianist who does it while tapping out a constant beat, you will imediately sense the agogic. It is what makes music emotional. We sigh and linger over emotional climaxes.

All of this occurs along with the push and pull of rubato and the rise and fall of dynamics. Many times the increase in dynamic level follows the enlargement of the time as you approach the climax of a line, or maybe linger on a note or two before continuing the long crescendo to an emptional climax, as is the case with the ballade I posted above.

But other times you want to linger on a note or two while the sound is dying away, sighs if you will, You may a dim. and closing hairpins together.

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From the Recital 52 discussion...
Originally Posted by schinl
I have also followed the study group with interest, and would like to attempt this piece one day.
Originally Posted by schinl
I'm curious what the difference between all the versions you tried?

Thank you for your comment, Schin. I'm guessing from the above that you'll see this. Let me know if you don't. laugh

The first two measures are repeated in one edition, written out twice in others, sometimes with extra dynamic markings (for a softer repeat) and sometimes with a una corda instruction.

On the first beat of the second measure the E from the previous chord is held, in other editions it is played again. There is an opening hairpin under the last chords in that measure, opening and closing in other editions and just closing in another.

The first trill, F#-G#-F#-G#... is sometimes prefixed withan accacc. pair suggesting the trill begins E-F#-F#-G#... and another beginning E-F#-G#...

In the third measure of the first phrase, my M7, the first C# is held for three beats in others it's played again on beat three.

The first measure of the second phrase, my M13, finished with a four note accacc. E-F#-G#-A or with a three note E-F#-A.

The third beat in M15 begins with a semiq pair and triplet semiq's. In other editions it is is a pentuplet group.

The hairpins in the second half of the phrase are contradictory.

The B section, M21 begin with two bars of 3/4 time in RH against each 4/4 measure in the LH, per Chopin's autograph. Most editions continue 4/4 time and introduce triplets and groups of quavers and semiquavers per the manuscript from Chopin's sister.

Around measure 32 some editions have 2/3 time and 3/4 time as two measures, one has 5/4 time. The manuscript juggles 3/4 in RH, 4/4 in LH ending up in 3/4 in both hands. These all finish with the last two notes as dotted crotchet and quaver. Another edition continues 4/4 time and finishes with the last two notes as dotted quaver and semiquaver.

The rising run in M50, 52 or 53 (depending on edition) is grouped as [3, 3, 3, 2, 3, 3], [3,3,5,6], [6, 3,2,6] (all workable, so far) but also, from the autograph, [3, 3, 5, 5], missing the penultimate E.

I started with the Paderewski edition from the Chopin Institute and where it differs with one of the two Henle versions I went with whichever Henle version made most sense. I've now discarded all other editions and whatever I'm playing agrees with one of the Henle versions but not one of them consistently.
___________________________

On a side note, Schin, I studied calligraphy with Peter Thornton and Stan Knight with extras from Gaynor Goffe and Tom Perkins.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Some general tips from when I left :

- Slowly come of the notes with pedal and keys at same time in the first 4 bars.

Tune:

- Quiet, light touch
- Longer notes louder, but a short note after a long note should not be played louder

- Trills start slower initially then build up
- Especially the longer trills normally start slower, build up faster, finish slower
- Strict legato the left hand quavers especially 3th/4th

End:

- Split the runs at the end with the base

- First run (18) split 4+4+5+5,
- Second run (35) split 8+9+9+9
- Third run (11) is split 2+3+3+3
- Last run (13) split 3+3+3+4

That's all I can remember, good luck smile

Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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I received some feedback on my version of this piece from Pianist685 in Recital 52 that may give insights into anyone else planning or working on this piece. Some of it is just my own misreading or poor playing but some are differences in the scores that may be pertinent.

Originally Posted by Pianist685
I wonder if one should strike the c# at 0:35 and 0:37 twice. I have a score where the note should be held.
This, I believe goes back to Paderewski and his edition for the Chopin Institute. Neither Chopin's autograph nor the manuscript from his sister shows this tie. Both the Henle versions have the top C# in M7 played again and recordings by Claudio Arrau, Daniel Barenboim and Maria João Pires follow suit.

Originally Posted by Pianist685
The fourth left hand note in bar 28 should be g#, not a.
This was just a slip. I normally get it right.

Originally Posted by Pianist685
The first left hand notes in bar 40 at 2:48, bar 42 at 2:50 and bar 44 at 2:53 should be d# and not d, according to my score.
Again, my mistake but I want to point out for this passage that I changed the hand distribution. When I realised I had to speed up this passage I moved the two notes before the low bass notes into the RH (as it had little else to do at the time). Someone else might find this helpful. I'm using 1 for the B# and 3 for the G#. It looks odd on paper but I'm using 2 and 3 for the C# and D# that are meant for the RH so it feels fine at the piano.

Originally Posted by Pianist685
Then you are playing the whole piece piano without any considerable changes in dynamics. My score says “con forza” in bar 15, forte in bar 19 with dim. to pp in bar 21, forte again in bar 29, pp in bar 30, same in bars 49 and 50.
The dynamics are still being worked on as I mentioned in my notes. I started slowing this piece down around six or seven weeks ago and it will take me some time to soften the tone to suit. The con forza runs are as loud as I want them but I do need to bring up the level for M17-20 and the add some appassionato in the reprise, where the top E is the climax of the piece.

The forte in the manuscript is under the E in M18, the climax of the phrase, not under the G (as in Paderewski's edition). The F and PP in M29-30 are also Padereswki's and don't appear in the autograph.


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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zrtf90,

In general, I agree with your comments. The Paderewski edition really should be viewed with great scepticism. Why they didn’t defer to the manuscripts available, but chose to add notations that Chopin did not put in the score and change notations Chopin did put in the score is beyond me. And, more importantly, they didn’t mention to anyone in the edition that they had done so. That is not scholarship.

As far as dynamics go, this is a nocturne. It needs to be dreamy - large changes on dynamics are unnecessary. Most of the changes in intensity occur through agogic emphasis, which has its own subtle dynamic shift.

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At this thread has run it's course, I wanted to thank everyone for participating. It has been a fantastic journey, and I've learned a lot here. zrtf90, your assistance has been invaluable. Prout, thanks for the insights, and pianogrlNW, I'm glad you were able to pick it up as well.

My teacher, btw, also mentioned playing it slowly (Lento con gran expressione) so as to hear the quiet between the melody. I'm pretty much finished with the piece now and will try again to get a good recording. I might save it for the next recital. On to the next one. I'm beginning 72.1 (actually already learned the second half of it; working my way back).

Thanks again!


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Since I'm just about to start in on this one, I'll probably post here if I have any questions or need insight. So don't be surprised if it pops up again!


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Bravo, Craig, for producing a fine performance. That's a serious accomplishment.

This is a wonderful piece which, like the Liszt Consolation, can be revisited over the years and will improve with each new learning and your cumulative skills will shine whenever you play it.


And thanks for the mention.


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Thanks, Richard...funny thing is as I listen to it now (the recording I submitted, that is), I feel I can play it a little more fluently now, with a few more months under my belt. I just couldn't subject myself to the multiple frustrating recording attepmts again just yet, though, especially with the Bach recital right around the corner.

I'm looking forward to another collaborative project in the future! Maybe some Debussy - Arabesque? Clare De Lune? Other composers?


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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Originally Posted by cmb13
Maybe some Debussy - Arabesque? Clare De Lune? Other composers?
I'm not sure whether the question is rhetorical or aimed at me.

If it were my choice I'd move away from the French Romantic period of Chopin-Liszt, further afield than Debussy, and look at something a little different.

I don't know what else you've been working on other than 72/1 and don't know whether to press on with pieces that challenge you technically or relax with an easier piece where you can look at a higher standard of achievement.

These suggestions, which are fairly gentle in pace, are but a torn-off corner from my list of prospects. If they don't appeal they might give you ideas or where to look:

Scarlatti: Kp.208 or Kp. 462
Haydn: Adagio from Hob. XVI/23, 2nd mvt. (8m20) or Mozart: Adagio, K. 282, 1st mvt.
(German Romantic) Schumann: Eintritt, Op. 82/1 or Mendelssohn: Andante espressivo, Op. 85/1
Tchaikovsky: October, Op. 37/10 or Grieg: Solitary Traveller, Op. 43/2
Albeniz: Rumores de la Caleta, Op. 71/6 or Balakirev: Mazurka No. 2 in C# Minor

Do you have list of prospects yourself? Would you want something more up tempo?


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Thanks for the intro to new music....all of those are new to me. Did you list these to be different in style than the romantics I've been playing, or to be a little less demanding, which I agree would be nice for a change! Some don't look any less so though.

Of those, I think I liked the Tchaikovsky best, but then it may have been Khatia's beautiful interpretation. It's a little long but seems somewhat manageable.

I also like the Grieg and have been considering picking up the Lyric Pieces. I recently bought Songs Without Words, and the Mendelssohn piece is in there. The Scarlatti 208 was nice, and the 462 very interesting with those scales in octaves (it was nice to follow the music in the video).

Just had time to briefly listen to some of them. I'm actually printing a version of October from MuseOpen to see if feasible.....doesn't look that crazy, actually....


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As a matter of fact, I am able to sight read the October piece, albeit slowly and not perfectly, but it seems quite feasible, so if you’d like to set up a thread on that one I would be glad to learn it also. Maybe we can get Ellen and some others back in as well.


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Originally Posted by cmb13
Thanks for the intro to new music....all of those are new to me. Did you list these to be different in style than the romantics I've been playing, or to be a little less demanding, which I agree would be nice for a change! Some don't look any less so though.

Of those, I think I liked the Tchaikovsky best, but then it may have been Khatia's beautiful interpretation. It's a little long but seems somewhat manageable.

I also like the Grieg and have been considering picking up the Lyric Pieces. I recently bought Songs Without Words, and the Mendelssohn piece is in there. The Scarlatti 208 was nice, and the 462 very interesting with those scales in octaves (it was nice to follow the music in the video).

Wow, for someone who didn't understand or listen to classical until a few years ago, you seem "all in" on classical now! Do you have fights with your family in car trips over the radio controls? (I do and I always lose cry )


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2816208 02/16/19 02:39 PM
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Yes......but......

Classical goes nowhere near the car. The fights are classic rock / alt rock vs rap / hip-hop. My wife and I like rock / alt rock, kids hip-hop and rap. Classical music is my thing now, they don't touch it. Interestingly, when I'm in the car alone, it's almost all alt rock (Alt Nation or Lithium on Sirius).


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
cmb13 #2816219 02/16/19 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
As a matter of fact, I am able to sight read the October piece, albeit slowly and not perfectly, but it seems quite feasible, so if you’d like to set up a thread on that one I would be glad to learn it also. Maybe we can get Ellen and some others back in as well.


I just learned it this past fall (yes, by October) and could contribute. Very doable technically but quite challenging musically.

Last edited by dumka1; 02/16/19 02:58 PM.
Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
dumka1 #2816232 02/16/19 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by dumka1
I just learned it this past fall (yes, by October) and could contribute. Very doable technically but quite challenging musically.

I thought your performance of this piece for the Slavic recital was wonderful!


[Linked Image]
across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
Tyrone Slothrop #2816237 02/16/19 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by dumka1
I just learned it this past fall (yes, by October) and could contribute. Very doable technically but quite challenging musically.

Thanks....that would be great!
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

Good find!


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Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
Tyrone Slothrop #2816249 02/16/19 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by dumka1
I just learned it this past fall (yes, by October) and could contribute. Very doable technically but quite challenging musically.

I thought your performance of this piece for the Slavic recital was wonderful!


Oh, thanks so much, it's so nice to hear. I've become more comfortable with it since and am playing the middle part a little faster and am trying to vary things more. But my (Russian) teacher still finds some nuances that can be improved. I'm completely in love with this piece, it's so melancholy and yet rich with all these voices.

Re: Chopin Nocturne 20 C-sharp min - Posthumous - Study Group
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I listed pieces that I thought were accessible at your level, Craig, and would offer opportunities to look more at the music as much as any technical issues. I used my own list of prospects but left out Chopin and Liszt as too similar to what you've recently done and pieces that I felt weren't as approachable so there's no Bach, Beethoven, Schubert or Brahms, either.

I stayed with gently paced pieces that I hoped might broaden your horizon.

Both the Scarlattti pieces are below the level of the Chopin and Liszt you've just done as are the Haydn and Mozart. The Schumann and Mendelssohn pieces are roughly similar but it depends on what else you've done and what you personally find difficult. The Albeniz I thought is very different from regular fare and might prove interesting and the Balakirev about the same as the Consolation but without the polyrhythmic issues. I didn't consider any of them stretch pieces for you.

But you've chosen the Tchaikovsky. That was a lot quicker than I expected. I thought there might be a couple of weeks of listening and exploring each others choices first. No matter. I'll get on with the October thread.


Richard
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