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Joined: Nov 2021
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13bwl Offline OP
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Hey everyone, I've been playing the 2nd scherzo for about a month now and I've figured out most of the technical passages (arpeggios, large chords etc.) but the one part that still doesn't feel extremely comfortable technically is the left hand accompaniment in the recurring Db theme. I don't have measure numbers because I used a scan and still haven't ordered the Chopin National Edition score, but I think you should know what I'm talking about. It's the first lyrical theme marked "con anima".

The issue is that it's difficult to play this theme evenly, loose and pianissimo. I haven't been able to ask my teacher about it because we're preparing for a festival with some other repertoire and I'm also in the process of switching teachers in preparation for music school in September. Anyway, any exercises or practice methods are welcome.


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Congrats on playing this piece it is a real joy. I think the LH accompaniment is easier with a larger hand. Consider moving your elbow in advance of the changeing shape of your hand to make the reaches easier, for example F-Ab-Db-F-Db-Ab F-<move elbow to the right>Ab-Db-Ab-Db-F

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No sticky fingers, and move your whole hand smoothly unless you are Rachmaninov or bigger (and I don't mean his scowl). The pedal connects all the notes for you.

The bottom notes can be slightly louder, so don't worry about landing on them - in fact, the way Fryderyk notates them shows that's what he wants.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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13bwl Offline OP
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Originally Posted by bennevis
No sticky fingers, and move your whole hand smoothly unless you are Rachmaninov or bigger (and I don't mean his scowl). The pedal connects all the notes for you.

The bottom notes can be slightly louder, so don't worry about landing on them - in fact, the way Fryderyk notates them shows that's what he wants.
Ahh I always struggle getting those bottom notes to sing out, for some reason it's challenging to catch them in my pedal. I've got to get some cleaner changes in.

Thank you about the hand, I think I do get "sticky fingers" and it creates a lot of tension


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Bach BWV 870
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13bwl Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Michael Glenn Williams
Congrats on playing this piece it is a real joy. I think the LH accompaniment is easier with a larger hand. Consider moving your elbow in advance of the changeing shape of your hand to make the reaches easier, for example F-Ab-Db-F-Db-Ab F-<move elbow to the right>Ab-Db-Ab-Db-F
This piece is quite fantastic I agree, the E Major section is probably my favourite.

I'm not exactly sure what you mean by anticipating the hand with the elbow. Do you mean guiding it more with the arm rather than focusing only on wrist rotation?


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Not sure if you will find it easier, but I just tried it and ended up changing the fingering to be easier for me. For some of the large stretches I used 5-1-4-1, or something similar to that. You'll need to be quick doing it though. For the smaller ones focus on wrist rotation but also moving your elbow will help. Basically on most of the arpeggios your hand should be able to form a triad over the top 3 notes, so if those feel uncomfortable, it means you're not rotating to the right position quickly enough.

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Originally Posted by Nemaara
Not sure if you will find it easier, but I just tried it and ended up changing the fingering to be easier for me. For some of the large stretches I used 5-1-4-1, or something similar to that. You'll need to be quick doing it though. For the smaller ones focus on wrist rotation but also moving your elbow will help. Basically on most of the arpeggios your hand should be able to form a triad over the top 3 notes, so if those feel uncomfortable, it means you're not rotating to the right position quickly enough.
I do have a few fingerings like that, but only at the beginning of the passage. I'll take a look and see what I can do


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Since the pedal is used during all the LH figurations, there is no need for perfect finger legato. Therefore, I don't think special fingerings or special technical solutions are really necessary.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Since the pedal is used during all the LH figurations, there is no need for perfect finger legato. Therefore, I don't think special fingerings or special technical solutions are really necessary.

I second this. These passages are tricky for me, because it takes a good amount of focus and practice for me to keep my wrist, elbow, and shoulder loose, but my fingers still firm and accurate.

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*Update* I took a lot of what was said here and also applied some tips I found with the Op. 25/1 etude and managed to get results using a sort of regimen of a few different practice methods. I didn't focus on finger legato anymore and instead on larger movements

*NO PEDAL + SLOW-MODERATE TEMPO*
1. Voicing out the bass melody while focusing on the movements of the wrist and arm
2. Forte slow practice with firm fingers but loose wrist
3. Legato from bass melody to the first note of the figuration, then finger staccato the other 5 notes
4. Rhythms of 6 starting first on the first note, five in tempo for each figuration. Once I worked through the section, then I start on second, and so on

This worked like magic for me. I go through it before practicing the Scherzo and it's allowed me to create a far lighter and bubbly sort of texture. It can always be better and I'm still applying it to improve it.

Last edited by 13bwl; 03/28/22 06:45 PM.

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That's great! Would be neat to see a clip of what you're doing now if it's not too much trouble. wink

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13bwl Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Nemaara
That's great! Would be neat to see a clip of what you're doing now if it's not too much trouble. wink
I think I might be able to put that together, although it is a bit scary to post my playing for many seasoned pianists to judge.

Do you have any recommendations for how to get it up here other than YouTube? I've found uploading on there is so annoying and inconsistent


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For me the trick is to separate getting to the note and playing the note.

It's hard to describe, but I use my arms to put my fingers in place. The arm only moves laterally and the height of the hand is the same. Imagine a robotic arm zipping from side to side.

When the completely relaxed fingers are placed in position by the arm, each note is played with a light finger staccato (when pedalling provides the legato).

I think it's good to practise placing the fingers on the keys without playing to get the separation of the arm's and fingers' roles.

I do something similar for the RH arpeggios. I keep the forearm angle (when viewed from above) and sweep up and down the keyboard. Finding the right angle can make everything fall into place.

This is what I remember about the 2nd Scherzo. I haven't played it in a long time. I must get back to it. It's one of my favourite Chopin works.

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Unfortunately I'm not sure how to get it up besides youtube. Maybe you can make it a gif or something and put it on tenor? And don't be scared we are here to help (also idk about others but I'm far from a seasoned pianist ahaha). ^_^

Last edited by Nemaara; 03/29/22 12:20 AM.

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