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#448523 - 12/16/07 02:41 PM Starting Chopin Pieces
slerk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/07
Posts: 320
Loc: Massachusetts, USA
Hello everybody!

For most of my 7-years of playing the piano, I have only played pieces that have exact beat like Mozart and Beethoven.

I want to start Chopin pieces, and one day be able to play
-Fantasie Impromptu
-Heroic Polonaise
-Etudes: Winter Wind, Black Key, Revolutionary.

I know they are very unrealalistic, but hey, at least I have goals.

Anyways, I talked to my piano teacher about this, and she let me play a easy piece, or so I thought, the minute waltz. I can play it perfectly seperately, but I Get into a ton of trouble with timing.

Any help on starting Chopin Pieces?

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#448524 - 12/16/07 03:38 PM Re: Starting Chopin Pieces
BruceD Offline

Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 20236
Loc: Victoria, BC
First, I wouldn't call the Chopin "Minute" Waltz a "very easy piece." It has its challenges, but timing shouldn't be one of them. It's a pretty straightforward three-in-a-bar. What is the "ton of trouble with timing" that you get into when you try to play it hands together?

If you can play it "perfectly" hands separately, then the next step is to put hands together, but very slowly at first. Playing it too quickly will get you making mistakes and your mind and fingers risk "learning" the mistakes; these will be much more difficult to correct than it would be to take the time to do it right from the beginning by playing slowly and correctly.

As I said in response to your other thread, these are questions you should be asking your teacher. S/he can see what the problems are and should be able to give you advice on how to correct them.

- - - - -
Estonia 190

#448525 - 12/16/07 05:12 PM Re: Starting Chopin Pieces
xtraheat Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 625
Loc: WV
You say that your goal is very unrealistic, but the Fantasie-Improptu, Revolutionary, and Black Key aren't really any harder then the 3rd mov. of the Moonlight
Currently working on
Prokofiev Piano Concerto 3
Beethoven Sonata Op.109
Chopin Op.10 No.1
Bach WTC II no. 15


#448526 - 12/16/07 06:05 PM Re: Starting Chopin Pieces
thepianist2008 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/19/06
Posts: 191
Loc: NY
Let me post something I read in another board:


Here is the single most powerful routine to do that. It targets specifically co-ordination, so you must make sure that the technique required for the passage had been thoroughly mastered by previous work on hands separate.

I call it “dropping notes”.

The student should start by playing the right hand (for example – it doesn’t really matter which hand you start). He plays the right hand only a couple of times. If it is fluent and smooth, the student is now going to add the first, and only the first note of the left hand. In other words, s/he is going to “drop” the first LH note. The aim is to keep the RH going no matter what. It does not matter if the LH note is wrong: it can be fixed later. The only thing that matters is that the RH should continue undisturbed, no matter what the RH is doing. It is going to take 2 or 3 (maybe more) repeats for the student to get the hang of it. Once s/he can do it, add the next note. To start with everything will fall apart. Never mind, keep trying. First aim to keep the RH going no matter what. Once this is accomplished, to get the LH notes right. It is all a matter of priorities. At this stage the priority is not to get the LH notes perfect at the expense of the RH movement. All we are interested in, is to get the RH to move independently of what the LH is doing. Once we accomplish this, them we can turn our attention to accuracy.

Keep adding the LH notes one by one. Every time you add a new note, everything falls apart, but as you proceed, it gets easier and easier. Eventually you will be playing hands together!

Now comes a very important step that must not be skipped. You must do it all over again, but this time the reverse: start by playing the whole of the LH, and drop the RH notes one by one. Once you can do both ways, you will have mastered HT for life!

Do not try this with the whole piece. Work in small passages, maybe one or two bars at a time. Bach fugues tend to be a nightmare to join hands. Try this method: it always work.
I have found this to be very useful, especially since it helped my sister get together the hardest bar in Grieg's Anitra's Dance piano duet, primo.

I'm still confused as to why your teacher would have you think that those pieces you named are harder than the 3rd Mvmt of the Moonlight. I can tell you that the Heroic Polonaise is a bear, but I thought the Beethoven was much harder. I may be wrong.

Another note: While there much less rubato in Beethoven than in Chopin, I think there's a problem if you're playing Beethoven without any rubato at all. After all, he is the transition from the Classical to the Romantic period; his music does contain some of that Romantic flair.
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Current Assignments:
Bach Prelude and Fugue in Bb Maj, D min, and C Maj from Bk I
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Bartok Six Roumanian Folk Dances
Prokofieff Visions Fugitives Op. 22

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#448527 - 12/17/07 03:34 PM Re: Starting Chopin Pieces
slerk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/07
Posts: 320
Loc: Massachusetts, USA
IF so, I will definetly look for sheet music of the Black key and Fantasie Impromptu, they are some of my most favorite pieces!!

The thing about Moonlight's 3rd movement is that I can play the first 5 or so pages very well, but it gets hard for me then on. I didn't want to drop it, but my piano teacher told me to, and gave me a maiden's prayer instead.


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