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Chopin's Revolutionary #484169 07/09/04 12:41 PM
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SBiv87 Offline OP
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I'm trying to learn Chopin's Revolutionary (and later Black Keys), but I'm having trouble (as you probably expected) with the bass part.

I can get the left hand up to about 110 bpm, but nothing past that. It's seems like if I go any faster than 110 my left hand just falls all over itself. Anyone know how to fix that?

Also, how much pedal should be used? And any tips on the quick right hand movements later in the piece?

Finally, how fast should I be able to play this? Does anyone have an actual BPM value?

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Re: Chopin's Revolutionary #484170 07/09/04 06:07 PM
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Goldberg Offline
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The only way to play fast is to practice slow. Chopin fanatics will maintain that as little pedal as possible should be used during the piece, but I would not recommend playing it so dry--listen to Cziffra's recording: I think his command of the pedal is particularly exciting in this piece. Ultimately, I think 120bpm makes a fine preformance tempo, but there's never just ONE marking to use, you know.

Re: Chopin's Revolutionary #484171 07/11/04 07:20 AM
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pianochic Offline
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Practice hands separately! Especially with your left hand because your having trouble with that. Doing this works well for me. And also try playing left hand slowly. And you should have someone play this for you or listen to a recording... It really helps.

Re: Chopin's Revolutionary #484172 07/11/04 07:54 AM
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kathyk Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Goldberg:
The only way to play fast is to practice slow.
So true! The compulsion to speed is my nemesis and I don't think I'm alone.

Re: Chopin's Revolutionary #484173 07/11/04 02:07 PM
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MusicMagellan Offline
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Quote
The only way to play fast is to practice slow.
I see this advice being given over and over again in this forum. I'm not challenging the advice itself. But it leaves out an important bit of information not usually appreciated by novices.

And that's that the proper fingering for fast playing is not necessarily what is best for slow playing. In fact, it's often quite different and can make a huge difference in the playability of the piece.

So, before you practice a piece at slow speed, determine the best fingering for playing it at its proper, that is, fast, speed and then practice THAT fingering slowly.

Now how one goes about doing that without being able to play it fast from the beginning is a damn good question. I'd say it's based in part on experience and guidance from a good teacher if you have access to one. Maybe some others here can comment about how one goes about determining the best fingering in such cases.

One comment about Etude 10-12. Fortunately, at least IMO, it sounds pretty good even at slower speeds. So its gratifying to play while you're still in the process of getting it up to speed.


(watch this space)
Re: Chopin's Revolutionary #484174 07/11/04 02:34 PM
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Goldberg Offline
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I agree, and it's a very good point to make, Magellan, but at the same time I would be wary to call SB a novice. He/she is, after all, learning the 10-12 which isn't a beginner's piece by any means. Chances are, the music has fingering marks on it as well (or if not, perhaps the teacher has drawn some in).
But all that being said, yes it's important to bring up and fingering should be looked at as well when speed is an issue.

Re: Chopin's Revolutionary #484175 07/11/04 03:40 PM
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MusicMagellan Offline
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Goldberg,

I apologize if I gave the wrong impression. I wasn't really referring to SB but rather that ubiquitous advice that invariably goes wanting for the, what I consider, key elaboration I mentioned. My view is that the advice given in this forum is read by many people, a good percentage who are novices. So I just wanted to add that extra point for them.

I'll also mention that far more people seem to be aware of the practice slowly advice than the fingering advice. So, on that basis, if SB knows the latter, I'd assume he knows the former. But, then again, maybe not.

One other item while I'm on the topic. Especially with fast pieces, I suggest practicing slowly enough so you never -- I'll repeat, never -- hit a wrong note. Why? Because the synapse gets programmed amazingly fast.

Saying " never" is admittedly an overstatement, but IMHO it can't hurt to follow that advice. We all know how difficult it is to eliminate a wrong note once its programmed in. And we all know that, even when its apparently corrected, it can come back to haunt you sometime in the future.

The point is, it's just as easy to lock in the right notes as it is the wrong notes. So why not make sure you do just that?


(watch this space)
Re: Chopin's Revolutionary #484176 07/11/04 04:12 PM
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signa Offline
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i completely agree with MusicMagellan. still many people don't understand why we have to play a passage fast sometimes in the beginning of learning a piece (usually a fast one).

Re: Chopin's Revolutionary #484177 07/11/04 06:19 PM
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Goldberg Offline
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Oh, yes MusicMagellan I agree entirely with you as well! Sorry I got the wrong impression from your first post, I was just moving through the forum quickly and didn't really think it through carefully enough.
It seems what people don't understand more often than not is the need TO practice slow. My teacher's observation always sticks in my head when I practice: "most kids your age [that is, 16] are impatient...they listen to a recording and want to play it that fast and make it sound like that immediately." It's important to keep that in mind...ever since he said that, I've practiced slowly at least 90% of the time I practice (the rest is speeding it up JUST to see how it goes, like you guys are talking about, to see where the mistakes are).

Re: Chopin's Revolutionary #484178 07/11/04 07:45 PM
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MusicMagellan is quite right, of course. Fingerings change when you speed things up.

I'm currently working on (among other things) two fast pieces: Mendelssohn's Rondo Capriccioso and Debussy's Pour le Piano. In both pieces I've had to alter fingering as I increased the tempo. I still practice slowly, too, but use the quick-tempo fingering when I do so. (The Tocatta, which is the last movement of Pour le Piano, is one I've especially had to rework fingering in a few passages.)

Chris

Re: Chopin's Revolutionary #484179 07/12/04 05:59 AM
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Mikester Offline
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SBiV87 here's what you do. You lock the metronome up at 110, since you say that's your speed. Get it to a point where you can play the entire piece through and through EIGHT times in a row ... and here's the catch, without a single mistake. I'm serious! You get all the right notes locked into your brain, there is nothing more important that this ... there is nothing more detrimental than practicing the same wrong notes over and over. Then, nudge the metronome up to 120, do the same thing. Eight times!

If you have trouble here's a couple of pointers:
- if you can't do the entire piece eight times in a row without mistake, try doing the hardest measure eight times in a row. Then, try doing the next hardest measure. And so and and so on.

- if 110 is too fast for you, drag the tempo down to 60 and get it perfect EIGHT times. Then, work your way back up.

Unless your fingers are deformed, or you only have 9 fingers, there is no physical limitation that says you can't play it at recording speed.

Re: Chopin's Revolutionary #484180 07/12/04 07:46 AM
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squatmaster Offline
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I'm working on this piece as well. I believe the BPM on my edition is listed as 160.

Re: Chopin's Revolutionary #484181 07/12/04 10:06 PM
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Bernard Offline
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Quote
Because the synapse gets programmed amazingly fast.
You know... I keep hearing that argument and I'm not totally sold. I AM an advocate of getting the right notes right away, BUT if the synapse gets programmed so quickly, why won't it get programmed just as quickly when you realize that there's a mistake in your playing? Synapses aren't stone so it seems to me that once we bring our AWARENESS to a problem we can fix it as quickly as we learned it in the first place. No? Yes?


"Hunger for growth will come to you in the form of a problem." -- unknown
Re: Chopin's Revolutionary #484182 07/12/04 11:08 PM
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Bernard Offline
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Oops. This post is my mistake.


"Hunger for growth will come to you in the form of a problem." -- unknown
Re: Chopin's Revolutionary #484183 07/13/04 03:46 PM
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john the hand Offline
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I'm also playing Chopin's Revolutionary, and it's a tough song (first etude i've ever played).

I go at about 132 bpm, but it took a lot of practice. I've also had to change some fingering, but i'm getting the hang of it. Just got to keep practicing at a tempo suited for you, and you'll eventually get faster smile

Re: Chopin's Revolutionary #484184 07/13/04 03:53 PM
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n00bie Offline
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Common sense tip:

LEARN the piece at a slow tempo; LEARN the correct fingerings at a slow tempo, so you can play it mostly or completely without the music and have in "in your head". THEN you are free to do as you like.

Re: Chopin's Revolutionary #484185 07/13/04 06:53 PM
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It is important in this etude to keep the hand "closed" and relaxed, so that the thumb and fingers are very close together, and to kind of "drip" over the keys, rather than spread the hand out and hammer away with the fingers. So hard to describe, but slow practise is essential in getting this level of relaxation. The fingers should not be waving in the air above the notes. You may find it useful to lead with the wrist, as though you were swirling bathwater.
Ah, language, it fails us when we need to really be there.

Re: Chopin's Revolutionary #484186 07/14/04 02:58 AM
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Phlebas Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by starmender:

Ah, language, it fails us when we need to really be there.
Actually, that's a pretty good description.
It might apply to more of the etudes.

Re: Chopin's Revolutionary #484187 07/14/04 05:53 AM
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ryan Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Goldberg:
The only way to play fast is to practice slow.
That is sortof true, although I've seen people practice pieces slowly for years and still not be able to play them accurately at tempo.

The only way to be able to play fast is to develop the technique and reflexes that will allow it and to then to learn the notes so solidly that one can play them without pause or mistakes.

One highly effective technique for this is practicing in rhythms, both hands alone and hands together. I personally usually practice in rhythms first and then move on to slow, detailed practice. At that point I understand the technique involved, have learned the notes, and have a good understanding of the technique and fingering that I will use. I use slow practice to explore the nuances of the work, to improve my memory, and to ensure that I play the notes accurately.

At a more fundamental level, make sure you can play all your scales and arpeggios quickly and accurately. It's surprising how many people think they should be able to play their pieces more quickly and accurately than their scales and arpeggios. It aint going to happen...

Touching on the "play fast before play slow" discussion again, I think this only works when a person understands the technique and approach the passage demands. If they don't, then it will be difficult to choose a good fingering regardless of how fast they practice the passage or piece.

Ryan

Re: Chopin's Revolutionary #484188 07/14/04 06:02 AM
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Frungy Offline
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Hanon and Czerny.

Torture and more torture. It helps in the long run though.

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